Post graduate initiatives and research

Post graduate research and guidance in the field

“Building Resilient Communities: A Model for Community Based Disaster Risk Management in Informal Settlements of Lusaka – Zambia” – Mr Adrian Phiri (PhD)

An impact on ecohealth and wellbeing of communities are evident when rapid urban growth is accompanied by a large influx of poor migrants from rural areas. An increased vulnerability to natural hazards in many parts of the world is the result. Migrants most of times find themselves in peri-urban areas settling on marginal lands around cities. Usually such areas are fragile and prone to many kinds of environmental risks such as flooding and outbreaks of environmental illnesses. The most vulnerable members of the community include women, children and very old people with disabilities. Poverty is one of the underlying factors which expose urban communities to disaster risks. The study emphasise the history of disaster risk and risk management in Lusaka, and provides a model in which it is skilfully outlined that the most effective way to reduce disaster risk is to work with the local people to identify and analyse their vulnerability and capacities, develop and implement an action plan which would help them live a sustainable life.

Mr Adrian Phiri received his Doctoral Degree in May 2015 with a highly positive report from examiners.

“Towards developing a prediction model for managing flood disasters in the SADC-region” – Mr Tichoana Muzuwa – (PhD)

Ecohealth and wellbeing from a risk and disaster management perspective forms part of the interdisciplinary efforts in regions. Mr Muzuwa’s study can be viewed as such. Internationally, including the SADC-region floods are considered to affect more people and causing more economic losses than any other hazard. As such this thesis was aimed towards developing a prediction model for managing flood disasters in the SADC-region. The main objective was to identify which aspects or dimensions could be included in a flood prediction model to improve the functionality and efficiency of reducing river flood risks in the SADC-region to improve human wellbeing (emotionally and economically). The study also reviewed documents on existing literature regarding flood prediction research, the use of flood prediction models worldwide and how some of the prediction methods and research may serve as possible instruments to deal with the management of river floods in the SADC-region. The models identified include scientific and indigenous ways of predicting river floods.

Mr Tichoana Muzuwa submitted his thesis for examination in November 2016. The outcome is awaited.

“Die lewe van ingekerkerde gemeenskappe: ’n Vergelykende studie uit kampdagboeke en -herinneringe gedurende die Suid-Afrikaanse Oorlog, 1899-1902” – Elsa Krügell – (PhD)
Direct English translation: The life of imprisoned communities: A comparative study of camp diaries and memories during the South African War, 1899-1902

This study explores the intrinsic wellbeing experiences of two kinds of camp refugees during the 1899-1902 South African War detained to several camps in especially the northern regions of South Africa and outside South Africa.  Resilience levels and coping with limitations such as space, food and uncertainties about the status of beloved ones, are explored from historical diaries, memories and published narratives.

Mrs E Krügell submitted her thesis for examination in November 2016.  The outcome is awaited.

“A comparative Analysis of the Vulnerability of Informal and Formal Households to Disaster Risks: The Case of Bekkersdal” – Mrs Nomonde Madebula – (PhD)

The study under investigation is on a comparative analysis of the vulnerability of formal and informal households to disasters risks using the case of Bekkersdal, in the Westonaria Local Municipal district (WLM). Determining the level of vulnerability of households to various appearances of disaster risks could serve as a platform for comparing the ecohealth and wellbeing vulnerability of informal and formal households. By interrogating the determinants of vulnerability and their components may enhance scientist’s understanding of the differences and/or similarities in vulnerability of these households with the intention to address vulnerabilities through proper means. Through this household survey it will be possible to draw conclusions on different vulnerability levels and specified development packages on a comparative basis on informal and formal households of Bekkersdal to disaster risks instead of a one-size-fits-all-approach which appears to be the current scenario generally.

Mrs N Madebula will submit her thesis in November 2017

The impact of sustainable livelihood projects on community resilience in the light of food security:  The case of Zimbabwe agro-ecological regions IV and V from 2000-2015 – Sifelani Ngwenya – (PhD)

The study is an attempt to unearth the quintessence of sustainable livelihood projects impact’s on food security and community resilience in Zimbabwe’s agro-ecological regions IV and V, in terms of their nature and purpose at micro, meso and macro level. Theoretical frameworks for sustainability, livelihoods, resilience and food security are conceptualized and their relationship will be highlighted, with reference to the Agro-ecological regions VI and V of Zimbabwe as an exemplary of the broader need of underpinning the impact of livelihood projects.

Mr S Ngwenya should submit his thesis in November 2017