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Global climate change presents daunting and exciting challenges, especially for the developing world, where traditional routes to development are at odds with the need for a low carbon economy. At the same time, building resilience to climate change and variability is fundamental to sustainable development and prosperity. A transdisciplinary approach that integrates the biophysical, technological, socio-economic sciences and the humanities is required to successfully engage with these challenges.

South Africa is well positioned to engage with these issues given that it's a developing country with good technology and infrastructure, yet it is also an economy in transition and is home to less-developed communities. Thus, it provides a microcosm of the developing world’s social, environmental, and economic development issues.

Based in South Africa, the ACDI's full-time, one-year taught Master’s (MSc/MPhil) course provides interdisciplinary training in climate change and sustainable development, with a focus on the issues of relevance to African development.

The course is one of several development studies programmes at UCT. 

Who should attend?

We seek applicants who want to gain a broad understanding of the issues involved in climate change and sustainable development from an African and developing world perspective, and who want a comprehensive introduction to climate change issues. Applicants should be Honours or four-year Bachelor graduates from across the spectrum of disciplines, who have completed a research-based project or dissertation in their final year. 

The course will equip its graduates for employment in government, local authorities, businesses with a sustainability agenda, consultancies, NGOs and international development organisations. It will also provide the foundation for those aiming to do a PhD in climate and development. It is aimed at both recent graduates and those with several years’ experience who wish to engage with these pressing issues within the context of their vocations.

Course content

This is a full-time, 180 NQF credit coursework masters that is 50% course-based and 50% dissertation-based. 

  • Two compulsory core modules:

    • 1) Introduction to Climate Change and Sustainable Development­: This module provides broad, integrated knowledge on key issues in the climate change and sustainable development field. The module covers topics such as sustainable development; the climate system, anthropogenic forcing and climate system response; African climate variability and change; international climate change legal frameworks; the economics of climate change and climate change financing; and climate-compatible development.

    • 2) Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: This module provides in-depth coverage of adaption and mitigation from both theoretical and applied points of view.

  • Two elective modules, chosen from a range of topics such international climate law, sustainable urban systems, climate variability and prediction, and climate change and biodiversity, offering the opportunity to explore new areas or to look at climate and development through existing disciplinary backgrounds.

  • A 90-credit dissertation based on a self-developed research question on the issue of climate change, in the discipline of the student’s choosing.

Please note, this is a full-time Master’s programme and it is not advised to try to complete it while working. You will be required to attend all the scheduled classes and talks (minimum of 80% attendance), as well as spend a significant amount of time doing preparation or assignments. Lectures for the two core courses are from 11-13:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with often at least one hour of workshops or seminars scheduled per week.

Consult the Science Faculty 2023 Handbook (page 40) for more information on the curriculum structure. 

Course timing

The course begins in early February (two weeks before the start of the undergraduate year) and finishes in February the following year.

Students and graduates

  • Class of 2023

    Amir Rezaei is a marine conservationist, born in Iran, brought up in Zimbabwe and currently living in Cape Town. After graduating with a BSc in Marine Biology from UCT Amir worked as a Marine Biologist onboard a seagoing educational vessel in partnership with the Two Oceans Aquarium in Table Bay whilst undertaking a BSc Honours in Environmental Management. Amir then got involved in the WWF-SA Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA), initially as a facilitator for the course which he subsequently coordinated and facilitated for several years. This was a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the fishing industry. Amir also acted as an environmental consultant for members of the RFA and subsequently other companies, including African Eagle Marine Eco Tours. He then took on a full-time role at the WWF-SA as the Seafood Market Transformation Officer until the end of 2022 and is now working as a Marine Biologist and skipper with African Eagle Marine Eco Tours. Amir is passionate about the ocean and spends much time surfing, spearfishing, and generally enjoying nature.

    Anele Songo Benya is a climate change researcher who’s work focuses on climate change and agriculture in rural South Africa. Anele looks broadly at how climate change has affected small scale farmers in rural communities of South Africa and how this has a direct effect on the functioning of the household (food security at household level). Anele is interested in questions around gender, identities, environmental, social, land, water, food justice and how marginalized communities, particularly working-class women, organize and build movements for alternatives to address the ecological crises. She also looks at indigenous knowledge systems as a means of addressing/ mitigating our current ecological crisis. Anele holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences majoring in Political Science and Sociology from the University of the Free State.

    Anna Whelan from Dublin, Ireland completed her undergraduate BA Hons degree in International Relations from Dublin City University. Studies included Spanish, foreign policy, conflict resolution and international development. Anna completed an independent research project on factors that contributed to the level of HIV/ AIDS in Sub- Saharan Africa while in university. After graduating university Anna worked with CPL as a placement coordinator for healthcare facilities across Ireland during covid. Anna has previously spent time in Cape Town volunteering in local schools supporting students academically while also learning to surf in Muizenberg. Anna has a keen interest in global relations, the environment and sustainability. On completion of her postgraduate studies at UCT, Anna intends to develop a career in this field focusing on climate and development initiatives that will encourage equality and sustainable development for vulnerable populations.

    Jin Wook YOO was born and raised in South Korea. After graduating high school in South Korea, he moved to Japan and graduated a university in Japan, majoring sociology. After graduation in 2013, he joined one of the largest trading and investment companies in Japan (Sumitomo Corporation) and spent 10 years mainly dealing with power plant business around the world. During his days in private company, he experienced a few projects in Africa (South Africa, Ghana, and Egypt). Especially, he spent 5 years in Ghana, for one of the largest project-finance based power plant project. Through this experience, he deepened his understanding in power infrastructure, financing and banking, and environmental sectors in some of African region. His recent interest is on how to effectively utilize economic/financial contribution from developed countries and motivate entities/individuals in developing countries to choose sustainable way of development.

    Linda Sibisi completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental & Geographical Sciences and Politics and Governance at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2021. He went on to pursue an honours degree in Environmental Management at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 2022. He gained a deeper appreciation for the impacts that climate change has on rural communities while conducting his honours research on a wetland in rural Mpumalanga and decided to explore the phenomenon of climate change further at the Masters level. His research interests primarily lay in the arena that involves the effects that climate change has on rural communities and those communities which still live off the land and engage in subsistence activity. The ways in which these effects can be quantified, mitigated and adapted to are of a particular interest to him. In his spare time he enjoys sight-seeing, meeting up with friends, playing a variety of sports as well as painting and reading.

    Musiba Masamba Musiba (Tanzania) is currently working at the Sokoine University of Agriculture: in Morogoro, Tanzania as an academic staff in the position of Tutorial Assistant. Musiba holds a BSc. Environmental Sciences and a postgraduate diploma in Meteorology from the Sokoine University of Agriculture and from the University of Nairobi Kenya respectively. His goal is to become a professional climate change expert and gain enough skills and knowledge in climate change so that he can be able to conduct consultancies, research, and solve problems of the current and future changing climate. Musiba has been actively engaged in the effects of climate, especially on water resources. His hobbies include reading books, journal articles, novels, and news.

    Shingirai Sakarombe holds a BSc in Geography and Environmental Studies (2017) from the Midlands State University (MSU), Zimbabwe and is a Canon Collins Climate Justice Fellow for the year 2023. Based on his prior experience in biodiversity conservation and climate change policy advocacy, he is keen on practice-oriented research to expand the local knowledge base for informed decision-making and policy development. Studying an MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the University of Cape Town will enhance his capacity and skills in climate change research and the development of climate-smart livelihood options to spur transformative change toward sustainable development practices in Zimbabwe.

    Stephanie Cookson is a Bachelor of Social Science Honours graduate from UP with a dedication to change-making. Growing up in both South Africa and Botswana and travelling much of Sub-Saharan Africa in her childhood, she pursued humanities and social science, devoted to the idea that a more liveable world is possible for the Global South. During her studies, she wrote as a journalist for Africa's largest independent student newspaper, worked on many committees serving her student community, and engaged with organisations like the AU and UN. She has a longstanding passion for the power of multi-disciplinary approaches and believes working to solve issues engendered by climate change is a matter of justice and equity. Her academic interests range from multi-species ethnography to economic anthropology, environmental history to globalisation - but outside this, she can be found reading a good book, struggling to keep houseplants alive, and definitely engaged in lively conversation.

    Tariroyashe Marufu is based in Cape Town, South Africa. She has an academic & industry background in land surveying and geographic information systems. She is eager to broaden her expertise by gaining a deeper understanding of climate change issues. Her interests include policy development with a specific focus on protection of vulnerable geographic areas. By applying her cartography, earth observation & spatial data analysis skills in this context, she will help improve best practices in mapping changes & monitoring vulnerable geographic areas across the world. In her free time she enjoys being on the rugby pitch and exploring the great outdoors.

  • Class of 2022

    Natalie Tatenda Murape holds a BCom (Hons) Management Accounting, Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA) and a BCom Financial Accounting from Stellenbosch University. In her Honours thesis she looked at Sustainability-oriented Management Practices in Dairy farming in South Africa which sparked an interest in Climate Change. After her post-graduate studies Natalie went on to work as an Advisory and Consultancy Associate at RSM Zambia for a year. In this time she gained extensive experience in Finance and hopes to advance into Green Finance with a focus on aligning financial flows to net zero.

    Emma Del Cuore is originally from Durban. She is a graduate from Stellenbosch University, with a triple major in Geography and Environmental Studies, Psychology and English. She completed her honours in Geography and Environmental Studies in 2021 with specialisation in GIS, Geomorphology and Disaster Risk Science. Emma has always been passionate about people, animals and the environment and strives to be a medium through which people can learn about sustainability and the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change in an effort to do her part in conserving our beautiful planet.

    Elena Sentieri is a 29-year-old Italian specialist in Urban Development and Resilience experienced in the field of Urban Resilience, Climate Action and Territorial Development, skilled in working with development partners, national and local governments and vulnerable communities, especially in developing countries. Elena currently employed at United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHabitat) in Maputo, Mozambique, but has previous experience in Europe, working especially in the field of Sustainable Architecture. Elena is strongly interested in environmental and human rights protection, completing a Master’s degree in Architecture and subsequently specialized in Emergency Architecture and Urban Resilience through a postgraduate master’s course in Venice, Italy.

