Fløytrup (2020). Burning the woods and flooding the slums

Burning the woods and flooding the slums: examining the socio-economic and environmental burden of wood charcoal in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Wood charcoal is the main source of energy for cooking in urban Sub-Saharan Africa. It is widely known that charcoal production causes numerous environmental impacts, such as deforestation and environmental degradation. Interventions aimed at environmental improvements are common in Sub-Saharan Africa, however, there is limited focus on the trade-offs between the environmental and socio-economic implications across the entire wood charcoal supply chain. In this thesis, the socio-economic and environmental implications for people within the wood charcoal supply chain is examined through a case study of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Furthermore, the study assesses whether or not the identified socio-economic and environmental implications contribute to a sustainable urban energy system for cooking or not. The study utilizes systems-thinking and solution-orientation to understand the wood charcoal supply chain and aid interventions.

The main finding is that the wood charcoal supply chain has a range of environmental impacts that further exacerbate socio-economic challenges faced by people within the chain. The results show that charcoal production contribute to increased deforestation and rainfall. The consequence is found to be that wood charcoal producers and sellers struggle to secure wood charcoal availability and quality which result in increased prices for the end users. The results also indicate that producers and sellers can possibly turn to alternative livelihood activities, whilst users have no feasible alternative energy sources for cooking. Ultimately, the findings show that inter- and intragenerational equity and future sustainability is at stake because of current injustices and unsustainability of the wood charcoal supply chain. This study argues for a more just system that is robust, diversified, and equitable. To achieve such changes, stakeholder participation in decision-making needs to be established as well as alternative energy sources for cooking that meet the needs of current generations, without placing undue harm to the environment and to future generations.

Lwiindi (2020). Participation of women with disabilities in local government decision making structures

Participation of women with disabilities in local government decision making structures: Unpacking the Silent Voice. A qualitative study conducted in Lusaka, Zambia

Participation of each and every person in governance system is a fundamental human right and a basic condition for democratic tenets in society regardless of their physical and socio-economic status in society. Persons with disabilities and women in particular have historically been stigmatized, discriminated and excluded in various decision making processes at global, regional, national and local levels. There is a dearth of literature focusing on the participation of women with disabilities in local decision making structures in Zambia hence this study.

This study aims at exploring the experiences of women with disabilities with regards to their participation in local government decision making structures in Lusaka, Zambia. The study is anchored on three theoretical perspectives: feminist intersectionality, the social model of disability, and participatory development. These theoretical perspectives are complementary and provide insights to the study.

Findings of the study demonstrate that women with disabilities encounter various socio-cultural, economic, attitudinal and physical environmental obstacles with regards to their participation in decision making structures within their localities. The emerged participation obstacles following the responses from interviewees include: negative attitudes towards women with disabilities, poverty, discriminatory traditional beliefs, inaccessible infrastructure and limited social network. Participation opportunities do exist for them to participate in decision making processes as provided for by different pieces of legislation and policy guidelines. However, there is a gap between the existence of the legal and policy framework and actual implementation of participation opportunities. This gap perpetuates the exclusion of these women in decision making structures in their localities.

Madzaramba (2019). Onsite greywater treatment for reuse at Zandspruit informal settlement in Johannesburg

The urban landscape in South Africa is marred by informal settlements. Nearly a quarter of its population lives in shacks and do not have access to sufficient clean water and improved sanitation. The aim of the present study was to ascertain household daily water consumption and quantify the amount of greywater generated at Zandspruit slums. Another objective was to assess perceptions and user acceptability towards treated greywater reuse in urban slums. Overly, the study endeavoured to elucidate the potential benefits of greywater reuse in informal settlements. The author used a systematic literature review and administered a survey questionnaire to fulfil these objectives The survey was conducted between 1 February and 29 March 2019.

