Partnering for impact on the SDGs: from local to global

A JCU Public seminar series

Cairns: Cairns Institute Lecture Theatre (D003-054)

Townsville: Science Place Lecture Theatre (142-111)

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address global challenges: poverty, inequality, climate, environmental change, prosperity, peace and justice.

In 2016, JCU became the first Australian university signatory to the SDGs. Through this commitment, JCU seeks to support and promote the principles of the SDGs through its research, teaching, and operations.

This seminar series seeks to demonstrate JCU’simpact on the SDGs from the local to the global. This series celebrates the applied research of JCU researchers and their external partners across Cairns, Townsville, the Wet Tropics, Northern Australia, and the Asia-Pacific. The 6-month program will include presentations on JCU’s large-scale projects led by senior researchers and our professorial team, and new and emergent projects being undertaken by PhD Candidates and Early Career Researchers.

Seminar 2 - JCU and the SDGs in East Africa

4 - 5pm 30 May 2019

Presentation 1 - Improving access to justice for female victim survivors of conflict-related sexual violence - Presenting from Cairns
Judith Rafferty - Senior Lecturer, Conflict Management and Resolution, College of Business Law & Governance

This research analyses the perspectives on justice of victim-survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, focusing on women who suffered sexual violence during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Twenty-three Rwandan women were interviewed to explore their motivations to participate in a Rwandan justice process because of the sexual violence. The research also analyses the women’s experiences with the justice process to assess which elements of the process helped the women to achieve a sense of justice, and which elements were perceived as particularly challenging. This research aims to have an impact in several ways, including by providing recommendations for:

1) the development of justice measures dealing with sexual violence in other settings,
2) measures to support the recovery of victim-survivors beyond formal justice processes.

The presentation on this research will summarise the women’s experiences with specific features of the justice process, including how they felt about giving testimony, meeting their perpetrators at court, asking questions about their victimisation, etc. The presentation will also discuss the women’s opinions on formal punishments of their perpetrators and perpetrators taking responsibility, for example by confessing or apologising to their victims. The presentation will conclude with a list of key recommendations for the design of future justice processes dealing with conflict-related sexual violence and other initiatives to support victim-survivors beyond formal justice process.

By focusing on access to justice for Rwandan victim-survivors, this research aligns with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 5, 10 and 16,1 and demonstrates JCU’s contribution to “global” research in the tropics outside of the Asia-Pacific region.

Judith is a Senior Lecturer in the Conflict Management and Resolution program at JCU. She has a degree in Business Administration (University of Applied Science Gelsenkirchen, Germany) and holds a Master of Conflict and Dispute Resolution (JCU). Judith is also a PhD candidate, assessing the experiences of female victim-survivors of conflict-related sexual violence with transitional justice processes. Judith's research focuses on Rwandan women who experienced sexual violence during the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 and who participated in a local justice process afterwards. In 2011 Judith spent several months as a consultant with International Rescue Committee (IRC) in the Central African Republic evaluating the traditional conflict resolution processes of tribal chiefs and how they interacted with the more formal conflict resolution processes in the court system. Judith was also engaged in the design of mediation processes and relevant training resources to train village chiefs as conflict resolution practitioners.  Judith is also a nationally accredited mediator trained in the facilitative model, and is a trained conflict coach and facilitator.

Presentation 2 - Financial inclusion for development: Evaluating mobile money in rural Uganda - Presenting from Townsville
Jonathan Kuttainen,  College of Arts, Society and Education

In many sectors, including FinTech, development, and aid, mobile money—the use of simple, candy bar mobile phones to exchange financial credit by SMS—has been heralded as the way forward to alleviate the many faces of poverty in rural development contexts. The buzz around mobile money generated by success stories like M-PESA in Kenya has made it the 21st century equivalent of micro-finance, in terms of its promise to address financial inclusion in many of the SDG’s especially by “banking the unbanked.” My fieldwork research is based on a case study of one particular start-up company in rural Uganda attempting to deploy mobile money for this specific purpose. It has uncovered some of the complexities around mobile money in this context, including the conflicting interests of multiple stakeholders, and drawn into question the robustness of some of the data presented by these stakeholders around the reporting of meeting development targets. It has also called into question the heralded success of this financial tool. On the other hand, my fieldwork has also revealed some fascinating insights about mobile money, particularly regarding the need for further research on digital and financial literacies in the development context. This presentation will provide a brief overview of these issues, including the use of mobile money in the rural development context and the robustness of related development data and conflicting reports around its success, and share some insights into the unique and interesting ways the rural unbanked are using mobile money

Jonathan is a PhD student in Sociology at JCU. He has a working background in management in areas of education, state and local government. He has a particular interest in organisational, regional and international development as well as economic sociology and political economy. Jonathan is currently researching the use of mobile money in rural Uganda; an emergent Digital Financial Service industry that is developing on the back of a mobile phone revolution in Africa.

Refreshments provided. All welcome.


Seminar 3 - 27 June 2019 "International Day of the Tropics"

Seminar 4 - 25 July 2019 TBC

Seminar 5 - 29 August TBC

Seminar 6 - 26 September TBC