Research projects 118

MAKUTANO - means "gathering" in Swahili. The MAKUTANO research project aims to develop appropriate and new methodological and theoretical approaches for environmental collaboration and conflict resolution to be used in Tanzania and elsewhere. The action research approach will be used to find out if urban forest owners influence forest governance, and induce local conflicts over resource utilization. The project provides skills on environmental collaboration and conflict resolution to a group of small- and medium-scale forest owners and local community members in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, and traces how these skills are transformed and used in the future actions of these forest owners and the surrounding communities. The project is funded by the Develop Academy Programme (2019-2022), which is a programme jointly prepared by the Academy of Finland and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. In many developing countries, there has been a transfer of public and open access land to private use. In the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, the promotion of small-scale private plantation forestry has attracted domestic investors to capture this new resource frontier to meet the increasing demand for timber. This has further increased land value and consequently also land related disputes. The main objective of MAKUTANO research project is to study skills on environmental collaboration and conflict resolution methods among a group of forest owners and local community members in Southern Highlands, and to trace how these skills are transformed and used in the future actions of these forest owners and the surrounding communities. The research idea has emerged from Tanzanian small scale forest owners. The project outcomes may influence Tanzanian-Finnish collaboration by promoting social safeguards to mitigate unexpected impacts of plantation forestry. The research collaboration involves international partners from Tanzania, Kenya, Mexico and Denmark.

The research examines how Finnish HEIs engage with other higher education institutions, communities, civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), enterprises and governments to influence, integrate and/or address the needs for development in various food value-chains and their eco-systems, and further in food and nutrition security and education policy dialogue, especially in the context of the Global South.

This was an education workshop bringing women from all the SADC countries together to innovate food products from indigenous foods. Some of the food innovations were then piloted further and scaled.

  • Head of research Professor Sari Havu-Nuutinen
  • Language n/a

This was an education programme where we trained Namibian students to master-level in primary education.

  • Head of research Eva Kagiri-Kalanzi
  • Language n/a

The study on science, technology and innovation (STI) collaboration between Finland and Africa was compiled with three aims: (i)To explore the different strategies that exist in the Finnish-African STI landscape (ii)To review the current context and landscape of Finnish-Africa STI cooperation (iii) To explore if the drive for private sector engagement has affected Finnish-African STI collaboration. The study was implemented under the “Developing Finnish Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation between Europe, Africa, Asia and the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Region” (FinCEAL) initiative coordinated by the University Partnership for Development (UniPID).

The study aimed at describing the South African education landscape, identifying education needs and priorities in different sectors and in two regions: Gauteng and Western Cape. The study also identified opportunities for collaboration in the public and private sector and matching them to Finnish stakeholder interests. Finally the study also highlighted key operation and funding models that can be utilised by South African and Finnish stakeholders in the education sector.

This study focuses on how to teach basics of machine learning (ML) in K-12 settings. Since ML can be considered as a vital part of future computational skills, it is justified to be included as part of the computational thinking teaching agenda in K-12 level. The outcome of the study will help to understand the existing system in teaching ML and its algorithm, identify strategies and pedagogical frameworks for teaching ML in K-12 education. The research outcome will further motivate young learners to learn and practice machine learning algorithm and as well encourage/build teachers’ capacity in teaching ML.

  • Head of research Gutu Olana Wayessa
  • Language n/a

Large-scale land deals are among the most challenging development issues of today. They have attracted considerable attention for various reasons, including their implications for environmental justice and changes in local livelihoods. This phenomenon, also known as "land grabbing," is a significant driver of environmental change globally and, locally, it prompts a substantial reconfiguration of access to land and land-based social relations. While proponents frame the phenomena as a development opportunity, encompassing improvement in the livelihoods of local people, opponents counter-frame it as an impoverishing scheme. In Ethiopia, which is a primary target for large-scale land acquisitions, land is a major resource for state control and foreign direct investment. As the foundation of their livelihoods and anchor of their identity, it is simultaneously a vital resource for the local people. Many studies have indicated the adverse consequences of large-scale land transfers in terms of both procedural imperatives and outcome indicators. However, there is limited research that compares its processes and outcomes among countries characterized by different political histories, land policies, and state-society relations. In order to address this knowledge gap, this study attempts to answer questions of procedural justice (process) and distributive justice (outcome). Procedural justice is operationalized through the concepts of recognition, representation, and participation, whereas distributive justice relates to the (re)distribution of environmental benefits and burdens among stakeholders. The study applies a political-ecological approach as the overarching theoretical framework, complemented by analytical insights derived from recent advances in environmental justice conceptualizations. Methodologically, it will adopt a mixed-methods approach, involving the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection and analysis. Based on empirical evidence and contextualizing the local livelihood dynamics within broader structural and political-economic conditions, this study contributes to the ongoing debate on livelihood impacts and environmental justice implications of transnational land acquisitions.

Forests play a fundamental part in the well-being of humankind, and restoration of forests has now emerged as a global priority. Yet, it is still poorly understood how efficiently forest restoration can bring back the complexity of functioning ecosystems, such as the crucial networks of species interactions. In this project, we study the assembly of food webs during tropical forest restoration in Kibale National Park, Uganda.

This project aims at rethinking ways of reading and writing change in African gender history. Looking at oral historical narratives and the transgenerational communication of historical knowledge among the Yaawo-speaking people in northern Mozambique, it brings the study of gender in African deeper pasts in dialogue with a cultural analysis of the contemporary historical moment. My starting argument is that our understanding of the contemporary historical moment in African gender history is strongly framed by the gender and development models of the social sciences which emphasize women’s struggle for gender equality in relation to men. This understanding influences the way in which we approach the past and write our research narratives. Through this history writing, women’s historical experiences become fixed within teleological narratives of ‘liberation’ (/‘oppression’). The past is distanced from the present along a linear path, and what is termed the ‘precolonial past’ is isolated as a separate unit of study. In my research, I seek to challenge this temporal model and explore new ways to read and write gendered histories that more fully capture the multiplicity of the gendered temporalities that constitute African existence. Overall, my study has a two-fold objective: Firstly, on the basis of the Yaawo oral historical narratives, it aims to contribute to our understanding of female political and spiritual power in Africa’s precolonial past and the historical processes of change in the colonial and postcolonial contexts. Secondly, I will study how these deeper histories also echo and are reworked in the present and thus constitute the contemporary historical experience in interaction with, for instance, more recent socialist ideas of women’s emancipation and the current development discourse on gender equality. Overall, my research proposes to open new routes in the theoretical thinking as well as the methodologies of African gender history.