Zandspruit settlement has the capacity to produce significant amount of greywater for reuse. Eighty-three per cent of the residents accepted reuse of treated greywater for non-potable purposes. A further 69% expressed willingness to reuse treated greywater for drinking and cooking. The implementation of onsite greywater treatment and reuse will certainly unlock socio-economic benefits and enhance water availability to some of the poorest people in South Africa.

Chandra (2020). To grip or to slip: smallholder inclusion in sustainable palm oil certifications in Riau, Indonesia

Increasing global focus on sustainable palm oil (SPO) initiatives has led to discussions of smallholder integration at the bottom of the supply chain. In 2019, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) introduced a new standard for independent smallholders. Meanwhile, through Presidential Regulation no. 44 of 2020, the President of Indonesia recently made Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) mandatory for smallholders by 2025. While both certifications aim to improve smallholder inclusion, millions of palm oil independent smallholders face difficulties in attaining certification. This study examines the barriers that these smallholders face in pursuing the regulatory process prior to certification process and how they affect smallholder inclusion in sustainable palm oil initiatives.

The study finds that limited access to information regarding SPO certifications, a lack of understanding of regulations concerning land, and limited financial support may hinder independent smallholders from pursuing regulatory compliance. Facilitation can help farmers in addressing these issues; however, at the local level, access to facilitation is unequal. The findings show that the inequality is influenced by three factors, namely local institutional arrangement, land status and legality, and practicalities, must thus be concerned when attempting to improve facilitation opportunity. Furthermore, the current centralised licensing system that has been adopted at the local level limits smallholders’ ability to engage with the legal process; this is mainly due to technical and practical issues that arise in navigating convoluted regulations and bureaucracies.

Furthermore, farmers are facing environmental challenges to differing degrees, which prevents independent smallholder groups from being able to fulfil pre-certification requirements. Thus, from a practical point of view, procedural justice required to incorporate independent smallholders into sustainable palm oil initiatives has not yet been achieved.

Ahlzén (2019). Understanding corruption through social norms

Understanding corruption through social norms – A field study about corrupt behaviour in local institutions in Lusaka

Research shows that conventional policy interventions aiming to reduce corruption have yielded little success. Shifting the focus from macro level aspects of corruption to focus on micro-level aspects, such as social norms and individual decision-making processes, has recently been suggested as a way to understand underlying reasons why corruption remains persistent in many
societies. The thesis aims to uncover reasons for individual corrupt behaviour in Zambia by studying what social norms exist in relation to corruption in local government institutions in Lusaka.

It furthermore investigates how social norms can explain the persisting corruption within these local institutions. By conducting in-depth interviews with citizens and stakeholders the study reveals social norms that are conducive to corruption and that are affecting citizens behaviour when interacting with local government institutions. A conflict in the relation between descriptive norms and injunctive norms is discovered and explained by the logic of prisoner’s dilemma.

The study concludes that social norms could be seen a part of explaining why corruption remains persistent in Lusaka government institutions, and that both injunctive norms and descriptive norms are affecting individual corrupt behaviour. It shows that descriptive norms can explain how individuals justify corrupt behaviour that they in theory think is wrong. It suggests that Lusaka’s local government could benefit from including a social norms perspective when designing anti-corruption interventions in order to achieve better results.

Mulenga (2019). Assessing the awareness, adoptability and sustainability of improved pellet cook stoves of low income households in Lusaka, Zambia.

In order to attain sustainable development, there is need for clean and reliable energy. Woodfuel (charcoal and firewood) make up over 70 percent of the national energy consumption in Zambia as only about 25 percent of the population has access to electricity. It is among the most important domestic fuels for low income households in Zambia. Cooking with solid fuels and inefficient cook stoves has adverse effects for human wellbeing, health and the environment. One initiative for sustainable energy provision in urban Zambia has been the introduction of improved cook stoves (ICS) based on sawdust pellets to replace traditional cooking on charcoal braziers that have dominated usage in homes since the 1930s.

