Projects funded in 2017

These projects are being supported as part of the first LIRA 2030 Africa call on Advancing the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 11 on cities in Africa.

Projects funded in 2017

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Co-Designing Energy Communities with Energy-Poor Women in Urban Areas: Case Studies in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa

The fast-paced growth of urban informal settlements in sub-Saharan Africa has surpassed the provision of household energy, an essential resource for cooking, lighting and heating. As a result, households resort to inefficient energy sources such as wood, charcoal and kerosene, which causes indoor air pollution and worsens their health outcomes. There is little knowledge about the interconnections between household energy and its related health outcomes in informal settlements in Africa, as well as the implications of the gendered nature of household energy poverty.

The project will conduct studies in two urban informal settlements in Kenya and Uganda and compare the findings to ongoing research in an urban informal settlement in South Africa. The project relies extensively on stakeholder engagement (with settlement dwellers, experts and policy actors) and experimental research to propose improved technologies and better policies that contribute further to national energy goals in the three countries. Ultimately, the project seeks to co-produce knowledge about household energy services that are gender-responsive, have better health outcomes and are economically viable.

Principal investigator: Lorraine Amollo Ambole, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Countries involved in the project: Kenya, Uganda, South Africa.

Biogas-supported Decentralized Water Treatment System for communities in Diepsloot (South Africa) and Chambishi (Zambia) Townships: A feasibility study

Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services are vital to human health. As a result of Africa’s urban explosion, water demand in African cities is increasing at a higher rate than population growth. Its availability, on the other hand, is shrinking and is exacerbated by competing demands from economic activities, decline in water quality and climate change effects. Already, the inadequate supply of clean drinking water is resulting in water-borne illnesses and loss of economic activity.

This project seeks to address the challenge of basic water supply services in townships. To do this, it proposes a feasibility study into using renewable energy generated from municipal wastewater (sewage) as electricity to power small-scale water treatment plants for the supply of water to township communities. The research sites chosen for this study are the Diesploot (South Africa) and Chambishsi (Zambia) townships. The system proposed will use local rivers as a source for water; the water which will be treated using biogas as an energy source. It is envisaged that the system will be sustainable and will help townships to be independent from bulk water supply systems. This should enable township communities to have a consistent access to clean water leading to improved community health.

Principal investigator: Keneiloe Sikhwivhilu, MINTEK, South Africa

Countries involved in the project: South Africa, Zambia.

Health effects of indoor air pollution from cooking stoves in Kigali and Dar er Salaam cities: An assessment and solution

Almost 40% of the world’s population rely on biomass fuel as the primary source of domestic energy. In developing countries, charcoal stoves are the main equipment for cooking. The use of traditional cooking stoves in poorly ventilated households often leads to health problems and contributes to deforestation. This notwithstanding, there is no conclusive study on the effects of the use of traditional cooking stoves on health and the environment.

This project seeks to fill the gap in literature on women and children’s health effects caused by cooking stoves in East Africa. The project will focus on selected households in the capital cities of two African countries, Kigali in Rwanda and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The project will assess existing cooking stoves on the market and work with selected communities to reconstruct more efficient models using local materials and then add safety functionalities such as a chimney to reduce indoor air pollution. Further, the study will analyze the effectiveness of the new models by checking exposure to indoor air pollution prior and after the installation of the improved cooking stoves.

Principal investigator: Telesphore Kabera, University of Rwanda

Countries involved in the project: Rwanda, Tanzania.

Assessment and characterization of volcanic and flood hazards and their health implications in the cities of Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo), Buea and Limbe (Cameroon)

Buea, Limbe and Goma like most African cities, are experiencing rapid economic and population growth. Unlike most African cities, these three cities are located around active volcanic centres. Buea and Limbe are found at the flanks of Mount Cameroon and Goma is situated at the flanks of Mount Nyiragongo. Mount Cameroon is the most active volcano along the Cameroon Volcanic Line and its most recent eruptions were in 1999 and 2000. Mount Nyiragongo is the second most active volcano in the East African Rift System and its recent eruption was in 2002. It hosts a large semi-permanent lava lake which may erupt at any time.

In spite of these threats, increased urbanization in these cities has led to the construction of high-rise buildings, often without building codes. This phenomenon is very worrying as volcano-induced earthquakes of the same intensity as observed in the past are still very likely in these cities. This project seeks to assess and evaluate the extent and nature of disaster risks in these cities, as well as the health implications of these hazards to the ever-increasing vulnerable populations in an attempt to reduce the associated risks.

