Our Team

Ailsa Holloway (PhD)

- Director, Lecturer & Researcher

Dr Ailsa Holloway is the founder of RADAR (originally called DiMP) and has been its director and driving force behind the institution for the past 20 years.

Ailsa has had the privilege of a rich and varied experience in the fields of health, humanitarian assistance and higher education. This reflects more than 30 years of multi- partner programme management in Asia, Middle East and Africa, including 20 years focused on establishing formal and non-formal capacity development programs in disaster risk reduction and emergency management in Africa.

In New Zealand, her health-related work involved working in Thames and Palmerston North Hospitals, as well as in public health, South Auckland. A long-standing interest of working in developing countries led her to Thailand in the 1980s, where she worked in public health in Khao I Dang refugee camp near the Cambodian border, and then as public health/nutrition advisor with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bangkok. Further public health/nutrition assignments took her to Bataan refugee transit centre (Philippines) and Geneva to carry out specialist consultancies for UNHCR and the World Health Organisation (WHO). These were followed in the late 1980s by public health assignments for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sudan and Namibia.

Ailsa’s involvement in international humanitarian assistance included a UNHCR assignment in 1991 to Sulaimaniya on Iraq’s north-eastern border with Iran. A year later, she relocated to Harare (Zimbabwe) to work as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ regional disaster preparedness delegate for southern Africa.

In 1996, Ailsa moved to Cape Town, where she established a university-based research and capacity-building unit, the Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme (DiMP), to introduce disaster risk scholarship and then advance continental disaster risk management capacity building efforts. From 2013, DiMP transitioned to become RADAR (the Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction), providing secretariat support for an eleven-university consortium from ‘Algiers to Antananarivo’ called ‘Periperi U’ that offers a suite of academic and applied courses to address African disasters and risks. She was also centrally involved in the reform of South Africa’s disaster management legislation, and has co-authored several books on disaster risk reduction, including Reducing risk: Participatory learning activities in disaster mitigation in Southern Africa; Living with drought: Drought mitigation for sustainable livelihoods, Learning about Livelihoods: insights from southern Africa and ‘RADAR: Risk and Development Annual Review’.

Contact Details

  • Tel: 021 808 9492
  • E-mail: ailsaholloway@sun.ac.za
  • Office: Room 0021, AI Perold Building, Stellenbosch University


  • DrPH (Public Health), University of California, Los Angeles, 1991, USA
  • MA (Cross-Cultural Nursing & Anthropology), University of Washington, Seattle, USA
  • BA Social Science (Sociology and Advanced Nursing Studies), Massey University,
  • Palmerston North, NZ

Publications, Articles and Research

Chasi, V., Holloway, A. & Orach, C. 2014. Health sector shortcomings associated with measles outbreaks in Cape Town, South Africa. Planet@Risk. Vol 2. (4): 228-240.

Cutter, S.L., Ismail-Zadeh, A., Alcántara-Ayala, I.,Altan, O., Baker, D.N., Briceño, S., Gupta, H., Holloway, A., Johnston, D., McBean, G., Ogawa, Y., Paton, D., Porio, E., Silbereisen, R.K., Takeuchi, K., Valsecchi, G.B., Vogel, C. and Wu, G. 2015. Global risks: Pool knowledge to stem losses from disasters. Nature. Vol 522 (7556): 277-279.

Hemstock, S.L., Buliruarua, L-A., Chan, E,YY., Chan, G., Jacot Des Combes, H., Davey, P., Farrell, P., Griffiths, S., Hansen, H., Hatch, T. Holloway, A., Manuella-Morris, T., Martin, T., Renaud, F.G., Ronan, K., Ryan, B., Szarzynski, J., Shaw, D., Yasukawa, S., Yeung T. & Murray, V. 2016. Accredited qualifications for capacity development in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies. Vol 20 (1):15-33.

Holloway, A. 2009. ‘Environmental and Geographical Science Sans Frontières: Unfolding disaster risk science in the Western Cape’ Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement. Vol. 2, 98-118.

