Approaches to transdisciplinary research have so far mainly been tested in the context of social challenges in western industrialized nations. But how can transformative, knowledge-led cooperation between societies and science work under the completely different conditions that exist in many countries of the Global South? Researchers from three Ethiopian universities explored this question from March 18 to 22, 2024 at the annual partner meeting of the transdisciplinary research project GIRT (Strengthening Research and Educational Competences of HEIs for Gender sensitive Urban (InfoRmal Settlement) Transformation) in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Coordinated by the University for Continuing Education Krems, they dealt with aspects of informal and precarious housing. In particular, they discussed the difficulty of entering into a constructive dialog with representatives of local and regional administrations to improve living conditions in informal settlements: All too often, these dwellings, which have arisen out of necessity, are regarded as "illegal" by the relevant authorities and excluded from the provision of basic infrastructure - with correspondingly negative consequences for the residents and, in particular, the women living here.

Nevertheless, the general conditions in all the partner regions involved are very different - especially as some of them were, or still are, at war until recently. However, the participants at the meeting agreed on one thing: "There are no patent solutions! We have to design transdisciplinary research for the respective African reality of life!"

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