    Tamika du Pont is an environmental scientist and climate advocate from Swaziland. She completed her undergraduate journey at Rhodes University. She has a deep interest in the relationships that exist between people and nature and often finds herself on the “human-side” of environmental work. She has experience in social-ecological research, policy analysis and environmental communication. Through the 2021 GYCN Climate Ambassador program she pioneered various climate projects including the curation of a climate change mural with upcoming young Swazi artists. She believes that changing people’s mindsets towards the environment is key to ensuring a greener and sustainable future and hopes to challenge people’s relationships with the environment.

    Rodrick Moyo is a community change agent, who has been animating and facilitating knowledge transfer amongst communities that are on the climate change frontier for the past three years. He holds a Bsc Degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the Midlands State University. Rodrick is a Canon Collins Climate Justice Fellow for the year 2022. Rodrick has worked as a digital advocate who initiated and coordinated successful digital campaigns to influence environmental policy positions in Zimbabwe and abroad namely through initiating the #SaveHwangeNationalPark Campaign and being a regional coordinator for Southern Africa between 2020 to 2021 Environmental Child Rights #MyPlanetMyRight Campaign. Rodrick intends to work on climate justice advocacy projects, engaging civil society, government agencies, departments, and development partners to develop innovative, adaptive, green and climate smart interventions needed to achieve climate resilience in Zimbabwe and beyond.

    Thusego Sebastian Setswammung is from a wonderful landlocked country Botswana. I am what many would consider an introvert, fairly reserved. I am however by no means unapproachable. What I hold true is, that which you expect from others, you should be willing to render the same. I read a book titled Winning by Jack and Suzy Welch and resolved that it would be somewhat my “constitution”. Fascinated with learning, in this phase of my life I have decided to read a little bit more, travel and experience different places and situations far more than I ever did. I hold an undergraduate degree (BSc) in Environmental Health. It is while pursing my degree that I became greatly intrigued by the environment and its proper use. Climate change and conservation became areas of much interest. Hitherto, my work experience has been primarily in the area of occupational health and safety however my interests lies more with environmental issues.

    Amir Rezaei is a marine conservationist, born in Iran, brought up in Zimbabwe and currently living in Cape Town. After graduating with a BSc in Marine Biology from UCT Amir worked as a Marine Biologist onboard a seagoing educational vessel in partnership with the Two Oceans Aquarium in Table Bay whilst undertaking my BSc Honours in Environmental Management. Amir then got involved in the WWF-SA Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA), initially as a facilitator for the course which he subsequently coordinated and facilitated for several years. This was a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the fishing industry. Amir also acted as an environmental consultant for members of the RFA and subsequently other companies, including African Eagle Marine Eco Tours. He then took on a full-time role at the WWF-SA as the Seafood Market Transformation Officer in 2019 – a role that he is still undertaking. Amir is passionate about the ocean and spends much time surfing, spearfishing, and generally enjoying nature.

    Amour Mccarthy gained a Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences, majoring in Botany and Zoology, in 2013 from the University of South Africa (UNISA). In 2013 she joined the Animal Demography Unit at UCT as a DST-NRF intern and stayed on until 2018 assisting with the CAR and Earthwatch Penguin Project. She completed her BSc Hons. in Environmental Management in 2021, also from UNISA. Her main interests lie in climate change adaptation and mitigation and policy development. In her free time, she enjoys baking, exploring Cape Town and surfing.

    Jana Basson completed high school in her hometown, Stellenbosch, at Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof in 2014. Jana went on to obtain her undergraduate degree in Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria in 2021. She is currently completing her compulsory community service year as a state veterinarian in Oudtshoorn. Outside of her professional career, she enjoys playing badminton, reading and spending time with her family. Jana hopes to gain more knowledge of climate change, with an interest in the veterinary field, through her studies at the University of Cape Town this year.

    Max Besser obtained his bachelor's degree in environmental science from Northeastern University in Boston before returning home to Cape Town to complete his Master’s. Max is interested in combining his growing scientific knowledge with more social sciences, such as economics and politics, to help find and implement incentives that will promote sustainable consumer practices among the general public. Since returning to Cape Town, Max has volunteered his time with a few local organizations but will continue helping in the aquarium’s front of house while studying. Max also has a deep love for anything outdoors, especially something involving the ocean having spent two years as a scuba diving instructor and recently gotten into surfing.

    Virginia Chikuse is a 25-year-old lady who is passionate about the environment and cares for it as well. These interests were borne from my background, having grown in a poor neighbourhood with terrible living conditions and barely having any clean water to drink. As a result, I have made it a mission to acquire as much knowledge as possible on caring for the environment and our climate to ascertain the future of coming generations sees better livelihoods than I did, irrespective of social standing. My third and final year projects during my BSc in Civil Engineering were milestones towards this dream, providing solutions for water shortages and eco-friendly accommodation for the Cyclone Idai displaced communities of Chimamanimani in Zimbabwe, respectively. I look forward to this learning opportunity so I can improve my skills and knowledge and continue to provide viable solutions for the people and environment alike.

    Dona van Eeden is a jack of all trades with a background in science, sustainable development, education, and communication. After initially studying a BSc in Biodiversity and Ecology at Stellenbosch University, the importance of sustainable development dawned on her and sparked a passion to protect the natural world from human impact. In doing so she moved away from studying natural sciences and set her sights on improving the way humanity views and treats the ecological systems on which we depend. She hopes to combine her multifaceted passions to research the complexities of climate change and to pursue a career in sustainable development. Her passion for the natural world comes from her love of hiking and photographing the beauty of nature. In her free time you can find her on a mountain or with her nose in a book.

    Jonathan Garrido-Mirapeix is a prospective student in Climate Change and Development at UCT. Jonathan recently graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Ecological and Environmental sciences from the University of Edinburgh and is a British and Spanish national. Jonathan has been very fortunate to have travelled extensively and lived in Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and the UK, thoroughly enjoying the natural landscapes in all these places and outdoor activities such as scuba diving, fishing, safari’s etc. Throughout the years he has gained experience and insights into the drastic changes in the climate and the global impact across these environments. Jonathan believes we all have a role to play in preserving these delicate ecosystems and tackling the multi-disciplinary challenge of climate change.

    Katie Carlson received her Bachelor’s in Systems and Information Engineering with a minor in Global Sustainability from the University of Virginia. She then went to Cameroon with the United States Peace Corps, working to improve agribusiness practices and find sustainable local solutions to food insecurity. In March 2020 she was sent back to the US and began working as a data analyst consulting on a USAID-funded project to research contributing factors to human trafficking and violent extremism. She now hopes to re-center her work on sustainable development with a focus on improving food security and urban resilience in the face of a changing climate. In her free time she enjoys reading, painting, traveling, and anything involving the outdoors.

    Evelyn Kaliwo holds a BSc. in Environmental Science and Technology obtained from the University of Malawi. She worked as a Quality Controller in a dairy company where she was periodically training dairy farmers in hygienic practices for production of high-quality milk. Through this interface, she realised that farmers faced some climate change related challenges. She also worked at Malawi Bureau of Standards as a Standards Officer, responsible for development of standards for Food and Agriculture. Due to interaction with different stakeholders, she developed interest in climate change issues and decided to pursue deeper knowledge of how it affects life on earth. She believes that the knowledge will empower her to positively impact her environment including equipping smallholder farmers with relevant climate information.

  • Class of 2021

    Matthew Gabin prides himself on being a charismatic and energetic person. Having completed his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at UCT, he went on to work as an Investment Analyst at Absa Group Ltd in Sandton for two years. He gained extensive financial experience, specifically in the Global Markets and Sustainable Investments space. Outside of his professional career, his interests lie in music (proficient in five instruments and counting), and anything involving the outdoors – definitely an adrenaline junkie! 

    Yasirah Madhi obtained her undergraduate and honours degrees at the University of Witwatersrand. In her honours year she specialised in urban ecology and sustainability where she looked at the connectivity and integrity of ecological corridors. Yasirah hopes to come out of this year with a deeper, more holistic and integrated outlook on the topic of climate change. She is an art lover, avid reader and an aspiring runner.

    Andrea Campbell is a 33 year old illustrator, designer and previously a nature guide based in Limpopo, South Africa. She grew up in Cape Town and after completing a BA Visual Communication degree from Stellenbosch University she moved into full-time guiding, working in some of Africa’s most beautiful wilderness areas. It was during this time that her interest in climate change and the protection of earth’s biodiversity grew. She is an active person who loves yoga and spending time outdoors; particularly hiking, birding and looking for wild flowers.

    Natasha Nkabi holds a BSc in Engineering specializing in Chemical Engineering which was obtained from UCT in 2019. Passionate about nature conservation, human development in under-resourced and marginalized communities, gender equality and nature photography. Interested in gaining deeper knowledge about climate change and it's consequences for Southern Africa especially for rural areas that are dependent on subsistence farming.  Interested in using knowledge to contribute to work that is aimed at ensuring that development on the continent is sustainable and equitable in the face of climate change.

    Takalani Rabakali holds a Bachelor of Earth Sciences (Hons) in Hydrology and Water Resources obtained from the University of Venda, Postgraduate Diploma in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) from the University of the Western Cape and Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Management from Stellenbosch University. She is extremely passionate about climate change and development research. Takalani expectation is to gain knowledge, skills and understanding about this programme. Her study focuses on the effects of climate change on the marine ecosystems in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The expected outcome of her study will show the gaps that need to be filled in order to incorporate sustainable strategies to help mitigate and adapt to climate change in South Africa.

    Abenathi Mantshiyose was born on the 4th of January in 1998. She lives in Willowvale, a small town located in the Eastern Cape. She comes from a family of three boys. She completed her high school at St Christopher’s Private School, and later completed her tertiary studies at Rhodes University. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Geography in 2019, and furthered her studies by completing her Honours degree in Environmental Science in 2020. She has been involved in different research projects at Rhodes University. In 2019 she was involved in a research project with third year students, the project focused on consumer behaviour in plastic use in Grahamstown. In 2020 she conducted a research on the adaptation strategies of smallholder farmers to drought in Southern Africa. The research focused on identifying the adaptation strategies of smallholder farmers to drought.