One of the main motivations for improved cook stove interventions has been to reduce household demand for woodfuel thus to reduce pressures on deforestation. However, adoption of improved cook stoves designed to reduce these impacts remain relatively low while the demand for woodfuel remains predominantly high. Using a user centred approach, the study investigated the awareness, adoptability and sustainability of improved pellet cook stoves in view of government policies of Matero- George compound, Lusaka low income households. It sought the factors influencing households’ preference of traditional or modern cook stoves, the knowledge of available energy options, the challenges households had relating to their current cooking solutions and the options available to them and the appropriateness and effectiveness of government policies promoting the use of improved cooking technologies.

Gómez Fonseca (2019). “Having the freedom to having freedom”. Youth Participatory Assessment of Accessibility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

This study explores the subjective definitions of access to the city in a group of young people in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Through semi-structured interviews, workshops, and participative observation those definitions emerged. Departing from the concept of perceived accessibility, it came apparent that those definitions gravitate around three essential elements: availability of safe and affordable public transportation, safe neighbourhoods and free circulation within them, and opportunities (places and activities) for free entertainment. Accessibility is discussed as a central capability from the Capabilities Approach and connected to the notions of Right to the City and Social Justice. Finally, suggestions for institutional actions are offered.

Alarcón (2019). Peace in the peaks? Changes in water and land distribution in Colombia’s southern highlands during the Post-Peace Agreement phase

Governance of environmental resources plays a key role in enhancing or hindering progress towards peace in post-conflict societies. Two years after the signing of the Peace Agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government of Colombia, new dynamics on natural resource and land-use are leading to environmental harm in some regions. Highlands and páramo (high-elevation tropical alpine area) ecosystems, which supply 70% of the country’s freshwater, are undergoing socio-environmental changes during this period. Yet, there is little understanding on how this transition occurs.

The thesis investigates the experiences of local actors in relation to the access and control of environmental resources in a once guerilla-controlled area in the village of Combia, located in the buffer zone of the Las Hermosas páramo complex in the southwest of the country. I found that the transition from the social order under FARC control to a State-regulated phase led to an interplay of new actors and new authority figures which reconfigured local land distribution and water control.

In the case of Combia, this shift of power reinforces unequal access to land and water for people without land ownership, which has been the core issue in Colombia’s protracted armed conflict. I discuss the uneven consequences for local actors when the State legal water concessions clash with the slow pace of rural land property rights reforms. Consequently, I explain how water institutions for highland regions can benefit from a more community-based governance approach in societies that transition towards peace.

Mwale (2019). The Elite Choice – ‘Unpacking the Elite’ in Mukungule Chiefdom, Zambia

Community-based natural resource management has been advocated for by many scholar and environmentalists to improve natural resources
management, equity, and justice for local people. However, its implementation on the ground does not always reach the intended goal. This is because poor policies have led to unaccountable leaders that empower elite control and capture. Studies perceive elites to be in full control of decision-making which is not the case. This study ‘unpacks the elite’ to gain new insight into how these mechanisms operate. This study uses the concept of capital and the choice and recognition framework to build a foundation for studying how elite power is produced and exercised as a result of both the social context and institutional interventions.

Stoderegger (2018). Is there a win for conservation, livelihoods and governance?

This study compares previous biodiversity data from these sites with current forest measurements and data gathered through social science methods including semi-structured interviews, key informant interviews and focus group discussions in two communities adjacent to the forest reserve. Results show that although still controversial for conservation efforts, Broussonetia papyrifera can support the regeneration of indigenous species and as such increase species richness and at least maintains biodiversity.

The results also show that Broussonetia papyrifera has a crucial role for local livelihoods as it supplies various provisioning services such as fodder for livestock, fuelwood for energy, medicinal use, raw material for timber and poles and regulating services such as a soil fertilizer and stabilizer. It also has medicinal uses that are not explored yet. In a country like Uganda where there is a lack of strong institutions, implementing forest protection policies, Broussonetia papyrifera acts as a resource substitute with the potential to help avoid further degradation deeper in the reserve and to support local livelihoods.


Master Thesis