- October 17, 2022
- Posted by: Mariam Kasemiire
- Category: Uncategorized
****Capacity Building for Socially Just and Sustainable Energy Transitions (SET), a Project under the Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University is supporting 3 PhDs, 7 MAs and 2 Postdoc students
The East African region has embraced the global drive to transition to low carbon economies and clean energy. However, a key challenge is the persistent lack of knowledge, capacity and skilled personnel to support the transition. In 2021, the Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University received funding under NORHED II to improve research and knowledge on energy transitions.
The six-year project titled, “Capacity Building for Socially Just and Sustainable Energy Transitions (SET)” aims to build capacity and competence through education, research and outreach to secure a workforce in the East African region with relevant skills and knowledge to implement and demand for a just and sustainable low carbon energy transition agenda.
Specific objectives of the project include; i) developing capacity in social sciences, humanities and environmental management education programs to address emerging challenges and harness opportunities presented by the transition to low carbon energy economies in new oil and gas frontiers in East Africa; ii) improving competence and capacity of staff and students to undertake teaching and research on energy transitions from social sciences and humanities perspectives; iii) producing more and better research on energy transitions in East Africa through joint interdisciplinary research conducted by graduate students and Senior researchers at the partner institutions, and ultimately contribute to national and regional policy and practice in energy transitions; and 4) establishment of a Norway-East Africa (NOREAC) partnership and strengthening existing national and regional partnerships between academia, public sector, private sector and civil society to improve the relevance of graduate programs and ultimately enhance employability of graduate students.
Partner institutions include; Makerere University, Makerere University Business School (MUBS), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), University of Stavanger (UiS) and TUK University of Juba.
Led Dr Charlotte Anne Nakakaawa-Jjunju from NTNU and coordinated by Prof. Frank Mugagga, Head, Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences at Makerere University, the project will directly contribute to the realization SDG4 on Quality Education, SDG5 on Gender equality, SDG7 on Energy, SDG13 on Climate Action and SDG17 on enhancing global partnerships for sustainable development. It will indirectly contribute to SDG1 on ending poverty; SDG3 on good health and wellbeing; SDG8 on decent work and economic growth; SDG10 on reduced inequalities; SDG11 on sustainable cities and communities; and SDG16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.
The project themes include; i) Geographies of energy transition in East Africa; ii) Stranded assets and green growth in East Africa: Role of state and non-state actors; iii) Inclusive engagement in energy transitions: Gender, participation and justice; iv) Energy infrastructure, environmental impacts and changing social practices; and v) Transition to an integrated East African regional energy market: Enabling infrastructure, Policies and Regulations.
Support to graduate students
The project is supporting 3 PhDs, 7 MAs and 2 Postdoc students from the partner institutions. These include; Dr Maria Nantongo, a postdoc student from MUBS conducting research on positioning oil and gas companies for the transition to a lower carbon economy. Others are; Mr. Benon Nabaasa, a PhD student who will be assessing Uganda’s energy geographies for solar power transition with special focus on the incumbent energy geographies for selected solar power infrastructure, geographical nature of solar power rollout for selected solar power infrastructure, and the relationship between specific energy geographies and the nature of solar power rollout. Ms. Kemitare Gladys, a PhD student examining asset and resource stranding as a consequence of the transition to a low carbon energy economy intends to assess the drivers of stranded assets and resources, estimate the impact stranded assets and resources will have on Uganda’s GDP, and investigate the policies, plans and frameworks that have been put in place to mitigate the risk of asset stranding on Uganda’s economic development. Ms. Namukasa Juliet, PhD student is undertaking research on carbon mobility in Kampala with special focus on user perspectives and practices on walking, cycling and public transport. She intends examine the visions of and meanings connected to walking, cycling and public transport, assess the challenges and controversies of these mobility modes, specifically focusing on their relation to other forms of mobility or factors such as gender, age, material, social, cultural and economic differences; and to provide solutions on what should be put in place for such mobility modes to be used more and minimize the growth of private car mobility.
The Masters students include; Mr. Patrick Kayima who is conducting research on the effect of hybrid solar energy electrification on people’s livelihoods on Bugala Island in Kalangala District; Mr. Lukyamuzi Vincent – assessing the willingness of Kampala slum dwellers to adopt and adapt to clean cooking technologies; Mr. Kafilondi Albert – investigating the suitability and accessibility of solar photovoltaic technology infrastructure in South Sudan; Ms. Namono Maureen – assessing the drivers of energy transition and its impact on the economy; Ms. Suzan Nafisa – examining the impact of solar energy on women’s socio-economic lives in Juba, South Sudan; Mr. Madet Daniel – examining the environmental and socio-economic effects of crude oil extraction in Bentiu, South Sudan; and Mr. Thon Makoi who is assessing the socio-economic impact of oil production on women, focusing on Paloch Oil producing area in Melut, South Sudan.
On 11th October 2022, the Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences held a research seminar at which the students presented their concept papers to get input/buy in from sector players and other stakeholders regarding the relevance of the planned research. The workshop was also intended to receive guidance from stakeholders on the best course of action on how the intended research can be structured to inform policy and practice. Held at the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, the blended seminar (physical and online) was attended by supervisors from partner institutions as well as representatives from line ministries who made enriching contributions to the students’ proposals. The students were enlightened on the current challenges in the energy sector and guided on the best format of structuring their research to provide practical solutions.
Remarks by the Dean SFEGS and project coordinators
Speaking at the workshop, the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, CAES, Prof. Fred Babweteera commended SET as a timely project that would greatly contribute to transforming Makerere into a research-led University. “As the country grapples with the challenges of constructing the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, SET comes in handy to address the socio-economic injustices related to the project,” he noted, pledging increased support towards quality research and graduate training. He applauded the PIs for the initiative and thanked the development partners for the support rendered towards the project and other programmes at the university.
Sharing an overview of SET, Prof. Frank Mugagga appreciated the funders, noting that project would largely improve capacity of graduate training and research at Department and partner institution.
In her remarks, Dr Charlotte Anne Nakakaawa-Jjunju from NTNU urged the students to contextualise their work and align it to contribute to policy and practice. She also reminded the students of the need to mainstream gender throughout their research. The Norwegian Development Policy emphasizes gender mainstreaming in all NORHED-funded projects.