Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa (LIRA 2030)

LIRA 2030 was the first research funding programme that sought to build capacity of early-career researchers in Africa to undertake transdisciplinary research and to foster scientific contributions to the implementation of Agenda 2030 in African cities, at a continental scale.

The programme was implemented from 2016–2021 by the International Science Council (ISC) together with its Regional Office for Africa in partnership with the Network of African Academies of Sciences (NASAC) and with the financial support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa (LIRA 2030)

The 2030 Agenda, with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), recognizes the critical role of cities in implementing transformation towards sustainable development. With the fastest urbanization rates in the world, African cities matter more than most to our collective chances of realizing the SDGs globally.

The LIRA programme was launched straight after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in order to stimulate the new context-specific evidence required for practice and policy-making in sustainable urban development. Recognizing the complexity of the different actors and forces that make up cities, the LIRA programme focused on building the capacity of the next generation of African scientists to work together with local authorities, communities, government and industry to collaboratively rethink urban futures on the continent. 

To achieve its objectives, the LIRA programme supported African early career scientists to lead collaborative transdisciplinary research projects. Through three open calls, the programme supported 28 collaborative research projects , covering twenty-two countries in Africa, including Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  

📖 Articles published to date that involve LIRA researchers

Below is the list of articles that have been published to date with the contribution of LIRA researchers. A number of manuscripts have been submitted for review and are yet to be published. 

