Library Construction Update

5 09 2021

The foundations for the new library at Mzuzu University are now under construction. More updates to come once the structure of the library begins to take shape.

The Mzuni Library Initiative

The construction of the new library at Mzuzu University is underway. The images below were shared by Felix Majawa (Mzuzu University’s Chief Liberian). We will share more updates as the construction progress continues.

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New Paper: The Complex Relationship between Capacity and Infrastructure Project Delivery

22 08 2021

The second paper from Dr. Yehyun An’s award-winning PhD research has been published in a special issue of Sustainability focused on Achieving Sustainable and Resilient Urban Development: Effective Governance, Policy, and Practice. This qualitative paper enriches the quantitative findings captured in our World Development paper.

The paper focuses on how the concept of capacity development was applied to one of India’s largest urban infrastructure programs – the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). While the Indian government considered a lack of capacity to be the main problem in project delivery, there is little evidence that explains the relationships between capacity and project delivery. This case study presents the findings from 58 interviews with project engineers, managers, and administrators about the hurdles they experienced at each stage of project delivery and seeks to understand these hurdles through the lens of capacity development. The study identifies the influence of capacity factors on project delivery and the converse influence of project performance and outcomes on capacity development. Ultimately, this study reveals the complex two-way interactions between capacity and project delivery.





2021 South Big Data Hub Meeting

29 07 2021

This afternoon, Dr. Khushboo Gupta and I will be presenting at the 2021 South Big Data Hub “All-Hands” meeting. Our presentation – entitled “India’s Smart City Mission and the Role of Internal vs. External Smartness” – will focus on the main findings from Dr. Gutpa’s dissertation research that explored India’s Smart Cities Mission (SCM).

Our presentation is based on the following research papers and presentations:





VT News Article on AIVs Project in Kenya

9 07 2021

Virginia Tech recently published the article below on our USAID LASER PULSE-funded African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) supply chain project in Kenya.





USG Workshop – DEI, Sustainability, and CWB

8 07 2021

On Friday, July 9, I will be taking part in the first USG (Universities at Shady Grove) strategic planning workshop that will focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Sustainability/Regenerability, and Community Wealth Building (CWB).  

Andrew Schell (from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation) will lead the discussion on DEI, Jessica Hardy (Virginia Tech PhD student) will lead the discussion on Sustainability/Regenerability, and I will conclude the workshop with a discussion on CWB. The workshop will be hosted by Anne Khademian (Executive Director, USG), Ike Leggett (a former executive of Montgomery County, Maryland), and Kevin Beverly (President & CEO of Social & Scientific Systems).

The workshop is open to the public, but registration is required.





AGRILINKS Article on Kenya AIVs Project

3 07 2021

The following AGRILINKS article by Sara Hendery was just published on our USAID LASER PULSE project in Kenya. The purpose of this project is to explore how a blockchain-based technology platform developed by AgUnity, could be used to enhance the supply chain for African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs). The project is co-managed by our in-country partners at Egerton University.





“This Is USG” Video Podcast on Community Wealth Building

24 06 2021

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of talking with Prof. Anne Khademian, the Executive Director of the Universities at Shady Grove (USG), about a wide range of topics related to USG’s new strategic planning process. Our conversation covers why I decided to travel to the USA (over 20 years ago!) to study in the Technology and Policy Program at MIT, and how my subsequent research on sustainable development and binary economics/inclusive capitalism, led me to the emerging movement of Community Wealth Building (CWB).





Riccardo Mastini Joins the VT SuperStudio

24 05 2021

During the spring semester, students in the VT Honors College SuperStudio had the pleasure of engaging with Riccardo Mastini, a researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The video below shows Riccardo’s opening remarks that cover the Green New Deal (GND), the need for a new political economy that reduces inequality and protects/enriches the environment, the difference between pubic vs. private services and how the enclosure of public goods can result in artificial scarcity and growth, environmental (in)justice, and the need to move towards a post-growth GND agenda.

The paper behind Riccardo’s remarks that explores the idea of a GND without growth can be access here.





EU Green Week 2021

21 05 2021

On June 1, I will be presenting at a partner event of the 2021 EU Green Week, organized by the Center for Sustainability Research (CSR) at Stockholm School of Economics in partnership with the EU Commission. The event schedule can be viewed below. The live webinar is based on a new edited volume on Sustainable Consumption and Production: Challenges and Development, and will bring together researchers from Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.

I will be speaking with my colleague Dr. Shyam Ranganathan, during the second session about an inclusive capitalism approach to sustainable production and consumption. The live event is free, but you will need to register for the first and second sessions separately.





Co-designing A Research Partnership

30 03 2021

The USAID LASER PULSE Network just released the short story below on how we implemented a co-design process with our partners – AgUnity and Egerton University in Kenya – for our project entitled “Exploring Blockchain Technology to Improve Food Security Through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya.”

The story talks about our desire to blend the research and translation process from the beginning of our proposal development for the following three reasons: 

(1) We expected research activities to bring up new questions that would need to be addressed to produce an impactful research translation product. The research team members are able to return to the field to get answers for the research translation team to continue to refine the app.

(2) Collaboration and partnership are essential for impact. Development in general must continue to break down silos between disciplines and professions in order to meet the needs of the individuals we are trying to serve through this research. Collaboration facilitates the rapid problem solving and creativity that impact generation requires. 

(3) Working collaboratively is a lot of fun! It stimulates passions and shared interests, facilitates out of the box thinking, and learning. So far, we have been able to provide training to each other, talk about new and innovative ways to address nutrition, discuss unique avenues to scale the project and ensure sustainability, and share our own passions and interests in travel, food, and family.

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