Mitchell Center to host talk on South Africa’s water-related challenges April 15

The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine will host a talk, “Doing Research with Society – Addressing complex water-related challenges in South Africa,” on Monday, April 15 at 3 p.m.

South Africa is confronted by complex water challenges, including declining water quality and quantity, habitat degradation, biodiversity loss, infrastructural decay and systemic governance failures. Responding to these challenges requires a departure from traditional disciplinary research and scholarship, as well as drawing on diverse knowledge systems, actors and stakeholders. 

During his talk, professor Nelson Odume, director of the Institute for Water Research at Rhodes University, will provide case studies of participatory research that addresses the contestations of water quality use and management in a highly urbanized and developed river basin; the complex interactions between equity, efficiency and sustainability in the water-land-agricultural nexus in an agriculturally dominated landscape; and the collective development of a sustainability vision to address the water crisis within the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. Through these case studies, Odume will reflect on the principles and lessons based on the knowledge co-production process; the relevance of engaged, collaborative and participatory research approaches to complex challenges; the obstacles at personal, institutional and structural levels; and some perspectives on how to advance this kind of research and the value added.  

All talks in the Mitchell Center’s Sustainability Talks series are free and are offered both remotely via Zoom and in person at 107 Norman Smith Hall on the UMaine campus in Orono.

Registration is required to attend remotely. To register and receive connection information, visit the event webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth, 207.581.3196;