    Kalia is from Cape Town. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computational Sciences and Social Sciences from a university based in the US, called Minerva Schools. Since obtaining her degree she has been working for a company based in Nairobi, Kenya which is focused on empowering women cross-border traders in East Africa through a mobile trade and market information platform. She has also been leveraging the lockdown to learn many hobbies, from gardening and mushroom foraging, to amateur tennis and birding. She looks forward to returning to her studies and am particularly interested in climate change adaptation for small-scale agriculture.

  • Class of 2020

    Trisha Patel is currently enrolled for a Master of Science in Climate Change and Development at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Trisha holds an Honours degree in Archaeology and Environmental and Geographical Science from UCT. Her honours thesis looked at the subfield of Battlefield Archaeology in conjunction with Military Geography, and its viability within a southern African context. While conducting research for her thesis she explored the field of geomorphology from which stems her research interest. Trisha is driven by her passion for the environment and is determined to be a driving force behind evidence-based research in the field. In her leisure time Trisha is an endurance runner and enjoys developing her creative expression through art.

    Aimee Tredoux is originally from Cape Town, and has been a UCT student for 4 years. She have a background in Humanities and recently completed her Honours in Psychology. Individual and group behaviour change as well as context-specific program design and evaluation are of particular interest to her, especially in the context of climate change. Her intention in pursuing a Masters of Philosophy is to equip herself with knowledge and resources regarding climate change adaptation and mitigation, with the ultimate goal of conducting research that merges the fields of Psychology and Environmental sciences. She believes that understanding highly specific circumstances and unique backgrounds within the South African context is essential in orchestrating long lasting behavior change in a fair and empowering manner.

    Akshata Mehta Mandiwana was born and raised in the bustling city of Mumbai, India. Akshata graduated with a degree in International Political Economy and Literature in English from the College of Idaho (USA). She is an avid scuba diver and having worked as a Divemaster, Akshata wants to combine her educational background with her passion; and is particularly interested in understanding the relationship between climate change and coastal environments, resources, and economies. She is also interested in exploring climate change and adaptation as a social justice issue. Akshata spends most of her free time either lounging by the beach or curled up with a good book in hand. 

    Julia Kirr is 25 years old and from Germany. After completing her Bachelor in Sociology at the University of Mannheim she came to Cape Town for the first time in 2018 to work for a marketing agency. She then continued with a Postgraduate Diploma in Management at the University of Cape Town, which she finished in December 2019. She is excited to start the Masters in Climate Change and Sustainable Development, meet interesting people and get new insights. Julia is curious to learn about and develop solutions for sustainable development and learn how countries can adapt to the changes that occur as a consequence of climate change. In her free time she loves doing all kinds of sports like running, hiking or functional training. She also enjoys cooking delicious vegetarian dishes, reading a good book and meeting up with friends. 

    Bulelani Maskiti is from South Africa and holds a B.A in Geography & Environmental studies and BA Honours degree in Geography & Environmental studies, both obtained from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. Before joining ACDI as an Intern, he worked as a tutor and research assistant at the University of the Western Cape in the Department of Geography, Environment Studies and Tourism. He also had an opportunity to be involved in conservation activities in the South African National Park at the Table Mountain through the Volunteer Field Ranger Programme. He worked as a rope access technician for the Working for Water Programme team that is based at Table Mountain National Park on clearing invasive Alien Plants in Table Mountain National Park with the goal of Conserving biodiversity and increasing the availability of water in Cape Town. He is interested in climate change impacts on livelihoods and their adoption strategies. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, running and playing football.

    Leigh-Ann Palmer has 4 years’ experience working as an environmental consultant focused on contaminated land investigations within Sub-Saharan Africa; to improve companies environmental and social performance. Leigh-Ann’s primary project experience is within the automotive, waste, manufacturing and oil and gas sector; conducting environmental due diligence, contaminated land investigations, and portfolio management. Leigh-Ann has also project managed the implementation of a long-term remedial strategy.   She has a BSc Honours Earth Science degree from Stellenbosch University. Prior to obtaining her degree, Leigh-Ann had the opportunity to be a part of a team of scientists to conduct research aboard the SA Agulhas II for their annual summer voyage to Antarctica, where she conducted research on the Southern Ocean, in partial fulfilment of her Honours degree.

    Bridget N. Siziba (Zimbabwe) is a development communication professional. She is passionate about inspiring meaningful change through her role. She recognised her interest in climate change during her internship experience in the development sector where she got to witness the effects of climate change on lives, livelihoods, health and the well-being of rural communities. This experience opened her eyes to the reality of climate change and forever changed her long-term career goals. For seven years, Bridget has been supporting Climate Change and Food Security NGO programs, raising awareness, influencing behaviour change and building community resilience to environmental changes. She holds an Honours degree in Marketing. With this program she looks forward to gaining a broader understanding on Climate Change, and exploring effective strategies for climate change action and adaptation by rural communities in Africa.  Her goal is to become a climate change communications specialist, helping communities in Africa transition to sustainable practices.

    Gonzalo Hess (Chile) holds a bachelor degree and professional title in Geography from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, where he graduated in 2014. His undergraduate research was about deglaciation patterns and paleobatimetric fluctuations in Patagonia. He has worked in environmental consultancy, NGO and urban research centers. His interest on studying a Masters in Climate Change and Development focus more on the urban scale. More specifically, he aims to research new sustainable technologies applied at urban and regional scales, and how they can be effective in terms of adapting and mitigating consequences of climate change. He is into photography, illustration and travel.

    Zimkita Nkata is originally from the Eastern Cape in a small town called Port St Johns. She grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, in another small town called Margate.  Zimkita spent her university years at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. At Rhodes she graduated with an Honours degree in Environmental Sciences in the year 2015 – which was co-majored with Economics. The combination of the two was as result of me hoping to try and understand the link in how humans affect the natural environment. I enjoy outdoor activities, meeting new people and trying out new restaurants which Cape Town has no shortage of. I am the middle child of five girls who naturally assumed older sibling role and so I tend to be a bit of disciplinarian (I have been trying to calm down though).

    Rose Mayembe earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Engineering from Ardhi University, Tanzania in 2013. She has six years of experience in environmental management field as an Environmental Engineer and Environmental Expert (Assessor and Auditor). Miss Mayembe has worked with Government Institutions, Environmental Consulting firms as well as an Independent Consultant and helped to identify and provide solutions to environmental, health and safety issues that posed as a threat to the environment and societies in the different fields in the country. Rose has volunteered for several organizations including WaterAid Tanzania and helped improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene to marginalized areas. Through these experiences, she developed strong leadership, capacity building and project management skills. Her goal is to see Tanzania making a U-turn towards protecting its environment through the use of affordable and environmentally friendly technologies. She likes to workout, travel and explore new places.

    Koaile Monaheng is a student from the Kingdom of Lesotho with an academic background in Economics, Political and International Relations, most recently focusing on Global Climate Change Governance. His other research interests include: foreign policy, climate justice, corporate power, feminism and climate diplomacy. His passion lies in looking beyond future scenarios of how the world will suffer through climate change, declaring that Africa in particular, is already confronting this reality. As a 2020 recipient of the prestigious Mandela-Rhodes Foundation Scholarship Koaile aims to prioritize African Agency reinforcing the notion that Africans can be agents capable of determining their own destiny, by rewriting themselves into the history books that have archived and erased African experiences particulary in the discourse of Global Environmental Issues. His next step in 2020 is to further his studies by pursuing an MPhil in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science specializing in Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the ACDI in the University of Cape Town. Thereafter, through attaining a PhD, he aims to one day lead an institute committed to conscientizing young minds to the realities of climate change and environmental issues, specific to Africa.

    Brian Palmer (US) is interested in how humans have changed and will continue to evolve as a function of their relationships with nature and with one another. Most recently, he had the opportunity to learn more about his home while working for the US National Park Service, engaging the public in imagining the forces that shape the past and present of the Boston Harbor Islands. He enjoys learning from the experiences of individuals as much as he values trends, data and commonalities. He previously worked as a food security development agent in Togo with the Peace Corps.  He is inspired by equitable food systems that coexist with healthy ecosystems and is striving to encourage the proliferation of sustainable seaweed aquaculture. He finds meaningful play in hiking, surfing, and getting lost with others. 

  • Class of 2019

    Alice Chilambwe is a Staff Development Fellow (SDF) in the school of natural resources at the Copperbelt University in Zambia. For a long time, her career objective has been to gain relevant knowledge in the field of Climate and understand how climate variability and change affect natural resources so as to serve my country Zambia, Africa and the world at large. Alice has a BSc degree in Agroforestry attained in 2015 from the Copperbelt University Zambia. During her study time as a natural science student, she built interest in understanding the relationship between traditional farming systems, and modern practices with a specific focus on how climate variability and change affect farming systems. Alice’s research interest is in understanding the resilience of smallholder production systems to climatic changes in the Zambia Miombo areas specifically.

    Carina Wessels enjoyed her career as a professional photographer for nearly 10 years before she decided she wanted to achieve even more in life. Driven equally by a passion for the environment and a yearning to make a difference in the world, she returned to the books in 2013. Carina graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BSc Hons Biodiversity and Ecology degree. Her research focussed on ticks and fleas parasitizing the endangered African Penguin, and was published in the journal Parasitology Research. She is also a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. Carina worked and travelled around the world and she believes this contributed to her mature and open-minded perspective. She is self-disciplined, hardworking, dedicated and eager to learn. Her goal orientated mind-set enables her to perform optimally whether as a leader, in a team or on individual level.

    Chipo Rusere is a Junior Researcher at OneWorld Sustainable Investments, a Cape Town-based sustainable development consultancy with a focus on climate change. She provides research support for the company on a number of projects spanning a variety of themes, from urban resilience to inclusive green growth. She is also involved in business development, providing support for technical and financial proposal writing. Prior to this, Chipo managed projects in the sphere of financial inclusion for small to medium enterprises as well as small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe and has experience in stakeholder engagement and delivering workshops and learning networks for small businesses. She is an Economics and Law graduate from Rhodes University and also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Cape Town, specialising in Economic Development.

