From Research Administrator to PhD Student: Impact Story of Anthony Kadoma

Compiled by Deepa Pullanikkatil and David Gerow

It’s been two years since Anthony Kadoma joined Sustainable Futures in Africa. He was initially hired on a four-month contract to work as a research assistant, but through his hard work and intelligence, Anthony has risen from being a short-term Research Administrator to a PhD student at the University of Glasgow, and a valued member of the Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) Network. It’s an opportunity he doesn’t take lightly. “I know it is likely not to be a walkover,” he says of his upcoming PhD studies, “but rather hard work that calls for a lot of flexibility and commitment on my part.”

Anthony was originally invited to join SFA in 2017. He was enlisted by Dr. Twine Bananuka, who had been one of his lecturers when he was studying for his BA in Adult and Community Education at Makerere University. Anthony had subsequently earned his master’s degree in Applied Community Change and Peacebuilding at Future Generations University WV USA, which led to work as a consultant in Kampala. At that time, Twine and his colleagues were undertaking a scoping study in Uganda, and they needed someone to manage the enormous amount of audio and pictorial data they’d amassed. They also needed help coordinating their work with colleagues in other hubs of the SFA network. “Dr. Twine was aware of my working ability and skills,” Anthony recalls. “He recommended that I be given the Research Assistant job to assist the hub members in transcribing the data they had collected, organize it, come up with themes and also assist in the writing of draft papers. I was fortunate that the other members believed in him and gave me the job. That is how I joined the family of Sustainable Futures in Africa Network.”

While working with SFA, his immediate supervisor has been Dr. Alex Okot. Anthony describes Alex as “a very good man: approachable, transparent, and he gives me time to discuss network issues even when he is so busy”. Anthony also praises the other hub members he works with on a regular basis, whose “openness and support” he values. “Working with other research assistants and academicians from countries like Nigeria, Botswana, Scotland and Malawi promotes my international exposure,” he says. “This is something that I really enjoy.”

But Anthony’s experience with SFA hasn’t been entirely office-bound. He’s attended two international symposiums – one in Lagos, Nigeria and one in Lira, Uganda – which he even had a hand in organizing. He’s also done a significant amount of fieldwork, an opportunity he values. “I have personally visited communities, interacted with community members and learnt a lot from them: the way they live, how they cope with challenges. I have liked working with organized groups of students, farmers and youth in Alebtong district as they work towards improving their livelihoods. I like the challenge because indeed poverty still persists as a great challenge, and this calls for more training to come up with workable approaches to reduce it today, not in the future.”

Just as he does his part in helping SFA collaborate with communities, Anthony has also reaped personal benefits from his work. Not only does it provide him with a welcome source of income and a network of likeminded colleagues, but it has allowed him to sharpen his digital literacies. “For instance,” he says, “most of our meetings are done on Skype and Zoom, and we chat constantly through WhatsApp and emails, as well as sharing documents using Google docs among others.” He anticipates that these necessary skills will help him as he moves on to his next challenge: a PhD at the University of Glasgow.

His PhD is another opportunity that he traces back to his work with SFA, as it arose through a meeting with SFA co-founder Dr. Mia Perry at the 2018 Lagos symposium. In his conversation with her, he expressed his interest in pursuing a PhD, to which she replied, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Anthony told Mia that he wanted to work on community development, research and youth, and she suggested he send her a project proposal. As Anthony tells it, “She introduced my concept to her colleagues at the University of Glasgow, and by the grace of God it was selected, and that is how I became a PhD student on the study.” He’s about to begin his PhD in Environmental Sustainability, with a problem entitled Understanding the perception of multiple stakeholders of the ecosystem services provided by mangroves to improve restoration activities. He’s eager to seize every opportunity that comes his way: “While at the University of Glasgow, I hope to be intellectually stimulated since I will be living and working with intellectuals. From these people, I hope to get some motivation and courage to push forward.”

In just two years, Anthony has spun a four-month contract into ongoing work and a brand-new PhD project in Glasgow. Who knows what the future holds for this bright young man, and what contributions he has yet to make to SFA and to the communities of Uganda? Inspired by Gandhi’s famous quote, “Be the change you want to see,” Anthony plans to put his skills to good use. He says, “I believe that being informed and skilled enough will put me in better position to work with community members so that we can change our communities for the better.”


