The DPU MSc ESD/SLURC learning alliance was established in 2017 to support transformative actions towards a socially and environmentally just Freetown. It brings together a number of partners: the DPU practice module of the MSc Environment and Sustainable Development (MSc ESD), the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC), Njala University, the Federation of Rural and Urban Poor (FEDURP) and Centre of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation (CODOHSAPA). Moreover, every year, a group of local interns and community facilitators have joined the alliance to strengthen the knowledge production process.

The work of the alliance builds upon numerous action-research projects jointly undertaken by SLURC and DPU, among them:Urban Africa Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK) and Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality (KNOW) and OVERDUE: Tackling the sanitation taboo across urban Africa.
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Policy Briefs
Transformative Strategies for a Just Freetown
Driving Freetown Towards Enhanced Mobility: Emerging opportunities from health crises for improved access to livelihoods.
Sanitation for all: How far can communal sanitation facilities meet local needs and address inequalities in Freetown's coastal informal settlements?
Cockle Bay: We Tomarra Bambai (our common future)
(Re)Integrating Moyiba towards environmentally just resource management
Towards a safe, healthy and risk-free Dwarzack
Governance across levels: Collective action for healthy and risk free Susan's Bay
From Portee to Rokupa: Bridging together
Building a collaborative and hazard-free CKG
We come together for Cockle Bay': Certainty to stay and capacity to upgrade in Cockle Bay
Moyiba as one: Collaboration to disrupt risk traps
Dwarzack 'It is not a project, it is a process'
Leh wi wok togeda': Mobilizing for transformative change in Susan's Bay
Empowering community-led transformation for 'wata' in Portee-Rokupa
Building in-situ resilience in CKG
Culvert 4 Betteh!': Strengthening Colbot's collective muscles for community resilience
Feeding Freetown’s Future Building Capacity for Food Security through UPA
Stay home? Rethinking secure rental in informal settlements
Energy for Livelihoods: Analysing pathways for sustainable and equitable energy access and transitions in Susan's Bay
Envisioning just waste flows: Recognising actors to build circularity
Policy Briefs
Policy Brief
Exploring the multi-dimensional aspects of Coastal Flooding 1
Policy Brief
Exploring the multi-dimensional aspects of Coastal Flooding 2
Policy Brief
Exploring the Risk Accumulation Cycle of Fires in Freetown’s Informal Settlements
Policy Brief
Landslides and Building Collapse
Policy Brief
Multi-Hazards Related to Poor Solid Waste Management
Policy Brief
Water and Sanitation Related Diseases
Policy Brief
Reframing Risk into Opportunity: The Case of Occupational Hazard Key points in Freetown’s Urban Agriculture
Policy Brief
DPU MSc ESD/SLURC Learning Alliance Co-Learning for Action to Transform Freetown
Policy Brief
Food security through Urban Agriculture Policy
Policy Brief
Land and Shelter Tenure Security
Policy Brief
Ecosystem Services Management
Policy Brief
Decentralised Water and Sanitation (WASAN) Infrastructure and Services
Policy Brief
Sustainable and Equitable Energy Transitioning
Policy Brief
Enhanced Mobility
Policy Brief
Integrated Solid Waste Management: Strategic Entry Points to Disrupt Risk Traps
Strategic Team
The DPU MSc ESD/SLURC learning alliance was established by Adriana Allen and Rita Lambert from The Bartlett Development Planning Unit-UCL in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC-www.slurc.org/)- a globally connected research centre in Freetown directed by Braima Koroma and Joseph Macarthy; and the Federation of Rural and Urban Poor (FEDURP) headed by Yirah Conteh.
Braima Koroma is a lecturer at the Institute of Geography and Development Studies, School of Environmental Sciences, Njala University and the Director of Research and Training at SLURC. Braima has over 15 years of experience as a lecturer, researcher, consultant, trainer and facilitator, in the areas of urban livelihoods, the city economy, resilience, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, urban planning and development, environmental management, and development impact evaluation.
Dr. Joseph M. Macarthy is the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC) in Freetown. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning and Management from Newcastle University (UK). He is an innovative urban planner and a well-established scholar in urban development with backgrounds in urban management, climate change adaptation and, disaster risk and resilience with specific expertise on urban Sierra Leone. He also lectures in the Institute of Geography and Development Studies at Njala University in Sierra Leone.

Joseph’s research interest centres mainly on urban development, urban vulnerability and resilience, mobility and transport, public health, urban management, housing and informal settlements. He has co-authored a number of research articles as well as some consultancy reports. He also has strong networks amongst both local and international scholars of urban planning and development and with municipal and national governments in Sierra Leone.
Andrea Klingel is the Director of Operations at SLURC, supporting the Centre in its continued delivery of leading research in order to influence urban policy and planning as well as building capacity of urban stakeholders. Andrea, originally from Germany, is a policy and programme management professional with extensive experience in various project and programme management roles in London, UK.

Andrea worked for over 20 years in different environments in the private, third and public sector managing complex projects at senior level and manoeuvring complex stakeholder relationships. Her strong organisational skills and leadership and people management abilities equip her to see through the introduction of human resources aspects, programme planning and identifying new and building on existing funding streams for SLURC. She was the Logistical Manager of the international election observation mission to Somaliland in 2017 and managed a 60-member observer team from 27 countries.
Yirah is the National Chairperson of the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP). Yirah lives in the hillside settlement of Dwarzark, one of Freetown’s largest informal settlements. He is the vocal person for slum dwellers in Sierra Leone and the disaster management chairperson for his community.
Adriana is Prof of Development Planning and Urban Sustainability at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London, and has over 30 years of experience in research, postgraduate teaching and consultancy undertakings in 25 countries across the Global South. Through the lens of risk, sanitation, water, land, food and health, her work looks at the interface between everyday city-making practices and planned interventions and their capacity to generate transformative spaces, places, and social relations.
Rita is an urban development planner and architect with over 19 years of international experience based at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL. Her research, postgraduate teaching and consultancy are closely linked and span across various countries (mainly Latin America and Africa). Her work focuses on environmental justice, urban risk, energy justice, urban regeneration, affordable housing, mapping and participatory methodologies. She undertakes action-research, training and capacity building working closely with communities, NGOs, local and national governments, and local researchers, to co-produce strategies towards just urbanisation.
Julia is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality programme at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL.

With an interdisciplinary background in social and environmental sciences, her research and postgraduate teaching have addressed themes of disaster risk management, urban resilience, urban planning, and more recently, critical pedagogy, epistemic injustice and overlooked cities. Over the past decade she has been collaborating in action-research programmes with partners in cities of Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, with the aim of learning together to activate and build capacities for more just and equal urban development.
Pascale is an urban environmental planner and associate professor at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London, and has over 15 years of experience conducting research and consultancy work in the global south and Europe. She has expertise in water supply and sanitation in urban and peri-urban spaces, adequate and equitable access to services and the sustainable use of resources, everyday trajectories of the urban poor and actionable knowledge supporting pathways out of poverty.

The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU)

Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC)

Institute of Geography and Development Studies (Njala University)

Federation of Rural and Urban Poor (FEDURP)

Center of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation (CODOHSAPA)

Ibrahim Bakarr Bangura graduated from Njala University with a BSc in Rural Development Studies. He currently works as a Junior Researcher at SLURC. He was previously part of the SLURC team working with ASF-UK’s Change by Design Methodology on Community Action Area Plans (CAAP) and worked with the Amazonian Initiative Movement as a Facilitator. He has also helped to facilitate ASF-UK’s Community-Led Data Collection for Informal Settlement Profiling workshop. He is currently involved in the OVERDUE and Urban KNOW projects. Ibrahim has been part of the ESD learning alliance over the last four years.
Hawanatu Bangura (Awa) has a background in Accounting and Finance and is currently working at SLURC as a Field Researcher in the action research project “Community-led solution: Assistive Technologies in Informal Settlements” in Freetown (Sierra Leone). Awa is the lead person in the action research project and acts as a liaison for two informal settlement communities (Dworzak and Thompson Bay), with a focus on people with disabilities. She is also leading the coordination of the development of the Transform Freetown Plan of Freetown City Council, where is she co-ordinating four main sectors. She has previously worked on the post Ebola Recovery Program, where she worked in the Operation Clean Freetown Initiative as part of the President's Delivery Team, Office of the Chief of Staff. This is the second year she is supporting the ESD learning alliance.
Amadu Labor is a Research Officer at SLURC with a BA in Development Studies and a BSc in Agricultural Education from EBK University of Science and Technology. He has acquired extensive work experience in community development, including multiple contributions to SLURC research and data collection for FEDURP before joining SLURC as a Research Officer. He has previously supported the ESD learning alliance both as an intern and as a SLURC staff member.
Mary Sirah Kamara graduated from Njala University with a BSc (Hons.) in Environment and Development and an MSc in Environmental Management and Quality Control. She was part of the SLURC team that worked with ASF-UK’s Change by Design Methodology to pilot the Community Action Area Plan (CAAP) and she is currently working on a ESRC funded research project that explores health and infection control in informal settlements. She also plays a pivotal role in the Accountability for Health Equity (ARISE) project, which aims to acknowledge the needs of the marginalised and urban poor through accountability mechanisms. She has been part of the ESD learning alliance for the past four years.
Musa F.M Wullarie is a Community Youth Leader in Cockle Bay-Mafengbeh. He is the Founder of the ‘Foundation for the Future Educational Syndicate and Library’. Musa has extensive experience in community organisation and data collection, where he has worked as a Data Collector for the Federation of Urban Rural Poor (FEDURP). Musa has previously been involved in multiple research projects by SLURC (as an intern) and has been community facilitator in all SLURC-UCL Learning Alliances thus far.
Fatima Kabba is a volunteer field officer at the Center of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation (CODOHSAPA). She holds a BSc degree in Social Work from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Fatima joins the Learning Alliance for the third time as volunteer field officer at the Center of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation (CODOHSAPA), where she currently has two year’s fieldwork experience.
Michael Garrick is a geology graduate and MBA student at the Institute of Public Administration and Management. He is a passionate believer in the power of research as a development tool and has previously worked with students on water and sanitation services within the Learning Alliance.
Henry David Bayoh is an Expert Certified Development Project Manager (CDPM) who also holds a BSc (Hons.) in Environmental Sciences as well as a MB and MA in Sustainable Development. He is the Focal Point for the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and a Senior Planning and Development Officer/Head of Climate Change at the National Tourist Board. This is the fourth year he joins the ESD Learning Alliance as an intern.
Dr. Nikhilesh Sinha is an Associate Professor of Economics and Management Sciences at the Hult International Business School, London. Nikhilesh completed his PhD at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL, supervised by Prof. Caren Levy and Dr. Colin Marx. His thesis examines informal rental housing sub-markets in Hyderabad from an institutional perspective. The thesis contributes a novel conceptual framework for the analysis of informal markets, while debunking several commonly held perceptions of the dynamics of rental housing markets in informal settlements. More recently, Nikhilesh has been awarded a research grant by the Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality (KNOW) Project in 2020 to study informal housing markets in Dar es Salam, Tanzania.
Alban Hasson has been a PhD Student at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit since 2018. His main research interests lie in urban agriculture (UA), food sovereignty, environmental policy, grassroots innovations, and the potential for learning to deliver sustainable urban food systems. His PhD research explores the conditions for the expansion of the political space for urban agriculture justice and food democracy, and the resulting democratic effects produced different trajectories. His research draws on theories of environmental justice and democratisation, where his he seeks a better understanding of the pathways available to ensure parity of participation and address distributive and recognitive justice in UA. In his spare time, Alban enjoys growing some of his own food, and is involved in Urban farms in his local neighbourhood.
Loan Diep is a researcher on urban green infrastructure, water and sanitation, and socio-environmental justice in cities, with a focus on informal settlements. She graduated with a BSc in Environmental Geography and an MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development at UCL. Loan has worked as research consultant for organisations like UNEP and IIED, and as project officer for Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP). She is currently doing her PhD at UCL on the urban politics of Green Infrastructure in São Paulo, Brazil.
María José Nieto Combariza is a PhD student at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, where she researches the value of mobility (in two and three-wheelers) in the context of mass public transport reforms using a critical southern lens. María José is an economist by training and has previously completed an MSc in Development from the National University of Colombia and MSc Environmental Policy and Regulation from the London School of Economics. As a professional in her field, María José aims to encourage knowledge-based strategies to foster urban development by working with local and national government institutions and the UN. She has previously worked on urban sustainable development project in Latin America, the Caribbean and China, where she has supported decision-making within local governments and public institutions.
Donald is an inter-disciplinary development planner with a formal background in urban and regional planning. He has over ten years of international research and practical experience across a variety of pressing urban development issues, ranging from the informal economy to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and public health in the broader context of sustainable development.

Donald has worked with international and local NGOs, policy and research institutions, universities, hospitals, the private sector, communities and their local support organisations. His work has taken him to various countries throughout Asia and Africa, including Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, South Africa, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand.
Zeremariam is an associate professor at DPU UCL. has been involved in several projects in different International Organisations. Over the past three decades, he has worked on medium /short term consultancies, external evaluations and applied research with a variety of UN, International and national NGOs. From 1989 to 2016, he has served as the founding director and head of a Regional NGO (the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa, PENHA www.penhanetwork.org) over the last 27 years.
Kerry is an urban geographer who has worked on urban sustainability transitions at the academia-policy interface for the last 8 years. During this time, she has worked closely with stakeholders across government, private sector and civil society stakeholders in South Africa and the United Kingdom to produce academic and policy outputs on urban infrastructure transitions, focusing on water, sanitation, and energy. She has also directly contributed to the development of municipal and regional policy on green infrastructure, mining waste landscapes and urban water management.
Kate holds a MSc in Environment, Politics and Development from SOAS, London, during which she focused on critical political ecology perspectives on development. Kate’s research interests lie with agrofuels and the energy transition in a context of climate change.
Diana has several years of experience facilitating multi-stakeholder projects in conservation, sustainability and education in various Colombian cities and in London. Her research interests include the concept of security and the strategies developed by social organisations to resist in areas of armed conflict. She volunteers with activist groups supporting struggles for environmental justice in the global South.
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