10th African Regional Meeting Highlights Community-Based Resilience During COVID-19

The 10th African RCE Regional Meeting was held virtually (online), on 1 September and 15 September, 2020 under the theme 'Community-Based Resilience during Pandemic Disruption: The Role of African RCEs'. Hosted by RCE Minna, the two-part event saw 63 participants from 17 RCEs across 8 countries across the region attend.

Split into two streams, the presentations from the first stream (held on 1 September, 2020) highlighted the effect COVID-19 has had on the world thus far; not only the disruptions, but the fact that environmental sustainability can be pursued alongside economic development. The pandemic has impacted many aspects within our societies, such as widening the education gap and highlighting the digital divide, but provides the opportunity to overhaul the education system and allow us to rethink of how to better prepare ourselves to live with both this and future pandemics.

Most importantly, communities must work together to overcome the challenges this has brought about, in addition to a multifaceted approach that aligns the efforts of governments and international agencies on the topics of health and the environment, in pursuit of a “Green Recovery” underscored by ESD, which can equip all with the knowledge and skills needed.

The second stream (held on 15 September, 2020), highlighted three major sub-themes: environmental and climate change perspectives of COVID-19 lessons for ESD; preparing for the next pandemic; and the value of traditional knowledge in pandemic management.

In this keynote address, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, Vice Chancellor Federal University of Technology Minna (FUT), highlighted the impact of the meeting; “...the outcome of this discussion will be highly impactful in the current realities and would lead to building networks within the RCE family and beyond”. Prof. Bala also further acknowledged the impact of the RCEs on the University’s students through youth-related activities.

Case study presentations from RCEs covered steps they have taken during the pandemic, from preventive measures through to the implementation of clinics, and hosting of online discussions and events. In looking forward, the meeting called for the Vice Chancellors of universities present to continue working towards the growth of RCEs in every African country, as the region continues its efforts towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Global RCE Service Centre wishes to thank the team at RCE Minna for their outstanding efforts and coordination in making the 10th African RCE Meeting a success, and to all participants for their active participation and contributions.

Presentations from the meeting can be found on the event page here. For further information, see a summary report prepared by RCE Minna for Stream One and Stream Two. The full report will be available soon.