Strengthening Urban Engagement of Universities in Asia and Africa (SUEUAA)
‘Strengthening Urban Engagement of Universities in Africa and Asia’ (SUEUAA) project was a collaborative research project between the University of Glasgow and six cities in the Global South (Harare, Zimbabwe; Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania; Johannesburg, South Africa; Duhok, Iraq; Sanandaj, Iran; and Manila, the Philippines). This project explored ongoing engagement activities where universities respond to city demand.
The Strengthening Urban Engagement of Universities in Asia and Africa (SUEUAA) project was funded by the British Academy under the Cities and Infrastructure programme of its Global Challenges Research Fund
The overall aim of the SUEUAA project which ran from 2017-2019 was to strengthen the contribution of Higher Education Institutions in six cities in global south countries, (Iran, Iraq, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe) to the development of urban infrastructure across a range of inter-linked domains. We were concerned with how universities could through better engagement with city stakeholders contribute to improving physical, economic, social, health, environmental and cultural infrastructures that make cities resilient to natural and human-made disasters.
Our intention was that there should be three main forms of outcome.
- The first of these was concerned with the lessons learnt from the current ways in which HEIs engage with their city stakeholders in order to contribute to sustainable development and how this compares with needs and demands of communities. This would serve as the basis for recommendations to universities, cities and education policymakers for new forms of provision and training. A better understanding by HEIs of needs would allow the exploration of new structures to deliver services to cities, based not on supply, but demand.
- Secondly, universities within each of the cities were provided with the opportunity to re-assess the roles of academics and to create new forms of reward linked to the capacity of staff to make contributions to city development.
- Thirdly, we sought to ensure that individual academics engaged within the project, both from the north and south would benefit from an increased understanding of the various forms of challenge that exist in DAC countries and would form part of a development cadre of experts in the field.
In each of the cities where we worked (Duhok, Sandanaj, Manila, Johannesburg, Dar es Saleem and Harare), we systematically mapped how universities currently engage with their cities using suitable adapted benchmarking tools that allow complete coverage of the potential contributions that these institutions could make to development. We mapped perspectives from the supply side (the universities) with those from the demand side (regional stakeholders who are potential beneficiaries). In this respect we have in most cities discovered a lack of adequate levels of engagement between HEIs and their urban partners, and a lack of structures and platforms to facilitate these links, despite the willingness to collaborate, and awareness of the mutual benefit in doing so. By offering HEIs and their urban partners tools to assess the relationship between supply and demand for the services that universities possess, we clearly established a lack of communication between the two sides, and have identified both where gaps exist and how these might be bridged through creating new mechanisms and structures for communication.
A common response has been to recognise the benefits of benchmarking engagement, and having access to tools that have been suitably customised to do so, and the need to formalise such structures for interchange between universities and cities. For example, in Dar-es-Saleem, recommendations have been by the city made to invite universities to City Council meetings and strategic planning sessions. In Harare, the exchanges facilitated, have led to a re-engagement between university and city, earlier historic close ties having lapsed, and renewed Memoranda of Agreement. In Duhok, Iraq, as a result of our work we have seen the establishment of a research collaboration on the environmental impact of conflict and landmine clearance with Duhok City Landmine department. It is not only with formal city government that universities work. Beyond city authorities and agencies, we have also seen impact in relation to the NGO and IGO sectors through increased collaboration. For example, in Sandanaj, Iran, there has been an increasing awareness of the humanitarian responsibility of the Universities of Kurdistan as a result of SUEUAA insights, bringing these universities closer to relief and rescue organizations such as Iranian Red Crescent. In another case, we have seen the development of Memoranda of Agreement that involve both administrative/political units and the NGOs. This was in the Philippines where Philippine Normal University brought together within selected communities of Manila and Marikina City (a nearby city) both non-governmental organisations and the Barangays (the smallest political unit in the Philippines).
Overall our findings suggest that the engagement activities of universities respond to a variety of different SDGs, for example, in relation to gender equality, environmental sustainability and addressing unemployment. However, many of these activities have historically undertaken in isolation, that is, without the collaboration of industry, local government or NGO partners. Many of our case studies highlight that universities are reacting to issues of the city, without a network of other influential actors. This suggests that currently, the 'quadruple helix' (which refers to link between universities, government, industry and civil society that promotes innovation) is underdeveloped in these cities, and suggests for future 'Third Mission' (i.e. the mission beyond teaching and research) engagement activities, more work should be done in creating closer links between universities, the city, business and NGO stakeholders in order to create sustainable solutions to issues at the city level.
