The FRACTAL LAB: a learning experience for me (by Reinhold Mangundu)

Progress Namibia - The FRACTAL LAB: a learning experience for me (by Reinhold Mangundu)
07 April 2017

In the beginning of March, I attended the Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands (FRACTAL) project workshop at the beautiful Heja Lodge in Windhoek Namibia. The learning lab aimed at advancing scientific knowledge and integrating the knowledge into decision making at the co-depended city region scale, in order to enable responsible development pathways.

It was a well represented workshop, which attracted a great number of people from different institutions equipped with expertise and knowledge on socio-economic and environmental issues. Great presentations by respected climate experts also provided insights on climate-related issues and opportunities facing Windhoek, as well as the position of Namibia in terms of climate change.

The interesting part of the workshop was however the identification of burning issues in Windhoek. With great enthusiasm, the facilitator managed to create an atmosphere for collective discussions in which participants deliberated on issues facing Windhoek. Many of the issues that emerged from the groups seemed to overlap one another, clearly showing the state and seriousness of those issues. Problems in water supply, lack of adequate access to resources in informal settlements proved topped to top the list of many more burning issues. It was clear that a lot more needs to be done when it comes to our informal settlements and water supply, through appropriate research conducted and the establishment of effective collaboration amongst institutions and stakeholders.

The innovation of climate narratives was another mind blower, written in the Namibian context, the predictions based story-like narratives talked about Namibia’s climate-related conditions after 40 years time. I believe these are great ways to communicate complex and large climate data to all target groups because climate data is often confusing and difficult to understand when presented on graphs.

FRACTAL will really play a major role on improving understanding of the scientific climate information that is needed, and how this information can most effectively be brought to bear within these local decision-making processes.