CLOC Eastern Africa

People form a globe that puts Africa and Europe at the centre
Photo: shutterstock / Arthimedes

The Cluster of Cooperation (CLOC) Eastern Africa is a network of researchers and institutions that aims to foster North–South partnerships for research and education. It works to strengthen the capacities needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and Africa’s strategic framework, Agenda 2063, by providing an adequate platform to promote knowledge generation, information exchange, and opportunities for academic collaboration between Swiss universities and key actors in Eastern Africa.

Breaking down academic silos and sectoral thinking

The network enables transformative research and education by breaking down academic silos and sectoral thinking, and it supports transdisciplinary approaches. It includes partners who play an active role in discussing, formulating, and implementing the most innovative sustainable development strategies and policies in the region.

Thematically, the CLOC Eastern Africa focuses on the following areas and their interlinkages:

  • Land and water management and governance
  • Food security and nutrition
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Health issues and the one health approach
  • Migration (rural–urban, internal, and outmigration)

Linking Swiss and African higher education institutions

It launched its activities in 2021. It is part of the swissuniversities Development and Cooperation Network (SUDAC). Its goals are:

  • To establish strong inter- and transdisciplinary research partnerships that generate policy-relevant research results on SDG-related key topics for the region and help guide decision-making processes.
  • To build capacities of researchers through a training and teaching programme that fosters transformative research and strengthens national-level collaboration between scientists, policymakers, and civil society.

Main activities

Networking and knowledge exchange

The CLOC is establishing a vibrant knowledge exchange platform linking scientists, policymakers, and civil society. Research and education priorities are developed in a transdisciplinary way, and strategic foresight is used to prepare for emerging debates.

Mobility programme

The network is fostering partnerships through a mobility programme among partners in Eastern Africa and Swiss higher education institutions.

Training and teaching events related to Sustainable Development

The CLOC coordinates and organizes training and teaching events on sustainable development and transformative research.

7 projects have been funded, 5 in Ethiopia and 2 in Kenya.


Protecting and integrating urban migrants in Addis Ababa

Cities offer hope, opportunity, and essential services – making them a hub for migrants seeking a better life. But what happens to the urban refugees once they get to the city, and are their expectations met? There is little research on urban migration in the context of African cities. Addis Ababa University and HSLU-SA are therefore conducting an explorative study on the economic and social integration of refugees in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. As one of the largest labour-sending and refugee-hosting countries in Africa, Ethiopia is an important hub of both outward and inward migration.

How indigenous practices can intensify agricultural production for food security

Global food demand is expected to double by 2050 and agricultural intensification offers options to meet it. Many local practices worldwide are highly adapted to variations in socio-ecological conditions, but have received little attention in science, policy, and development interventions. Transdisciplinary research into indigenous practices to intensify agricultural production is being conducted by WLRC (Addis Ababa University) and CDE (University of Bern). Through knowledge co-creation and technology transfer, the long-term partners will carry out pilot projects and seek funding to scale them up.

Financing WASH improvements to enhance well-being and urban agriculture (fWASH)

No safe drinking water, no toilets, and nowhere to wash your hands – this is the reality for millions of people living in slums and on the outskirts of cities in Ethiopia. A major reason for this lack of basic sanitation is that organizations – even in the private sector – simply don’t know how to invest in improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities. EIWR (Addis Ababa University) and SUPSI are researching awareness of WASH and willingness to support its improvement. They are also creating awareness among communities about the safe use of sanitation outputs in urban agriculture.

Promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Ethiopia

Despite the importance of achieving the SDGs, Ethiopia currently offers no Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) training for schoolteachers or university lecturers. And the few available curriculum contents related to SD do not address the concept holistically. WLRC (Addis Ababa University) and Bern University of Teacher Education are therefore developing a concept to promote ESD among key stakeholders in Ethiopia. The collaboration is aimed at improving the understanding of SD among policymakers, curriculum designers, as well as university and school leadership and teaching staff.

Agroecological educational farm for food security in southwestern Ethiopia

Inputs such as synthetic fertilizer are often too expensive for resource-poor farmers in Ethiopia. For these farmers, agroecology offers many advantages. Not only does it allow them to grow diverse food products on relatively small areas of land – it is also beneficial for the environment. To foster agroecological practices, Jimma University, Geneva Graduate Institute, and the Antenna Foundation are developing educational farms in Ethiopia. These farms act as laboratories and schools for farmers to develop and put into practice their knowledge of agroecology.


Understanding climate change literacy and strategies among local inhabitants in Isiolo county

With limited natural resources, Kenya is highly vulnerable when it comes to climate change. Massive infrastructure projects currently underway will bring further challenges: the LAPSSET Corridor linking Kenya with South Sudan and Ethiopia will foster in-migration and affect livelihoods. Kisii University, CETRAD, and CDE (University of Bern) are investigating climate literacy in Isiolo county, to understand what the inhabitants know about climate change and what mitigation and adaptation strategies they have. The researchers are paying particular attention to gender and development issues.

Creating a sustainable and circular coconut production system

Coconut is a key crop for food security and livelihoods in the coastal regions of Kenya and Tanzania. Despite its relevance, the crop remains underutilized and receives little attention in research and policy. The coconut value chain faces many challenges including low productivity coconut plants, few opportunities for value addition and processing, and inadequate extension services. Egerton University and the University of Zurich are collaborating on a project to evaluate the coconut production system and identify and co-produce sustainable and circular solutions for trial and adoption.

Looking for funding opportunities?

The funding instruments for bilateral research collaboration are open to researchers of all Swiss universities, universities of applied sciences, and public research institutions.

Interested to join?

Are you interested in becoming part of the network? If so, feel free to contact us anytime: isabelle.providoli(at)


Prof. Dr. Thomas Breu, CDE, University of Bern

Prof. Claudio Valsangiacomo, Centre for Development and Cooperation SUPSI

Project coodination unit
Prof. Sandro Cattacin, University of Geneva

Dr. Gülcan Akkaya, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Dr. Boniface Kiteme, CETRAD, Kenya

Dr. Gete Zeleke, WLRC, Ethiopia

Prof. Dr. Argaw Ambelu, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia


Dr. Isabelle Providoli, CDE, University of Bern



Swiss partners

Antenna Foundation

Bern University of Applied Sciences

Centre for Development and Environment CDE, University of Bern

Centre for Development and Cooperation SUPSI

Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE)

Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences



Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts


Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute



University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Western Switzerland

University of Basel

University of Bern

University of Fribourg

University of Geneva

University of Neuchâtel

University of Zurich

University of Teacher Education, Bern

University of Teacher Education (BEJUNE)

University of Teacher Education, Lucerne

University of Teacher Education Zürich

University of Teacher Education focusing on special needs education

Wyss Academy for Nature, Bern

African partners


Université de Djibouti



Adama Science and Technology University

Addis Ababa University

Ambo University

Arsi University

Bahir Dar University

Bule Hora University

Center for Population Studies, Addis Ababa University

Debre Berhan University

Ethiopian Institute of Water Resources, Addis Ababa University

Hawassa University

Haramaya University

Jigjiga University

Jimma University

Mattu University

University of Gondar

Water and Land Resource Centre WLRC

Wolaita Sodo University

Wollo University




Egerton University

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agricultures and Technology

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization

Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute

Kibabii University

Kirinyaga University

Kisii University

Kisumu National Polytechnic

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology

Moi University

Pwani University

SDSN Kenya

St Paul's University Kenya

Strathmore University

University of Eldoret

University of Nairobi



Ardhi University

Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI)