The Urban Action Innovations Lab (UAL); a knowledge-based approach for engaging with issues of sustainable urban development challenges


The Urban Action Lab is a pro-active learning environment engaging different individuals from academia, community, private sector and policy domains to stimulate and facilitate action. The UAL is also designed to enhance university education and research on urban challenges in the region. This Lab will be developed as a regional hub with Makerere University as the anchor institution expanding in the East African region. UAL is an opportunity to engage in sustainable urban development, climate change adaptation and urban planning issues faced by the city. The UAL is a space for learning-by-doing aimed at enhancing planning education critically required to meet the challenges. The National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda (NSDFU) is a key partner as a community-based organization that will offer entry of students and researchers to the communities.  Training and research is planned at graduate level to create a repository of research results accessible by interested people, institutions and communities of practice. UAL is envisaged to advance the urban ecological planning and development that takes a territorial approach to urban challenges. The UAL will provide a knowledge exchange platform between stakeholders on topical urban issues to identify solutions to urban problems but also research ideas and priorities. The knowledge exchange platform will be in form of a combination of appropriately targeted communication means that include periodic newsletters, leaflets, posters, periodic face-to-face meetings, online tools-an e-portal, phone messaging. Such a network is designed to be self propelling in terms of shared information, innovations, knowledge, good practices and opportunities. The UAL knowledge portal will be populated by research outputs from various units, actors that will also be widely accessible by stakeholders including central and local governments for evidence-informed policy. In addition to the communication channels mentioned, there will be periodic publications ranging from brochures, leaflets, policy briefs, media articles, videos to research papers for knowledge dissemination.




Learning Alliance of Policy Actions for Climate Change Adaptation (PACCA)

The Climate Change Hub joined other stakeholders in Uganda during a Learning Alliance workshop on Policy Actions for Climate Change Adaptation (PACCA). The two day meeting on 13-14 August 2015 at Esella Country Hotel, Kira was organized by The Ministry of Water and Environment Climate Change Department in partnership with Environmental Management for Livelihood Improvement Bwaise Facility (EMLI) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).  PACCA is a Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) initiative that aims to use interdisciplinary science based recommendations to influence policy implementation that encourages adoption of climate smart agricultural practices across multiple scales and actors. The workshop objective was threefold; • Raise awareness on climate change policy issues; • Share practices on engaging multi-stakeholders in natural resources management;

  • Share evidence on changing climate in Uganda. The Climate Change Coordinator presented a synthesis of the AR5, which touched on the rural-urban linkages and resilient food systems.


A news link for story and photo below


The Associate Professor, Shuaib Lwasa (left) of Makerere University addressing participants during the climate change meeting in Kampala. PHOTO: Francis Emorut



Climate Change Hub and Urban Action Lab hosts FORD Foundation team in Kampala

The climate change Hub hosted a team from FORD Foundation led by the Vice President Hilary Pennington of the foundation’s Education, Creativity and Free Expression program whom also oversees the foundation’s regional programming in Africa and the Middle East. The Foundation recently approved a grant to the Hub for a participatory research and capacity building project on “Augmenting innovative waste economies to enhance urban livelihoods and reduce emissions in informal settlements (AWELIS)” of Kampala for improved management of wastes by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). The project aims to; a) co-develop waste-energy business enterprises for scaling out and scaling up in the city that could benefit people in informal settlements, b) reduce community indirect costs associated with solid poor waste management practices and improve the neighborhood environment and c) reduce operation costs for in managing the waste sector as well as the landfill and reduce methane emissions by KCCA. The approach for implementation will involve deepened dialogue, solutions design, solutions validation and business promotion for scaling up in the city. On 9th August, the Hub coordinator led the FORD team to a field reconnaissance of the sites and partner communities where the community groups presented about the need to move from micro-enterprises to Small and Medium-scale enterprises of the waste-to-energy sector. see photos below.

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UNI Climate Change Hub at Makerere University and Development Planning Unit of University College London starts a study on resettlement and relocation in urban areas

The Climate Change Hub in the Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences in conjunction with the Development Planning Unit of the University College of London conducted a one day workshop on Climate-induced resettlement and relocation in cities in Kampala on 15th June 2015 followed by field work in the city and Mbale town. This was for site scoping for a one-year research project to be conducted in Uganda, Mexico, Columbia, Costa Rica and India funded by CDKN. The workshop was attended by professionals from Ministries, NGO’s, CBO’s, Academic and Slum Dwellers. The study will focus on cities and settlements where populations have been resettled or to be resettled as a pre-emptive or post-impact measure for avoiding climate risks. The research seeks to understand the social and economic implications of such resettlement policies, specifically in urban contexts. The study objectives are three fold; 1. understand the political, economic and institutional contexts in which resettlement takes place; 2. understand the cost benefit of resettlement both from the state’s perspective and from the individual’s perspective; and 3. understand how resettlement impacts people’s well-being and resilience over different time frames.


Team during fieldwork in Kampala at a site affected by flooding and forced evictions Credit CDKN_Kampala Team


Workshop at Africana Hotel Credit CDKN_Kampala Team

UNI Climate Change Hub Update

From Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th June 2015, members of the Climate Change Hub and students have been undergoing training on baseline data collection using mobile tablets and GPS for a study on Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED). Makerere University through the Climate Change Hub is a partner in this three-year initiative and the hub roles are to provide analyzed climate information, monitoring and evaluation as well as conducting investigative research on climate risk and disasters in the semi-arid region of Karamoja in North Eastern Uganda.  One of the research areas in which the Hub will be active is how secondary cities in the region can enhance resilience of households and communities through innovative strategies including creating market access, information access, feasible livelihoods and connectivity in region for marketing livestock and animal products.  In many regions of Africa, the connection between urban and rural areas is now recognized as both a challenge but also opportunity to transition to sustainability and secondary cities cannot be counted out.

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Training at Mercy Corps by TANGO Kampala office Shuaib Lwasa

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