  1. Ablo, A. D. and Etale, A. 2022. Beyond technical: delineating factors influencing recycled water acceptability. Urban Water Journal. https://doi.org/10.1080/1573062X.2022.2155847  
  1. Ambole, A. 2020. Embedding design in transdisciplinary research: perspectives from urban Africa. Design Issues, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 28–40. https://doi.org/10.1162/desi_a_00588 
  1. Ambole, A., Koranteng, K., Njoroge, P. and Luhangala, D. L. 2021. A review of energy communities in sub-Saharan Africa as a transition pathway to energy democracy. Sustainability, Vol. 13, No. 4. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042128 
  1. Ambole, A., Musango, J. K., Buyana, K., Ogot, M., Anditi, C., Mwau, B., Kovacic, Z., Smit, S., Lwasa, S., Nsangi, G., Sseviiri, H. and Brent, A. C. 2019. Mediating household energy transitions through co-design in urban Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. Energy Research & Social Science, Vol. 55, pp. 208–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.05.009 
  1. Antwi-Agyei, P., Dwumfour-Asare, B., Adjei, K. A., Kweyu, R. and Simiyu, S. 2020. Understanding the barriers and opportunities for effective management of shared sanitation in low-income settlements – the case of Kumasi, Ghana. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 17, No. 12. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124528    
  1. Antwi-Agyei, P., Monney, I., Adjei, K. A., Kweyu, R. and Simiyu, S. 2022. Shared but clean household toilets: what makes this possible? Evidence from Ghana and Kenya. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 19, No. 7. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074271  
  1. Bloem, S., Swilling, M. and Koranteng, K. 2021. Taking energy democracy to the streets: socio-technical learning, institutional dynamism, and integration in South African community energy projects. Energy Research & Social Science, Vol. 72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101906 
  1. Buyana, K. 2019. Keeping the doors open: experimenting science–policy–practice interfaces in Africa for sustainable urban development. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, Vol. 35, pp. 539–54. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-019-09699-3 
  1. Buyana, K. 2021. Do global pandemics disrupt or seed transformations in cities? A systematic review of evidence. Social Sciences & Humanities Open, Vol. 4, No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssaho.2021.100138.  
  1. Buyana, K. 2022. Transgression in the energy infrastructure landscapes of cities. Landscape Research, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2022.2039108  
  1. Buyana, K., Byarugaba, D., Sseviiri, H., Nsangi, G. and Kasaija, P. 2019. Experimentation in an African neighborhood: reflections for transitions to sustainable energy in cities. Urban Forum, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 191–204. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-018-9358-z 
  1. Buyana, K., Lwasa, S. and Kasaija, P. 2019. Gender ideologies and climate risk: how is the connection linked to sustainability in an African city? International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 16–30. https://doi.org/10.4018/IJSESD.2019010102 
  1. Buyana, K., Lwasa, S., Tugume, D., Mukwaya, P., Walubwa, J., Owuor, S., Kasaija, P., Sseviiri, H., Nsangi, G. and Byarugaba, D. 2020. Pathways for resilience to climate change in African cities. Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 15, No. 7. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab7951 
  1. Buyana, K., Walubwa, J., Mukwaya, P. et al. 2021. City residents, scientists and policy-makers: power in co-producing knowledge. Urban Transformations, Vol. 3, No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1186/s42854-021-00020-6  
  1. Buyana, K., Walubwa, J.J.A., Mukwaya, P., Sseviiri, H., Byarugaba, D. and Nakyagaba, G.N. 2022. Global norms, African contexts: a framework for localizing SDGs in cities. Croese, S., Parnell, S. (eds), Localizing the SDGs in African Cities. Sustainable Development Goals Series. Cham, Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95979-1_3  
  1. Campbell, C. A., Bartington, S. E., Woolley, K. E., Pope, F. D., Thomas, G. N., Singh, A., Avis, W. R., Tumwizere, P. R., Uwanyirigira, C., Abimana, P. and Kabera, T. 2021. Investigating cooking activity patterns and perceptions of air quality interventions among women in urban Rwanda. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 18, No. 11. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115984 
  1. Croese, S., Dominique, M. and Raimundo, I. M. 2021. Co-producing urban knowledge in Angola and Mozambique: towards meeting SDG 11. npj Urban Sustainability, Vol. 1, No. 8. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42949-020-00006-6 
  1. Ebikeme, C., Gatzweiler, F., Oni, T., Liu, J., Oyuela, A. and Siri, J. 2019. Xiamen Call for Action: building the brain of the city – universal principles of urban health. Journal of Urban Health, Vol. 96, No. 4, pp. 507–09. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-018-00342-0 
