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Anthropology of Human Security in Africa

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ANTHUSIA (Anthropology of Human Security in Africa)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-12-31

The ANTHUSIA EJD offers an innovative, interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach to the analysis of crises and opportunities in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. These dynamics are critical to Europe and beyond. On the one hand, human creativity and innovation feed growing economies across the African continent. At the same time, severe disruptions in human safety are caused by multiple and interweaving factors, including the economy, the environment and politics with significant consequences for social relations, gender and generational dynamics. Growing economic inequalities create tensions reaching beyond local, regional and national borders and make human security a global issue for African as well as for European countries. Human security problems, as well as population growth rates in Africa have obvious ramifications for European home security and economy. Refugee and migration crises due to insecurity in the African continent are likely to continue evolving in the future, and they call out for long-term analysis and engagement.

To establish a sustainable European Joint Degree (EJD) programme in Anthropology of Human Security in Africa (ANTHUSIA) between four leading universities: Aarhus, Edinburgh, Leuven, and Oslo, collaborating with other academic and non-academic partner organisations in and outside Africa.
To educate 15 top Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to produce academically excellent, policy-engaged and critical research that is relevant to current problems and possibilities in Sub-Saharan Africa and also relevant for security, economic growth and well-being in Europe.
To conduct empirical research on urgent human security issues in Africa from combined Anthropological, Human Security, and African Studies perspectives, including projects on health, infrastructure, borderlands, refugees livelihoods, youth, land, housing, energy, governance, informal economy, humanitarian and development interventions, which will produce new theoretical perspectives on inter-linkages between sectors, as well as innovative and applicable ideas.
To develop a strong inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral research network across four leading European research institutions and partner organisations that will collaborate around ESR projects in Africa and develop a specialised school and field of excellence within Anthropology, Human Security and African
Studies with a view to sustaining the ANTHUSIA EJD and engendering future teaching and research initiatives.
To establish research collaborations with local, national and international partner organisations (in and beyond Africa) that will ensure the dissemination and impact of research and create diverse employment opportunities and career trajectories for ESRs.
To disseminate research findings in PhD theses, international peer-reviewed journals, edited volumes, policy briefs, video presentations and through other relevant and innovative channels of communication to policy makers and implementers as well as to the public. Special emphasis will be put on the use of
visual media to communicate to policymakers and the public in engaging ways.
This first period of the project focused on recruitment to get the best candidates for the ESR positions, their initial training in Human Security topics, fieldwork preparation and supervision of the individual ESRs. Two training events took place during the first period of the project: Opening Workshop in Oslo in September 2018 and Summer School 1 in Nairobi, January 2019. There were no delays in the recruitment of the ESRs who all started on September 1st, 2018.

The second period of the project was a period of data collection for all ESRs as they have been doing approximately 12 months of fieldwork at their different research sites in various places in Africa. Most of them have also finished their secondment with the local partner organizations during this period. The third training event, Summer School 2 marked the ending of fieldwork for most ESRs. A few have stayed on during the first months of 2020 to conduct the last fieldwork for their research projects. The main focus of the ESRs in the remaining period of the project is on analysing their data and disseminating their research findings.
The impact of the ANTHUSIA EJD will be significant at three levels: 1. Developing relevant individual researcher skills and urgent transferable knowledge about human security dynamics which will lead to improved employability and career development in and outside academia; 2. Building a sustainable and innovative European research school and network that continues to develop applicable interdisciplinary research on human security, continues to improve supervision and widen the scope of internationalisation; 3. Influencing stakeholders’ and policy-makers’ development and implementation of human security related projects and policies with on-the-ground knowledge and insights. This will significantly increase researcher mobility and build stronger links between research, innovation and education. Innovative doctoral training in Europe will upgrade EU human capital with entrepreneurial human security thinkers and implementers. Investment in interdisciplinary human security research in Africa will increase EU competitiveness and growth. Overall this is well aligned with the vision described in the Africa – EU partnership. Stability in Africa is ultimately also in the interest of Europe.
ANTHUSIA ESRs gathered at Summer School 1 in Nairobi January 2019