Holloway, A. 2003. ‘Disaster Risk Reduction in southern Africa: hot rhetoric, cold reality, African Security Review, Vol 12, No.1.

Holloway, A. 2000. ‘Drought Emergency, Yes … Drought Disaster, No: Southern Africa 1991-93’, in Kelman, I. and T. Koukis (eds). 2000. 'Disaster Diplomacy', special section in Cambridge Review of International Affairs (edited by Charlotte Lindberg Clausen). Vol. XIV (1): 214-294. 


Holloway, A., Fortune, G. with Chasi, V. 2010. RADAR Western Cape. Risk and Development Annual Review, Periperi Publications Cape Town.

Holloway, A. with Roomaney, R. 2008. Weathering the storm: participatory risk assessment in informal settlements, Periperi Publications, Cape Town.

De Satgé, R., Holloway, A., Mullins, D., Nchabaleng, L. and Ward, P. 2002. Learning about Livelihoods: Insights from southern Africa, Oxfam GB and Periperi Publications, Cape Town.

Von Kotze, A. and Holloway, A. 1999. Living with Drought: Drought mitigation for sustainable livelihoods, David Philip Publishers, Cape Town and Intermediate Technology Publications, London.

Von Kotze, A. and Holloway, A. 1996. Reducing Risk: participatory learning activities for disaster mitigation in southern Africa. International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Department of Adult and Community Education, University of Natal.

Book Chapters

Holloway, A. 2012. ‘Disaster Risk in Africa: Dynamic discourse of dysfunctional dialogue?’, in Risk and Africa. Bloemertz, L., Doevenspeck, M., Macamo, E. & Muller-Mahn (eds.). Lit Verlag Zurich, Berlin.

Holloway, A. 2006. ‘Disaster Mitigation’, in The Elgar Companion to Development Studies, Clark, D.A. (ed), Edward Elgar Publishing. 130-135.

Holloway, A. 2005. Disaster risk science in southern Africa: taking it into the academic mainstream. In Know Risk. United Nations Inter-agency secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Tudor Rose. Geneva, Switzerland. 113-114.

Randrianalijaona, M.T. & Holloway, A.J. 2014. Advancing disaster risk governance in Madagascar: The role of higher education institutions In Extreme Natural Hazards, Disaster Risks and Societal Implications. (Eds) Alik Ismail-Zadeh, A., Urrutia Fucugauchi, J., Kijko, A., Takeuchi, K. & Zaliapin, I. Cambridge University Press.

Wisner, B., Pelling, M., Mascarenhas, A., Holloway, A., Ndong, B., Faye, P., Ribot J. & Simon, D. Small cities and towns in Africa: The challenge and opportunity of climate change. 2015. In Urban Vulnerability and Climate Change in Africa. (Eds) Pauleit, S., Jorgensen, G.,Kabisch, S., Gasparini, P., Fohlmeister, S., Simonis, I.,Yeshitela, K., Coly, A.,Lindley, S., Kombe, W.J. Springer International Publishing Switzerland.


Holloway, A. 2014. Strategic mobilisation of higher education institutions in disaster risk reduction capacity building: experience of Periperi U. Input paper prepared for the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015.

Holloway A., Chasi V., de Waal J., Drimie S., Fortune G., Mafuleka G., Morojele M., Penicela Nhambiu B., Randrianalijaona M., Vogel C. & Zweig P. 2013. Humanitarian Trends in Southern Africa: Challenges and Opportunities. For the Regional Interagency Standing Committee.

Holloway, A., Fortune, G., Zweig, P., Barrett, L., Benjamin, A., Chasi, V. & de Waal, J. 2012. Eden and Central Karoo Drought Disaster 2009 - 2011; “The Scramble for Water.” For the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, Western Cape.

Pharoah, R., Holloway, A., Fortune, G, Chapman, A., Schaber, E. and Zweig, P. 2016. OFF the RADAR: Summary Report. Severe weather events 2011-2014 and their impacts in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. For the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, Western Cape by Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Stellenbosch.

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