Projects and Collaborations
Research and Education
Research on learning and education is a recognised priority in collaboartions between Finnish and African partners. Through collaborative global cooperation projects in educational research, teacher training, and educational innovation, the partners are committed to sharing and expanding their expertise in the field of education.
It is expected that these projects will contribute expanding and strengthening the activities in relation to sustainability between Finnish higher education institutions who are members of FAPI and the partners in Africa.
Digital Data Innovation Hub (DIDAIHUB)
In the vision to scale-up research and education solutions in the Global South, the Digital Data Innovation Hub (DIDAIHUB) project builds on the work already done in two existing collaborations in Africa: GeoICT4e and The Resilience Academy. It aims to create a platform through which solutions can be disseminated and potentially implemented with new partners. The platform is not only for solutions from the GeoICT4e and Resilience Academy projects but serves projects and researchers related to the Global South, digital innovation, and data at the University of Turku.
A strong commitment characterises the DIDAIHUB project towards high-quality research and education on an international level and it supports efforts taken to attract and strengthen partnerships that promote responsibility and sustainability. Solutions that are implemented together with local partners in Africa have a strong base and good preconditions to become rooted in different local contexts.
Partners: Ardhi University, OpenMap Development Tanzania, Sokoine University of Agriculture, University of Dar Es Salaam, Moshi Co-operative University, Spatial, State University of Zanzibar
Developing Problem-based Pedagogies for Lesotho’s Sustainable Energy Future (DEPLOY)
In many African countries, such as Lesotho, a large share of the population is lacking access to electricity, whilst in areas that have access, the demand is growing so rapidly that the supply side has not been able to catch up. Energy poverty impacts the socio-economic development and wellbeing of rural communities and stands as a societal barrier.
The DEPLOY projects and the collaboration between the University of Turku, Aalto University, the National University of Lesotho (NUL) and other associated partners aims to improve the energy situation by enhancing the capacities of higher education institution staff and students in sustainable energy education. The project supports the National University of Lesotho in their MSc programme in sustainable energy by developing the competences of teachers in delivering quality learning outcomes to students. This is accomplished with the introduction of problem-based learning, online learning, and blended learning methodologies.
Partners: Aalto University, National University of Lesotho, University of Turku
The Pan-African/Nordic Studio project builds on the history of two groundbreaking international projects, one in the African context (the Asiko Art School) and another in rural Sweden (the Nordic Studio for Continued Engagement at Rejmyre Art Lab’s Center for Peripheral Studies). The project explores the intersection of these two developed pedagogic experiments to build a new hybrid Nordic/Pan-African educational model and platform.
The vision of the project is to develop a sustainable, collaboratively constructed, pedagogic framework for practice-based, site-responsive encounters between African and Finnish/Nordic artists and to articulate and widely disseminate the pedagogic methodologies developed within the framework in order to impact the future of university-level art pedagogy.
Partners and Collaborators: CCA Lagos, Nigeria; Doul’art; Musee National du Mali; Mali Cultural Heritage Agency / Agence du Patrimoine Culturel du Mali; The Nordic Studio for Continued Engagement at Rejmyre Art Lab’s Center for Peripheral Studies, Sweden; Uniarts Helsinki
Pedagogies of Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability
PEBES is a partnership among the University of Turku (FIN), Humak University of Applied Sciences (FIN) and Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It offers students of these universities a dive into transdisciplinarity and additional courses under the theme of biodiversity, education and environmental sustainability.
You can get involved by enrolling to online courses made available by the Partnership (see “Online courses”). You can also apply to be part of a transdisciplinary, transnational student group which will have a one-week mobility in one of the target countries: BotswanaF or (see “Student mobilities”. The travel costs of the mobilities will be covered by the PEBES project.
Research, Education and Innovation Collaboration with Southern Africa
The Southern African Alliance (SAA) places a strong emphasis on collaboration between higher education institutions in Finland and in Southern Africa to intensify research, educational and innovation. The SAA project supports creative, high-quality and multidisciplinary research and education in the interface in and between geography, biodiversity, sustainability, future technologies and digital society.
So far, the activities of the project have included co-authored articles and manuscripts on sustainability-related topics, on-going development of a digital metaverse-type platform SURE to facilitate sustainable and responsible interaction, support for digital learning environments in southern Africa and a visit to South Africa to meet colleagues at the Southern African – Nordic Centre (SANORD) conference.
Partners: University of Turku, University of Tampere, University of Pretoria in South Africa.
Strategic Partnerships for Quality Teacher Education
In Somalia and Namibia, as in many developing countries, the quality of teacher education is relatively low because it is short, poorly organised, and limited to theory, leaving prospective teachers insufficiently prepared for teaching in the classroom. Consequently, low quality in teaching leads to poor learning outcomes for pupils of all ages. The cooperation project, Strategic Partnerships for Quality Teacher Education aims to specifically address this issue by further developing teacher training in Namibia and Somalia.
The long-term objective of the project Strategic Partnerships for Quality Teacher Education is to create the foundation for and initiate the development of a systematic operational model for teacher education development in collaboration with key stakeholders in the target countries Somalia and Namibia.
Partners: Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL); University of Helsinki; Somali National University, Somalia; Finnish Church Aid, Finland; International Organization for Migration
Sustainable Business and Employability through HEI’s Innovative Pedagogy
The Sustainable Business and Employability through Higher Education Institutions’ Innovative Pedagogy (SUSIE) aims at improved capacity of management and teaching staff, which enables partner HEIs to offer strategically relevant, sustainable and accessible higher education for students and coach and network them to meet the requirements of the future in a sustainable society, business and working life.
The goal of SUSIE is to improve strategic thinking, pedagogical competence and learning spaces of Tanzanian and Finnish universities. In order to achieve these, the pedagogical capacity building is based on active teaching and learning methods through a series of Active Pedagogy trainings; accessible and interactive learning environments (for instance, online platforms and HUBs); and a new mentoring programme for university leaders and managers (Sustainable Leadership training).
Partners: Tanzanian Moshi Co-operative University, Mwenge Catholic University, Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Sustainable Engineering university-level study module in Namibia
Sustainable Engineering is a thematic module with 20 ECTS credit points coordinated by the Future Tech Lab at the University of Turku in Windhoek. The goal of the module is to give engineers a strong foundation in sustainability-oriented professional practice in industry and research, with a focus on developing practical skills and ethical competence. To achieve this, the module uses challenge-based education methods and takes place in real-life situations and contexts in the Global South.
The module’s teaching methods focus on developing practical skills with a theoretical understanding and value-oriented approach in all the dimensions of sustainability. In the first few years, the module is offered as a 6-week intensive on-site course at various locations in Namibia where Finnish students travel from the University of Turku and from other higher education institutions to learn alongside local students in Namibia.
Partners: University of Turku, University of Namisia, IIT Bombay e-Yantra, UniPID Finnish University Partnership for International Development
Health, Health Technology and Training
Innovation in health and health technology is inevitably linked to research and its implementation depends on successful education and training of professionals. It is important to give space for projects which aim to combine health and technology topics in education and promote medical/ health education and research in Africa. Projects of such can build and intensify long-term partnerships between partners in Finland and in Africa, thereby opening up more opportunities for global services, partnerships and networks.
The first objective of the Maendeleo project is to use the ResuGloves research project as the starting point and to combine health and technology topics in education. The aim is to address the severe deficit in the delivery of quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in sub-Saharan Africa, caused by inadequate CPR training and the lack of technology and devices to support quality CPR training. To address this deficit, researchers in the collaboration proposed affordable, portable and easy-to-use gloves for CPR training.
The ResuGloves project began in 2020 to develop wearable technology to support CPR training and pre-hospital resuscitation for scarce resource conditions. As a result of the collaboration, a prototype of the ResuGloves product was created. ResuGloves refers to resuscitation gloves which give feedback on the technical implementation of resuscitation to those who practice it.
Partners: Aalto University; Moi University, Kenya; University of Tampere; University of Turku; University of the Western Cape in South Africa
The AFFEN project focuses on promoting medical education and research in Africa. The project’s emphasis is on maternal and childhood health and one of its long-term goals is to provide “train the trainers” online courses for teachers of medicine and nursing science in Namibia, Rwanda and Tanzania. It aims to achieve educational cooperation in maternity and child health care and establish reliable long-distance links to primary health care. The objective is to improve inter-professional education and practice, to use e-learning applications also in rural clinical settings, to promote community engagement in improving maternal and child health and to enable meaningful faculty development.
AFFEN opens new opportunities for global education services, partnerships and networks. The project strives to take global responsibility and promotes sustainable development through online educational developments as well as education and research in the field of maternal and child health.
Partners: higher medical education institutions in Namibia, Rwanda and Tanzania; Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology; University of Tampere; University of Turku
Biodiversity, and Economic and Environmental Sustainability
Carbon Garden studies carbon stock and sequestration of common native agroforestry trees in Namibian agroforestry landscapes in order to support sustainable climate-smart agriculture in Namibia and other African countries. We are also interested in the role of trees in maintaining favourable microclimate, soil hydrological conditions and biodiversity in African savanna-agroforestry environment.
We have carried out research at the Ogongo campus of UNAM and its surroundings in North Namibia since 2019. The area consists of diverse savanna vegetation and partially abandoned farmlands with millet fields and large marula (Sclerocarya birrea) trees. Marulas are typical trees in local farms, where they are appreciated as source of fruits, fodder and shade, and protected from grazing. Another common tree species in the region is mopane (Colospermum mopane). Big baobab trees (Adansonia digitata) can also be found. In addition to the unique field data on tree biomass and carbon assimilation, we use innovative AI-based technology and modelling to produce and disseminate information that supports development of ecologically and socially sustainable solutions for climate-smart agriculture in Africa.
Carbon Garden aims at fair and just North-South collaboration in research and education, respecting gender issues, and local knowledge and culture. We aim at disseminating the research results in innovative ways to reach wide scientific and public audience, with a final aim to support sustainable climate-smart agroforestry in Africa.
Partners: University of Namibia (UNAM), University of Turku
Social Enterprise for Sustainability
The aim of the SES project is to promote the adoption of the circular economy at a community level, creating opportunities for local communities. The SES project will co-create a series of pilot social enterprises that promote innovation of waste management in collaboration with local communities in South Africa and Namibia. The end-goal is to create a circular economy and promote upscaling in communities through effective waste management. The project address solid waste management (SWM) overall in Namibia and South Africa. This will be facilitated through a voluntary partnership with communities, industry, a variety of business organizations as well as universities.
Partners: University of Eastern Finland, University of Namibia, University of Venda