SPL Researchers Participate in SU–Makerere University Outreach

To celebrate and strengthen the long standing collaborative relationship between Stellenbosch University and Makerere University, the Centre for Collaboration in Africa (CCA) afforded several postgraduate students and young staff the opportunity to visit and explore the Southern region of Uganda, on 4-9 September 2017. Among the delegation were Suzanne Smit, PhD candidate, and Dr Jacquie Walubwa, PostdDoctoral Fellow, from the School of Public leadership who were representing the urban Modelling and Metabolism Assessment (uMAMA) research group.

uMAMA, under leadership of Prof Josephine Kaviti Musango, is currently working on a cross African research project with Dr Amollo Ambole from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and Dr Kareem Buyana from Makerere University, Uganda to develop co-designed gender responsive options for improved household energy provision and better health outcomes in urban informal settlements.

Ms Smit, whose research focuses on human activity, land-use and energy flows in urban informal settlements, described the visit as being “deeply impactful in terms of the cultural nuances and historical context”. “My work has thus far been limited to the South African landscape and this has been a real eye-opener, especially with regard to the size and scope of the informal economy and the differences in informal settlement types in Uganda. This visit has reaffirmed my belief in research that is contextually grounded and the need to understand what drives the phenomenon of slums or informal settlements across Africa. Nothing quite drives this home than exploring these spaces first hand.”

According to Dr Walubwa the visit to Africa was a learning experience for improved collaborations from one centre of excellence to another.

SU_Makerere team photo
Front: Dr Amollo Ambole (Nairobi University and Principal Investigator), back right: Dr Buyana Kareem (Co-investigator, Makerere University); to his left: Dr Jacque Walubwa (Stellenbosch Univ) and to her Left: Suzanne Smit (Stellenbosch University). Other members include community leaders, field researchers and researchers from Makerere University.