Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York Partner on Research Program to Address Mobility of Disadvantaged Groups in Africa

Makerere University Don, Amanda Ngabirano, a local partner with the High Volume Transport (HVT) Applied Research Programme, enjoys a ride in Kampala in the pre-covid times.

Kampala | RedPepper Digital – The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), University of York (UK) in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is launched a research programme to address the mobility of disadvantaged groups in low-income countries in Africa.

The twenty-four (24) month project will focus on strengthening the technical capacity in African Low-income countries to develop and implement inclusive climate resilient transport infrastructure starting with Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia, and Uganda.

While addressing the media (scientifically) at Makerere University Guesthouse on Wednesday, Amanda Ngabirano, a local partner with the High Volume Transport (HVT) Applied Research Programme, revealed deep insights into the inclusion driven initiative.

Kampala traffic jam at Namirembe Road in Kampala (FILE PHOTO)

“The program aims to enhance the capacity of transport planners to assess the mobility needs of disadvantaged groups in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia, and Uganda and to develop climate-resilient transport infrastructure,’ said Ngabirano.

The urban and regional planning Makerere Don revealed that the project is funded by the UK Aid, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)’s High Volume Transport (HVT) Applied Research Programme and is set to run from September 2020 to August 2022.

Ngabirano re-echoed that an assessment was done in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, to clearly evaluate and understand the awareness transport planners and decision-makers have in catering for the needs of disadvantaged groups.

Amanda A Ngabirano stress a point to the media at Makerere Guesthouse on Wednesday (COURTESY PHOTO)

“The assessment included the challenges transport planners and decision makers’ face in incorporating views of disadvantaged groups and climate resilience in the planning process. The needs assessment used a mixed approach consisting of regional surveys, Focus group discussions and stakeholder interviews,” said Ngabirano dissecting the pertinent focal areas of the study conducted between November 2020 and February 2021.

The Makerere don, who also doubles as the Acting Chairperson of the National Physical Planning Board (Uganda), revealed that the Kampala study identified key recommendations.

“The recommendations from this activity noted that there was a need for Facilitating policy and planning practice to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups; making transport infrastructure more resilient to climate change and transport planning more inclusive and responsive to impacts of climate change,” Ngabirano emphasized.

Speaking on the research programme, the study will torch the light on Boda-bodas as one of the most common means of transport in Kampala metropolitan and Uganda in general.

Tasked to explain why the study identified boda-bodas as their target group rather than Matatus (taxis)and other means, Ngabirano has this to say,

“Besides being the most common means of public transport used in Kampala and Uganda in general, boda-bodas are loved and hated in the same breath because they are a source of livelihood for many youths; are convenient to beat the rampant traffic jam characteristic of Kampala, are timely and access all areas of the city, unlike other public service transport providers.”

At the helm of the 42-day lockdown, Cabinet of Uganda – through communication by the Kampala Capital City Authority, on 25th July 2020, issued guidelines in which Boda Bodas were restricted from accessing the Central Business District of Kampala.

The member of National Non-Motorized Transport Policy Committee for the Ministry of Works and Transport, also revealed that preliminary interactions with the Boda-Boda Association estimate that about 120,000 Boda-Bodas operate in Kampala City alone.

RESEARCH TARGET GROUP; Boda-boda cyclist in Kampala

We, therefore, seek to examine or evaluate the potential impact of the implementation of the Boda Boda free zone on Disadvantaged persons and groups. The Boda Boda operators themselves could as well be the vulnerable group and so, the core objective of the research is to strengthen the technical capacity to support the formulation and implementation of inclusive climate-resilient low carbon mobility in Kampala City by the Kampala Capital City Authority, and other relevant entities,” said Ngabirano painting a vibrant portrait of the core objectives of the study.

While speaking to our reporter, Amanda Ngabirano presented a case on the methodology to be used in the mobility research study that is set to develop inclusive and climate-resilient transport for disadvantaged groups.

“We hope to interact with 200 Boda Boda stages Chairpersons, 50 mobile App operators, 200 passengers and a representative from each of the; regulatory agencies, Boda Boda app associations, Community Service Organizations and disadvantaged group representatives,” said Ngabirano.

She pointed out that this will be conducted through interviews, field observations, participatory mapping and the Delphi approach.

She added: “We shall thereafter communicate our findings with the various stakeholders involved in Transport planning, provision and usage.”

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