The Southern African Resilience Academy is an initiative of the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The GRP is an international network of organizations and institutes that work together to build resilience across scales, so that people and places can persist, adapt and transform in the face of shocks, uncertainty, and change. One of the GRP’s core strategies in this endeavour is to strengthen Global South research and practice networks through the establishment of “South-to-South Resilience Academies”. The aim of these academies is to support resilience- and development-related knowledge production and exchange across regions in the Global South, and facilitate knowledge transfer from the Global South to the Global North. 

One of these academies, the Southern African Resilience Academy (SARA), was established in early 2021 and is coordinated through the Centre for Sustainability Transitions (CST) at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. SARA’s core role is to act as a convening and support space for inter- and transdisciplinary researchers and practitioners working across southern Africa to engage around pressing resilience and development challenges in the region. The academy’s goals are to strengthen and expand collaboration, and facilitate the co-production of policy and practice-relevant knowledge. As such, SARA’s activities align closely with the Southern African Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (SAPECS), an established research network that connects social-ecological systems researchers in southern Africa. Through its links with the GRP and other Resilience Academies, SARA aims to contribute directly and meaningfully to regional and global policy discussions around resilience and development, and elevate the southern African voice in international fora. 2 

Call for Working Groups on “Building equitable resilience in southern Africa”

SARA invites proposals for collaborative working groups to pursue inter- or transdisciplinary research that synthesizes understanding under the guiding theme of “Building equitable resilience in southern Africa”. We are interested in working groups that synthesize insights from the region, with a focus on the challenges and opportunities of building systems that are both more resilient in the face of global change and address societal inequities. While southern Africa is the principal region of interest, we also welcome synthesis work that additionally draws insights from other Global South regions. SARA’s approach is inspired by the SESYNC model of supporting inter- and transdisciplinary groups to find solutions for complex social-ecological challenges. 

Within the theme of “Building equitable resilience in southern Africa”, working groups are free to focus on their own topics or systems of interest, be it food systems, urban systems, stewardship initiatives, resilience measurement, protected areas, or similar. Working groups might address issues such as: 

  • Strategies for enhancing resilient and equitable outcomes in protected area management 
  • Reducing inequalities while building resilience to climate change in food systems 
  • Bridging resilience and equity through landscape stewardship 
  • The role of technology in strengthening resilience and equity across the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus 
  • Building equitable resilience through nature-based solutions in urban areas 
  • Enabling reflexive practices in resilience monitoring and evaluation 
  • Insights for equitable transboundary water governance 
  • And many more… 

Proposals are to be submitted via email to Maike Hamann at by 23:59 (SAST) on the 31st of January 2022. 

For more information, click here.