The first in a series of workshops in each of the Resnexus fieldsite countries took place in Kampala (Uganda) on the 26th September 2017. The one day workshop brought together over 40 stakeholders from the city, including policy and decision-makers, industry representatives, civil society, academics and a group of residents from Bwaise and Kanyogoga, the two neighbourhoods where fieldwork has been going on since the start of the summer.
The workshop was designed to raise awareness of the Food, Water and Energy nexus in Kampala and to highlight some of the implications that the linkages between the provision of these have on people’s lives. As one of the participants put it: People around here are dying because of the food, water, energy nexus. Practices of cooking matoke using coal (which chokes and burns the eyes and throat) and water (which is almost inevitably harder to get than just turning the tap, and often needs to be treated before being used) provided painful reminders of the personal vulnerabilities that need to be negotiated on a daily basis by many in Bwaise and Kanyogoga. A fieldtrip to the houses of some of the residents in Bwaise in the afternoon put real human faces on the urban nexus. For many in Kampala the provision of sufficient, clean and safe food, water and energy, on a daily basis is often out of reach. Yet, all three are needed and any attempt at building resilience has to address all three.
Back in the workshop there was tangible shift in the perceptions of the urgency with which the nexus had to be understood, brought to light and tackled. Any way forward would have to include:
- better understanding of the food, water and energy nexus in Kampala, on all levels: from the residents of Bwaise who are cooking matoke every day, to the utility companies that provide waste and water services in the city, and the civil society organisations that work to build resilience in the communities; and
- actions, at different levels (at the city level, within communities and at individual level): training how to make briquettes from waste; household scholarships for energy efficient cooking; and public cooking stoves fuelled by briquettes.
At the end of the workshop one thing was clear, there were many ways forward but they all need to educate, to empower and to enable to do things differently.
There are a lot of materials and further details from the workshop that we will be publishing shortly (including photos, drawings and videos) so watch this space and let us know what you think!