The Strengthening Urban Engagement of Universities in Asia and Africa (SUEUAA) project is funded by the British Academy under the Cities and Infrastructure programme of its Global Challenges Research Fund.  The project, led by the University of Glasgow, includes six international partners from Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The project addresses a core problem in emerging economies of strengthening the urban engagement role of universities, and ways they contribute to developing sustainable cities in the context of the major social, cultural, environmental and economic challenges facing the global south. It uses a set of well-proven benchmarking tools as its principal method, and seeks to strengthen the capacity of universities to contribute to city resilience towards natural and human-made disasters. Examples of urban engagement include supporting the development of physical infrastructure, ecological sustainability, and social inclusion (including of migrants). It calls upon contributions from science and engineering, the arts, environmental sciences, social sciences and business studies. It assesses the extent to which universities in 6 countries under study can respond to demands of society, and how through dialogue with city stakeholders this can be enhanced and impact on policy; it uses a collaborative team from the UK and emerging economies.


SUEUAA Project Blog

The University of Dar-es-Salam (UDSM) is the oldest university in Tanzania, established in the year 1970. Compared to other universities in the country, the UDSM is relatively well established in terms of traditions, infrastructure, structures and policies such that it was expected that it would widely contribute to regional development.

The university was among the six universities participating in the Strengthening Urban Engagement of Universities in Asia and Africa (SUEUAA) project, which addresses a core problem in emerging economies, and assessing ways they contribute to developing sustainable cities in the context of the major social, cultural, environmental and economic challenges facing the global south.

The project is led by the University of Glasgow and aims at assessing the capacity of universities to contribute to city resilience. It uses a set of well-proven benchmarking tool as its principal method, and seeks to strengthen the capacity of universities to contribute to city resilience towards natural and human-made disasters.

As we have reported previously, an Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility grant won by the University of Glasgow from the European Commission has allowed eight staff from the University of Duhok to visit the University of Glasgow. These staff specialise in the field of Medicine, Chemistry, Structural Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, Urban Geography and Finance.

In 2016, this researcher was approached by administration, at a time when the University of Zimbabwe was grappling with numerous problems in the area of Waste Management. Garbage tips had become a common feature in various places. Bins were not protected against scavengers (dogs, cats and birds). The task was then to design a mechanism that would help to contain the situation.

Observations showed all sorts of materials (glass, plastic, metal, paper, fabrics and wood) dumped in one place. Apart from protecting the bins against scavengers, it was therefore also necessary to sort all waste into various categories, thereby facilitating systematic collection. This would in turn help to recycle most of these materials into useful products. Having observed similar problems around various suburbs in Harare, regarding waste management, it is some of the ideas generated at the University of Zimbabwe that could profitably be shared with the City of Harare.

Urban agriculture in Zimbabwe has become more than just about personal hobbies and households’ desire to access freshly grown food products. Socio-economic trends in urban areas have made it increasingly important for many urban households to use their backyard and other spaces to produce crops and animals to significantly meet their food requirements as well as sell for incomes. These ‘farmers’ are unique in their resourcefulness in terms of accessing farming inputs, information and markets.

The sector is also prime ground for fashionable food trends and changing wellness demands by urban societies. Farming extension services are usually not as traditionally structured as for rural communities but are influenced by input suppliers, peer knowledge systems and access to information technologies. In this paper we present the role and scope of universities in engaging these unique food producers as well as related stakeholders in urban food production systems.

This is the 16th case study from SUEUAA (Strengthening Urban Engagement in Universities in Asia and Africa), written by Nematollah Azizi of the University of Kurdistan and concerns the contribution of his university to the inclusion of blind people in the university. People with disabilities represent a significant percentage of the community. Disabilities are diverse and can range from obvious impairments to invisible conditions. This includes people with sensory impairments /loss, including those with a vision impairment or who are blind.