The major contributions of our work has been to create increased awareness of the importance of such collaboration through highlighting concrete cases of specific cities, and proposals for the development of practical means to enhance that collaboration to effect.
In relation to the development of staff, we have facilitated training sessions during our events in both Manila and Harare, which have focused on technical and ethical matters in conducting result. We have also offered online training through a webinar. Furthermore, we have sought to sustain this important component of our work of capacity strengthening, by during the project seeking avenues for its continuation. This has been achieved in part through successful applications to the European Commission’s, Erasmus+ Higher Education Student and Staff Mobility Programme. This has allowed exchanges for both the University of Zimbabwe and the University of Duhok of staff and students to the University of Glasgow during the 2018/19 to 2019/20 academic years and vice-versa. This work will be now be extended for two further years to 2022 following another successful bid to the EC. We have also encouraged south-south exchanges of experiences and practices, including for example through visiting professorships such as that of Dr Marius Venter from the University of Johannesburg to Philippines Normal University.
These quotes illustrate some of our concrete impacts that have fomented closely working between universities and their cities.
A particular outcome has been the establishment of a research collaboration on the environmental impact of conflict and landmine clearance with Duhok City's Landmine department. As a result, the University of Duhok is now thinking to plan to establish in the future a Landmine Department within college of education in order to provide trained expertise to the city and other parts of Iraq in order to facilitate clearance of mines, which are a scourge for the country. We would not have moved to this position without the processes of benchmarking in SUEUAA. (Professor Mosley Duhoky, President of University of Duhok)
The relationships created through the SUEUAA project, between the University of Zimbabwe and City of Harare, have potential for closer collaborative work. Plans are already underway to pursue the renewal of a Memorandum of Agreement that embraces all faculties at the UZ and all departments at the City of Harare. (Professor Charles Nherera, University of Zimbabwe)
The Community and Partnership Office… (of Philippines Normal University)… was about to pull out its engagement in Manila. However, we managed to retain and strengthen our community engagement in Manila as a result of our involvement in SUEUAA. … Seven barangays (smallest political unit in the Philippines) chairpersons with some other officials of Manila and three non-government organisations signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on August 30, 2018. The MOA strengthens our community partnership with Barangays in Manila. (Professor Zenaida Reyes, Vice-President, Philippines Normal University)
PI and Co-Is - International Collaborators
PI: Prof Mike Osborne (University of Glasgow, School of Education)
Co-Is: Dr Muir Houston (University of Glasgow, School of Education), Dr Lavinia Hirsu (University of Glasgow, School of Education), Dr Kasia Borkowska (University of Glasgow, School of Interdisciplinary Studies) and Dr Neil Burnside (University of Glasgow, School of Engineering; now at University of Strathclyde)
Researcher: Dr Jo Neary
University of Kurdistan
Professor Nematollah Azizi
Ms Lamiah Hashemi
University of Duhok
Asst Professor Kamal Ketuly
Dr Sezar Mohammad
Philippine Normal University
Professor Zenaida Reyes
University of Zimbabwe
Professor Charles Nherera
Dr Tendai Nhenga-Chakarisa
University of Dar-es-Salaam
Dr Mpoki Mwaikokeysa
Dr Heriel Moshi
University of Johannesburg
Ms Nickey Janse van Rensberg
Dr Marius Venter
Professor Elana Swanepoel
Start and End Date
1 November 2017 - 31 May 2019
Funder and Funding Amount
Articles and Book Chapters
Hirsu, L., Qezada-Reyes, Z. and Hashemi, L. (2021) Moving SDG5 forward: women’s public engagement activities in higher education. Higher Education, 81(1), pp. 51-67. (doi: 10.1007/s10734-020-00597-0)
Hirsu, L., Hameshi, L. and Reyes, Z. (2020) Unsettled and unsettling lessons on women’s empowerment in HE Higher Education (in press) Special Issue on Higher Education and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Houston, M., Osborne, M., and Neary, J. (2020) The Quintuple Helix in action in Africa and Asia: the SUEUAA project. Journal of Interdisciplinary Academic Research (in press).