  1. Elias, P. and de Albuquerque, J. P. 2022. Data and the localization of Sustainable Development Goals in Africa: the case of SDG 11 in Lagos and Accra. Croese, S., Parnell, S. (eds), Localizing the SDGs in African Cities. Sustainable Development Goals Series. Cham, Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95979-1_8 
  1. Gatzweiler, F., Fu, B., Rozenblat, C., Su, H-J. J., Luginaah, I., Corburn, J., Boufford, J. I., Valdes, J. V., Nguendo-Yongsi, B., Howden-Chapman, P., Singh, R. B., Cooper, R., Oni, T. and Zhu, Y-G. 2020. COVID19 reveals the systemic nature of urban health globally. Cities & Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/23748834.2020.1763761 
  1. Kabera, T., Bartington, S., Uwanyirigira, C., Abimana, P. and Pope, F. 2020. Indoor PM2.5 characteristics and CO concentration in households using biomass fuel in Kigali, Rwanda. International Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 77, No. 6, pp. 998–1011. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207233.2020.1732067 
  1. Kareem, B., McClure, A., Walubwa, J., Koranteng, K., Mukwaya, P. I. and Taylor, A. 2022. Power dynamics in transdisciplinary research for sustainable urban transitions. Environmental Science & Policy, Vol. 131, pp. 135–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2022.02.001  
  1. Kovacic, Z., Musango, J. K., Ambole, L. A., Buyana, K., Smit, S., Anditi, C., Mwau, B., Ogot, M., Lwasa, S., Brent, A. C., Nsangi, G. and Sseviiri, H. 2019. Interrogating differences: a comparative analysis of Africa’s informal settlements. World Development, Vol. 122, pp. 614–27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.06.026 
  1. Kouamé, P. K., Fokou, G., Koffi, A. J. D., Sani, A., Bonfoh, B. and Dongo, K. 2022. Assessing institutional stakeholders’ perception and limitations on coping strategies in flooding risk management in West Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Vol. 19, No. 11, 6933. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116933    
  1. Kushitor, S. B., Alimohammadi, S. and Currie, P. 2022. Narrative explorations of the role of the informal food sector in food flows and sustainable transitions during the COVID-19 lockdown. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, Vol. 1, No. 12, e0000038. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pstr.0000038 
  1. Kushitor, S. B., Badu, M., Kushitor, M. K. and Currie, P. 2022. Access to market infrastructure and its effect on food handling and food safety among vegetable traders in an African city. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2022.724190     
  1. Langa, Z.V., Kushitor, S.B., Koen, N. and Harper, J. 2022. Exploring the development of change agents for sustainability: outcomes of the Listen, Live and Learn initiative at Stellenbosch University. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 23 No. 8, pp. 309–23. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-01-2022-0029  
  1. Mejía-Dugand, S., Croese, S. and Reddy, S. A. 2020. SDG implementation at the local level: lessons from responses to the coronavirus crisis in three cities in the Global South. Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, Vol. 2. https://doi.org/10.3389/frsc.2020.598516    
  1. Morgner, C., Ambole, A., Anditi, C. et al. 2020. Exploring the dynamics of social networks in urban informal settlements: the case of Mathare Valley, Kenya. Urban Forum, Vol. 31, pp. 489–512. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-020-09389-2 
  1. Mutumbi, U., Thondhlana, G. and Ruwanza, S. 2021. Reported behavioural patterns of electricity use among low-income households in Makhanda, South Africa. Sustainability, Vol. 13, No. 13. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137271 
  1. Mutumbi, U., Thondhlana, G. and Ruwanza, S. 2022. Co-designed interventions yield significant electricity savings among low-income households in Makhanda South Africa. Energies, Vol. 15, 2320. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15072320 
  1. Mutumbi, U., Thondhlana, G. and Ruwanza, S. 2022. The status of household electricity use behaviour research in South Africa between 2000 and 2022. Energies, Vol. 15, 9018. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15239018  
  1. Muzenda, T., Dambisya, PM., Kamkuemah, M., Gausi, B., Battersby, J. and Oni, T. 2022. Mapping food and physical activity environments in low- and middle-income countries: a systematised review. Health Place, Vol. 75, 102809. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2022.102809   
  1. Mwandila, G., Mwanza, M., Sikhwivhilu, K., Siame, J., Mutanga, S. S. and Simposya, A. 2021. Modeling energy requirements for a biogas-supported decentralized water treatment systems for communities in Chambishi (Zambia) and Diepsloot (South Africa) townships. Renewable Energy Focus, Vol. 37, pp. 20–26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ref.2021.02.003  
  1. Ndebele-Murisa, M. R., Mubaya, C. P., Pretorius, L., Mamombe, R., Iipinge, K., Nchito, W., Mfune, J. K., Siame, G. and Mwalukanga, B. 2020. City to city learning and knowledge exchange for climate resilience in southern Africa. PLoS ONE, Vol. 15, No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227915 
  1. Nguendo-Yongsi, B., Muzenda, T., Bertrand Djouda Feudjio, Y., Kenfack Momo, D.N and Oni, T. 2022. Intersectoral collaboration for healthier human settlements: perceptions and experiences from stakeholders in Douala, Cameroon. Cities & Health, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 602–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/23748834.2022.2078071  
