First UPCHAIN workshop ends with call for community-focused research

First UPCHAIN workshop ends with call for community-focused research

The first UPCHAIN training workshop ended on September 14, 2022, with a call for students to reflect on the experiences and needs of the community as they conduct research.

UPCHAIN – Unlocking the Potential of Green Charcoal Innovations to Mitigate Climate Change in Northern Uganda – is a new research project at Gulu University looking into viable ways of producing briquettes (green charcoal) from agricultural residues to be used in cooking as an alternative to firewood and black charcoal. The project was birthed by BSU.

“We want you to reflect on the field trip we had yesterday in relation to your research work. How do you think your research can contribute to or benefit from what you saw in the community,” said Dr. Collins Okello, the Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) of the UPCHAIN project and Dean, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Gulu University.

The three-day workshop brought together the project implementing team and Maters, PhD and Postdoc beneficiaries of the project. It was run under the theme: “The Basics of Green Charcoal Production and Use.”

The programme included topical presentations around green charcoal, a demonstration on green charcoal production, a field visit to some potential green charcoal producer and consumer institutions in northern Uganda, and presentations by MA and PhD students on their areas of study.

Dr. Nicholas Okello (l) of the Faculty of Business and Development Studies shares a light moment with Dr. Collins Okello (r) about a photo taken in 1974 featuring Prof. Elizabeth A. Opiyo (m) of the Faculty of Science at the end of the workshop. 

“This is just the beginning,” Dr. Okello told the students. “We ask you difficult and easy questions. This is part of academics. Those questions which seem difficult are also good. Work on them.”

Prof. Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld of Aalborg University, the project's Principal Investigator (PI) and host of the workshop, said in her closing remarks: “This is a good beginning for the UPCHAIN project. We had the launch in May, and now we have started to do the real work.”

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Building Stronger Universities (BSU)-Gulu is a multifaceted programme aimed at strengthening research capacity at Gulu University in northern Uganda