One World University & its Climate Change Research Centre
For a country like Mozambique, small-scale farmers play a key role in achieving the sustainable development goals. Although cities are growing at an unprecedented rate, rural communities are central to securing sustainable and nutritious food for themselves and also the rest of the population.
According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, agricultural growth in low-income and agrarian areas is at least twice as effective in reducing hunger and poverty as growth in other sectors. Sustainable growth of agriculture also presents a huge opportunity for Mozambique to reduce its dependence on imports from other countries.
With this in mind, One World University (OWU) is collaborating with the Technical University of Lisbon in Portugal and Stellenbosch University from South Africa, with financial support from the European Union (EU).The project is part of the wider EDULINK Programme, an EU initiative to improve cooperation between institutes of higher education in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and their counterparts in Europe. One of the project’s main activities in 2015 was the development of a Climate Change Resource Centre on the OWU campus, which is acting as a reference point for training and researching about sustainable development and agricultural practices in the local context.
The Centre provides technical support and training to students in the Licentiate of Community Development degree, as well as carries out research and promotes renewable and sustainable technologies that are specifically adapted to local communities. As part of their degree, students plan, implement and evaluate small-scale development initiatives in local communities. In 2016, the project focused on introducing and strengthening the use of evidence-based studies to optimize the efficacy, efficiency and sustainability of these initiatives in 5 local Farmers Clubs. The program has played a key role in improving access to water in these Farmers Clubs, as well as the inauguration of 12 “solar stations” with the support of the Korean International Cooperation Agency, which are run by community members and rent out solar lamps at an affordable price.
Furthermore, students support feasibility studies for relevant initiatives, such as agricultural projects, actions in the area of renewable energies, energy and food security, introduction of pedestrian water pumps; installation of low-cost irrigation systems; introduction of fuel-efficient stoves, installation of seed shops and promotion of tree planting actions.
One major highlight in 2016 was conference hosted by OWE, entitled "Building the Resilience of Local Communities against the Adversities of Climate Change: Models and Lessons, the Changalane Specific Case."
The conference was the culmination of 3 years of implementation of the "Cooperation project between higher education institutions for the promotion of rural development in Mozambique" funded by the EDULINK program, where the main objectives were oriented towards mitigating the impact of climate change on rural development, promoting food security and sustainable agriculture, promoting the use of clean / renewable energy, and the challenge of technology transfer and capacity building Of research and higher education institutions in promoting sustainable rural development.
The invited institutions actively shared their experiences and lessons learned, and participated actively in the debates and the elaboration of an action plan aiming to raise the local capacity of resilience to the climate-related challenges. The Conference also served to explore opportunities for collaboration and partnerships to continuously support the people of Changalane and other regions.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Government at national, provincial and local levels, national and international research and educational institutions, humanitarian / development organizations, representatives of local communities, students and teachers at ISET.