  1. O’Farrell, P., Anderson, P., Culwick, C., Currie, P., Kavonic, J., McClure, A., Ngenda, G., Sinnott, E., Sitas, N., Washbourne, C., Audouin, M., Blanchard, R., Egoh, B., Goodness, J., Kotzee, I., Sanya, T., Stafford, W. and Wong, G. 2019. Towards resilient African cities: shared challenges and opportunities towards the retention and maintenance of ecological infrastructure. Global Sustainability, Vol. 2. https://doi.org/10.1017/sus.2019.16 
  1. Odume, O. N., Amaka-Otchere, A., Onyima, B., Aziz, F., Kushitor, S. and Thiam, S. 2021. Pathways, contextual and cross-scale dynamics of science-policy-society interactions in transdisciplinary research in African cities. Environmental Science & Policy, Vol. 125, pp. 116–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2021.08.014 
  1. Odume, O. N., Onyima, B. N., Nnadozie, C. F., Omovoh, G. O., Mmachaka, T., Omovoh, B. O., Uku, J. E., Akamagwuna, F. C. and Arimoro, F. O. 2022. Governance and institutional drivers of ecological degradation in urban river ecosystems: insights from case studies in African cities. Sustainability, Vol. 14, No. 21, 14147. https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114147  
  1. Oni, T., Kockat, J., Martinez-Herrera, E., Palti, I., Johns, A. and Caiaffa, W. T. 2019. The healthcare community needs to champion healthy and sustainable urban living spaces. The BMJ Opinion. https://bit.ly/340kfmz  
  1. Oni, T., Mogo, E., Ahmed, A. and Davies, J. I. 2019. Breaking down the silos of universal health coverage: towards systems for the primary prevention of non-communicable diseases in Africa. BMJ Global Health. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2019-001717   
  1. Opiyo, R., Osano, P., Mbandi, A., Apondo, W. and Muhoza, C. 2020. Using citizen science to assess cumulative risk from air and other pollution sources in informal settlements. Clean Air Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1. https://doi.org/10.17159/caj/2020/30/1.8374  
  1. Prins, F. X., Etale, A., Dziwornu, A. and Thatcher, A. 2022. Water scarcity and alternative water sources in South Africa: can information provision shift perceptions? Urban Water Journal. https://doi.org/10.1080/1573062X.2022.2026984  
  1. Sanfo, S., Neya, O., Da, S., Salack, S., Amikuzuno, J., Gandaa, B. Z., Hackman, K. O. and Ogunjobi, K. O. 2021. Waste recycling and repurposing to address SDG 11 in Burkina Faso: do multi-stakeholder platforms matter? Croese, S. et al. (eds), Realizing the SDGs in African Cities. Springer Nature. 
  1. Sesan, T., Sanfo, S., Sikhwivhilu, K., Dakyaga, F., Aziz, F., Yirenya-Tawiah, D., Badu, M., Derbile, E., Ojoyi, M., Ibrahim, B. and Adamou, R. 2021. Mediating knowledge co-production for inclusive governance and delivery of food, water and energy services in African cities. Urban Forum. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-021-09440-w 
  1. Sesan, T. and Siyanbola, W. 2021. “These are the realities”: insights from facilitating researcher-policymaker engagement in Nigeria’s household energy sector. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, Vol. 8, No. 73. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-021-00754-5 
  1. Shackleton, E., Taylor, A., Gammage, L., Gillson, L., Sitas, N., Methner, N., Barmand, S., Thorn, J., McClure, A., Cobban, L., Jarre, A., and Odume, O.N. 2023. Fostering transdisciplinary research for equitable and sustainable development pathways across Africa: what changes are needed?, Ecosystems and People, Vol. 19. No. 1, 2164798, DOI: 10.1080/26395916.2022.2164798    
  1. Sherbinin, A., Bowser, A., Chuang, T., Cooper, C., Danielsen, F., Edmunds, R., Elias, P., Faustman, E., Hultquist, C., Mondardini, R., Popescu, I., Shonowo, A. and Sivakumar, K. 2021. The critical importance of citizen science data. Frontiers in Climate. https://doi.org/10.3389/fclim.2021.650760    
  1. Sikhwivhilu, K., Mutanga, S. and Siame, J. 2020. Understanding the ‘water-energy-health’ nexus in urban contexts in Africa: towards biogas-supported decentralized water treatment system for communities in Diepsloot (South Africa) and Chambishi (Zambia) townships. Pretoria, Africa Institute of South Africa. ISBN: 978-0-7983-0480-1 
  1. Sikosana, M. L., Sikhwivhilu, K., Moutloali, R. and Madyira, D. M. 2019. Municipal wastewater treatment technologies: a review. Procedia Manufacturing, Vol. 35, pp. 1018–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.promfg.2019.06.051  
  1. Simiyu, S., Antwi-Agyei, P., Adjei, K. and Kweyu, R. 2021. Developing and testing strategies for improving cleanliness of shared sanitation in low-income settlements of Kisumu, Kenya. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Vol. 105, No. 6, pp. 1816–25. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.20-1634  
  1. Simiyu, S. N., Kweyu, R. M., Antwi-Agyei, P. and Adjei, K. A. 2020. Barriers and opportunities for cleanliness of shared sanitation facilities in low-income settlements in Kenya. BMC Public Health, Vol. 20, pp. 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09768-1 
