Research projects 112

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.

Team

Prof. Markku Tukiainen, Dr. Jarkko Suhonen, Dr. Solomon Oyelere, Dr. Henriikka Vartiainen

  • 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.

Team

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.

Team

Sille Holm Geoffrey M. Malinga

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.

Team

  • Head of research Anu Kantele
  • Language n/a

Antibiotics have made it possible for people to live longer, healthier lives. Antimicrobial resistance, however, is an increasing problem, especially in low-resource settings. This project will employ a range of methods from microbiology, clinical medicine and sociology to produce new knowledge about how AMR genes spread especially in poor West African regions, in areas where local capacity to address AMR is lagging behind, and identify ways to curb the spread of AMR. This knowledge can be utilized in national and international health policy and medical research.

Team

Isidore Bonkoungou, Victorien Dougnon, Kaisa Haukka, Bourema Kouriba, Salla Sariola, Marko Virta

This research focuses on designing a smart learning environment (SLE) using virtual reality mini games to support students' computational thinking skills. Aside from enhancing the teaching and learning of CT, this research aims to support first-year students and novices of computer science with the opportunity to gain CT skills through an experiential learning approach. The goal of the research is to design and develop VR mini games through a rigorous process of the design science research methodology in order to provide artefact that allows students to learn CT concepts such as algorithmic thinking, recursive thinking, pattern recognition, and abstraction of problems. This research will measure students' learning achievement and cognitive benefits through a field experiment with first-year university students in Nigeria and Finland. Currently, we have developed a VR mini games application in the VR EdTech Lab located at the School of Computing, University of Eastern Finland. The mini games were co-designed with students from within Finland and abroad in order to achieve a student-centered learning environment. The research has produced over seven research papers published in ranked journals and conferences as shown in the link (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=mSqmwdgAAAAJ&hl=en). The research is being supervised by professors from the School of Computing, University of Finland, and Luleå University of Technology (LTU) Sweden. The professors are specialists in VR technology, educational games, and ICT4D.

Team

Professor Markku Tukiainen, Dr. Jarkko Suhonen, Dr. Solomon Oyelere, MSc. Friday Joseph Agbo

  • Head of research Matti Heiliö
  • Language n/a

The purpose of this Project was to strengthen HEIs in East-Africa as developmentally responsive institutions by enhancing curriculum development, pedagogical approach and capacity of staff in the area of mathematics education and teacher preparation. The invigoration and modernisation of teacher training and the upgrading of curricula was meant to increase the level and enrollment of mathematics education, give a push forward to the education of mathematics teachers and support the universities' ability to embark on development projects with the surrounding society, industry and public governance.

Team

Matti Heiliö, Matylda Jablonska-Sabuka, Tuomo Kauranne, Heikki Haario, Miika Tolonen

  • Head of research Hannu Korhonen, Martti Esala, Mila Sell
  • Language n/a

FoodAfrica is a research and development Programme enhancing food security in West and East Africa. The objective of the Programme is to provide new knowledge and tools for researchers, decision makers and local farmers to improve local food security. The FoodAfrica Programme is implemented in six countries: Benin, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda. The programme focuses on the following topics: Strengthening capacity for diagnosis and management of soil micronutrient deficiencies in Sub Saharan Africa for improved plant, animal and human nutrition (WP1, more than 20 African countries involved). Dairy cattle breeding in West Africa: identifying and promoting appropriate breeds and breed combinations or genotypes for smallholder farmers (WP2, Senegal). Economic analysis of technologies and targeted policies to reduce vulnerability and building resilience (WP3, Senegal). Enhancing food and nutrition security of vulnerable groups in communities through increased use of local agricultural biodiversity (WP4, Benin) Measuring and mitigating the risk of mycotoxins for poor milk and maize producers and consumers (WP5, Kenya). Improving market access and food security in Africa with information and communication technology (WP6, Ghana & Uganda) Innovative extension approaches for improving food security and livelihoods (WP7, Cameroon & Kenya).

Team

Hannu Korhonen, Martti Esala, Mila Sell, Jarkko Niemi, Susanna Rokka, Niina Pitkänen, Anna-Riitta Lund, Mikko Salmi, Keith Shepherd, Miika Tapio, Karen Marshall, Siwa Msangi, Marja Mutanen, Delia Grace, Erastus Kang´ethe, Nick Minot, Eija Laitinen, Steven Franzel, Celine Termote, Vivian Hoffmann, Johanna Lindahl, Vesa Joutsjoki

The article-based PhD thesis builds on five published articles. It explores how international human rights law regulates the prevention of honour-related violence (also called honour-based violence). The thesis analyses the obligation of the State to not only punish this form of violence but also to undertake other preventive measures. The legal discussion of honour-related violence has so far largely focused on criminalisation. This research brings to the fore the questions of whether States also should try to abolish the underlying causes of honour-related violence, above all strict gender roles and negative gender stereotypes that regard men as superior to women.

Team

LEAP4FNSSA is a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) whose main objective is to provide a tool for European and African institutions to engage in a Sustainable Partnership Platform for research and innovation on Food and Nutrition Security, and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA).

Team

Melissa Plath