An Integrated Assessment of Landslides at Mount Elgon, Uganda: Hazards, Consequences and Opportunities

The overall aim of this South Initiative is to set the scene for integrated and interdisciplinary research on landslides and sustainable land management in Mt Elgon region (West Uganda). Past research on landslides in the East African highlands has been limited in geographical coverage and has mainly focussed on the natural and antropogenic factors causing landslides (Knapen et al, 2006; Kitutu et al, 2011) and on spatial hazard modelling (Claessens et al, 2007). This project arises from the need for integrated research covering the whole Mt. Elgon region and for interdisciplinary research focussing on the natural and socio-economic factors of landslides and their impact. We specifically aim at exploring the possibilities and challenges - in terms of methodologies, data gaps, and innovations - to address these research needs; at strengthening the capacity of BU to contribute to integrated and interdisciplinary research on landslides; and at using the explorative insights from this project and the upgraded research capacity at BU to respond to new relevant project calls.

  • Flemish promotor: Miet Maertens (KU Leuven)
  • Local promotor: Moses Isabirye (Busitema University)

Development of a training curriculum in psychotherapeutic counselling in Uganda

This project's overall aim is the amelioration of the mental health of Northern Ugandan children and adolescents through a more available, adequate and accesible offer of psychotherapeutic care. The goal is to develop an educational curriculum to become psychotherapeutic worker, based on a pilot, and to create possibilities to implement this training. The pilot try-out is necessary to test the curriculum and to evaluate its impact on the participants' practices of psychotherapeutic counselling, giving the opportunity for the trainees to bring their learned skills into practice, and, secondly, to evaluate the training's impact on participants' practices.

  • Flemish promotor: Eric Broekaert (Ghent University)
  • Local promotor: James Okello (Gulu Regional Referral Hospital)

Enhancing food crop and fish productivity through integration of aquaculture and irrigated agriculture

The project intends to establish and evaluate productivity gain of aquaculture in tank systems and benefits of the outcome of effluent from aquaculture in food production. In this regard the project will conduct a comparative cost-benefit analysis of integrated aquaculture-irrigated agriculture (IAIA), a standard irrigation system and a rain-fed system in Uganda. The project will also evaluate the feasibility and requirements of adoption of these technologies by aquaculture and agriculture farmers. The project will assist in identifying opportunities offered by the integrated systems in relation to the intended promotion of Aquaculture Parks at national level. The project will establish a demonstration of catfish culture in tanks and will evaluate the costs and benefits of irrigated agriculture using two sources of water input.

  • Flemish promotor: Dieter Anseeuw (Katholieke Hogeschool Zuid-West-Vlaanderen)
  • Local promotor: Fredrick Bugenyi (Makerere University)

Computational fluid dynamic modelling of municipal solid waste incinerator processes and reactions

The overall objective of the project is to model and design a municipal solid waste incinerator. The goals of the project are 1) Improvement of livelihoods of people involved in waste collection and disposal; 2) Development of model-based prediction tools to unlock the potential of extraction of energy from waste; 3) Institutional development and North-south cooperation enhancement and 4) Increased knowledge about alternatives to waste management.

  • Flemish promotor: Jan Van Impe (KU Leuven)
  • Local promotor: Ephraim Noble Banadda (Makerere University)

Sustainable land use and resilient livelihoods in the landslide-prone region of Mount Elgon, Uganda (SureLive)

The Mt Elgon region in Eastern Uganda is confronted with very rapid environmental degradation, including rapid deforestation in up-slope areas, severe erosion and frequent landslides in mid-slope areas, and sedimentation and recurrent flooding in down-slope areas. This project aims at understanding the complex chain of causal links that can explain these land degradation processes and their ecological and economic effects; and at identifying and promoting effective strategies for more sustainable land use and for increasing the resilience of farm-households to environmental risks and shocks. At the same time, the project seeks to increase the human and infrastructure capacity at BU - Namasagali campus, and to increase the research culture at this institution. The project will result in 2 finished PhDs, several international conference contributions, several international scientific journal articles, and increased research capacity at BU.

