Stellenbosch University
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SU part of twelve African Universities looking at disaster risks
Author: Inger Haber
Published: 14/09/2018

​Recognising the pressing need for 'future-ready' skill-sets for Africa's fast-changing disaster risks, the Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risks (Periperi U), which is a consortium of twelve African Universities, launched Africa's first Risk Methods School on 10 September 2018 at Ardhi University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

This innovative collaboration brings together teaching staff from United Nations agencies and six universities drawn from across Africa. It deliberately aims to speed the development of urgently needed talent in the field by combining the disaster risk management expertise in Africa's higher education enterprise with the global perspectives of the international community.

Periperi U's African Risk Methods School is an institutionally inventive response to East Africa's rapidly changing risk profile – as the region urbanises, becomes more interconnected and must adjust to climate-related and other risks. This already calls for new, 'future-ready' skill-sets that are interdisciplinary, applicable and integrate diverse sciences.

The School offers seven intensive courses on topics as diverse as Urban Risk and Geographic Information SystemsRisk and Vulnerability Assessment in the Health Sector and Post Disaster Needs Assessment to fast-track the capacity of emerging and established African researchers within the expanding fields of disaster, risk and resilience. Students include disaster risk related postgraduate students in African universities as well as practitioners and senior managers who wish to sharpen their risk and resilience research skills. Students at the first Risk Methods School represent eleven countries, including nine African countries.

The school will conclude 21 September 2018. In February 2019, the next school will be hosted by Gaston Berger University in St Louis, Senegal. The next school will be conducted in French and targeted specifically for West and Central Africa.

This initiative is supported by USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID OFDA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the African Union/New Partnership for Africa's Development's Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AU/NEPAD SANWATCE) and Stellenbosch University's Africa Centre for Scholarship.

The Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction (RADAR), based at Stellenbosch University, is a founding member and secretariat of Periperi U. Periperi U is a consortium of twelve African Universities dedicated to developing and enhancing the capacity of emerging and established researchers within the expanding field of disaster, risk and resilience. The African Risk Methods School was designed and implemented jointly with Ardhi University's Disaster Management Training Centre and RADAR, with support from the Africa Centre of Scholarship and African Doctoral Academy. 

Teaching staff at the African Risk Methods School include Dr Ailsa Holloway, Director of RADAR, and Professor Sarah Howie, Director of the Africa Centre for Scholarship. Support was offered to members of the African Union/New Partnership for Africa's Development's Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AU/NEPAD SANWATCE) to participate in the trainings. The AU/NEPAD SANWATCE Secretariat is based at Stellenbosch University.

Picture: Participants of the Risk Methods School hosted in Tanzania.