Capacity building on the water-energy-food security Nexus through research and training in Kenya and Uganda | CapNex

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Project Coordinator: Dr. Jakob Lederer

Coordinating institution: TU Wien/Vienna University of Technology

Partner institutions: Makerere University (Dr. Jeninah Karungi-Tumutegyereize), Technical University of Kenya (Dr. Luke Olang), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (Dr. Mathew Herrnegger)

Partner Countries: Uganda, Kenya

Project duration: 15th of December 2016 - 31st of August 2020


Population and economic growth in the Kenya-Ugandan border region has led to an increasing demand for food, water and energy resources. However, the government’s plan to meet this demand by means of domestic production rather than through imports is impaired by several interlinked and often cross boundary challenges. Decreasing soil fertility is aggravated by erosion of top-soils rich in nutrients and biodiversity, reducing surface water quality and the ability to produce hydro-energy due to sediment-based silting of reservoirs. While some erosion protection and soil fertility measures (i.e. mulching, waste recycling) compete with the use of crop residues and wastes as a domestic energy source, soil erosion is further exacerbated by deforestation for fire wood production.

The impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures designed to address these agricultural and hydrological aspects of the so-called Water – Energy – Food security (WEF) nexus requires, amongst others, a solid knowledge and data base established by research in all world regions concerned, addressing a wide range of stakeholders, in order to built-up capacities to deal with WEF nexus challenges. However, a review carried out prior to this proposal revealed that the bulk of research studies are discussion rather than research papers, while the majority of studies focus on China, Europe, the US, and the Middle East rather than Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, most studies are on national, supranational and global level, not targeting the local level stakeholders.

In this project, an interdisciplinary (agronomy; crop production; pest management; development studies; hydrology; socio-hydrology; soil science; water-, waste-, & resource management) team of Austrian, Kenyan, and Ugandan researchers will cooperate in this capacity-building-through-research-training-and-dialogue-project under the APPEAR funding scheme. The activities carried out are threefold:

  1. Establishing the foundations for capacity building on the WEF nexus in Kenya and Uganda: Reviewing international and regional scientific literature and carrying out case study research projects in the Kenyan-Ugandan border region on the water household, erosion, soil and water conservation measures, and biomass utilization, thereby establishing a data- and knowledge base for WEF nexus investigation and capacity building.
  2. Capacity building on the WEF nexus at University level: By involving students in the case study research projects and developing course materials on the WEF nexus integrated in existing lectures and to be used to design new lectures, capacity building will be achieved at University level.
  3. Capacity building on the WEF nexus at non-University level: Within the case studies, non-university stakeholders like farmers and farmer groups are involved, thus trained. By giving workshops, a larger audience of stakeholders is targeted (District authorities, NGOs, private sector, etc.). Through giving speeches at national and international events, an even larger number of stakeholders are targeted.