    Colton Rabenold grew up in the remote southern highlands of Tanzania, where he was most recently managing two large commercial farming zones. With six years of experience in agriculture management, he was instrumental in building out a small holder farmer business model that has since spread throughout Tanzania. Before joining the Great African Food Company's management team, Colton worked for World Vision in both Tanzania and the United States. He was responsible for establishing new operations in the Southern Corridor, which contains the largest expanses of virgin farmland in Tanzania. Colton is fluent in Swahili and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Government from John Brown University where he graduated in 2012. He looks forward to researching and developing new agricultural methods to combat the devastating effect climate change has had on small scale farmers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Edson Madagombe studied for a certificate in Science Laboratory Technology (1997), diploma in Applied Biological Technology (2009) at Bulawayo Polytechnic before moving on to study for an Honours degree in Crop Science (2014) at Lupane State University, Zimbabwe. Edson worked as a Laboratory Technician at Zimbabwe Sugar Association Experimental Station prior to taking up Agriculture. He was involved in the training of Agricultural Extension Officers as a Lecture (2014-15), at Esigodini Agricultural College, Zimbabwe and has also been involved in Urban Agriculture at Soil For Life (2015-16) where he worked as a Field Trainer responsible for the establishment of backyard gardens at community level in the Western Cape’s Southern Suburbs of Delft and Mfuleni. Edson is currently involved as a Field Manager, in Organic Vegetable production at Mason Farming in the Cape Wine District, Stellenbosch, Western Cape.

    Emillie Albert’s interest is to pursue her Master of Philosophy in Climate Change and Development at UCT is principally due to her experiences in working in sustainable development projects for vulnerable communities and working towards a greener economy. Through years of empowering communities in green capacity building through her roles as a Project manager and Training Officer in charge , she harnessed a strong heartfelt passion for this field impacting sustainably on her Island through the meaningful outputs that the projects generated, from developing green training toolkits, shifting the fishers community to a more greener sustainable livelihoods and empowering the entrepreneurs of her small island to a greener consumption and production practices . When Emillie is not militating for a greener economy, most of her leisure time is spent on the beach, hiking, Bungee jumping, in Trampoline parks and the Forest.

    Isabella Trapani (Germany/Italy) graduated with an International Management Double Degree from Lancaster University (UK) and ESB Business School (Germany) and is passionate about holistic solutions for sustainable development, combining social and environmental justice. After working with the global network for urban sustainability ICLEI, she conducted her undergraduate research on the impact of sustainable urban development on poverty alleviation in Brazil. Most recently, she worked in environmental policy within the field of development cooperation at GIZ. Within the Master's programme she would like to explore climate change challenges from a developing country's perspective.

    Khuthadzo Nemakononi comes from Tshitereke and graduated from the University of Venda with a BSc degree in Environmetal Sciences and an Honours degree in Environmental Sciences. His Honours research project focused on flood vulnerability, response and adaptation. He holds academic excellence award from Thusanani Foundation for the Bachelors of Environmental sciences, obtained a Blackboard training for e-tutoring and e-mentoring from the University of Venda and served as a Tutor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Venda. He successfully completed the 4th ACCESS “Habitable Planet” Online Course. His research interest is on weather and climate extremes and their impacts on surface water resources and communities as well as climate change and adaption. Khuthadzoenjoys travelling, singing, playing a guitar and Latin dance.

    Njayou Moustapha , Cameroonian, holds a Master of Science in forestry, specializing in agroforestry and a certificate in climate change mitigation in developing countries respectively from the University of Yaoundé One, in Cameroon, and the University of Cape Town, in South Africa. He worked for nine years in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation. The last five years, working as a REDD+ Technical Advisor for WWF-Cameroon and the Sangha Tri-National Foundation (FTNS), in Cameroon. Njayou is an ardent defender of nature and work to protect it by fighting against climate change. Being convinced that the nature couldn't be well protected when people are poor, he emphasizes poverty alleviation in any climate program or project.

    Nyasha Shumbayarewa graduated from EARTH University in Costa Rica with a B.Sc (Hons) Agriculture and Natural Resource Management degree in 2018. Whilst at EARTH, he developed passion for sustainable and climate resilient agriculture as well as a hearty interest in scientific research that focuses on the impacts of extreme events and climate change on agriculture and food security. Nyasha aspires to use his knowledge and experiences to work as a researcher that promotes efforts to systematically develop, link, and apply climate, environmental, sustainable development and food security models for consistent assessment and inter-comparison of climate impacts on the agricultural sector.

    Phiwokuhle Mngomezulu was born and bred at Newcastle, a town situated in the Northern part of KwaZulu- Natal. She completed her undergrad and Honours degrees at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, majoring in Agricultural Extension and Rural Resource Management. She also has a Post graduate certificate in education obtained at UNISA. Her research interest includes understanding the renewable energy in the food, energy and water Nexus and its impact on sustainable livelihoods security.

  • Class of 2018

    James Alan Christopher (South Africa) studied Mechanical Engineering at UCT and graduated in 2014. James spends his free time fishing and surfing around the Western Cape with his love of nature having been the driving force for these passions. His fields of research include: the EV market in South Africa and what impact their penetration could have on South Africa, and the generation of a replicable sustainable low-cost housing solution / model.

    Lucy Lavirotte (France) graduated from University of Montreal with a master’s degree in Political Science and then studied Adaptation to Climate Change in University Paris Saclay. Lucy worked on a documentary project related to deforestation in the Philippines and did an internship in a sustainable development NGO in France. During these experiences, she developed a specific interest in agriculture’s adaptation to climate change and food security issues.

    Micah Moynihan (South Africa) holds an honours degree in Economics from the University of Pretoria. Hailing from rural Mpumalanga, he is acutely aware of the need for developing grassroots capacity of rural dwellers to mobilise their own potential for socio-economic development. To this end he is interested in researching the development of self-sustaining, self-actualising nodes through localising and decentralising the provision of goods and services.

    James Reeler (Zimbabwe) completed his schooling and honours degree in Zimbabwe but has been living in Cape Town for the past 15 years. James has worked in academia, private consulting and the nongovernmental sectors on various aspects of climate adaptation and mitigation, both in South Africa and internationally. James is interested in exploring the challenges, opportunities and tradeoffs that developing nations face when balancing the need for social upliftment and climate adaptation with the global imperative for mitigation.

    Ana Ali Simon Gutierrez (Mexico) studied biology and specialized in wildlife conservation. Ana has worked as a consultant for the private sector, various NGOs, and every government agency in Mexico related to natural resources. Over the years she realized the great impact that social and economic drivers have on biodiversity. Her research interests include policy development and societal well-being, and how this translates into the conservation of wildlife.

    Meagen Courtney Swain (South Africa) did her Undergrad and Honours Degrees at Rhodes University. Meagen is a free-spirited, gregarious but determined individual, born and bred in Durban. Her Honours research focused on developing an educational simulation which looked at dealing with Water Futures in Southern Africa (WAFUSA). In 2016 Meagen presented her research at the SANORD Conference in Sweden.

    Phikolomzi Matikinca (South Africa) did his undergraduate at Rhodes University, majoring in Geology and Environmental Science. His research interests include how Participatory Scenario Development approaches can be applied to inform (i) Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction plans and strategies, and (ii) pathways to Sustainable Development. He is interested in how developed and developing countries, through scenario approaches, link their development priorities with adaptation planning.

    Giulia Riedo (Italy) recently worked in the field of development and natural resources governance and realised that guaranteeing human rights and providing essential services, such as drinkable water and food security, would be progressively difficult if resources are becoming even scarcer because of climate change. Her research interests are in city sustainability and water management.

    Sylvia Dorbor Diamond (Liberia) obtained her Bachelors of Science in Geology and Environmental Science and her BSc Honours in Environmental Science from Rhodes University. She is passionate about global sustainability and hopes to contribute immensely to Africa, and the world at large. Her Honours research focused on renewables energy in the form of biogas and she is interested in the use and adoption of renewable energy sources, so as to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Class of 2017

    Angela Chappel (South Africa) completed her BSc undergraduate and honours degrees in environmental science at Rhodes University. She is particularly interested in growing food and is hoping to direct her learning towards the best farming mechanisms for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

    Kevin Coldrey (South Africa) has been working as an economist for an economic consultancy for the past 8 years, assisting corporates with their strategies. Kevin wants to use his economic and finance experience to help tackle the environmental issues that he feel passionately about.

    Ngonidzashe Edward (Zimbabwe) is a community organiser with particular interest in the empowerment of young people and marginalised communities. Over the past three years he has been working with young people and faith communities in Zimbabwe and Mozambique on issues of HIV/AIDS, leadership, civic education and ecology. Ngonidzashe Edward’s academic background is in Theology, Philosophy and Humanities.

    Ashley Fox (USA) has a B.A. in International Development and Political Economy from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. For the past few years, she has been working in environmental consulting, providing environmental management support to USAID missions around the world.

    Nivedita Joshi (India) describes herself as an economist bitten by the green bug. She received her BA in Economics with a focus on Environmental Economics, from Adelphi University, New York. Hailing from a developing country, the contrast between the developed and developing countries became evident and further peaked her interest in developmental economics. Her research interests are livelihood vulnerabilities due to climate change with respect behavioural, social, and governance aspects.

    Makeya Karlie (South Africa) attended the University of the Western Cape and graduated with honours in Environmental and Water Science. Makeya’s honours thesis was in the field of fluvial geomorphology. Makeya’s internship at the ACDI sparked her interest in Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

    Zain Kassam (Kenya) completed her LLB Degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011. Zain is keen on pairing her background in law with the knowledge she will gain about Climate Change and Sustainable Development during the Master’s programme to address the environmental issues being faced by the developing world today.

    Veit Köllermann (Germany) holds a MSc. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Stuttgart and has spent the last 15 years working as an Environmental and Health and Safety Consultant in Germany. Veit wants to use the knowledge he will gain about climate change and sustainable development during the Master’s programme either in the corporate environmental consulting sector or in an international development organisation in South Africa.

    Emmanuel Likoya (Malawi) has very diverse research interests in climate change and development and looks forward to pursuing further studies and contribute towards sustainable development.

    Casey Lyttle (South Africa) has a BSc degree in oceanography and atmospheric science, as well as environmental and geographic science. In 2016 Casey completed her BSc(Hons) in oceanography. Casey’s previous academic focus was on climate change impact on sea ice variability and projections in the southern ocean.