Learning for Sustainability: University-Community Nexus

By Anthony Kadoma, Research Administrator of the Ugandan hub; Reagan Kandole, ECOaction; and David Gerow

On 13 April, 2019, members of SFA’s Uganda hub jointed staff and students from Makerere University’s Department of Adult and Community Education for an environmental education field study tour. Two lecturers and 90 students participated along with SFA members Joseph Watuleke, Kevin Aanyu, Kellen Aganyira, Richard Kagolobya and Anthony Kadoma. The idea of the hub members collaborating with the university staff grew out of a monthly meeting held on 19 March.

The team visited three different but related innovation sites: ECOaction, an SFA partner in Uganda; United Innovations Development Centre (UIDC), a leading innovation and waste incubation centre in Kireka, a suburb of Kampala; and finally, Sezibwa, an eco-tourism site in the district of Mukono, Central Uganda.

The field study was guided by, but not limited to the following objectives:

  • To learn and appreciate innovative ways of turning waste into a resource;
  • To understand the ecotourism activities promoted at Sezibwa conservation area;
  • To explore the relationship between innovative conservation projects and their adjacent communities;
  • To generate ways of achieving environmental, economic and social sustainability in the areas visited;
  • To identify opportunities for recruiting new members to the SFA network

During this field study, observations were made by the SFA members, and interviews were conducted with key organization staff to learn more about what they did and the impact of their activities on the environment and on neighboring communities. Data was collected by taking photographs and short video recordings, especially during presentations. At the end of the tour, all 90 students filled out evaluation forms and handed them to the SFA team. This data will be analysed and will inform future actions and relationships with the visited organizations.

SFA believes in and promotes a multidisciplinary approach, and this field study offered the team a range of options on how to interact with different community members in various settings. Of interest was the presence of cultural healing sites at Sezibwa, where patients from different parts of the region came for prayers and healing. The waste incubation centre offered insights on how agricultural waste could be used to produce eco-friendly products such as briquettes, paper bags and envelopes. Beyond their environmental benefits, these innovations created employment for the youth and the neighboring communities, thus contributing to poverty reduction. The idea of exposing students to local environmental concerns when they are about to graduate university is important because it not only prepares them to become ambassadors of sustainable development in their respective communities, but it also challenges them to think critically and practice more sustainable and innovative ways of dealing with environmental waste.

For instance, in his address to the team, ECOaction’s founder, Mr. Kandole Reagan, painted a mind-opening, artistic picture, likening irresponsibly dumped plastics to “vomit” from excessive intake. This is a spot-on description: “vomit” consists only of what has been consumed! Who on earth ever liked their own vomit, let alone somebody else’s, except perhaps a dog? Logically speaking, why should we let the environment choke on our vomit?

At both ECOaction and at United Innovations Development Centre, an economic perspective was encouraged; the emphasis was on looking beyond waste. The economic value that lies in or beyond environmental waste can create an intrinsic motivation for preserving and conserving the physical environment while reducing poverty and unemployment through reusing, recycling and upcycling waste for economic benefits. What these organizations offer are innovative methods of environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, Sezibwa Eco-Tourism focuses more on conserving the natural green environment and cultural practices that ensure responsible use of natural resources such as tree spices, rocks, birds and water bodies, among other things. The students, lecturers and SFA members benefitted from visiting each of these sites, which demonstrate practical, innovative methods of sustainability.


Scots Join The Worldwide Effort to Help Africans Find New Ways to Rebuild Their Communities Shattered by Brutal Civil War

Article written by Maggie Ritchie – free-lance journalist who joined the Glasgow delegation traveling to Lira, Uganda in February 2019 for the 3rd SFA Annual Symposium. While in Uganda, she had the opportunity to meet with the communities involved in SFA activities through two partners: Apala Widows and Orphanage Centre (AWOC) and ECOaction.

