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Hull Geoscientists Helping to Accelerate Kenya’s Sustainability Goals

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Geoscientists at the University of Hull are involved in a new global research project which aims to help tackle sustainability challenges in Kenya.

Kenya has announced its Vision 2030 strategy – a sustainable plan which includes increased energy production, better waste management and improving the use of groundwater.

However, experts have warned that without the relevant geoscience knowledge, barriers facing the strategy will be much tougher to overcome.

A team of UK scientists – including Dr Rebecca Williams and Dr Munira Raji at the University of Hull – are now working with partners in Kenya to advance the country’s sustainability goals.

Dr Williams, Senior Lecturer and Geologist at the University of Hull, said: “This project builds new collaborations with our partners at the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University, but also the UK charity Geology for Global Development.

“We’re excited to lead this project, bringing the University of Hull’s expertise in sustainability and experience in reviewing and designing geoscience curriculums.

“We hope that this project inspires other countries to audit and develop their geoscience training, ensuring that geoscientists can do their essential work in helping deliver a nation’s sustainable development goals.”

Kenya’s Vision 2030 – a national strategy for sustainable development – includes priorities of increased energy production, resilient urbanisation, disaster preparedness, better waste management, and improved use of groundwater.

The new research project will build a new understanding of resource, educational, and workforce gaps associated with delivering the ambitions of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

Findings will inform and design a roadmap to ensure access to the required geoscience skills and expertise to improve the lives and livelihoods of people across Kenya.

Dr Raji, Researcher and Geoscientist at the University of Hull, said: “Kenya’s strong commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is reflected in its Vision 2030 strategic framework and priority flagship projects.

“Meeting the SDGs targets by 2030 requires contributions from Kenya Geoscientists.

“Our roadmap, developed in collaboration with the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University and Geology for Global Development, is designed to address the role of geoscientists across key sectors in achieving the SDGs in Kenya as well as other African countries.”

The team hope that the methods developed can be replicated elsewhere to support other countries in identifying how geoscience can support their sustainable development ambitions.

The project is running from May through July of this year and is generously supported by funding from the University of Hull via the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund, which supports cutting-edge research that address challenges faced by countries receiving Official Development Assistance.

Other partners include the University of Nairobi (Kenya), Kenyatta University (Kenya), Geology for Global Development, and Sheffield Hallam University (UK).

Dr Lydia Olaka, from the University of Nairobi, said: “Geoscience education has the potential to help Kenya address the environmental challenges it faces, experience economic growth and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“However, the capacity and needs of geosciences in Kenya are not well known.

“This project will assess the geoscience curricula offered and identify needs in training, skills, research and industry.”

The team hope that the methods developed can be replicated elsewhere to support other countries in identifying how geoscience can support their sustainable development ambitions.

Find out more about the University of Hull’s Department of Geography, Geology and Environment.

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