    Heather Mahachi (Zimbabwe) says that all processes and innovations that integrate the biophysical, technological and socio-economic sciences in a quest to successfully engage with the challenges of climate change, development, resource use and sustainability spark her interests. Throughout her studies, articles that speak of efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change have intrigued her, particularly how those efforts perform against sustainability indicators.

    Bishar Mohamed (Kenya) born in northern Kenya. He grew up in apastoralist community, where the opportunity to study was rare. After completing primary school my family was unable to pay my schools fees. However, through good Samaritans I was able to continue my studies. After excelling in High school I was able to secure a full scholarship to study abroad at Earth University in Costa Rica, where I obtained my degree.

    Tiro Nkemelang (Botswana) holds a BSc (Hons) Meteorology from the University of Reading (UK). He works as an Associate Researcher in Climate Change with the Botswana Institute for Technology, Research and Innovation. Tiro chose ACDI’s masters course because he believes it will build the right foundation for his prospects in climate change research.

    Julia Pelaez Avila (Germany) graduated from University of Muenster with a Master’s degree in English language and literature with minors in communication and ecology. She has been working in projects related to recycling and sustainable consumption, both in an environmental NGO and an international company. She is a passionate traveler and during her recent world trip, she developed a special interest in finding sustainable solutions for waste management in remote areas.

  • Class of 2016

    Roy Bouwer (South Africa) completed a BA in Geography and French before doing his honours in Environmental Analysis and Management at the University of Pretoria. His research interests relate to the consumption of scientific knowledge in societies and the impact the distribution of climate change information has on communities. He hopes that the ACDI course will equip him with the theoretical knowledge of the concepts of climate change in order for him to be able to understand the implementation of mitigation and adaptation methods in communities in the Global South.

    Gavin Chewe (Zambia) has lived all over Africa and considers himself to be a social environmentalist. He holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology, Sociology), from the University of Fort Hare, as well as a postgraduate diploma in Sustainable Development (Renewable Energy) from Stellenbosch University. He has spent the past year studying urban planning at the University of Cape Town’s School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics. Musiyani says: “My goal with this masters degree in Climate Change and Development is to combine my knowledge of the social sciences with urban studies and renewable energy, so as to produce a research output that will highlight an alternative economic growth paradigm that creates jobs by harnessing the leverage of the earth’s natural energy resources within the urban environment”.

    Kristian Gerstner (South Africa) is an outdoor enthusiast currently working in the field of waste management. His previous academic focus was on environmental management from a holistic, environmental governance perspective. He has focused on the processes involved in conducting impact assessments, from environmental through to social and ecological, and managing environmental management systems and integrated management systems. In his own words: “My desire to attend this programme stems from a combined interest in sustainable development, and the impact of climate change on human development and progress. My desire is to gain further knowledge in the role climate change will play in the sustainable development of marginalised communities, and the changes required from large corporations and governments to ensure long term sustainable development.

    Zachariah Glasser (South Africa) graduated with an honours degree from UCT’s Department of Environmental and Geographical Science in 2015. With the ACDI master’s he aims to focus on the socio-economics and governance behind climate change and sustainable development in local rural communities.

    Theresa Kinkese (Zambia) works for the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia and has observed the adverse effects of climate change in the agricultural sector in the rural areas. Seeing the level of vulnerability to climate hazards that rural populations are exposed to is what motivated Thereas to study with the ACDI, so as to ensure that the rural communities can adapt to climate change, and thus ensure sustainable development and reduced poverty in Zambia.

    Anaïs Maire (France) has a master’s degree in International Relations from the Science Po Lille University. Over the past few years she has worked in many different countries on issues related to HIV/AIDS, health, gender equality and information access. With the ACDI Anaïs wants to extend her research on democratic participation and women’s representation within sustainable development projects and to complete her education with knowledge on the environmental issues defining our lives and those of tomorrow.

    Yoliswa Molefe (South Africa) recently completed her honours in Environmental and Geographic Science at UCT. Her honours thesis looked at the role of traditional food crops in a peri-urban context. Her interests include examining the links between social protection and vulnerability in the context of climate change as well as exploring sustainable and socially just ways of reducing vulnerability to climate change.

    Joan Momanyi (Kenya) graduated from the University of Nairobi. She is trained in environmental management with bias towards environmental conservation and natural resource management. She has been involved in various environmental and social consultancy services such as Strategic Environmental and Social Assessments, Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, Environmental Health and Safety Audits, Community Development Action Plans and Resettlement Action Plans. She is passionate about the environment and is interested in green skills and building capacity for the community. She is majorly interested in understanding which activities the local community can be involved in to ensure sustainable (wise-use) of resources in order to eradicate poverty while adapting and mitigating climate change.

    Bellinda Monyela (South Africa) obtained an undergraduate degree in Ocean & Atmosphere Science at the Environmental and Geographical Sciences Department (UCT). She recently completed her Honours Degree in Oceanography, also from UCT. Bellinda identifies as a youth activator and her hobbies revolve around activities that address youth development. Bellinda says that growing up in rural Limpopo exposed her to many socio-economic challenges caused by climate change. She believes that the ACDI master's program will equip her with skills to address science and society related issues, so that in the near future she can "plough back knowledge" to her community and South Africa.

    Bonolo Mosime (Botswana) has completed an MTech in Horticulture, with a focus in conservation of endangered species using biotechnological tools. Her interest in the ACDI master’s course is based on a desire to increase and develop her academic and scientific background, to enhance her knowledge of conservation biology, and for personal interest. She is highly motivated to be a part of the ACDI team, as it is well recognized for its reputable training and research specifically regarding  climate change in the African region.

    Janet C. Selato (Botswana) has been working as a meteorologist at Department of Meteorological Services in Gaborone, Botswana.  Her profession started in 2000 as a weather forecaster. Her interest began to shift towards climate change in 2011 and since then she has been engaged in climate change activities in Botswana.  Her educational background is a BSc. in Meteorology attained at Valparaiso University, USA. She also spent a year in Florida State University, USA to study tropical meteorology.  She is enthusiastic about coming to UCT and believes it will be a rewarding academic adventure. Her research interests are climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation, with a focus on Botswana.

    Omagano Shooya (Namibia) has an honours degree in Natural Resource Management. She has worked for the Natural Resource Management programme (CBNRM) as part of a programme that aims to expose young people to their potential of becoming future leaders in conservation. Omagano believes that building the capacity of rural communities to make their own decisions regarding their natural resources (and thus livelihoods) is vital. She has chosen the ACDI master’s course because she believes it will equip her with the necessary skills to take action and look at the current (and future) anthropogenic activities, infrastructure and organizational frameworks that govern countries’ decision-making processes.
  • Class of 2015

     Emma Baker (UK)

     Previous Qualification: BA (Hons) in Geography, University of Exeter, UK

     Supervisor: Hilton Trollip

     Thesis title: Alternative socio-economic development trajectories in Ghana

    Shayan Barmand (USA)

    Previous Qualification: B.A. in International Relations, University of San Diego’s Institute for Peace and Justice

    Supervisor: Mark New

    Thesis title: Implications of development on South Africa's "safe operating space"

    Alexa Brown (South Africa)

    Previous Qualification: BSc honours degree in geography, Wits University

    Supervisor: Chris Lennard

    Thesis title: Comparing historical marine and terrestrial based wind data at the south western Cape of South Africa from 1843 - 1854.

    Julia Elaine Davies (South Africa)

     Previous Qualification: Honours degree in Environmental and Geographical Science, UCT. 

     Supervisor: Gina Ziervogel

     Thesis title: The science-policy interface: integration of science in the development of national CC policies in SA

    Tarik Dessouki (Canada)

    Supervisor: Kevin Winter

    Thesis title: An Assessment of Ground Water Quality used for the Irrigation of Edible Crops in the Philippi Horticultural Area


    Mercy Njeri Gicheru (Kenya)

    Previous Qualifications: Bsc. Disaster Mitigation and Sustainable Development, t Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology

    Supervisor: Peter Johnston (main) and Marie-Ange Baudoin

    Thesis title: Barriers and Enablers to the Adoption of Climate Smart Agricultural Practices. A case study of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Mwea Irrigation Scheme, Eastern Kenya

    James Irlam (South Africa)

    Previous Qualifications: Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Epidemiology, UCT, Bachelor of Science (BSc)(Medical)(Honours), Biomedical Sciences, UCT

    Supervisor: Mark Zuidgeest 

    Thesis title: Barriers & Facilitators for Increased Cycling Mobility in Cape Town

    Peliwe Jubase (South Africa)

    Previous Qualifications:  Bsc (Hons) in Ocean & Atmospheric Science, UCT

    Supervisors: Mark New (main) & Modathir Zaroug

    Thesis title: Climate extreme events

    Kelly McLeod (Canada)

    Previous Qualifications: Physics Honours, University of the Fraser Valley, Canada

    Supervisors: Bruce Hewitson (main), Chris Jack, and Tristan Hauser

    Thesis title: Investigating the value of local-scale rainfall simulation in mountainous topography: A case study in Stettynskloof Dam

    Molly McMahon (USA) 

    Previous Qualifications: International Studies and French, Miami University

    Supervisor: Shari Daya

    Thesis title: The relationship between social identity and ethical eating in Cape Town

    Steffanie Musingarabwi (Zimbabwe)

    Previous Qualifications: Bachelor of Social Science degree in Geography & Environmental Studies, Monash University

    Supervisors: Martine Visser (main) and Adelene Africa 

    Thesis title: A assessment of time stress and time use pattern impacts on well being

    Edigio Mutimba (Mozambique) 

    Previous Qualifications: Agronomy, Eduardo Mondlane University

    Supervisors: Marie-Ange Baudoin (main) and Martine Visser

    Thesis title: Identifying opportunities to better integrate climate variability and change into rural microfinance services in Mozambique: the case of Maputo and Limpopo The Identifying opportunities to better integrate climate variability and change into rural microfinance services in Mozambique: the case of Maputo and Limpopo development corridors

    Frank (Richard) Prouten (South Africa)

    Previous Qualifications: BSc in Geology, Leicester University

    Katherine Smit (South Africa)

    Previous Qualifications: Bsc.in Environmental Science and Ecology (UCT) and Honours in Biodiversity and Ecology (Stellenbosch University)

    Supervisors: Nadine Methner (main) and Laura Pereira

    Thesis title: Understanding commercial and smallholder farmers’ climate resilience in winter and summer rainfall regions using a scenario based approach

    Delfim Vilissa (Mozambique)

    Previous Qualifications: BSc in Agronomy from the Eduardo Mondlane University in 2006. 

