Abstract for: Systems Modeling and Design Thinking for Food, Energy and Water Security in Africa

As communities around the world face the interlinked challenges of food, energy, and water security, there is an increasing appreciation for the value of community-engaged, systems approaches. However, frameworks for introducing, assessing and scaling these approaches are still emerging. In this session, we will discuss community- and policy-engaged systems processes using system dynamics and design thinking for identifying challenges and water-energy-food (WEF) nexus solutions in selected agricultural regions of Africa, and for designing and testing interventions to these challenges. We will also demonstrate how community-scale solutions can be linked with policy priorities using national-scale modeling. We piloted a community systems design workshop in Zimbabwe in December, 2022. The pilot will be further refined at a more in-depth learning school planned in Uganda in July, 2023. During the proposed conference session, we will engage participants in an abbreviated walk-through of these two workshops, using a sample problem in the WEF space. In addition to discussing lessons learned from the workshops in both Zimbabwe and Uganda, we will explore adapting the modeling and design thinking procedures going forward. We will also have interactive discussions with participants interested in using or adapting these methods in their own research, practice, and teaching.