Building capacity among early career researchers in Africa

Hello from the desks of the CARP Management Team!

While some of us are overheating in Arizona and others are freezing in Stellenbosch, great progress is being made to support a new generation of climate adaptation researchers in Africa.

For those who are unaware, CARP – which refers to the Climate Adaptation Research Program (not the fish) - is a visionary project launched as a two-year activity from October 2022 to December 2024. Funded by USAID, it operates under the Humanitarian Assistance Technical Support (HATS) project at the University of Arizona, in partnership with the Centre for Collaboration in Africa (CCA) at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

CARP is designed to empower young and early-career African researchers, providing them with research funding and technical guidance on applied research methods and stakeholder engagement to enhance localized disaster planning and preparedness.

The first few months of CARP have been an absolute whirlwind of visioning, an intense proposal review process, Zoom meetings at strange hours, hosting online capacity-building webinars, and planning for our first in-person workshop happening in Tanzania this November.

Although there is still much work to be done, I think we are all proud of what we have achieved so far in the program.

Kicking off in December 2022 with a week-long in-person workshop in Tucson, the CARP management team did more than just sip margaritas at Bob Dobbs (the local watering hole). We engaged in a collaborative and strategic visioning process in which we planned and budgeted for the various CARP activities, and laid out in detail the request for proposals that would later be sent out to the higher education institutions (HEIs) across Africa that are part of the PERIPERI U network.

In March and April 2023, an international review panel, well-versed in climate adaptation, DRR, and the African context, selected 33 projects out of 57 proposals. These projects span 11 countries in Africa and engage over 130 researchers, with 40 percent of them being women. Notably, 12 of the 33 projects are led by female researchers, reflecting CARP's commitment to gender diversity and inclusion in the field.

The research projects encompass a wide range of topics, including localized vulnerability assessments, early warning systems, indigenous knowledge integration, gender perspectives in DRR and climate adaptation, flood mapping, and drought risk management, among others.

At the heart of CARP's mission is the aspiration to create a vibrant research community that engages in joint learning and collaboratively supports and informs local climate adaptation and DRR actions. To achieve this vision, CARP employs several strategies:

1. Dissemination and Engagement: All CARP-funded research projects were carefully selected for their potential to make a real impact on climate adaptation and DRR in the researchers’ local contexts. Each project includes a dissemination strategy to share findings and insights with key stakeholders and participate in events such as conferences and workshops, creating a platform for knowledge exchange and engagement.

2. Diversity and Collaboration: We are proud to have funded CARP research teams that are diverse and collaborative. With over 30 professional entities represented across the 33 projects, including PERIPERI U institutions, other African HEIs, local NGOs, and government institutions, researchers from different backgrounds can learn from one another and unite to address shared challenges.

3. Webinars and Workshops: CARP fosters continuous learning and knowledge-sharing by hosting an interactive online webinar series that includes researchers, experts, policymakers, and practitioners from Africa and around the world. To date, we have hosted two webinars including an initial orientation session and a webinar focused on cultivating a research mindset. Some upcoming webinar topics include unpacking the essential elements of research methods, designing research for real-world impact, and engaging stakeholders in the research process, among others. Additionally, three collaborative in-person workshops will be held in Africa, providing a valuable opportunity for face-to-face interactions and capacity-building.

4. Global Engagement: To connect CARP researchers to the global DRR and climate adaptation community, the University of Arizona has included nominated representatives of the CARP cohort in its delegation to the 2023 COP 28 in Dubai. This exposure will allow researchers to represent CARP and the African continent on the international stage, share their research, and participate in discussions and panels that shape the global resilience agenda.

As we witness CARP's accomplishments to date and look forward to its future endeavors, we hope that our efforts to nurture this community of young scholars will lead to enduring partnerships and practical solutions for climate adaptation and disaster preparedness in Africa.

For more information about the CARP initiative or to participate in upcoming webinars, please contact Julia Davies ( or Corrie Hannah (

Early career researchers in Africa
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Julia Davies