Principal investigator: Mabel Nechia Wantim, University of Buea, Cameroon

Countries involved in the project: Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Towards reducing human exposure to combustion-derived pollutants in urban communities of Kampala and Mwanza

Lake Victoria watershed is a critical ecosystem for the East African region, supporting over 30 million people for whom the lake is a source of food, energy, drinking and irrigation water, among others. The watershed has urban centers along the lake’s shoreline in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Rapid urbanization, industrialization and population boom in this watershed has increased demand for energy for domestic and industrial applications. As a result, emissions from combustion of petroleum and biomass for energy have increased sharply, leading to air pollution and health risks.

This project will employ multi-stakeholder engagement approaches towards understanding and improving the indoor air quality in households within selected urban communities in Kampala (Uganda) and Mwanza (Tanzania). Reduction of indoor air pollution in participating homes, following use of improved cooking and lighting technologies, will be measured. All technologies will be monitored for usage using specialized data loggers. A portable chimney design will be developed and piloted to investigate possible further reduction in indoor pollution. Key informant interviews, focus group discussions, community meetings and participant household visits will enable deep understanding of the role of community’s attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, norms and knowledge in causing and solving the indoor air pollution problem, and to implement jointly identified plausible interventions.

Principal investigator: Kenneth Arinaitwe, Makerere University.

Countries involved in the project: Uganda, Tanzania

Mitigating Risks to Flood-related Waterborne Diseases in Abidjan and Kampala

Climate change is contributing to the increasing frequency and magnitude of flooding observed in recent years. The situation is particularly critical for urban settings in Sub-Saharan Africa where flooding is often associated with water-borne diseases. The combination of natural disaster, poor urban infrastructure and uncontrolled expanding population represents a major threat to human livelihood and health.

The proposed research aims to identify mitigating measures related to the transmission of two infectious diseases (i.e. cholera and leptospirosis) relevant to flood events in Abidjan and Kampala. Cholera is a diarrheal disease that is provoked by poor hygiene and sanitation. It is the leading health risk associated with flooding in most African cities. Leptospirosis transmission occurs via urine and faeces of infected animals and increases with the extent of rainfall. Human incidences of the leptospirosis increase during extreme weather events such as floods.

To compensate for the current lack of relevant data in the two settings chosen, the project will implement a strategy based on integrating human, animal and environmental health using the concepts of EcoHealth, One Health and Sanitation Safety Planning. We aim to generate knowledge to recommend adequate policies for the prevention and anticipation of cholera and leptospirosis outbreaks during flood events.

Principal investigator: Parfait Koffi Kouamé, Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques in Ivory Coast

Countries involved in the project: Ivory Coast, Uganda.

Delivery of clean air strategies for mitigating household air pollution and associated respiratory illnesses in urban informal settlements in Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe cities

This project aims to raise awareness on the levels of indoor pollution and magnitude of respiratory diseases. This awareness-raising will help to inform the government and local community to adopt relevant strategies for clean energy solutions. The project will be carried out jointly with researchers, governments and local communities in Vingunguti and Mtsiriza – the two slums located in Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe cities respectively.

Principal investigator: Ng’weina Francis, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Countries involved in the project: Tanzania, Malawi.

Towards healthy communities: Citizen science for improved air quality in Nairobi (Kenya) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Indoor and outdoor air pollution is a major global health risk that contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The primary pollutant of concern for human health is fine particulate matter. A key source of air pollution is from energy use for cooking and heating within the home and for transport and other activities, all of which contribute significantly to both indoor and outdoor air pollution in low-income urban areas. Thus, air pollution from the energy sector is becoming a leading health risk factor in Africa and solutions are needed to reverse this challenge. Household air pollution arising from the poor provision of modern energy services is estimated to cause about half a million premature deaths in sub-Saharan Africa annually.

This project seeks to address the human health risks resulting from the exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollution from energy sources. The project, which will be implemented in low income peri-urban areas in Nairobi and Addis Ababa, has three objectives: (1) to use the citizen science approach to assess the level and magnitude of air pollution in a community in Addis Ababa and to monitor air pollution in a community in Nairobi; (2) to co-create with affected communities solutions for behaviour and policy change to address the health challenges of indoor air pollution, especially for women and children; and (3) to promote policy awareness and actions on the nexus of human health and wellbeing, air pollution and energy in urban areas.

Principal investigator: Philip Osano, Stockholm Environment Institute, Kenya

Countries involved in the project: Kenya, Ethiopia.

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