The SUEUAA project had a number of positive outcomes at both personal and institutional levels. The project enabled us to look more closely into the role of higher education in community and national development. It also provided an opportunity to learn in more detail, the challenges that the City of Harare grapples with to meet the expectations of residents and other stakeholders and how universities such as UZ could be more actively involved in addressing them.
The nine in-depth interviews and numerous other informal discussions we conducted with different stakeholders provided us with a rich understanding of the operations of the two institutions. It also opened up new sources of information for both staff and students whose research problems should emerge from day-to-day needs rather than just hypothetical constructs.
The various visits that we undertook through SUEUAA to other countries and participation in meetings, workshops, symposia, and conferences were all enriching academically, professionally and personally as they broadened our experiences and perspectives. The Principal Investigator, Professor Michael Osborne and the whole team of SUEUAA researchers from six countries were a real source of inspiration as they freely shared their rich knowledge and experiences.
I personally developed deeper insights into interdisciplinary collaborative research that now anchor my research activities as reflected in the public lecture I delivered at the University of Zimbabwe on 18 May 2019. My topic was, “Interdisciplinary University Community Engagement: A design and technology perspective.” I also benefitted from the experience, as Founder of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Academic Research (https://arc.ac/journal/jiar).
Some of the articles emerging from the SUEUAA Project will be published in the Journal, thereby promoting the publication of academic research output in the Global South. The SUEUAA project has prepared us for the University of Zimbabwe Strategic Plan 2019-2025 which emphasises interdisciplinarity and collaboration across faculties and indeed, universities. We plan to pursue the collaborative opportunities identified during the SUEUAA project and develop joint projects with the City of Harare and its various stakeholders.