If you are having trouble viewing this email, please view it online.

No. 2, 2013

Dear Reader

We are pleased to share updates with you on activities of START programs and projects on:

Cultivating Fields of Change: Collaborative Learning through Research

Proposal and Academic Writing Workshop

Advancing Science for Resilient Futures

Centre for Climate Change Studies Operative at UDSM

Training the Trainers: Participatory Games

Climate Change & Good Governance Workshop: Africa

Robust Decision-Making in Ho Chi Minh City

GOFC-GOLD Regional Network Meetings

Cities at Risk Workshop: Africa

We appreciate your continued interest and support!

Cultivating Fields of Change: Collaborative Learning through Research

In 2011-12, START supported 16 multi-disciplinary research teams across Africa to conduct research on climate change, agriculture and food security. This magazine brings each of the projects together.

Click here to download the full magazine, or view it on our website here.

Advancing Science for Resilient Futures

START's new brochure provides updates on all current programs, highlighting how START promotes research for action, innovations in learning, and communications and networking.

Click here to download the brochure.

Training the Trainers: Participatory Games

Together with the Climate Centre, START organized a two-day "train the trainers" session in May on climate-related educational games that was hosted by the US branch of World Wildlife Fund. The workshop had a strong emphasis on humanitarian and development work, particularly involving climate risk management within Africa. The training introduced participatory games related to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction such as Gender and Climate Game, Paying for Predictions, Ready!, and Happy Village. Participants became familiar with game facilitation principles and gained first hand knowledge in order to facilitate these games with professionals and/or with communities in the field. The workshop was supported by the UK-based Climate and Development Knowledge Network.

Robust Decision Making in Ho Chi Minh City

New activities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam are advocating for improved integration of social vulnerability considerations into the city's decision-making and policy processes. The initiative organized by RAND, START and the Southern Institute of Social Sciences brought together practitioners, technical specialists, decision makers, and academics to review Robust Decision Making analysis by RAND and its partners, discuss findings, and help develop a roadmap for future work to improve the integration of social vulnerability into Robust Decision Making. Participant discussion will inform future analysis that considers tradeoffs and tipping points and helps identify creative new policies that meet the needs of a broader range of groups.

Cities at Risk Workshop: Africa

In recent months, START supported young scientists to attend meetings in South America, Asia, and Africa with funding from NASA:

The International START Secretariat, in collaboration with the eThekwini Municipality (Durban), South Africa, and ICSU ROA convened a four-day scoping workshop on “Cities at Risk: Africa” in March 2013 in Durban, South Africa. The event was attended by scientists, urban planners, and representatives of relevant African Universities and research centers and sought to assess the state of knowledge and capacity needs regarding vulnerability and risk in the urban sector, and to share knowledge, insights and experiences on pathways for effective climate change adaptation and resilience in African cities and urban systems. One of the key recommendations of the Durban workshop was that here is an acute need to engage African cities in a sustained dialogue in low carbon growth through various regional and global initiatives, including the Durban Adaptation Charter.

For more information about this workshop, click here or download the workshop report.

Proposal and Academic Writing Workshop

Young university faculty members often receive little training on approaches and techniques for advancing their career through proposals and academic writing. START and the Centre for Climate Change Studies (CCCS) at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) convened a five-day proposal and academic writing workshop in Bagamoyo, Tanzania from April 22 to 26. The workshop was facilitated by Professor P. Yanda, Professor A. Ishumi, Professor S. Misana, and Dr. A. Kateka, all of UDSM, and Professor C. Gordon of the University of Ghana, along with START staff.

Twenty-two lecturers and PhD students from across the university, including engineering, communications, geography, and law, participated in an incremental training progressing through the sections of a proposal and the components of an academic article. Activities included developing conceptual frameworks and log frameworks, assessing good and bad examples of academic articles, and working with data to present analysis and results. Participants worked in small groups of similar research topics, but different disciplinary backgrounds, to develop relationships for future research and interaction across disciplines.

The workshop was sponsored by the Climate Change Research, Education, and Outreach program (CCREOP) funded by the Open Society Foundation.

Centre for Climate Change Studies Active at UDSM

In January 2013, the University of Dar es Salaam established the Centre for Climate Change Studies (CCCS) under the Climate Change Research, Education, and Outreach program (CCREOP), with START as a partner. CCCS manages a range of activities at UDSM. The Centre developed a Masters of Science in Climate Change and Sustainable Development through multiple curriculum development workshops with faculty. The MSc program began in March 2013 with 30 students and will include participation of 24 faculty members from throughout the university. Courses resume with the next cohort of students in September 2013.

In addition, the Centre has organized university-wide activities such as the proposal and academic writing workshop with young UDSM faculty and an annual intellectual lecture series day, and a faculty training for mainstreaming climate change into undergraduate curriculum. In April 2013, the CCCS held a one-day workshop to identify the seven grand challenges to guide research and education at the CCCS.

CCCS is sponsored under CCREOP with funding from the Open Society Foundation.

Climate Change and Good Governance Workshop: Africa

A two-day workshop on governance dimensions of climate change in Africa was successfully concluded on the 24th of September in Accra, Ghana. The workshop was organized by the International START Secretariat in collaboration with the "Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies (IESS), University of Ghana, and the Earth Systems Governance (ESG) Project.

The following are among major outcomes of the workshop:

  • Participants collaboratively developed a draft strategy paper on knowledge, capacity and networking needs in governance dimensions of climate change in Africa. The draft will be further developed with the goal in view of having it published as a peer reviewed journal article.
  • The workshop started off an Africa chapter of ESG, to be facilitated by START, IESS and the ESG project to create a platform for and sustain collaboration among African academics working on governance dimensions of climate change.
  • The workshop provided networking and knowledge sharing opportunities for all participants.

Click here to read more about the workshop or here to download the program booklet.

GOFC-GOLD Regional Network Meetings

GOFC-GOLD engages scientists to work together in the monitoring of human-induced changes in the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Using earth observation data, they are tracking and interpreting the changes that impact natural resource availability, biodiversity, atmospheric composition, and climate change.

During June and July, START provided support for three regional Workshops. In addition, one of the Workshops was followed by formal training sessions for young scientists. At each workshop, scientists shared data in an effort to gain knowledge of work in progress across their regions. They formed alliances to take advantage of available earth observation data and to maximize the resources from within their region, as as well as from other areas of the world.

Recent and upcoming regional network meetings:

For more information about these and other GOFC-GOLD events, please click here.

© 2011 START International, Inc.

Please continue to visit the START Website as we update content and design to better communicate with our community.

For questions or comments about the START E-Newsletter, please contact Jessica Boesl at jboesl@start.org