  1. Thiam, S., Aziz, F., Kushitor, S. B., Amaka-Otchere, A. B. K., Onyima, B. N. and Odume, O. N. 2021. Analyzing the contributions of transdisciplinary research to the global sustainability agenda in African cities. Sustainability Science, Vol. 16, pp. 1923–44. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-021-01042-6 
  1. Thondhlana, G., Mubaya, C. P., McClure, A., Amaka-Otchere, A.B.K. and Ruwanza, S. 2021. Facilitating urban sustainability through transdisciplinary (TD) research: lessons from Ghana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Sustainability, Vol. 13. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116205  
  1. Tidwell, J., Chipungu, J., Ross, I., Antwi-Agyei, P., Alam, M. U., Tumwebaze, I. K., Norma G., Cumming, O. and Simiyu, S. 2020. Where shared sanitation is the only immediate option: a research agenda for shared sanitation in densely populated low-income urban settings. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Vol. 104, No. 2, pp. 429–32. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.20-0985 
  1. Tshililo, P. T., Mutanga, S., Sikhwivhilu, K., Siame, J., Hongoro, C., Managa, L. R., Mbohwa, C. and Madyira, D. M. 2022. Analysis of the determinants of household’s water access and payments among the urban poor. A case study of Diepsloot Township. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C, Vol. 127, 103183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pce.2022.103183  
  1. Vearey, J., Luginaah, I., Magitta, N. F., Shilla, D. J. and Oni, T. 2019. Urban health in Africa: a critical global health priority. BMC Public Health, Vol. 19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6674-8  
  1. Visagie, J. and Turok, I. 2020. Getting urban density to work in informal settlements in Africa. Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 13, No. 2. http://doi.org/10.1177/0956247820907808 
  1. Visagie, J., Turok, I. and Misselhorn, M. 2020. Upgrading dense informal settlements by building upwards: lessons from an informal settlement in Durban, South Africa. HSRC Policy Brief Series. May 2020. https://repository.hsrc.ac.za/handle/20.500.11910/15420  
  1. Vodounon, H., Azalou-Tingbé, E., Houedakor, K., Amoussou, E., Nantob, M., Adoho, G. and Odoulami, L. 2021. Alternative sanitation and strategic directives for the well water security in Cotonou (Benin) and Lomé (Togo). Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 13, pp. 675–98. https://doi.org/10.4236/jwarp.2021.139036 
  1. Vodounon, H. S. T., Houedakor, K. Z., Amoussou, E. and Dossou-Yovo, A. C. 2021. Effects of urban metabolism on the well water quality in Cotonou (Benin) and Lomé (Togo). Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 13, pp. 539–62. https://doi.org/10.4236/jwarp.2021.138030 
  1. Wantim, M. N., Fon Peter, N., Eyong, N. J., Zisuh, A. F., Yannah, M., Lyonga, M. R., Yenshu, E. V. and Ayonghe, S. N. 2022. Flood Hazard and Its Associated Health Impacts in Limbe Health District, Cameroon. African Journal of Health Sciences. Vol. 35, No. 4 (2022)  
  1. Weimann, A., Kabane, N., Jooste, T., Hawkridge, A., Smit, W. and Oni, T. 2020. Health through human settlements: investigating policymakers’ perceptions of human settlement action for population health improvement in urban South Africa. Habitat International, Vol. 103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2020.102203 
  1. Weimann, A., Nguendo-Yongsi, B., Foka, C., Waffo, U., Carbajal, P., Sietchiping, R. and Oni, T. 2020. Developing a participatory approach to building a coalition of transdisciplinary actors for healthy urban planning in African cities – a case study of Douala, Cameroon. Cities & Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/23748834.2020.1741966 
  1. Weimann, A. and Oni, T. 2019. A systematised review of the health impact of urban informal settlements and implications for upgrading interventions in South Africa, a rapidly urbanising middle-income country. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 16, No. 19. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193608 
  1. Woolley, K.E., Bagambe, T., Singh, A., Avis, W.R., Kabera, T., Weldetinsae, A., Mariga, S.T., Kirenga, B., Pope, F.D., Thomas, G.N. and Bartington, S.E. 2020. Investigating the association between wood and charcoal domestic cooking, respiratory symptoms and acute respiratory infections among children aged under 5 years in Uganda: a cross-sectional analysis of the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 17, No. 11, 3974. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113974  
  1. Wolley, K., Bartington, S. E., Pope, F. D., Price, M. J., Thomas, G. N. and Kabera, T. 2020. Biomass cooking carbon monoxide levels in commercial canteens in Kigali, Rwanda. Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, Vol. 76, No. 2, pp. 75–85. https://doi.org/10.1080/19338244.2020.1761279 

▶ Videos

Click on the “1/15” sign in the top right to view all LIRA videos

Changing Course: A look into transformative river management in Durban

Documentary, LIRA2030 team in Durban, 24 July 2020

RICHE Africa Workshop

Dr Tolullah Oni, 7 February 2020

Why South Africa is the most unequal country in the world

LIRA Grantee Justin Visagie, 27 June 2021

The Parkington Project

LIRA Grantee Justin Visagie, 8 July 2021


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