“Harmonizing Resources: The Nexus of Mining, Environment, Health and Conservation” – Network Visits and Seminar of the KAAD Association of Scholars from East Africa (KASEA) in Uganda

|   Afrika, Aktuelles, Seminare, Veranstaltungen, Reisen

The visit of Dr Marko Kuhn in Uganda was dedicated to network visits and the annual KASEA seminar, which brought together KAAD-scholars from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

After the annual seminar of the KAAD Association of Scholars from East Africa (KASEA) took place in Kenya last year, the host of this year’s events was the Ugandan of KASEA. The venue, which the organizers had chosen, was the town of Mbale at the foot of Mount Elgon in the east of the country. Mbale is a place where the 42 participants could have a good insight into the topical areas of the seminar: the connection between mining, the environment, health and nature conservation. The Title was “Harmonizing Resources: The Nexus of Mining, Environment, Health and Conservation”. In the first presentation of the seminar, the Ugandan geoscientist Dr Brian Guma spoke about managing resources in his country to minimize the impact of climate change and the impacts of copper mining. The second presentation by Nakundwa Mvungi, KAAD-scholar from Tanzania, highlighted the consequences of legal and illegal gold mining in her country, especially about the rights of the affected population and those involved in mining. During the meeting, the scholars alumni from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania were able to give an overview of their activities over the past year and present the latest edition of the “KASEA newsletter”.

As part of the seminar, KAAD department head Dr Marko Kuhn held intensive discussions with the scholars who are studying 'sur place', i. e. in universities situated in Nairobi, learning about the course of their studies, research topics and professional perspectives. In order to get to know the environment of the scholars and the KAAD network better, Professor Dr Uwe Hunger from Fulda University joined the seminar of the scholars. He is currently carrying out an evaluation of KAAD's ‘Sur Place’ funding, and assembled various focus groups in order to learn from those currently under scholarship as well as from the alumnae and alumni of the same programme.

On the second-to-last day, the seminar's excursion took the participants to the slopes of the extinct volcano Mount Elgon. The town of Kapchorwa, situated at 1,800 meters above sea level. It is the starting point for hiking tours in this mountain landscape characterized by great biodiversity, which however has been adversely affected by human settlement, mining and climate change. Three impressive waterfalls, the 'Sipi Falls', were the destination of the hiking tour.

Marko Kuhn's stay in Uganda was also focused on network visits in the capital Kampala. Uwe Hunger accompanied him to talks with the deputy German ambassador Hans von Schroeder, the head of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation office in Kampala, Achim Vogt, the KAAD alumna Proscovia Namubiru-Ssentamu, head of the quality assurance department at the Uganda Management Institute (UMI), Dr James L. Nkata, General Director of UMI and with the Secretary General of the Ugandan Bishops' Conference, Msgr. John B. Kauta.

In Kampala, KAAD also maintains a close relationship with the art scene. The connection comes through the KAAD alumnae Martha Kazungu and Violet Nantume, both having completed a master's degree in art studies in Germany. A third alumna is Irene Piloya, who until a few months ago received a scholarship for a master's degree in Fine Arts at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi/Ghana (see report). She gave Uwe Hunger and Marko Kuhn an interesting insight into the creative and Art sector in Kampala, especially through a 'Creative Hub' called MOTIVE, which houses start-ups from the areas of services, crafts and design which cross-pollinates each other with ideas.

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Prof Aldo Lupala from Tanzania during a discussion at the KASEA seminar in Mbale

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Professor Dr Uwe Hunger (centre back) and the participants of the KASEA seminar examine the hot-off-the-press KASEA newsletter

Participants of the KASEA seminar in Mbale during the hike to the Sipi Falls on Mt. Elgon