Over the last three years, each hub has developed some projects to address some of the development challenges expressed by the local communities with which they work. Within each hub, the interdisciplinary team explores ways of engagement and co-build the research agenda with the communities and relevant stakeholders to ensure strong impacts.


Wildlife-Human Interactions

The Botswana team explores the issue of human-wildlife interaction. This is a topical issue that affects local development like grassroots livelihood, the tourism industry, food production and wildlife management. It also has an international dimension as wildlife moves in and out of the country. Botswana team is looking into ways of managing the interactions, especially, the elephant-human interaction.

Through Kgotla meetings, the team were able to identify potential mitigation measures (e.g. Community Based Natural Resource Management and the use of chilli pepper).

The team now builds upon these identified measure and works with the Mmadinare community to further develop opportunities linked to this challenge.


Drones and communities

In Malawi, climate change, the ongoing impacts of British colonialism on economic and political geographies, and cross-border tensions in East Africa have intersected to produce a series of crises for predominantly communities. Working with Dr. Moyo (LUANAR), the NGO Abundance, and Kei Otsuki (Utrecht University) GES researchers Deborah Dixon, Phil Nicholson, and Brian Barrett developed a project on ‘Visualising Geoviolence’ that aims to map out how this complex intersection of physical and social factors emerges over time and space, how it is experienced as a form of violence upon individual bodies and community infrastructures, and how it is negotiated and responded to. The project focused on areas such as Lake Chilwa where irrigation, fertilisers, sand mining and reed-bed removal have profoundly impacted the now shallow, saline lake.


Challenges for mining communities

There is a growing commitment from both the public and private sectors to diversify the Nigerian economy consequent upon which attention is now being paid to the agricultural and mineral resources sectors. The government has recently taken steps to revive the agricultural and mining sectors.

Mining (large scale) was typically conducted in the Northern part of the country, and the skewness of licensed miners, in favour of the northern part, inadvertently promoted artisanal mining in the biodiversity-rich and ecologically-diverse south-western part of the country.

The government’s attention to the exploitation of natural resources has not been matched with equal attention to the development of the host communities, leading to cultural and ecological loses. This is against this background that the Nigerian team is exploring new ways of stakeholders’ engagement to address community development issues in Oyo and Osun States.


"No-Method" Methodology

The Ugandan hub explores the different ways in which the local people of Kibanjwa Hoima and Apala-Abia in Alebtong district use the natural resources around them in their bid for development and the betterment of their livelihoods and what steps they are taking in order to avoid compromising the natural environment’s ability to serve future generation.

They employ a number of approaches that can be closely approximated to commonly known methods such as transect walk, home visits, community forums, and focus group discussions as well as interviews with the local leaders. Aspects of these methods are applied as deemed fit to the prevailing circumstances, in the quest to come up with a unique methodology for researching communities in a more effective way through community-oriented ideas: The No-Method Methodology.


Participatory Futures

The Participatory Futures project addresses the challenge of Equitable Access to Sustainable Development as identified by the UKRI GCRF strategy, and the Sustainable Development Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) as an essential component of this issue. This goal is gravely underrepresented in development-related research and yet critically underpins and determines the impact and sustainability of outcomes. This project seeks to re-examine 5 GCRF projects to evaluate the way partnerships have been conceptualised and practiced across diverse research contexts.

The project spans Ethiopia, Uganda, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Scotland.

SFA Network

Whose Crisis?

Project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) – Whose crisis? The global COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of communities in Africa.

The overarching aim of the project, which runs for one year from September 2020, is to amplify the voices of under-represented and under-served communities in Africa to contribute to the understanding of Global Health in a pandemic context. It will be achieved through two main objectives:

  1. To document and communicate the plural and diverse lived experiences of, perspectives on, and responses to, COVID-19 in vulnerable communities in sub-Saharan Africa at a community and household level.
  2. To share perspectives and experiences in participatory and culturally responsive ways to mobilise Northern and Southern expertise, resources and engagement.

Kitchen Life Project

The Kitchen Life Project is an interdisciplinary research pilot on sustainable cooking as it relates to energy, air pollution, and nutrition in two regions in Africa and Asia. Taking the ‘kitchen’ as the unit of analysis, three interlinked aspects will be investigated: everyday cooking practices, cooking economy and cooking materials.  A cultural understanding of everyday kitchen life in Bangladesh and Malawi will contribute essential and often overlooked insights to the related fields of energy, sustainability, and health.