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/scots-join-the-worldwide-effort-to-help-africans-find-new-ways-to-rebuild-their-communities-shattered-by-brutal-civil-war-and-desperate-povertylife-was-very-difficult-it-is-better-now/


Publication: Modelling of Extension and Dyking-Induced Collapse Faults and Fissures in Rifts

This publication is an output of the research conducted by SFA researchers in Uganda on ‘Understanding the structure, permeability and activity of faults in and around the Rwenzori mountains, Albertine rift system’

Koehn, D., Steiner, A. and Aanyu, K. (2018). Modelling of extension and dyking-induced collapse faults and fissures in rifts. Journal of Structural Geology, 118, pp.21-31.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • This contribution presents modelling of fissures and faults in rifts induced by extension and dyking.
  • Faults nucleate as hybrid shear surfaces and migrate upwards as fissures and downwards as shear fractures.
  • Dyking tends to localize faults on top of dykes and produces narrow vertical collapse structures.
  • Collapse structures are rhomboid blocks that form along conjugate fault sets and move down with normal and reverse sense.
  • The most localized collapse structures develop on top of thin and shallowly intruding dykes.

For more information, you can find the publication by using the DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2018.09.017


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Skills Development for Community Youth

ECOaction has partnered with a local girls school, Nabisunsa Girls School, to motivate youth in the community to reduce, reuse and recycle! Reagan has described how their school grounds have been transformed into a colorful urban garden with greenhouses for growing crops.  It is hoped that the skills that these pupils will gain through this experience will help the youth tackle unemployment.

Dr Grace Lubaale of Kyambogo University spoke to The Daily Monitor, a Ugandan newspaper praising Reagan's community work, outlining that:

“Instead of many educators clinging to old and increasingly ineffective methods of teaching, it is better to use innovative teaching methods. This will help to produce a type of students that think outside the box, who can use what is available to bring about something new,”

“The amount of rubbish we create is constantly increasing because we have no proper disposal policy and if all our students are trained on how to manage this waste, they can extend the knowledge to the bigger communities,” says Reagan Kandole of ECOaction village, Banda.

Read More at: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/Education/Students-recycling-plastic-for-innovation-/688336-4729956-gpvfb8z/index.html

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Read more


A 'short and sweet' visit to the SFA Hub, Kampala

By Molly Gilmour, SFA Administrator, Glasgow

From the 14th to 17th May, Sustainable Futures in Africa Principal Investigator Dr Mia Perry and Sustainable Futures in Africa  (SFA) Glasgow Hub Administrator Molly Gilmour traveled to Kampala, Uganda for what can only be described as the definition of a ‘short and sweet´ meeting.

Tuesday 15th May 2018: Makerere University

On May 14th Mia and I arrived to the University Guest house where we stayed during our visit. Arriving at almost midnight, we could still see the buzz of the city – people sharing meals by the road, small traders bustling around the city’s streets, a city that felt inviting, warm and friendly.

We spent the morning having coffee with Alex and Anthony, SFA Hub Coordinator and Administrator respectfully, when we then walked to the College of Education and External Studies. It was fantastic to see where my counterpart, whom I work so closely with, spends his 9-5. After having the privilege to meet many of the respective Makerere University Deans and Heads of School, we embarked on a SFA Uganda hub meeting. At this meeting  we caught up with network plans which have developed, especially those that were made during the recent meeting at the University of Glasgow – which our Ugandan partners were unfortunately unable to attend due to (what I would describe as draconian) UK Immigration authorities. We looked back at recent events in order to look forward; how can the SFA network develop - concerning research as we ask ‘how can we develop methodologies through arts based practices’, and ‘how can we ensure the core coordination of this network continues’, as it was evident through our short visit how imperative SFA Administrator Anthony is to our Ugandan colleagues.

That afternoon SFA spoke at the weekly lunchtime seminar. It was attended by both students and academic staff from across the college. PI Dr Mia Perry spoke about the SFA Network and shared a presentation about the methodologies created and used by SFA. This had a fantastic impact on the attendees, as PhD students enquired as to how they could undertake a PhD placement with the network, and the Dean of Education outlining that he will introduce the SFA ‘Reporting Back Method’ to the Board of Directors  for the Makerere University Graduate School.

Wednesday 16th May: ECOaction

One of the highlights for me - So many serendipitous moments, uncomfortable moments, moments of realisation … dancing and laughing moments...