  • Flemish promotor: Miet Maertens (KU Leuven)
  • Local promotor: Moses Isabirye (Busitema University)

Bridging the gap between clinical epidemiological research and the community by strengthening community health research

Despite evidence based policies, drug availability for most common diseases varies dramatically from place to place. Furthermore, health professionals have acquired limited competences to manage an operational district after graduation. Through qualitative and quantitative research projects, we will assess various human behavioural aspects which may affect directly or indirectly the genesis and spread of drug resistance. Equally, we will assess the quality and quantity of the medicines available and assess the level of drug resistance of circulating pathogens. All research protocols will have to be approved by the relevant scientific and ethical bodies. Further, we will strengthen the community health departments of both partners to train undergraduate students as future District Medical Officers (DMOs). The service to the society is direct as the community health department will link actual 'evidence based' policies with the field reality and DMOs will be better trained.

  • Flemish promotor: Jean-Pierre Van geertruyden (Antwerp University)
  • Local promotor: Nozmo Frederick Mukiibi (Mbarara University of Science and Technology)

Relationship between mycotoxins and Nodding syndrome: a part of the solution

The project will: 1) Carry out a preliminary screening to study a possible link between mycotoxins and the nodding disease. Therefore a thorough evaluation of diet components will be carried out with focus on mould infections and mycotoxins in affected districts, and 2) Upgrade the knowledge of food safety in general and mycotoxins in particularly. Therefore we will strengthen the capacity of Ugandan researchers and lecturers in conducting mycotoxin risk assessment, mycotoxin analysis methods and prevention techniques to reduce mycotoxin exposure.

  • Flemish promotor: Geert Haesaert (Ghent University College)
  • Local promotor: E. Ovuga (Gulu University)

Identification and analysis of land degradation hot spots, their socio-economical and physical controls and implications in the Mt Rwenzori region

This project aims at setting the scene for integrated research on land degradation processes and sustainable land management in the hilly landscape of the Rwenzori region in Western Uganda by identifying key land degradation processes and the zones most affected (hot spots). The short-term objective is to conduct a community-based diagnosis of land degradation processes, their potential causes and their impact on food security and sustainable land management for local families. The second objective is to build up research capacity at BU and MMU in land degradation processes, to foster knowledge transfer from BU to MMU (and between Belgian and Ugandan partners), and to establish long-term collaboration between these institutions.

  • Flemish promotor: Matthieu Kervyn De Meerendre (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Local promotor: Moses Isabirye (Busitema University)

Exploring opportunities for partnership and initiating joint research on the topic: "Intra-household and gender analysis to address food and health insecurities among rural communities in south western Uganda

  • Flemish promotor: Nathalie Holvoet (University of Antwerp)
  • Local promotor: Viola Nilah Nyakato (Mbarara University)

Creation of a Reference Centre for Schisis and Ameloblastoma

In Eastern and Central Africa there are very large numbers of patients affected with Congenital Facial Clefts (CFC) and Benign Jaw Tumours (BJT). These severe handicaps limit the patient's social acceptance and patients functioning dramatically. Reconstructive surgery can reduce these handicaps significantly, potentially reversing their social limitations. However, many of these patients are either not treated or treated inadequately for two main reasons: first, the disease is not well understood or accepted in the local community, and secondly, there are few properly trained reconstructive surgeons in the area. This project aims to create a reference centre for CFC and BJT therapy by joining up a well-managed local Hospital (CoRSU) with a local University Surgical Department at MUST. Moreover development and sustainability of care is guaranteed by creating an Mmed degree in Reconstructive Surgery at MUST with the surgical training facilities at CoRSU. Local training will help these surgeons manage working in their own environment, and will prevent them from leaving the country (anti brain drain). Moreover, the project can potentially yield high quality research which will assist the local health community in improving their treatment of these conditions as well as being of interest to the wider international community.

  • Flemish promotor: Hubert Vermeersch (Ghent University)
  • Local promotor: Frederick Nozmo-Mukliibi (Mbarara University)