    Supervisors: Mark New (main) and Marie-Ange Baudoin

    Thesis title: Vulnerability of Horticulture producers to Climate Variability and Change: The case of Boane District, Mozambique

  • Class of 2014

    Katrine Claassens (South Africa)

    Supervised by: Ian Rijsdijk and Lorena Pasquini

    Working research title: Visualising Climate Change: the case of the IPCC's cover images

    Previous qualifications:  BA Visual Arts (BAFA), Stellenbosch University

    Monica Giermek (USA)

    Supervised by: Dr. Kevin Winter, co supervised by: Dr. Piotr Wolski 

    Working research title: Analyzing peak flow attenuation in an urban wetland with climate change influences

    Previous qualifications: BSc of Environmental Science, focus in Watershed Science.

    Kristen Kennedy (South Africa)

    Supervised by: Associate Professor Rachel Wynberg and Laura Pereira

    Previous qualifications: BSc of Biological Science, Honours specialising in Ecology

    Thesis: The role of traditional crops and adapting to climate variability and change for a community of small scale amaPondo farmers in the Eastern Cape (Link)

    Alexandra Logan (South Africa)  

    Supervised by: Associate Professor Maano Ramutsindela

    Working research title: Sustainability of luxury safari lodges within the Timbavati private nature reserve

    Previous qualifications: BSc in Earth Science (Geology and Environmental Geochemistry Majors), BSc Hons in Earth Science (Environmental Geochemistry)

    Asimenye Nthakomwa-Chitika (Malawi)

    Supervised by: Dr. Olivier Crespo, Co-Supervised by Dr Joseph Daron

    Working research title: Assessing the role of weather index insurance in climate change adaptation in Malawi  

    Previous qualifications: BSc of Natural Resource Management, interest in climate change adaptation and mitigation

    Tamzin Ractliffe (South Africa)  

    Supervised by:  Martine Visser

    Previous qualifications:  Social entrepreneur with a passion for sustainable social development

    Albert Novas Somanje (Zambia)

    Supervised by: Dr. Olivier Crespo

    Thesis: Climate Change Adaptation Measures in Agriculture: A Case of Conservation Agriculture for Small-Scale Farmers in Kalomo District of Zambia (Link)

    Viviane Umulisa (Rwanda)     

    Supervised by: Dr. Kevin Winter

    Working research title:  Investigation of soil moisture variability under different agriculture practices, in order to inform the adaptation options of rooibos tea farmers in the Suid Bokkeveld

    Previous qualifications: BSc of Soil and Environmental Management, interest in water management for agriculture production and environmental sustainability. 

    Joshua Weeber (South Africa)   

    Supervised by: Associate Professor Edmund February

    Working research title: A determination of the effects of permanent water holes on the distribution of Connochaetes taurinus cascading down to plant species diversity and vegetation structure

    Previous qualifications: BSc in Environmental and Geographical Science, honours specializing in Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction 

  • Class of 2013

    Sarah Haiden 

    Supervised by: Dr. Gina Ziervogel and  Dr Lorena Pasquini

    Mapping the governance landscape related to ecosystem-based adaptation in the Bergrivier Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa

    Abstract: In an environment where the impacts of climate change are slowly being felt, there is increasing media attention, and a growing focus on how to communicate climate change to the public. As a result there are a growing number of studies focusing on how the public perceives the phenomenon. Given the lack of in-depth, local and contextual studies in developing countries needed to inform education and awareness campaigns, this study interrogates the level of knowledge, concern and engagement with climate change in the low-income Coloured suburb of Lavender Hill, Cape Town. Using a structured survey with 20 residents of Lavender Hill, this research found that while most respondents had a limited knowledge of the causes, consequences and ways to tackle climate change, they were very concerned about its impacts and thus interested in learning more. In the context of Lavender Hill the research found that education programmes need to be interactive and should include faith based organisations. Thus, communication strategies need to be built from the existing understanding of climate change and meet the needs of the community. As a study that provides a first-look at public perception of climate change within a low-income South African community, the results call for larger-scale research in order to better understand the factors that influence how individuals understand climate change.

    Akeel Hajat 

    Supervised by: Professor Mark New

    The potential for utilisation of decadal climate information by farmers in Malawi

    Abstract: Food security and agricultural production will play a key part in the development of countries like Malawi. The challenges posed by climate change require strategic and coordinated adaptation responses by farmers. Farmers are known to deal with varying levels of risk across different time frames and have a broad range of adaptive responses. Decadal climate information is an improving area at the forefront of climate science and has been suggested as a potential tool to be used for planning purposes by farmers. Climate information is generally more effective if catered to the needs of users, and the potential utilisation of decadal climate information is investigated. Semi structured interviews were carried out with 8 commercial and 19 small scale farmers. Key elements and thresholds of the farming system were identified with climate factors having a major impact on yields. Commercial and small scale farmers are subject to different non- climate pressures and mostly plan over different time horizons. Small scale farmers base more decisions on climate information than commercial farmers. Decadal climate information was found to be of potential use in strategic planning, yet barriers were identified that need to be overcome. This study takes initial steps towards exploring the potential for decadal climate information as a planning tool.

    Anna James 

    Supervised by: Ms Holle Wlokas

    Capabilities and the Kuyasa CDM project: Exploring skills development and its contribution to work opportunities

    Abstract: Human development and wellbeing are increasingly being merged with global efforts to address climate change. Additionally, questions are being asked about the role of skills development in environmental sustainability and local wellbeing. But how do these goals play out in complexity found at a local scale? This paper focuses on the Kuyasa CDM project, situated in a marginalised locality of South Africa, which upgraded low cost housing with energy efficient technology. It explores how skills development has contributed to opportunities for work, drawing on concepts from the capabilities approach. The skills development took the form of on-the-job training and, for some, one month of training at an accredited institution. Data was gathered through focus groups, semi-structured interviews and field observation. The analysis draws on concepts from the capabilities approach to explore the link between skills development and wellbeing through opportunities for work. Findings present a perspective of people whose lives and histories are bound in layers of complex social dynamics and power structures. Through this perspective there is a preliminary insight into what can be gained from skills development of this nature. The level of skill gained is now used in informal settings and is largely perceived as unsatisfactory. There appear to be severe obstacles the creation of jobs in energy efficiency technology in installations in low income houses. However, there are ways in which the project has provided subtle contributions to opportunities for work.  

    Shakirudeen Lawal

    Supervised by: Dr Babatunde Abiodun

    Modeling the potential of forestation for carbon storage in Southern Africa

    Abstract: The present study examines the carbon storage potential of forestation over southern Africa with focus on South Africa, Botswana and Namibia; to investigate how some local species may sequester carbon and thereby provide economic returns to these nations and landowners through the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM). First, this study used the IPCC Tier 2 method to calculate the carbon stored and emitted from forestlands in these three southern Africa countries. The potential net and gross carbon storage values of these forestlands were then estimated using the emissions-storage statistical equations. Second, the CO2FIX V3.1 model which is an IPCC Tier 3 method was used to simulate the carbon storage potential of Acacia karoo, Eucalyptus grandis, E. smithii, E. nitens, Portulacaria afra, Searsia pendulina, Combretum apiculatum and Pinus radiate over a 30-year period. The results show that carbon dioxide (CO2eq) emissions from forestlands were highest in Botswana from 1990-2000 (8000 CO2eq) and 2005-2010 (5800 CO2eq) while Namibia recorded the lowest emissions (2900 CO2eq) in this period. Among the species used for simulations in the CO2FIX model, A. karoo sequestered the highest amount of carbon in South Africa, 138.06 MgC/ha (506.23 MgCO2eq/ha and Euro 2328.65/ha), in Botswana 138.71/ha MgC (508.59 MgCO2eq/ha and Euro 2339.51/ha) and in Namibia, 137.96 MgC/ha (505.59 MgCO2eq/ha and Euro 2326.92/ha) and thus, gave the highest economic value while P. afra has the least potential for carbon storage in the region, sequestering 5% of what A. karoo sequesters although it also showed some promising abilities for carbon storage. The simulations further reveal that a mixed plantation which comprises all these indigenous and exotic species sequestered much more carbon than that of A. karoo by a factor of 4.5 in South Africa (615.59 MgC/ha), 4.6 in Botswana (646.79 MgC/ha) and 5.0 in Namibia (709.99 MgC/ha) and therefore, gave far more economic value (5x higher) than the sum all the monoculture.

    Sibongile Lenneiye

    Supervised by: Dr Godfrey Tawodzera

    Beyond food security: Exploring the role of community gardening in human well-being based on a project in a high-density suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe

    Abstract: Across different parts of the world agricultural practices within the city have been characterized in several ways, ranging from a vehicle for expansion to that of rehabilitating. Although in developed countries, the industrial revolution rendered urban farming less relevant because of technological advances in food production and increased mobility of food systems, it has recently re-­‐emerged. Similarly the developing world has seen a revival, which has been widely cited as a response to economic crises. Consequently, like the prevalent situation on the continent, urban agriculture in Zimbabwe is examined in relation to poverty reduction and food security. There is very little information on how city farming and particularly community gardening, a more organized form, factors into social structures such as community building and education, and psychosocial as well as physical health. The purpose of this study was to investigate these themes and explore the institutional context within which they function. A community gardening project facilitated by a non-­‐governmental organization was selected as the study site located in the high-­‐density suburb of Tafara in Harare. The personal health benefits of engaging in the community gardening project were physical activity and nutritional diversity. Farmers found gardening activities relaxing and felt a sense of satisfaction. Educational benefits through training sessions from external organizations as well as knowledge sharing amongst gardeners were also dominant outcomes. For a low-­‐income suburb such as Tafara, community cohesion and empowerment primarily arise out of the need for improving the resilience of the garden and income earning opportunities.  

