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How embracing ‘awkward’ can spark breakthrough on climate problems

The FRACTAL project of Future Climate For Africa (FCFA), a research consortium working in nine cities in southern Africa, has created the transdisciplinary Learning Lab process recently used in a workshop in Windhoek, Namibia. Sukaina Bharwani, Senior Research Fellow at SEI and member of the FRACTAL team, comments on the process.

Published on 31 January 2019

The Learning Lab process gathered about 50 city-level stakeholders together with researchers from the Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands (FRACTAL) project. Their objective was to examine Windhoek’s specific needs for managing the city’s response to water insecurity as a result of climate change.

This process is designed around a social learning method, where a wide range of stakeholders, including city departments and climate scientists come together to discuss urgent issues within the city region. FRACTAL researches in other African cities are conducting similar Learning Labs.

In such meetings the innovative process of exchanging information is just as important as the information being shared.

The Learning Lab process is about facilitating innovative spaces for new and better questions to be surfaced, explains Bharwani.


Sukaina Bharwani

Senior Research Fellow and weADAPT Director

SEI Oxford

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