Challenging Climate Change & Hunger in Africa

Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 00:00

Masters Programme to Challenge Effects of Climate Change & Hunger in Africa

Maynooth University  today launched an innovative new Masters in ‘Transformative Community Development’.  The new Masters programme, established as part of the TEN-Hunger Project (Transformative Engagement Network), is funded by Irish Aid and the Higher Education Authority and will bring together over thirty academics across disciplines to focus on issues of climate change and food security in vulnerable communities in Zambia and Malawi.

As part of the TEN Hunger Project, Maynooth University has collaborated with the University of Mzuzu in Malawi, Mulungushi University and the Zambian Open University in Zambia to design a Masters programme that will enrol 36 students across the three universities.  These students comprise professionals in governmental and non-governmental agencies who work closely with vulnerable communities in Zambia and Malawi and have demonstrated a unique knowledge and understanding of the challenges posed by climate change to these people.

As climate change continues to threaten the livelihoods of rural communities in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, TEN-Hunger and its staff and students will seek to work with these communities to help transform their capacity to cope with the challenges of climate change, particularly around issues such as food security and nutrition.   

Speaking at the launch of the new Masters, Maynooth University Professor Anne Ryan said: “Building relationships between Universities and local communities allows the voices of the most vulnerable to feed into the research and teaching agendas of Universities, while the links to policy that Universities hold are critical to ensuring the wellbeing of communities.”

Dr. Bernie Grummell added that “For Irish Universities the benefit of such engagements is great. We can get a real sense of the experiences, strengths and needs of vulnerable communities and we can integrate these into our teaching and research.”

Dr. Conor Murphy highlighted that “Changes in rainfall are already having a devastating effect on farming practices. In many instances traditional coping strategies are ineffective while uptake of technology and alternative practices have been slow for many complex reasons.”

In addition, Professor Martin Downes commented that “The lessons we learn from these communities of remarkable survivors will be stored in a dedicated repository that will make them available to everyone to use in easing the effects of climate change.”

Project website:

For more information please contact:
Communications Office, Maynooth University  01 708 6735