Neary, J. and Osborne, M. (2018) University engagement in achieving sustainable development goals: a synthesis of case studies from the SUEUAA study. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 58(3), 336-.364
Osborne, M., Piazza, R. and Reyes, Z. (2020) ‘Universities community engagement in Europe and Southeast Asia: supporting immigrants and refugees’. In Yeo Lay Hwee, Thomas Christiansen and Eva Nisa (Eds.) Challenges to Multiculturalism: Managing Diversities in Europe and Southeast Asia. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing and EU Centre (in press)
Osborne, M. and Hernandez, S. (2019) Sustainable Learning Cities: Inclusion, Equity and Lifelong Learning. Commissioned Briefing Paper for the 4th International Conference on Learning Cities (ICLC), Medellin, Colombia, October 1-3 2019
Argamosa, F. R., Azizi, N., Burnside, N., Houston, M., van Rensberg, N. J., Ketuly, K. A., Mohammed, S. A., Moshi, H. and Nherera, C. (2019) Impact of University engagement on environmental resilience of urban spaces in Asia and Africa. SUEUAA Thematic Paper Series, TPS 103/19. Working Paper. Centre for Research & Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL), Glasgow. ISSN 2517-5548 (online) ISSN 2517-553X (Print).
Azizi, NA., Borkowska, K., Houston, M., Ketuly, KA., Mohammad, S.A., Mwaikokesya, M., Neary, J., Nherera, C., Osborne, M., Reyes, Z. and Swanepoel, E. (2019) The Role of Higher Education for Displaced and Marginalized Peoples – The SUEUAA Project. Project Report. Centre for Research & Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL), Glasgow. ISSN 2517-5548 (online) ISSN 2517-553X (Print)
Hirsu, L., Reyes, Z., Hashemi, L., Ketuly, K. A. and Mohammad, S. A. (2018) The role of gender mainstreaming in city-level interventions and leadership: examples from Manila, Duhok and Sanandaj. SUEUAA Thematic Paper Series, TPS 103/18. Working Paper. Centre for Research & Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL), Glasgow. ISSN 2517-5548 (online) ISSN 2517-553X (Print).
Hirsu, L., Reyes, Z., Ketuly, K. A., Mohammad, S. A., Azizi, N. and Mwaikokesya, M. (2018) Anchoring universities into (un)expected realities: the engagement role of universities in Asia and Africa. SUEUAA Thematic Paper Series, TPS 101/18. Working Paper. Centre for Research & Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL), Glasgow. ISSN 2517-5548 (online) ISSN 2517-553X (Print).
Hirsu, L., Hashemi, L. and Reyes, Z. (2019) SDG5: Progress and Challenges. Melbourne: RMIT EU Centre, SDG Briefing Paper Series for the Jean Monnet Network on Implementing the SDGs in Education in the Asia-Pacific
Houston, M. , Azizi, N., Hashemi, L., Ketuly, K. A., Mohammad, S. A., Mwaikokesya, M., Nherera, C., Reyes, Z. and Swanepoel, E. (2019) Socio-economic development indicators and University engagement in partner countries and city regions. SUEUAA Thematic Paper Series, TPS 105/19. Working Paper. CR&DALL, Glasgow, UK. ISSN 2517-5548 (online) ISSN 2517-553X (Print)
Mwaikokesya, M and Moshi, H. (2018) Dar-es- Salaam http://sueuaa.org/cities/dar-es-salaam
Ketuly, K. and Mohammed, S. A. (2018) Duhok http://sueuaa.org/cities/duhok
Nherera, C. and Nhenga, T. (2018) Harare http://sueuaa.org/cities/harare
Venter, M. and Swanpeol, E. (2018) Johannesburg http://sueuaa.org/cities/johannesburg
Reyes, Z. (2018) Manila http://sueuaa.org/cities/manila
Azizi, N. and Hameshi, L. (2018) Sanandaj http://sueuaa.org/cities/sanandaj
Conference Papers and Keynotes
Azizi, N. (2018) Keynote Introduction to the SUEUAA Project, IHEA International Conference on Higher Education Policymaking, Tehran, 25th April 2018
Azizi , N. (2019) and Ramezani, G. The University’s Spin-Off Companies as Accelerators in Economic Development: A Reflection on the Challenges and Obstacles, Proceedings of Final SUEUAA conference, 9th to 10th May, 2019
Neary, J. (2018) Overview of SUEUAA. Workshop of Jean Monnet Network on the role of SDG 4 in the Asia Pacific SDG. Melbourne 22nd to 23rd October 2018.
Hashemi, L. (2019) The Role of Technology Incubation Centres and Science and Technology Parks in Regional Development: Kurdistan, Iran, Proceedings of Final SUEUAA conference, 9th to 10th May, 2019
Hirsu. L. (2019) Stories of the middle ground: Women’s Experiences in HE in Iran and the Philippines RMIT SDG seminar series, May 28th, 2019.
