Makerere-Bergen Research School
MBRS course

Access to Water and Water for Production

This PhD course will address issues of water governance, water for production, and access to water, using an interdisciplinary approach

Fish farm Lake Victoria
Fish farming, Lake Victoria.
Tore Sætersdal / UiB

Main content

Course leaders
Ronald Semyalo, Makerere University
Tore Sætersdal, University of Bergen  

Dr Ronald Semyalo, Makerere University - Access to Safe Water
Dr Tore Sætersdal, University of Bergen - Water Governance + Water and the SDGs
Dr Dauda Batega, Makerere University - Water for Production - Uganda case
Professor Fredrick Muyodi, Makerere University - Water and the SDGs - Lake Victoria
Dr Firehiwot Sitenyu, Addis Ababa University - Water Governance

Course description
This course addresses SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. We address the challenges of meeting this goal amidst climate change and the growing gap between competing water demands and dwindling water resources. The course will address issues of water governance, water for production, and access to water, using an interdisciplinary approach.

This course is interdisciplinary and deals with how to understand the Water-Food nexus and how to manage available water resources in a sustainable way. This is a major and relevant issue in all countries, rich or poor. We seek candidates from all disciplines interested in water and food security.

The course will present and analyse specific case studies on how different water-society relations have impacted and impact both development and geopolitics, and how development paths and geopolitical relations have impacted water control.

The course will give the PhD candidates insight into, and knowledge of, relevant theoretical and historical literature on how to analyse the interconnections and relations between ecology and society, and more specifically, between water, water management and societal development. It will address SDG 6 and its targets as well as relations with the whole Agenda 2030. It will include perspectives from various disciplines, like social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. 

Learning outcomes

Knowledge - be able to:

  • identify key elements of the water and food nexus, and how these relate to the Sustainable Development agenda
  • describe the trade-offs and synergies between the SDGs (and targets) most relevant to the water and sanitation agenda
  • explain main issues of water governance, water sustainability and water for production.

Skills - be able to:

  • describe the main challenges for sustainable water systems
  • identify different stakeholders and recognize their motivations
  • apply an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of water - food systems.

General competence - be able to:

  • find, navigate, and connect scientific literature and other forms of knowledge
  • participate constructively in debates and discussions
  • identify and separate between scientific knowledge, values, and ideologies

Course leaders

Dr Ronald Semyalo is a Limnologist and Lecturer at the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences. His research focuses on cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins and their related ecological importance and environmental impacts of aquaculture.  He serves as the Academic coordinator at Makerere University for the Makerere University - University of Bergen collaboration programme. He was the project coordinator for the seven-year Water and Society project funded by NORAD 2013 - 2021 and is now the Makerere project coordinator for the follow-up project Water ESSENCE under the NORHED II programme.

Dr Tore Sætersdal is a Social Scientist and Deputy Director for Global Challenges at the University of Bergen, one of three academic priority areas at University of Bergen. Global Challenges secretariat is hosted at the Centre for International Health at Faculty of Medicine. He has previously been director of the Nile Basin Research Programme as well as acting director of the UiB Global centre. He is currently running the Water ESSENCE project with participation of 11 Universities in Norway and Africa. He has led research in Eastern and Southern Africa since 1996 and has collaborated with colleagues at Makerere since 2006

Literature list

Fischhendler, I. (2015) The securitization of water discourse: theoretical foundations, research gaps and objectives of the special issue. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics; Vol. 15: 245-255. New York, Springer.

Tvedt, T. (2016) Water and Society: Changing Perceptions of Societal and Historical Development. I.B. Tauris, London/New York.

Water, 2020: Water and Climate Change Report; UNESCO: 2020.

Hutton, Guy; Varughese, Mili. 2016. The Costs of Meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Targets on Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene. World Bank, Washington, DC. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/23681 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO

Sharing water: Problems, Conflicts and Possible Solutions-The case of Kampala. (2009) Editors: P. Larsson & E. Kirumira & A.L. Steigen & A. Miyingo-Kezimbira, p. 221. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo.

Ramutsindela, M., & Mickler, D. (Eds.). (2020). Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals. Springer Cham. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14857-7