USAID/Uganda Education And Research To Improve Climate Change Adaptation Activity
The USAID/Uganda Education and Research to Improve Climate Change Adaptation Activity (the Activity) concluded implementation in April 2018. The Activity stated goal was to support the 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. Accordingly, the Activity strategically deployed human, financial and technology resources focused on building Ugandan capacity and proficiency to address climate adaptation, particularly in the academic and agricultural sectors, and related issues. More specifically, the Activity mobilized leading academics, students, scientists, and researchers to work side-by-side and in partnership with Ugandan colleagues to build upon the foundational and on-going efforts made by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and others in developing and establishing MUCCRI. In so doing, MUCCRI now stands on the cusp of becoming a fully functional, operational, and sustainable centre within MAK/CAES. The Centre continues to assemble the requisite staff, capacity, and build strong partnerships hence becoming a sought-after location to focus and support climate and climate adaptation education and research for the benefit of the university and Uganda.
The work carried out through ERICCA was done under four result areas. Activities under each area were complementary and built off interventions and goals of the others to support the ultimate goal of MUCCRI becoming a recognized national, and regional actor in the field of climate change adaptation. The four result areas were:
The team helped MUCCRI with the preparation of documents and presentations to the University senate supporting formal establishment and recognition of the Centre. Further, working with key MUCCRI faculty and staff, the Activity sought to raise the profile of MUCCRI nationally, regionally, and internationally.
To support MUCCRI’s establishment, ERICCA coordinated the Activity’s work plan with the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) strategic plan. Further, working with MUCCRI, the Activity waged an informational campaign to increase knowledge and understanding about the science, potential impacts, and responses from/to climate change and climate adaptation through a variety of methods.
While there were many small and large events and successes over the course of the last five years, a particularly significant step in building recognition of MUCCRI was the Centre’s and the GoU’s hosting of the 11th international conference on Community-based Adaptation (CBA-11) in 2017. During Year Four was the launch of the MUCCRI and ICCCAD initiative on Least Developing Countries (LDC) Universities Consortium for Climate Change (LUCCC) MUCCRI. The Activity also organized and participated in the Africa Learning Forum on Adaptation (ALFA) in Senegal; co-organized the AARSE 2016 Conference.
Result 2a: ERICCA’s work in Result 2 spanned a range of activities from enhancing undergraduate and graduate course offerings to delivering youth-focused climate change Boot Camps, establishment of a Climate Champions Network (CCN) and the development and implementation of a series of MUCCRI-led short course. These activities provided learning and training opportunities to Makerere University stakeholders as well as external audiences.
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.