Written by Chloe Zivot, Undergraduate Research Assistant
It’s with great pleasure that we welcome Teddy Kisembo to the Harper Lab as she completes a course in EcoHealth at the University of Guelph this summer. While she has only been here one month, her energy and knowledge have brightened the department since her arrival, and we look forward to having her here with us until July!
Teddy has a BA in Urban Planning from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, and is currently a Masters student at Makerere University, pursuing a degree in Land Use and Regional Development. Her MA research is centered around the effects that flooding has on the livelihoods and health of urban residents, specifically in regard to the impacts of relocation. Teddy explains that relocation can take many forms, whether it is permanent or seasonal relocation, or relocation on a weekly or nightly basis according to rain patterns. While flooding has serious health and safety impacts on the residents of informal settlements in Kampala, her research suggests that these may not be the primary force behind relocation, nor the primary source of concern for members of these communities. For many, the disruption of day to day social, cultural, and economic activities (which may heavily affect household income, education, and religious life) is considered a larger barrier to well-being than the flooding itself.
In regard to future plans, Teddy has expressed that she is passionate about staying in research. She believes that to do research is to “get into the minds of people, and see what knowledge can come out of that. It’s putting a voice to the people that can speak to policymakers and planners”. Teddy’s work is very interesting and critical in the face of climate change, and we look forward to seeing the direction in which both her current and future research it take her!
The EcoHealth course that Teddy is taking part in here in Guelph is taught by Dr. Harper and other EcoHealth researchers from across Canada. The course teaches innovative approaches to better understanding the complex factors which influence health. (More info is available at http://www.copeh-canada.org/en/key-areas/training-and-capacity-building/course.html). Teddy says she enjoys the multidisciplinary nature of the class and finds the content refreshing, stating that is has re-provoked her interest in land planning. She is enjoying her time in Guelph so far, despite the weather being far cooler than she is accustomed to at home in Uganda!
We are thrilled to have Teddy here in Guelph with us this summer; we look forward to getting to know her better and showing her around Guelph in the upcoming weeks!