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CECAN Fellow: Ananya Mukherjee

CECAN Fellowship: Evaluating the Impact of Adaptation Measures and Resilience Building by Examining the Complexity Nexus Using a Systems-Thinking Complexity Approach

Mentors: Stuart Astill, Adam Hejnowicz

Ananya is an IOD Parc/ CECAN Fellow based at CRESS/ Sociology, University of Surrey. The Fellowship focuses on Disaster Risk Reduction work in Nepal and involves evaluating the impact of intervention measures using systems thinking approach. As there are diverse components to the management of disaster and building of climate resilience, an adaptive and non-linear evaluation method will be able to assess the rapidly changing, complex and evolving intervention measures. Mixed method approach is being used to evaluate the impact of the intervention activities beginning with literature review. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected using focus groups, participatory co-design workshops will be used to understand the impact of the intervention on the outcomes. To examine the diverse complexities involved in resilience building and adaptation, a Qualitative Comparative Analysis method will be used to assess causation that is complex and interlinked. I am also looking forward to learning new techniques such as Dependency Modelling and Agent based Modelling to help develop resilience in order to tackle future climate catastrophes. This is mainly because of increasing climate risks and related uncertainties which is making it harder to predict future disaster risk scenarios.

An Environmental Sociologist by training, with experience working on complex environmental and biodiversity conservation issues, I believe in the interconnectedness of nature, environment and the several layers of impact it has on humans and the social-ecological systems. This rationale translates to the systems thinking approach, which can help achieve conservation goals as integrative and collaborative approaches can help deliver solutions to complex real-world problems. More importantly, I hope to increase my experience through cross-disciplinary work and diverse collaborations which will increase my understanding of complexities and how best we can design solutions to address these complex problems.

Recent projects include a Research Fellowship with the University of Surrey, UK working on a renewable energy project ISABEL, funded by Horizon 2020. The work involved using a circular economy approach in changing perception of local communities and citizens, a socially innovative way to manage waste sustainably and create a green society within the communities. This model is central to creating sustainable and decentralised biogas communities as there are numerous benefits (social, economic and environmental) apart from reducing emissions from the atmosphere. The second important part involved Evaluating the programme using the theory of change model, using different participatory approaches with key stakeholders. This was used to draw out best practices and important lessons from which Recommendations and a Best practice toolkit have been prepared.

Other interests include learning languages, cultural anthropology observing food and cultural practices amongst different communities across the globe which shapes popular food and socio-cultural and ecological practices.

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