Periperi U Staff and Students Advancing Risk Research and Resilience

Periperi U research represents a central theme for the entire partnership. The first quarter of 2017 has seen the initiation of many faculty-led risk research projects by most of the Partners. Bahir Dar University (BDU) in Ethiopia initiated two faculty-led food security-related research projects investigating Climate induced vulnerability to food insecurity in pastoral areas of Ethiopia as well as the Impact of food security programs on households' economic capital. Similarly, UniversidadeTécnica de Moçambique (UDM) in Moçambique has established four research projects for 2017, specifically focused on; Food security information systems, Droughts and floods, Coping mechanisms under climate change conditions’ and Energy poverty among communities across the country.

Ardhi University staff and students in Tanzania are currently researching integrating settlement improvement and community coping strategies for flood risks in informal settlements within the settlement of Kigogo in Kinondoni municipality, and an assessment of potential occurrence of disasters as a result of the mis-management of waste water from hospitals in Dar es Salaam.

Gaston Berger University (GBU) also reported preparatory steps for a country-wide research initiative, The Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM). The project is being undertaken by the Senegalese Ministry of Agriculture and other Senegalese universities. The collaborative training programme will start in July and include short course development, with the resulting courses open to farmers. To better inform course development and to provide a baseline for future research, GBU will conduct a comprehensive survey on current issues of food insecurity, vulnerability and resilience capacity throughout Senegal’s agricultural regions.

Since early 2017 Stellenbosch University in South Africa has been involved in the Smoke Alarm Project launched last year by a private insurance company and the Western Cape Government. This project will inform the possible scaling-up of smoke alarms to households living in informal settlements in an attempt to reduce fire events and the resulting injuries and deaths. During this quarter, 1 200 households (approximately 5 000 people) were surveyed in Wallacedene TRA - in parallel with household installation of smoke alarm detectors.

Periperi U partners are also increasingly engaged in ex ante and ex post assessments in areas that repeatedly experience disaster losses. For instance, the inundation Early Warning System (known as ‘SAP/C’) developed by the partners from the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar during the USIAD-funded IARIVO Project, was used by national authorities to better cope with flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Enawo that hit not only Antananarivo flood-prone areas but also other provinces which were significantly affected.

Tackling risk research projects have not been confined to only staff among the partners but has also reflected in a vibrant post-graduate student research portfolio. During the first quarter of 2017 approximately 100 students were engaged in post-graduate disaster risk-related research. With wide-ranging topics including food security, climate change adaptation, urban vulnerability and seismic risk, these research efforts provide nuanced insights into changing risk dynamics – especially at sub-national level.

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