Walking through the slum-like-squatted area of Kampala, the smell of burning plastics and the dust being kicked up by school aged kids reminded me of my former missions with Save the Children and Médecins Sans Frontières; Something I wasn’t expecting which brought both a sense of familiarity and discomfort. Yet, arriving to the bright, warm and safe space which is ECOaction, and hearing the music, seeing the dancing, I felt right at home! Reagan welcomed us wholeheartedly as we arrived; Mia, Anthony, Alex, Vincent, Richard and I.  Reagan, as accurately reflected in his projects, is an energetic, warm and a colourful character.

Sitting in a room, one constructed by the community of recycled bottles, Reagan facilitated an introduction to SFA, SFA’s partners and introductions were conducted around this room. We met with Nilotika Cultral Ensemble, who performed for SFA partners alongside the community’s youth. Nilotika Cultural Ensemble shared their experiences of working with Western Organisations, and one member shared the challenges he endured during his previous partnerships with a quote ‘I am asked to sign at the expense of my culture’, that the financial stipulations by Western funding bodies allow for little/no autonomy for African partners. Being in this space as a University of Glasgow representative, an institution who have historically wholeheartedly embodied these extractive partnerships, I was faced with discomfort, but also the realisation that these partnerships must change: That there is a lot of work to do in building both trust and real relationships. There were countless examples of these damaged power relations throughout the three day visit which I experienced, and will continue to reflect and learn from.

The evening was spent conducting ‘strategic planning’ with key stakeholders at ECOaction. More will be shared come on this in the coming months!

Thursday 17th May: 32 Degrees East

Another cool, colourful and creative space in Kampala, SFA Partner 32 Degrees East is a multi-purpose resource centre including hosting artist in residence, meeting centres and art studios. Mia and Is final day, Thursday, was spent on future planning. What future research projects is SFA going to undertake next? What funding is best suited? What partners will be involved? Anthony and I, the SFA Glasgow and Uganda research administrators, created communications strategies and Impact toolkits for the research hubs.

Mia and I finished the day sitting by Victoria Lake with Richard, Alex, Twine, Reagan and Arnold conducting ‘Knowledge Exchange’ on ‘how to take the perfect selfie’


This January, SFA ran a Community Awareness event in Kampala, Uganda, to develop a deeper understanding of the impact of plastic waste on the environment and community life.
UG1
In the recent years, Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, has witnessed an alarming growth of waste that equals to 730,000 tons a day, of which only 1% is currently recycled. SFA researchers from Makerere University and representatives of the Ugandan Art Trusts met the local community in Banda, Kampala city, to find possible solutions to plastic waste disposal through the art and culture practical tools. This event was hosted by EcoAction, a non-government organisation led by Reagan Kandole, an eco-artist and lecturer at Kyambogo University.
The participants gathered in the community space, designed out of plastic bottles, to find the answer to the question on how cultural practices can help to address the problem of waste disposal. The community members came out with some sketches on waste management, followed by the group discussion facilitated by the SFA researchers from the Makerere University.
At the end of the workshop, the community came up with various solutions on waste utilisation that we would be happy to share shortly.

ecoAction

EcoAction works in the field of waste management and environmental problems that threaten the health and quality of li
fe of the communities in the region for many years.  One example of a recent project delivered by EcoAction involved the local community in the creation of a mural aimed at educating community members about different recycling practices.  For more information, please visit the EcoAction website.

A 'No Method' Approach to Empowering Local Communities

Team Uganda carried out field trials in two distinctive communities namely; Kibanjwa Community in Hoima district, Western Uganda and Apala Community in Apala sub-Country, Alebtong district in Northern Uganda. The choice for Kibanjwa community was influenced by the recent discovery of oil in the area and the impacts that this has had on the communities surrounding the oil wells. The whole experience although challenging, was worthwhile and insightful as it delved into how the local people in Uganda view and interact with their environment. It was also a learning experience for the multi-disciplinary research team, as they worked together on an issue of common concern. People came in large numbers for community forums, especially in Alebtong due to the fact that it is served by Widows and Orphanage Centre (AWOC), a partner of the SFA network.

People of Kibanjwa putting their heads together to identify their challenges, and how they can tackle them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apala community was chosen because of its native identity as a “healing community” recovering from a 20-year old insurgency that claimed so many lives, and left families in distress and brokenness. The field trial for each study site lasted four days. In Kibanjwa, the field trial was from the 10th June to the 13th June 2017, while in Alebtong it was from the 17th June to the 20th June 2017.

