USAID/Uganda Education And Research To Improve Climate Change Adaptation Activity
Since inception, the USAID/Uganda Education and Research to Improve Climate Change Adaptation Activity (the Activity), has focused on the overarching goal to support establishment of the Makerere University (MAK) Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI) as a recognized national and regional hub of academic, professional development, and research excellence in climate science, climate adaptation, and related disciplines.
To achieve this goal, the Activity strategically deploys human, financial and technology resources with the target continually on building Ugandan capacity and proficiency to address climate adaptation and related issues. More specifically, the Activity mobilizes leading academics, students, scientists, and researchers to work side-by-side and in partnership with Ugandan colleagues to build upon the foundational and current efforts made by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and others in developing and establishing MUCCRI. In so doing, MUCCRI has progressively evolved towards becoming a fully functional, operational, and sustainable center within MAK/CAES. Consequently, the Centre will soon have the requisite staff, know how, capacity, and resources, hence becoming a sought-after location to focus and support climate and climate adaptation education and research for the benefit of the university, the Nation and the region in general.
USAID/Uganda Education and Research to Improve Climate Change Adaptation Activity works on the following result areas:
The first step in this result area is to support the official establishment of MUCCRI at MAK. To support MUCCRI’s establishment, this Activity is undertaking several actions. It is syncing the Activity work plan with the CAES strategic plan. An informational campaign is underway to increase knowledge and understanding about the science, potential impacts, and responses from/to climate change and climate adaptation through a variety of methods. The methods include: formal and informal presentations at college/school/departmental meetings, in classrooms, and seminars. Postings on websites, announcements on campus media, and the addition of modules on climate change to established courses. The Activity has continued to work to reach both the campus community and external stakeholders-through traditional media outlets. Development of a Knowledge Management System (KMS) that is intended to act as a linkage between and among students, staff, and other interested parties to share information on climate change adaptation work throughout the region is nearly complete. Once MUCCRI is approved as a University-wide Centre, the Activity will provide timely support for the establishment and function of both the MUCCRI Steering and Science Committees. Official approval of these committees will become the backbone of the MUCCRI institutional structure that will allow future development and the building of a resilient and long lasting Centre.
Result 2a: Undergraduate and graduate coursework on climate change improved: The Activity supports the establishment of a suite of formal academic offerings for undergraduates through post-graduate students. Those offerings include: a college-wide undergraduate climate change course; specialized graduate-level trainings based on the latest research findings and innovations gleaned from around the world and adapted to the Ugandan context; and a new Master of Science (MSc) program on climate change science. The effort also includes: collaborative teaching and learning arrangements with other parts of the university -notably with the School of Women and Gender Studies, Department of Journalism and Communication, School of Education, and School of Social Sciences. In addition, there are non-degree related activities such as: the establishment of an e-learning platform and networking hub with access to numerous identified online programs and an informal lecture series to introduce climate change issues to the broader university.
Result 2b: Short term training to external stakeholders provided: Over the life-of-the Activity (LOA), an array of short term training options and vehicles to increase climate change and adaptation knowledge for key stakeholder groups are being developed. These groups are external, but linked to the university, and include select public sector institutions, civil society groups, and the private sector. Where appropriate, trainings have been jointly designed and led by MUCCRI and/or Activity staff and other partners in conjunction with academic staff and students from CAES and other MAK schools and departments as a way to create a “climate smart” institution. Training types have included: in-service training modules, webinars, policy briefs, informational packets, and presentations for various key stakeholders.
The Activity has strengthened the relationship between CAES, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and are conducting joint research and field trials that reflect the actual demands and needs of Ugandan smallholder famers. The students chosen to conduct the research and field trials are jointly managed and jointly financially supported. In addition, the Activity introduced the aWhere Location Intelligence Platform (LIP), recently renamed the aWhere Weather Terrain Database. This new platform enables integration of complex environmental, agricultural, and public health data into local, actionable insight. aWhere has provided technical inputs, staff, and tailored support to the Activity and linked to joint MUCCRI-NARO research and field trials. The aWhere platform has also provided actionable information and weather data to support agricultural and climate research, as well as serve as an instructional and learning tool for students.
The Activity is playing a facilitative role fostering collaboration with other institutions, such as the GoU Climate Change Department, local governments, and others to translate student research findings into simple, understandable, cost-effective and accurate guidance. Guidance resulting from Activity supported research and other relevant information and research results is being disseminated through appropriate channels to reach farmers and farmer organizations. Dissemination channels include: through the system of extension services at the district and sub-county levels, popular radio programs listened to by farmers, use and application of Information Communication Technologies (ICT), and through community agents (trusted community individuals). Other planned and ongoing dissemination efforts include regular editorials and articles on adaptation, student research findings, and resilience issues in key Ugandan newspapers and other media outlets.
Government of Uganda, Makerere University, Feed the Future Activities, National Agriculture Research Organisations, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, International Institute for Environment and Development, International Center for Climate Change and Development.