Hirsu, L., Reyes, Z. and Hashemi, L. (2019) “Closed and open doors: Access to HE and the challenge of women's empowerment in Iran and the Philippines.” at the symposium, Higher education in the SDGs: solution to global challenges? at the conference UKFIET , 17 - 19 September 2019, Inclusive Education Systems: futures, fallacies and finance
Hirsu, L. (2019) "Resilience: le mot du jour or a symbol-strategy" at the 7th Rhetoric in Society conference, Rhetoric as equipment for living, Ghent University, 11th-13th September 2019 Ghent, Belgium
Osborne, M., Piazza, R. and Reyes, Z. (2019) ‘Universities community engagement in Europe and Southeast Asia: supporting immigrants and refugees’. At the Jean Monnet Network on Challenges to Multiculturalism and Multilateralism in Europe and Southeast Asia, National University of Singapore, 14th June 2019
Nherera, C. M (2018) SUEUAA Case Study 1: Enhancing the capacity of the informal sector in addressing environmental and socio-economic issues in Harare. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-one-enhancing-capacity-informal-sector-addressing-environmental-and-socio
Ketuly, K (2018) SUEUAA Case Study 2: Implementing inclusion into the education system of Iraq http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-two-implementing-inclusion-education-system-iraq
Janse van Rensburg, N (2018) SUEUAA Case Study 3: Sustainable socio-technical systems activating Young citizens in the 4th Industrial Revolution in Johannesburg. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-three-sustainable-socio-technical-systems-activating-young-citizens-4th
Mwaikokesya, M (2018) SUEUAA Case Study 4: Integrated aquaculture and agriculture (IAA) project in Dar-es-Salaam. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-four-integrated-aquaculture-and-agriculture-iaa-project-dar-es-salaam
Dosky, S (2018) SUEUAA Case Study 5: Environmental impact of conflict and landmines in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-five-environmental-impact-conflict-and-landmines-kurdistan-region-iraq
Reyes, Z (2018) SUEUAA Case Study 6: Gender mainstreaming in Philippine Normal University. http://sueuaa.org/blog/case-study-six-gender-mainstreaming-philippine-normal-university
Azizi, N (2018) SUEUAA Case Study 7: Environmental impacts of dam construction in Kurdistan: the Zheveh dam in Sanandaj. http://sueuaa.org/blog/case-study-seven-environmental-impacts-dam-construction-kurdistan-zheveh-dam-sanandaj
Swanepoel, E (2018) SUEUAA Case Study 8: University of Johannesburg engagement with urban farmers (iZindaba Zokudla). http://sueuaa.org/blog/case-study-eight-university-johannesburg-engagement-urban-farmers-izindaba-zokudla
Ketuly. K (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 9: The role of Duhok University in supporting migrants, internal and external war-driven refugees in Kurdistan region of Iraq. http://sueuaa.org/blog/case-study-nine-role-duhok-universities-supporting-migrants-internal-and-external-war-driven
Reyes, Z (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 10: Filipino experts from Universities develop quake-proof LAMESA (Life-Saving Automated Mesa to Endure Seismic Activity) for Kindergarten Pupils. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-ten-filipino-experts-universities-develop-quake-proof-lamesa-life-saving
Reyes, Z (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 11: Urban engagement with Manila street dwellers and women deepened through programs of St Scholastica’s College. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-11-urban-engagement-manila-street-dwellers-and-women-deepened-through
Mwaikokeysa, M (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 12: The University Research Exhibition as an avenue for enhancing the University engagement role in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-12-university-research-exhibition-avenue-enhancing-university-engagement
Swanepoel, E (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 13: The story of Nubian Uju food and hospitality solutions. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-13-story-nubian-uju-food-and-hospitality-solutions
Azizi, N (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 14: Kurdish regions destructive earthquake in 2017 and 2018- University of Kurdistan’s role and contribution http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-14-kurdish-regions-destructive-earthquake-2017-and-2018-uoks-role-and
Mwaikokeysa, M (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 15: University of Dar-es-Salaam’s contribution to historic measures on combating plastic environmental pollution in Tanzania http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-15-university-dar-es-salaams-contribution-historic-measures-combating
Azizi, N (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 16: Empowering initiatives and approaches for active engagement of blind students in the community: does the University of Kurdistan make a difference? http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-16-empowering-initiatives-and-approaches-active-engagement-blind-students
Nherera, C. (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 17: The engagement of universities in urban agriculture is not business as usual. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-17-engagement-universities-urban-agriculture-not-business-usual
Kwaira, P. (2019) SUEUAA Case Study 18: Potential of University of Zimbabwe and City of Harare Collaboratively Engaging in Productive Waste Management Through Design and Technology. http://sueuaa.org/blog/sueuaa-case-study-18-potential-university-zimbabwe-and-city-harare-collaboratively-engaging
The project ran workshops in Glasgow and Manila, and a final conference in Harare as detailed below, as well as a webinar and public lecture, and core members of the project were interviewed for TV.