    Jesse Luttik 

    Supervised by: Dr Jane Battersby-Lennard

    Sharing urban food security solutions in the Global South: An attempt of a policy transfer from Belo Horizonte to Cape Town

    Abstract: Urban food insecurity is a heavy burden for large amounts of city dwellers in the Global South. While the role of city authorities re-garding food issues has traditionally been neglected, urban food governance is increasingly being recognised for its potential to contribute to improved food security in the city. A comprehen-sive food strategy requires innovative policy-making; hence the notion that best-practice examples may provide important lessons to Southern cities that share a similar socio-economic context. However, general policy transfer literature exhibits a ‘Northern’ bias and lacks empirical research in the Global South. This thesis focuses on an attempt to bring lessons from the successful food security programme of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to the City of Cape Town. This attempt mainly consisted of the initiation and facilita-tion of a feasibility study by German development organisations. By applying this case study, broader opportunities for, and chal-lenges to, the transfer of urban food policy in the Global South are explored. Data was gathered through semi-structured inter-views with key actors in the realisation of the feasibility study. The analysis considers concepts that relate to the process of pol-icy transfer, with particular attention for the interactions between urban policy-making and food security. Research findings provide an insight into what factors constrain policy transfer of this na-ture. Obstacles relate to both the status of food in urban policy and the specific context of Southern cities. This thesis ultimately concludes that a new approach is necessary to provide a frame-work for an enabling environment for policy transfer in the Global South.

    Liz Mcdaid 

    Supervised by: Assoc Professor Merle Sowman

    Investigation into the nature of fisher community representation in the development of the small scale fisheries policy in South Africa, identifying challenges and lessons learnt, and their implications for the perceived legitimacy of the policy

    Abstract: Over the last two decades, there has been increasing recognition of the critical role that marine resources contribute to the food and livelihood small scale fishers, and the overexploitation and development threats posed by increasing degradation of marine resources.  Involvement of affected parties in resolving these issues is recognised as good governance, leading to calls for cooperative governance approaches in the small-scale fisheries sector. Drawing on Manbridge’s (2003) theoretical framework of representation this thesis explored the nature of community representation in the South Africa small-scale fisheries policy development process, investigating how the roles and responsibilities of elected fisher representatives were perceived by other stakeholders, the challenges experienced, and the implications for the legitimacy of the SSFP process.    The nature of representative participation within the SSFP development process was complex, and fisher representatives relied on range of representative behaviours during the policy development process, increasing or decreasing direct engagement with their constituencies in response to the challenges experienced.  The study found that the nature of representation was acceptable to their constituencies, because of the characteristics and experience of the elected fisher representatives. Masifundise Development Trust was perceived to legitimately represent fisher interests, and significantly strengthened the voices of fishers in the SSFP process.  The nature of representation during the SSFP development process was perceived to be legitimate and although the degree of direct community engagement varied according to the changing circumstances, such representation can still be regarded as legitimate as long as the interests of fishers are addressed in the policy.

    Beth Mackay 

    Supervised by: Dr Phoebe Barnard

    The effect of urbanisation and climate on the frequency of ecological stress indicators in the fynbos endemic nectarivore, the Cape Sugarbird

    Abstract: The Cape Sugarbird, Promerops cafer inhabits the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of South Africa. The CFR is threatened by both urbanisation and climate change, which may exert stressors on the Cape Sugarbird that result in disease or morphological abnormalities, collectively known as ecological stress indicators. This study investigates the effect of urbanisation and climate on the occurrence of the following ecological stress indicators in Cape Sugarbirds: tarsal disease (TD), fluctuating asymmetry (FA), body condition (BC) and rectrix stress barring (SB).  The results support that climate is a factor in the expression of TD, SB and BC.  A decrease in precipitation and increase in temperature supported an increase in the incidence of TD and SB. An increase in temperature supported an occurrence of lower BC. Climate change is predicted to decrease mean annual precipitation and increase temperature in the CFR thus potentially affecting the Cape Sugarbird. Urbanisation appears to affect BC, SB, FA and TD. The increased distance of the site from an urban settlement supported birds with higher BC and decreased occurrence of FA. The classification of a site as urban had support for Cape Sugarbirds with a lower BC, higher occurrence of FA and increased incidence of SB and TD.  These findings strengthen the need for urban planners to create and improve connectivity of ecological spaces within urban areas, in order to conserve biodiversity. The findings of this study are valuable for conservation management, as the Cape Sugarbird and other fynbos endemic species are wholly reliant on the CFR for their persistence, and are thus at high risk from climate change and increasing urbanisation.

    Journal Article: "Urbanization, climate and ecological stress indicators in an endemic nectarivore, the Cape Sugarbird"

    Christopher Millson

    Supervised by: Dr Andrew Marquad and Mr Anthony Dane

    The potential for rooftop solar photovoltaic installations on commercial sector buildings in the city of Cape Town

    Abstract: Given the recent trend of rising cost of grid-supplied electricity, and the falling costs of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) modules, the PV industry in South Africa may be on the cusp of a rapid evolution. The commercial sector may be a strong driver of this industry, being equipped and motivated to capitalise on the savings that PV can offer. However, on account of variations in their electricity demand, tariff structure, time of use, and access to funds, an investment in PV will be justifiable by different businesses at different times. Offices and distribution centres in particular, are identified as strong candidates for the early adoption of PV.  The majority of business owners and managers believe that PV is already worth considering for their companies. This has implications for policy makers, municipalities, Eskom, consumers and those in the PV industry. Also, in the context of climate change mitigation and pledges to reduce emissions, the contribution of clean, renewable energy is emphasised. Promoting distributed generation in the form of rooftop PV should form part of a national strategy for climate change mitigation. This will require a variety of approaches to dealing with financial, technical, regulatory and institutional barriers. This study focuses on identifying the categories of commercial buildings most likely to invest in PV, and considers a variety of policy options to overcome the most critical of the barriers: economic feasibility.

    Sarah Reckson

    Supervised by: Dr Amos Madhlopa

    An assessment of the perceived characteristics of solar lamps by members of un-electrified households in Khayelitsha

    Abstract: This study uses Rogers (1995) theory of diffusion of innovations and the innovation-decision process as a theoretical framework to explore the perceived characteristics of solar lamps in un-electrified informal households in Khayelitsha, South Africa.  The study explored three of Rogers’ perceived characteristics; relative advantage, compatibility and complexity and includes affordability as an additional perceived characteristic. Data were collected using 5-point Likert scale questionnaires of 26 households in two neighbourhoods of Khayelitsha. The data revealed positive attitudes toward each perceived characteristic with the following mean scores; relative advantage 3.6, compatibility 3.4, complexity2.1 and affordability 3.9. Cronbach’s alpha was calculated to estimate the internal consistency and reliability of the data. The first three characteristics were of satisfactory reliability, relative advantage’s alpha was 0.84, compatibility’s alpha was 0.72 and complexity’s alpha was 0.74. Affordability’s alpha was a low 0.46 and this data deemed unreliable. Additional open questions were gathered which reflected a preference for electricity and an anticipation for receiving access to electricity in the near future. The study suggests that in light of the observed positive attitudes regarding solar lamps and the perceived advantageousness of this innovation to members of un-electrified households, barriers may exist on the supply-side of the diffusion of solar lamps. Additional barriers to diffusion may include politically and culturally-infused perceptions of electricity and solar lamps.

    Brian Schmitt

    Supervised by: Mr Mike Allsop and Dr Bradley Rink

    Realising the benefits of beekeeping development projects in the Western Cape

    Abstract: Addressing unemployment, maintaining biodiversity, and filling market void for honey; beekeeping development projects are well suited to address all of this and more. Semi structure interviews of funders, service providers and participants were used to investigate two different beekeeping development projects in the Western Cape.  This research was able to identify the tangible benefits such as; establishing a cooperative, brand identity, income, certified skills, and business relationships. The research also identified intangible benefits; leadership, enthusiasm, self-confidence, pride, environmental appreciation.  Through the research process standout findings and observations included the importance of prior experience and commitment to participant continuity. The differing views of those involved with the project were also of note; funders focus on capacity while participants were striving for outcomes. This investigation is far from broad enough, but offers an insightful look at two development beekeeping projects and how their past may echo in similar projects. 

    Grete Simanauskaite

    Supervised by: Professor Mark New and Ms Holle Wlokas

    Knowledge, perceptions and engagement with renewable energy in South Africa: a case study of Matzikama municipality, Western Cape

    Abstract: Renewable energy has the potential for delivering socio-economic and environmental benefits to societies, and hence with the aim of meeting its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction targets and contributing towards development, South Africa launched a renewable energy program in 2011. Social acceptance is among the factors which can determine successful outcomes for renewable energy projects, and, given the newness of the renewable energy industry in South Africa, this study enhances knowledge on how specific aspects of social acceptance, namely knowledge, perceptions and engagement, play out among local communities in South Africa.  Four communities, differing in their income levels, were interrogated using a survey technique in Matzikama municipality, an area where two renewable energy projects are taking place. This research found that fragmented knowledge around renewable energy exists, and that tertiary education, employment and income influence knowledge creation in the studied area. In the context of Matzikama municipality, insufficiencies around engagement and information dissemination processes that emerged from this study could be overcome by exploring alternative public participation mechanisms or producing more targeted and tailored communication. Perceptions around renewable energy were highly positive, yet people’s ability to identify only economic benefits could introduce negative attitudes or conflicts in the future. This study provides unique insights into the relationship between renewable energy and local communities in one municipal area in South Africa, calling for greater understanding of local social context, specifically communities and their social structures, in deployment of renewable energy technologies.  

    Nicholas Wiid

    Supervised by: Professor Sue Parnell

    A critical assessment of the Wescape concept, plan and process [IN PROGRESS]

  • Class of 2012

    Steve Arowolo

    Supervised by: Dr Martine Visser

    Climate Risks and Constraints to Adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Sustainable Livelihoods of Rural Poor in North-Eastern South Africa

    Abstract: Sporadic natural disasters are not new to this generation, but the perennial nature of extreme climate events seems to have precipitated a calamity of monumental proportion in recent times. This is evident among poor and vulnerable communities in rural sub-Saharan Africa; this study investigates the impacts of climate shocks on households’ income, with a view to identifying possible constraints to adaptation to extreme climate events among poor households whose means of livelihoods is crop production. This study utilises the panel data collected between 2010 and 2012 from Agincourt DSS field-site among nine rural villages comprising of 897 households in North-Eastern part of South Africa. Socio-economic indicators were used as proxy variables to model the impact of households’ shocks resulting from climate risks on household livelihood strategies and vulnerability. Using the log of households’ income as a measure of household vulnerability, the results indicate that crop failure, one of the proxies for climate shocks, has a negative and significant impact on household income. The second part of this study considers possible constraints to adaptation, in particular the use of seed varieties and fertilizers. Weak social capital (membership to a farmers’ association) was identified as an important factor influencing adaptation in this study with a positive and significant impact on expenditure on seed varieties. Other constraints to adaptation seem to be the age of the household head, education and income earning activities of the household.

