The Aga Khan University has linked five institutions of higher learning in both Tanzania and Canada to jointly conduct a series of research in addressing negative effects of climate change.
Four institutions of higher learning in Tanzania and one Canadian University signed a memorandum of understanding to that effect in Arusha City where the hub for the planned studies is based.
Scholars from the universities will undertake extensive series of research on climate change and related sciences.
With the Aga Khan University as the core institution, the MoU involves three other Tanzanian colleges including the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro, the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) of Arusha and the University of Dar-es-salaam (UDSM).
The four Tanzanian institutions of higher learning pivoted by the Aga Khan University will be working together with the Simon Fraser University (SFU) of Canada to realize this environmental oriented research scheme.
“It is high time our institutions of higher learning take an international approach in training and research,” said the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Adolf Mkenda who graced the occasion in Arusha.
“About two thirds of our population depend on agriculture and climate change makes it difficult to guarantee food security and livelihoods. We believe that scientists can do a lot to minimize this impact and maybe in the long run solve the problems,” added Minister Mkenda.
The Aga Khan University’s President, Sulaiman Shahabuddin said the institutions will carry out series of research aimed at advancing climate change adaptation strategies and providing valuable insights to inform policy decisions in Tanzania.
“Climate change is a big deal across the globe and there are more concerted efforts towards environmental sustainability across the world therefore the Aga Khan University through its Arusha Climate and Environmental Research Centre is at the forefront of pioneering ground breaking research to combat climate change,” Shabuddin added.
“We have expanded our partnership to include Simon Fraser University (SFU), University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). The collaboration includes field school opportunities with students and faculty from our university partners,” Shahabuddin stated.
The Aga Khan University (AKU), the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), and Simon Fraser University (SFU) of Canada will essentially be working to come up with the ultimate solution to negative effects of Climate Change.
The AKU President pointed out that other than searching for solutions to the problem of climate change, the initiative will address issues of environmental sustainability and generate new knowledge that helps the people of Tanzania and East Africa to thrive on a warming planet.
The universities will utilise the Arusha Climate and Environmental Research Centre (AKU-ACER) facility in Northern Tanzania as a ‘living laboratory’ and the results of the research will inform policy and advance environmental stewardship.
The Ngaramtoni based, AKU-ACER will be open for scientists to conduct collaborative projects as well as faculty and student exchanges.
Building on AKU’s existing MoUs, Simon Fraser University also entered into a strategic alliance with NM-AIST, in creating a seamless network for collaboration among the four universities.
“We are looking forward to the outcome of this collaboration,” said the President of Simon Fraser University (SFU) Dr Joy Johnson.
Dr Johnson added that the joint venture will enable knowledge to be shared across the four universities as they innovate together on strategies for climate protection.
“I am thrilled that SFU students will have the unique opportunity to study in Tanzania and engage with the local community to advance climate education and community resilience,” said SFU President, Dr Johnson
As part of the collaboration, AKU is running the first cohort of a field school for students from SFU to investigate the impact of climate change on communities.
It has been a practical experience for the students to explore environmental concerns through an interdisciplinary approach that ties to historical and contemporary issues in human-environmental interactions.
“Partnerships between Institutions, like friendships between individuals, are built on shared values. And there can be no doubt that NM-AIST and SFU share important values as we are both focused on empowering the society by providing solutions that help the population,” stated the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) Chancellor Issa Omari.
Facilitated by AKU’s Global Engagement Office, the established partnerships signify a historic moment for Aga Khan University in Tanzania.
“The initiative embodies a holistic strategy to tackle climate change, fostering collaboration between local institutions and global experts to exchange knowledge, skills, and best practices,” it was stated.