Innovative Session X

Thursday, 9 September 2021
10:30 – 12:00 CEST

Collective imaginations in decolonising methods of sociotechnical transformations to sustainability

Dr. Joel Onyango, ACTS-NET

The neglected imperative to ‘decolonise methodologies’ in research and policy appraisal, embodies important and intractable challenges in sustainability – offering crucial opportunities for thinking, knowing, and doing alike. The idea about collective imaginations offers an avenue to decolonise how sociotechnical transformations would be resourceful to achieve sustainability. Aware that each disciplines and society has their own way of doing things, concepts derived from collective imaginations have become key issues in transforming a vision into reality. Expectations and anticipations embodied in collective imaginations of sustainability are fundamental, yet diversified by discipline and society, which affects technology development, policy processes, adaptation to vulnerabilities, and governance systems. This session will therefore explore the relevance, effectiveness and successes/failures resonating from collective imaginations, and the (potential) outcome of these efforts, associated with sociotechnical transformations that would lead to sustainability governance, technology, and adaptation to vulnerabilities.
The session will involve a brief introduction on the concept (of decolonising methods for sustainability research to transformation), followed by a tripartite (academia/research, practice/practitioners, policy) engagement to: i) explore what collective imaginations in sustainability research means in the various contexts; ii) define the implications of decolonizing the dominant narratives that are associated with the diversity in the way technology and adaptation to vulnerabilities is imagined; iii) develop indicators for practice and policy in decolonizing how evidence in the space may lead to transformation; and iv) deliver a three-point research agenda for decolonizing research towards transformation sustainability (anchored in the collective imagination of research, practice, and policy).

The session will provide critical arguments that would contribute to a book project on Decolonising Methodologies to Sustainability in the Global South.

Speaker Biographies

Session Coordinator: Dr. Joel Onyango

Dr. Joel Onyango is a fellow at ARIN and the focal point for ARIN-ASH Summer School. Joel is also a senior research fellow at the African Centres for Technology Studies (ACTS). He has worked for over 10 years in research and management with a focus on science technology and innovation; climate change adaptation and mitigation; water quality, security, and access; food security, entrepreneurship and markets, and sustainable development. Joel completed a PhD from IHE Delft Institute for water education in conjunction with Wageningen University the Netherlands, research on effects of agricultural development on resource pollution and management. He holds a Master of Science degree – with Distinction – from UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, in Limnology and Wetland Ecosystems, and a Bachelor of Science degree –First Class Honours – from Egerton University, Kenya, in Applied Aquatic Science. He has received advanced certified training in econometrics and statistics, and system analysis and modeling from BOKU University, Vienna; and proficiency training on Climate Science and Negotiations from Sustainable Development Solutions Network – SDSNEDU, and on multidisciplinary multiple pathways approach to Sustainability from STEPS Centre, University of Sussex, UK.

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Session Moderator: Dr Joanes Atela

Dr. Joanes Atela is the Convenor of the Africa Research and Impact Network He is also a Senior Research Fellow and Head of CRE( Climate Resilient Economies Programme)at the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS). Since 2016, Joanes has transformed the climate programme at ACTS to become one of the best in the world, ranking third globally and the best in Africa according to the 2016 ICCG think tank rankings based on research and policy work. He has led the design and implementation of several DFID funded among other small- medium-large research projects across Africa. Currently, he leads a team of ten (10) early career researchers working under the CRE programme while building vast networks for research excellence and policy transformation. He also coordinates the North-South research partnership for ACTS through the Africa Sustainability Hub, and as part of his passion to spur research excellence and intellectual leadership in Africa, Joanes founded the Africa Research and Impact Network (ARIN), whose core focus is to bring together a network of talented researchers and policy makers across Africa to engage in peer learning and sharing good transformative research and impact practices. Joanes holds a PhD in Environment and Development, a Master of Science (First Class) in Agriculture and Resource Management from Bonn University, Germany and BSc in Environmental Science (First Class Honours) from Maseno University, Kenya.

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Session facilitators

Group session facilitator – Practice: Dr Asenath Maobe

Dr. Asenath Maobe is a Lecturer and Head of the Department of Accounting and Finance in the School of Business and Economics, Kisii University, Kenya. She is a holder of an Honorary Title of Best Post Doc Fellow of UNESCO from East China Normal University (ECNU), 2020. She holds a Ph.D. in Finance, an MBA in Finance, a Postgraduate Degree in International Educational Policy, Leadership and Management, a Bachelor of Commerce-Accounting (Hons), a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya (CPA), and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya- ICPAK. Asenath is the incoming Asante Africa Foundation Board Treasurer, she comes on board with vast experiences from academia, research, banking, and state agencies’ board membership.

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Group session facilitator – Policy: Dr Verrah Otiende

Dr Verrah Otiende is a ARIN Fellow and statistician and research methods specialist with proven expertise on data governance concepts and using Big Data platforms to efficiently store and manage large amounts of data. She has extensive experience in exploring complex socioeconomic and biophysical data that inform decision making processes amongst researchers, policy makers and other actors. She has previously designed capacity needs assessment protocols for Meso-level Research – Policy Interface platforms with a focus on community empowerment. Verrah has also successfully facilitated public policy dialogues with diverse stakeholders in Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia on the policy challenges and opportunities that influence indigenous knowledge and community initiatives towards sustainable land use change. Verrah is also a Big Data enthusiast, she uses her electronic gadgets to donate unused computing power to advance cutting-edge scientific research on topics related to health, poverty, and sustainability on the World Community Grid Platform. Through her contribution [plus over 650,000 individuals and 450 organizations] the Grid has supported more than 29 research projects on searches for more effective treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and neglected tropical diseases. She is also involved in the MASAKHANE research initiative for NLP that builds translation models for African languages. Verrah holds a PhD in Mathematical Statistics from the Pan African University (PAUSTI). Her doctoral research was on Bayesian hierarchical modeling of the spatiotemporal joint patterns of HIV and TB in Kenya. Verrah holds a master’s degree in Research Methodology and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science both from Jomo Kenyatta University (JKUAT) in Kenya.

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Way forward session facilitator: Dr. Kennedy Mbeva 

Dr. Kennedy Mbeva is the Deputy Convenor of the Africa Research & Impact Network (ARIN), and a Research Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) at the University of Melbourne. His research examines the linkage politics of economic and sustainability governance. His scholarly work has been acknowledged through prestigious awards, such as being awarded the Green Talents Fellowship. Kennedy’s other engagements include contributing to the IPCC Assessment Report 6 on climate change, international diplomacy by serving several times in his country’s (Kenya) official delegation to the UN climate change negotiations and mentoring young change makers. Kennedy holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Melbourne. 

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