Research projects


SARUA Master’s Curriculum Development and Capacity Building Project


The ACDI was the lead partner in a consortium of southern African universities that recently developed a Master’s curriculum in ‘Climate Change and Sustainable Development’. The curriculum is available to SARUA member universities to adapt and deliver, either as a self-standing Master’s level course, or as part of an existing course that wishes to bring in strong climate change components.  The associated online platform will serve as a publishing platform for new research in the southern African region, enabling knowledge sharing and supporting a community of practice in the field of climate change and sustainable development. Academics interested in registering on the platform, can do so by going to 

Following the development of the curriculum, capacity building workshops were held in Dar es Salaam and Harare to support 22 participating institutions in planning for the implementation of the curriculum in a local context.

The project follows a Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) capacity needs analysis in the SADC region that identified a gap related to climate change and development competencies at the Master’s level. Funded by the Climate & Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the project forms part of the SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network (SCIN). Click here to read more about SCIN (also available in Portuguese and French).

The project started in June 2015 and ended in December 2016, with a launch event in Pretoria. 

The curriculum

The curriculum aims to educate and train new generations of researchers, practitioners and decision-makers in climate change and sustainable development in the southern African region. The approach is innovative and regionally focused, with a strong inter/ trans-disciplinary and integrated systems framing, to enable inclusive engagement with non-academic communities from different sectors relating to climate change and sustainable development in Africa. The graduate will have broad knowledge of the field, with the capacity to self-specialise rapidly as needed. The curriculum is designed to be flexible, featuring 3 core modules and 4 elective modules, to enable tailoring to various needs and contexts of universities across the region.

 Regional higher education collaboration

The curriculum marks a pioneering step towards inter-disciplinary collaboration among academic institutions in the region and is the product of six years’ preparatory work on the part of SARUA, with support from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. The consortium of curriculum developers included academics in climate change, sustainable development and higher education from Rhodes University (South Africa), the University of Namibia, the University of Mauritius, Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique), Sekoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania) and the Open University of Tanzania.