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Sustainability Research Unit George Campus

10/11/2016

I have been undertaking fieldwork in Sedgefield for my PhD in Geography, University of Exeter, UK, for the past three months with support from the Sustainability Research Unit, Nelson Mandela University, George campus.

I have been undertaking fieldwork in Sedgefield for my PhD in Geography, University of Exeter, UK, for the past three months with support from the Sustainability Research Unit, Nelson Mandela University, George campus. My area of research is community resilience and collective action. This means that I have been exploring how residents in Sedgefield town and in the township of Smutsville can respond to different events and stressors and what community action they undertake in this process. In doing so, I have engaged with different community groups, including, amongst others, the Wilderness Lakes Water Catchment Management Forum and the Ratepayers and Voters Association.

In addition, I have also facilitated participatory scenario planning. This has proved to be a very useful exercise. Residents have reported how this approach has supported them to think differently about their future by providing a forum for them to discuss what they would like their future to look like and how it could be worked towards. Due to the success of using this research method, my fieldwork ends with a community workshop that will bring residents of Sedgefield town and Smutsville together to share with each other their visions for the future. This aims to support discussion around how they may be different and how residents can work better together to achieve effective community objectives in light of future uncertainty.

Prior to undertaking my PhD, I worked in the field of international development on pro-poor responses to climate change adaptation at community level in Bangladesh and Africa, with a particular focus on Monitoring and Evaluation for Community-based Adaptation. This has enabled me to collaborate with both private and international non-governmental organisations, including Save the Children, Action Aid and CARE; research institutes, including IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development) and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and multilateral agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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