    Leslie Ashburner 

    Supervised by: Dr Kevin Winter

    Urban Wetland Conservation, Public Works Programmes and Environmental Experience of Workers In Cape Town   

    Abstract: The dual contribution of environmental job creation projects to sustainable development in South Africa is well known. Firstly, conservation efforts help to control alien invasive plants and protect biodiversity, thus preserving natural resources, particularly water. Secondly, the most marginalised members of our society are lifted out of unemployment to receive a wage, thus escaping the worst poverty. This dissertation examines a third set of benefits that have been under-recognised and underexplored: namely, the intangible co-benefits experienced by workers in these projects. This study utilises in-depth interviews with thirteen workers from three different sites in Cape Town in order to identify and explain these co-benefits. The findings reveal that in an urban context, working in nature conservation can yield significant co-benefits for individuals and society. This study proposes a new conceptual framework for categorizing these benefits, and suggests that, if recognised and promoted by urban conservation programmes, these co-benefits have the potential to increase the value and sustainability of future environmental job creation projects.

    Muriel Argent (Gravenor) 

    Supervised by: Professor Harro von Blottnitz

    Assessing The Sustainability of UCT's Residence Catering System: A Systems Approach

    Abstract: The food system at the University of Cape Town is explored in the interest of understanding the system as a whole, and to obtain an order of magnitude estimate of its carbon footprint. Student and staff impressions of the food system are discussed, and a system map of the major food system components and flows is detailed. The carbon footprint of the food system as a whole (including both the residence food system and the campus food system) is estimated to be between 5,700-7,000 tonnes CO2e/annum, which increases the institutional carbon footprint by about 8%. Intervention options that could improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the system are suggested.

    Jess Kavonic 

    Supervised by: Dr Jane Turpie

    The Socio-Economic Implications for Coastal Development Setback Lines for the Overberg Municipality

    Abstract: Climate change is expected to cause major changes to coastal zones. With the projected climate change related impacts there are heightened levels of vulnerability that need to be considered in the long term management of coastal areas. This research project aims to determine the socio-economic implications of the implementation of coastal setback lines for the Kogelberg Coast. The study was carried out using spatial data obtained from SSI Engineers and Environmental Consultants and face-face interview surveys of property owners and estate agents in the study area. A majority of property owners felt negatively towards the implementation of the setback, criticising that the line disregarded property rights and that the methodology used to establish the line failed to achieve satisfactory levels of public participation. The future of implementing this setback will need more readily available information as well as enhanced public participation. The study also demonstrates that the enforcement of the setback line has the potential to negatively affect coastal property value. It is therefore vital to consider other coastal protection measures so that that the best adaptation response is applied ensuring that valuable coastal resources are protected. A preliminary cost-benefit analysis was undertaken where the cost of alternative coastal protection was estimated. This was used to compare the favourability of the setback and in this way possibly contribute to adequate coastal management of the region. The study suggests that, without protective measures, damages of residential property could far exceed the costs of a coastal setback or other preventative options. Although there would be some initial loss of property value if a setback line was implemented, this is likely to be the best and most sustainable adaption strategy compared with a do-nothing approach and hard engineered protection.

    Mischa Minné 

    Supervised by: Mr Gareth Haysom

    City of Cape Town’s Urban Agricultural Policy and the Successful Functioning of Urban Agriculture Initiatives

    Abstract: Urban agriculture has been recognised by both an established, as well as bourgeoning body of research, as being able to contribute towards the reduction of stresses placed on spheres such as the socio-economic and urban food systems in the cities in which it occurs. This research paper takes as its focus the City of Cape Town in South Africa, and through qualitative research explores the extent to which the city’s urban agriculture policy 2007 has been able to create an enabling environment for the invigoration and development of urban agriculture in the City. A group of non-governmental organisations were selected as case studies through which it was possible to elucidate the intersection between policy and practice. The institutional landscape pertaining to urban agriculture in Cape Town was revealed through unpacking the role of the City’s Urban Agriculture Unit, created through the policy, and tasked with its implementation. It was shown that despite the policy possessing rigour in terms of its grounding in theory, a number of challenges encumbered its practical delivery on the ground. These pertained to the broader legislative and policy frameworks in which the Urban Agriculture Unit operates, as well as deficiencies in collaboration and common purpose existing between and amongst non-governmental practitioners. Ultimately it proved instructive to explore these challenges in terms of how they revealed a potential way forward for the establishment of enabling conditions for urban agriculture, and the roles and responsibilities needing to be fulfilled by both government and non-governmental entities in achieving this.

    Kirsty Nortje 

    Supervised by: Ms. Anya Boyd

    Co-Benefits: An Exploratory Study of the Qualitative Side of Mitigation Projects

    Abstract: With climate change argued to be one of the most significant challenges facing human kind currently, it is obvious that a coordinated effort is needed to mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change. Mitigation of emissions needs to occur at all levels- locally, regionally, nationally and globally. At the same time it is vital that local, regional and national economies continue to grow and develop, fostering principals of sustainable development, especially in the developing world. Monitoring processes should ideally capture the full range of benefits of a mitigation action, both the ability to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and the potential to promote sustainable development. This thesis examines the potential for a local government body, the City of Cape Town in South Africa to not only monitor mitigation actions with regard to emissions reductions but to also monitor processes that are encouraging  sustainable development. It has used qualitative research methods to understand the processes within the city that are fostering effective monitoring and examines where there are challenges. It has found that whilst the monitoring of co-benefits has so far been limited there are structures and frameworks in place that can be drawn upon to increase the ability of this local government body to report on the full range of benefits different mitigation actions have.

    Chichi Ohanyere 

    Supervised by: Professor Mark Alexander

    The South African Cement Industry: A Review of its Energy and Environmental Performance Since 1980    

    Abstract: Cement is manufactured to satisfy the demands of the provision of the basic necessities of life. A basic component of concrete, cement has no known substitute and hence will continue to be produced for decades to come. Since approximately 1 tonne of clinker emits nearly 1 tonne of CO2 during its manufacture, environmental pollution is a major concern for the industry. On estimate, the cement industry, which is energy intensive, contributes between five and eight percent of all CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent), thus making it a vital sector to study. The South African cement industry is one of the major consumers of energy (thermal and electricity) in the country. In 2009 it ranked 9th in the world in terms of CO2 emissions. With the country relying mainly on fossil fuel (coal) for its energy needs, its cement industry deserves to be reviewed. To this end, this dissertation reviewed the South African cement industry to evaluate its energy use and CO2 emissions management practices. This is in line with the commitment the South African government made to mitigation and adaption to climate change and the requirement to develop along a sustainable low carbon path. It is seen that the country’s cement industry could not be effectively ranked with others due to restricted information on energy and emission indicators but it is aware of the negative effects of CO2 on the environment and as such is evolving timeously to be more energy efficient.

    Kirsty Robinson 

    Supervised by: Associate Professor Roger Behrens

    Mechanisms Encouraging Transport Modal Shifts from Private to Public and Non-Motorised Transport to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in The City of Cape Town

    Abstract: Anthropogenically induced climate change as a result of increasing greenhouse gas emissions is predicted by the IPCC to not only have detrimental effects on the Earth‟s natural systems but also to have severely negative consequences on human society. The IPCC and UNFCCC urge that mitigation action needs to be taken as soon as possible to avoid the more disastrous consequences. The transport sector in the City of Cape Town is responsible for the fastest rising source of emissions in South Africa‟s Western Province. Transport modal shifts have been proven to be one of the most effective measures to reduce emissions in the transport sector thus in order to facilitate a transition to the new MyCiti rapid bus transport mechanisms encouraging transport modal shifts need to be ascertained and implemented. A quantitative survey method was used to gain a broad understanding of travel behaviour and reasons for mode choice whilst a qualitative interview method was used to gain an in depth understanding of cognitive reasoning regarding reasons for non-use and use of the MyCiti. Those already using the MyCiti do so to save money and time whilst those not using the MyCiti do not due to lack of knowledge, perception of inefficiency, lack of accessibility, limited routes and feeling that their car is more convenient. In the MyCiti case mechanisms incentivising public transport involve maintaining the MyCiti, implementing physical changes to allow greater access and providing more information. Mechanisms disincentivising private vehicle use involve economic and legal measures making private vehicle use both more expensive and less convenient. The mechanisms are likely to take maximum effect when used in conjunction with each other. Mechanisms need to be replicated on a broader scale to make a meaningful contribution to global transport emissions mitigation.

    Cabral Wicht 

    Supervised by: Professor Mark New

    Changing Climate, Changing Perceptions: A Socio-Economic Analysis of Public Perceptions on Climate Change

    Abstract: In an environment where the impacts of climate change are slowly being felt, there is increasing media attention, and a growing focus on how to communicate climate change to the public. As a result there are a growing number of studies focusing on how the public perceives the phenomenon. Given the lack of in-depth, local and contextual studies in developing countries needed to inform education and awareness campaigns, this study interrogates the level of knowledge, concern and engagement with climate change in the low-income Coloured suburb of Lavender Hill, Cape Town. Using a structured survey with 20 residents of Lavender Hill, this research found that while most respondents had a limited knowledge of the causes, consequences and ways to tackle climate change, they were very concerned about its impacts and thus interested in learning more. In the context of Lavender Hill the research found that education programmes need to be interactive and should include faith based organisations. Thus, communication strategies need to be built from the existing understanding of climate change and meet the needs of the community. As a study that provides a first-look at public perception of climate change within a low-income South African community, the results call for larger-scale research in order to better understand the factors that influence how individuals understand climate change.

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Enquires about the course: Please contact the course convenor, Marieke Norton, for more details on the application process.

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