This first international workshop was held on 19 December 2017 and was attended by all partners. It was constructed as an open afternoon session embedded within a 3-day planning meeting for the team. It was attended by some 25 people. It consisted of an introduction from Professor John Briggs of the University of Glasgow, a keynote from Professor Tendai Nhenga of the University of Glasgow, and a further presentation by Professor Keith Kintrea from the SHLC centre, also at the University of Glasgow. There followed Breakout sessions led by the SUEUAA team members on core issues of the project: Migration; Economic Development; Environmental and energy resilience; gender.
This event held from 27th to 29th August 2018 was led by Dr Zenaida Reyes (our partner at Philippine Normal University), who took a lead role in organisation, locating guest speakers (from Universities, Local Government, and NGOs), finding a location for the meeting, and booking accommodation for the SUEUAA team. The event had three components: a full day meeting for the SUEUAA team to assess progress (fieldwork and data collection- see below), and to establish steps for the final phase of work (analysis of data, authoring papers); a full day public seminar with 85 attendees directed towards participants in the Philippines and open to other delegates in Asia; a training workshop, also with some 80 delegates. The keynote speakers were Professor Mario Reyes of University of the Philippines (a co-investigator in the related ESRC-funded GCRF Centre for Sustainable Healthy, Learning Cities; and a representative of the city of Manila), and Dr Custer C. Deocaris (the head of the research management division in the Commission on Higher Education in Manila). Our research partners in the six Global South cities were asked to present to the public forum about the issues affecting their city, and how the University is engaging with other stakeholders to develop solutions to these issues. Our training morning provided two workshops: one on ethics (led by Co_I Dr Muir Houston, the Head of College of Social Science ethics at the University of Glasgow) and on engaging with communities in research projects (led by Dr Jo Neary). Day one highlighted to the SUEUAA team that Universities in Manila are aware of the importance of community engagement, and gave useful examples of how Universities can work together with communities to develop sustainable solutions. The workshop therefore focused on how to develop research partnerships, and have research agendas informed by the ongoing engagement work they are currently involved in.
This final conference was held in Harare, Zimbabwe from 9-10 May 2019. This was led by Professor Charles Nherera (our partner at University of Zimbabwe), who took a lead role in organisation, locating local speakers (from Universities, Local Government, and NGOs), finding a location for the meeting, and booking accommodation for the SUEUAA team. The event had three components: a full day meeting for the SUEUAA team to assess progress (publications, and next steps for securing future funding) and to establish steps for the final phase of work (authoring papers, and locating journals from both Global North and South); a full day public seminar with 75 attendees directed towards participants in Zimbabwe and open to other delegates in Africa; a training workshop, also with some 80 delegates. The keynote speakers were Prof Philip Cotton, (Vice Chancellor, University of Rwanda), and Dr Yumiko Yokozeki, (Director, UNESCO-IICBA).
Our research partners in the six Global South cities were asked to present to the public forum about the issues affecting their city, and how the University is engaging with other stakeholders to develop solutions to these issues. Often there were similarities between the issues experienced in the cities, and the audience enjoyed hearing these international perspectives. Our training afternoon provided two workshops: one on establishing networks and attracting funding (led by Co-Is, Dr Lavinia Hirsu, Dr Kasia Borkowska, and Dr Neil Burnside), and one on research governance and ethics (led by Co-I Dr Muir Houston, the Head of College of Social Science ethics at the University of Glasgow).
An Introduction to Creative Research Methods led by J. Neary and C. Rowell, 17 April 2019.
This was a joint event, organised with SHLC and explored creative research methods. Creative methods are those that go beyond the traditional methods of focus groups, surveys, and interviews. These are methods that either utilise the natural environment, or involve arts-based activities (such as music, photography, visual or performance arts) in order to address the research questions posed.
Presentations and a recording of the webinar are available at http://sueuaa.org/blog/webinar-report-introduction-creative-research-methods
A recording of a TV News interview concerned with broadcast on Zimbabwe TV - https://arc.ac/temp/sueuaa/SUEUAA_CONFERENCE_ZIMBABWE_TV.mp4
This consists of interviews with Professors Charles Nherera and Professor Michael Osborne from SUEUAA, and keynote, Professor Phil Cotton, VC of the University of Rwanda.
Charles Nherera, 18 May 2019 at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. The title was, “Interdisciplinary University Community Engagement: A design and technology perspective.”