The team employed a “no method” approach in the two study sites, which was very much influenced by the desire to empower the local people to talk freely about their world. Data collection approaches used included observations, quasi-transects walks, community forums and home visits. The level of knowledgeability, open-mindedness and degree of freedom of expression portrayed by the community participants, made the process enjoyable, fruitful and offered a desirable degree of flexibility not restrictive to any specific method. The whole process was a mixture of compromises, surprises, breaking new ground and contestation, but eventually the team reached a common understanding.

Joseph & Kevin from the Ugandan Research Team with notebooks listening and recording experiences of Apala community members during a quasi – transect walk

Scoping Trial, Uganda

Scoping Trials

Sustainable Futures in Africa is an interdisciplinary collective aiming to build understanding, research, and practice in socio-ecological sustainability in Africa. In order for relationships to be built, methodologies to be explored, and to achieve the shared understanding that is aspired for, the SFA network is running trial research projects. These are being run with an emphasis on the trial and error aspect, for researchers to explore the unfamiliar, social scientists exploring hard science and vice versa. Furthermore colleagues in Glasgow will take every opportunity to work with the projects in Nigeria, Uganda, and Botswana as they develop.

The Ugandan research trial will take place from the first of June, running until the 22nd June when Daniel Koehn, University of Glasgow, departs from Kampala. The locations will be in the community of Kibanjwa village, Kibanjwa Parish, Kitoba Sub-County, Hoima district (Albertine region) and the Alebtong district.

Dr. Hannington Twine outlines the research methods and design below:

Field Approvals

In both study sites, our contact persons will use their ongoing research approvals and contacts to introduce the rest of the team to the communities.' Dr. Alex Okot who is a board member of Apala Widows and Orphanage Centre will take an advance visit ahead of the Ugandan research team. He will inform the Local Council Officials in writing of the visit to the organisation. Likewise, Ms. Kellen Aganyira has ongoing research engagement in the Albertine region and she will use her current approvals to introduce the team to Local Council officials of Kibanjwa in Hoima district.

Methodology

This field trial visits will approach the communities without a pre-conceived research design. The interest of team Uganda will be to understand the communities’ perception of the environmental issues and ecosystems. We shall enter the communities as learners or listening posts. We shall provide direction of the discussions by a problem posing approach, that is, probing and prompting them to talk about issues related the environment, biodiversity and ecosystems.

Data collection

The data collection will be by the researchers themselves in partnership with the community members in the respective regions. a collaborative process. We will be assisted with local council officials especially on the planed transect walks. Due to language differences, we shall require services of one interpreter in northern Uganda. This is because we shall be divided into two transect walk groups and yet we only have one person among us who communicates properly in the local dialect. In the Albertine region, there will be no need of an interpreter since two members in the group understand the local dialect and we shall only have one group for the transect walk.

Data collection will be by way of observations, transect walks, Community forums and journaling. We intend to capture images of humans and their environment. Areas of special interest in this pilot study will include:

  1. Land tenure system
  2. Water sources and their management
  3. Landscape and geology
  4. Trees/forests and their importance to them
  5. Wetlands (relationship and importance)
  6. Agricultural practices (Animal husbandry and cultivation)
  7. Wild life (relationship and importance)

Team Members

Albertine Region

On the 9th June Daniel Koen will arrive in Kampala, Uganda, to join the rest of the Ugandan scoping trial team. Their interaction with the Kibanjwa Community, Kitoba Sub-County, Hoima district in the Albertine region will begin on the 11th June. The research will draw upon the existing issues surrounding oil and gas and the impact of this on the environmental area. The team will return to Kampala and Daniel will travel to the Rwenzori Mountains on the 14th June to further his personal research in the region.

See map below for the location of the research trial in Uganda.

Alebtong Region

On the 18th June the research team will then travel to the Alebtong Region where they will partner with Apala Widows and Orphanage Center to analyse issues that impact the locality such as the large refugee influx and the subsequent strain on resources alongside the local water sources to form a socioecological analysis. The research will draw to a close on the 22nd June when Daniel returns to Glasgow, Scotland.

See map below for the location of the research trial in Uganda.

In partnership with: