The Project

CCC19 Project Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives and livelihoods across the globe. In Malawi and Rwanda, two low-income countries which took radically different approaches to dealing with the virus in 2020 (no lockdown in former and an early lockdown in the latter), the pandemic is affecting not only local people’s health and incomes, but also their ‘resilience’ to climate change.

Rising temperatures, increasingly erratic weather, flash floods, pest and disease outbreaks are all predicted to intensify in both countries, therefore it is crucial to understand how the pandemic will affect people’s ability to withstand these impacts, and what kind of policy and programmatic responses are needed to minimize the negative effects of COVID-19 on Malawians’ and Rwandans’ climate resilience.

This project, funded through the GCRF/Newton Fund Agile Response call, seeks to understand how COVID-19 has affected local people’s ability to withstand climate change impacts and provide operationalizable recommendations for adapting to and mitigating climate change in Malawi and Rwanda post-COVID-19 in an equitable and sustainable manner.

The project will invite local community members, representatives from the national and local government, and practitioners from the development, private and third sectors in Rwanda and Malawi to participate in interviews, focus groups and surveys on this topic. Participants from local four communities will also produce short video stories of their experiences of COVID-19 and climate change in order to put a human face on both crises and ensure local voices are heard at the highest levels of government in both countries.

The findings of this research will inform the work of the Malawian and Rwandan ministries responsible for health, climate change and environment. This will be achieved through a range of products and events, including reports, journal articles, a publicly available documentary, an interactive website and case-study leaflets.

Project partners include Glasgow Caledonian University (lead), University of Rwanda, Rwanda Village Community Promoters, Mzuzu University (Malawi), University of Livingstonia (Malawi), and Life Concern Organisation (Malawi), with the support of the Scottish Government and the relevant ministries and public agencies in Malawi and Rwanda.

CCC19 Project Objectives

1Develop the research and institutional capacity among partners necessary to develop a critical understanding of the link between the COVID-19 pandemic and local resilience to climate change.

2Develop new knowledge on the links between COVID-19 and climate change in the context of planning for post-COVID-19 public health and climate resilience.

3Generate and comparatively analyze new data on the interrelated determinants of public health and climate resilience among the most vulnerable people in Malawi and Rwanda .

4 Produce recommendations via relevant outputs and disseminated through multiple channels among diverse stakeholder groups in Malawi, Rwanda and the UK.

Equality and Diversity Statement

The CCC19 team honors diversity in gender, ethnicity, race, class, age, religion, sexuality, and disability—and wants to recognize it at every step. We believe the best participatory research outcomes draw from a multitude of perspectives. To produce the most reliable social science and to foster positive spaces in Rwanda and Malawi, we galvanize inclusive practices. Such inclusivity reflects a turn towards the democratization of research, placing local voices and epistemologies at the center of the investigatory process. Our team shares an awareness of inequalities and therefore incorporates responsive strategies into our work’s planning and implementation. This ethos ensures we employ researchers, support participants, and lead community engagement in ways that demonstrate our project’s inclusive values.

We are part of the academic movement to “decolonize” research. We move away from the binary of researcher and subject and instead view our participants as collaborators in the collective discussion about climate resilience and COVID-19. We adopt a methodology grounded in intercultural collaboration, where our research partners share control and where the co-created knowledge is continuously validated. We utilize a variety of field methods to ensure inclusive sampling and implementation of our protocols. We frame our work in diverse ways to communities so members have the opportunity to understand what we do in a manner that is accessible to everyone. Together, we check our consent form drafts with community representatives to address their concerns about trust, transparency, and community involvement. Our scheduling, site selection, language, and physical space use are intentionally considered to ensure we hear from community members of all identities and social demographics.

We believe inclusive science is the best science.