A team of researchers from Makerere University led by Dr. Aisha Nanyiti and Dr. Fred Matovu have won two of the Environment for Development Initiative (EfD ) 2021 Grants worth USD 144,918 funded by Sida.
The two collaborative projects involving Makerere University, the University of Dar es Salaam Tanzania and Total Uganda were officially launched by the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali on behalf of university management on 18th August, 2021.
The blended function was held phyisically and online at the EfD-Mak Conference room in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF2) and graced by partners from EfD Tanzania, and Dr. Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah the EfD Research Manager, responsible for administrating the EfD research fund at the EfD Global Hub in Sweden.
The USD 55,747 project titled, “A Randomized Control Trial (RCT) on the Adoption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Cooking Technology among Fast Food (Chapati) Vendors in Uganda”, is being spearheaded by Dr. Aisha Nanyiti as the Principal Investigator (PI) assisted by three Co-PIs Dr. Fred Matovu, Dr. Suzan Kavuma and Mr. Richard Ssebagala.
Dr. Nanyiti said, whereas Biomass is predominantly the energy used for cooking by households and food vendors in Africa, the technologies burden women and pose negative health and economic effects.
The PI reported that these technologies lead to deforestation which poses a risk to the environment and contributes to climate change.
She observed that there are cleaner technologies like LPG available on market but the question is adoption.
“The main objective of this study is to assess the effect of hire purchase schemes and health and safety information on adoption of LPG. Specifically, this study seeks to examine the impact of information on health and safety benefits,Hire purchase, Learning from LPG use in grace period before purchase amortization, and Peer learning on adoption of LPG stoves by chapati vendors for their businesses”, Dr. Aisha Nanyiti stated.
To achieve the objective Dr. Nanyiti said the study will employ a RCT in Kampala, three treatment arms (Treatment A- information only, Treatment B-information + hire purchase and Treatment C-information + grace period learning+ hire-purchase) and also carry out Surveys (Baseline., Endline, Follow-up surveys and Peer learning interviews)
The second project worth USD 89,171 titled, “Gender differences in COVID-19 effects on food security and adaptive strategies among the urban poor: Experiences from Uganda and Tanzania”, is being led by Dr. Fred Matovu assisted by Mr. Fred Kasalirwe, Dr.Razack Lokina and Byela Tibesigwa
“The aim of the study is to understand the impacts of the pandemic on the food situation of the households under different COVID-19-related movement restrictions, the coping strategies and the gender dimension” the PI said
Dr. Matovu said the study seeks to understand the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on food security among the urban poor and how this vary across gender.\
The study will also explore the effect of COVID-19 disruptions on food affordability and consumption among urban poor and their gender dimension and how the urban poor cope with the effects of food security shocks during COVID-19 pandemic across gender.
The study methodology according to Dr. Matovu will involve the use of both primary and existing national household surveys, collection of primary data on a sample of households in Kampala and Dar es Salaam to establish the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown measures on the food security and the coping measures adopted and how these varies by gender.
Dr. Matovu also explained that to analyse the effects of COVID-19 on food security, they will estimate the extent to which the COVID-19 crisis has affected the food security using dummies capturing the varying degrees of income loss due to the pandemic
Launching the two projects, the Principal CoBAMS Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali congratulated the grantees for making Makerere University proud by winning the highly competitive studies.
“It is a clearly deserved win, the effort you put in has been rewarded and it is our sincere hope that you will continue putting in the effort you have put in up to the very end and you should not relax at this stage.
The Director EfD-Mak centre and the team at the secretariat, we want to say thank you. We see the results of your efforts. I have been part of these activities and it has been one of those centre where we can see clear results”, the Principal commended.
Dr. Hisali hailed the grantees for initiating the collaborative studies appealing to the collaborating institutions that this should the starting point of engaging in bigger collaborations.
He said the two studies have clear huge potential for policy whether looking at coping with effects of COVID-19 and hazardous effects of the current used energy imploring grantees to bring on board policy makers as quickly as possible to have their insights so as to quicken the uptake.
“Here we are in the middle of two things. We want to come up with very good research results used with rigorous techniques but we also want to use research in in a way that will keep policy makers on board , to appreciate what is taking place and they have a full believe that these are results that they can rely on to implement policy,” Dr. Hisali said.
Dr. Hisali also expressed the need for staff and graduate students to be brought on board to learn the new techniques and tools being used in these studies. He expressed commitment to provide administrative support that the center and researchers would require.
The Director EfD-Mak Centre Prof. Edward Bbaale welcomed participants to the launch saying, the two projects are funded by the Sida at the EfD Global Hub in Sweden .
Prof. Bbaale said the center had already received the funding for the two projects and congratulated the two PIs and their teams for emerging as winners of the EfD grants of the year 2021.
“I want to thank the EfD Secretariat for considering to fund this policy oriented research projects. The PIs went through a competitive process starting with developing concept notes which we discussed locally here at the EfD-Mak centre and also at the EfD Tanzania and then sent to EfD Secretariat for consideration and the two grantees were invited to develop full proposals”, Prof. Bbaale explained.
Prof. Bbaale said Dr. Aisha Nanyiti’s project will take one year and that of Dr. Fred Matovu is unique in the sense that it is a collaboration between EfD-Mak center and EfD Tanzania.
“EfD encourages collaborative research between centers and also between the South and the North. EfD-Mak is leading the project and it will require a transfer of part of the resources from Makerere University to the University of Dares salaam,” Prof. Bbaale said.
Research Manager EfD secretariat Dr. Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah congratulated the fund recipients for being successful. He explained that the fund acquisition process undergoes three processes involving concept note,full proposal writing and presentation. He encouraged centers to link up to have additional funds.
He said the EfD has a Swedish grant for applied research capacity for sub-Saharan Africa where the fund is allocated to all centers in Africa to encourage them do research relating to a particular country.
The other fund he said is for other countries and open to other centers together with those in Africa and the idea is to encourage collaboration across countries.
In addition he said, there is a collaborative research program fund covering different aspects including energy, gender, carbon emissions among others to encourage collaboration across countries.
He said the global hub released money for this financial year late due to the closure of the five year term for the EfD and drafting of new programs that involved so many bureaucracies.
“Because of the delay, the projects which are supposed to end this year 2021 will be extended to next year .
To enable unsuccessful applicants a chance to get funding and to make centers more vibrant, Dr. Amuakwa-Mensah reported that some centers have devised a strategy of encouraging only successful winners to apply for funds with previous successful grantees participating as a team .
He encourage centers to have research committees that can scrutinize and select the best proposals for submissions for funding.