ISRF Collaborative Fellows 2023
ISRF Collaborative Fellows 2023
Nelson Chanza (left) holds a PhD in Environmental Geography, MSc in Environmental Policy and Planning and BSc Honours in Biological Sciences. He has taught in universities in Zimbabwe and South Africa since 2007. Nelson also received several research awards, including the doctoral research bursary from Nelson Mandela University, DAAD climapAfrica Fellowship, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA – Wageningen), and the Global Development Partnership Centre (GDPC-South Korea).
His research contributions are largely in the fields of indigenous knowledge applications in climate science, i.e., local-based climate change indicators, and adaptation and mitigation strategies that are understood by and appropriate to local communities. He has published over 40 journal articles and book chapters. His current research uses a multiple evidence approach to examine local climate change impacts/indicators to inform appropriate responses in communities at risk of climate change. From a research front, he strives to make significant contribution in the discourse of sustainable human settlements through examining the interface between climate change and society. From a practical front, Nelson applies this knowledge to give expert-based support in the development and review of climate change policies, strategies and plans, and implementation of development projects in the SADC region.
Eric Makombe (right) is a mid-career academic and lecturer in Economic History and Development. Eric is a Research Fellow in the History Department at the University of the Free State (South Africa) and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, Heritage and Knowledge Systems at the University of Zimbabwe. Eric was a Visiting Professor at Lund University in Sweden for a couple of months in 2014. He holds a PhD (History) from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. His broad research interests are in urban history, human economy and livelihoods, rural-urban linkages, climate change and rural development. Some of his published articles have appeared in the Journal of Developing Societies, Global Environment, Historia and Essays in Economic and BusinessHistory. Eric has also co-edited two edited volumes as well as contributed book chapters to several manuscripts. Eric has received research grants and awards from CODESRIA, IFAS (French Institute of South Africa), the Land Deal Politics Initiative, DAAD NELGA Corona Research Fellowship, DAAD Climate Research for Alumni and Postdocs in Africa, and the Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA research grant. Eric presently is a recipient of the ISRF-MPIWG Collaborative Fellowship Award in which he engages with recent global environmental scholarly debates on the best-suited option that a less developed country such as Zimbabwe can adopt between adaptation and mitigation measures that simultaneously ensure sustainable long-term development. Overall, Eric’s research agenda is informed by an intense commitment to socially useful scholarship which is expected to constitute a body of innovative knowledge, contributing both to the empirical development of comparative studies as well as pragmatic and workable solutions to rural sustainability and economic livelihoods.
This study focuses on and engages with recent global environmental scholarly debates on the best-suited option that a less developed country such as Zimbabwe can adopt between adaptation and mitigation measures that simultaneously ensure sustainable long-term development. Zimbabwe, despite its low carbon footprint, is disproportionately impacted by climate change as evinced by the worst tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere, i.e. the 2019 Cyclone Idai, which caused severe flooding in the country and its neighbours, Mozambique and Malawi, and a humanitarian catastrophe of deaths, crops, livestock, and infrastructure loss. This makes our research agenda urgent and relevant. The study privileges analysis of rich primary and secondary data available from semi-structured oral interviews with both expert informants and ‘ordinary’ peoples experiencing climate change, contemporary reports, journal articles, and books. The project adopts qualitative and comparative methods (with other countries in Southern Africa), case studies, and sustainable livelihood approaches. Much evidence will be collected using multiple sources; content analysis, archival/library documentary research, and participant observation. This research seeks to fill a dearth of knowledge on the nexus between sustainable development and climate change in Zimbabwe. We argue that approaches that focus on global or regional dimensions to these issues, while important, disguise other more mundane and specific local environmental problems. Further, the impact of climate change on sustainable development should be differentiated and considered discretely. In the process, our proposed study makes a historically nuanced evaluation of the extent to which local livelihoods and the environment are impacted by political economy considerations as well as proffering practicable working solutions that are both sustainable in the medium to long-term and cost-effective.