SDG Labs


Seedbeds of Transformation will host a special interactive session for the SDG Labs, a concept to solve complex sustainability problems in a local, hands-on, and innovative way. They are multi-stakeholder processes where research meets local practitioners and traditional knowledge-holders. The aspiration of the SDG labs is that they plant seeds of change that can grow and spread, inspire and provide knowledge for transformation on a greater scale.

call was opened for SDG Labs Africa up front the Seedbeds conference and a large number of proposals have come in from all over the continent. 13 labs have been selected for funding and will start up before the conference.

Funded Labs

  • CSIR-Crops Research Institute (Ghana) Vegetable Production and Its Contributions to Sustainability in Ghana
  • University of the Sahel (Nigeria/Senegal) Gen Must Go: Limiting the Impacts of Fossil Fuel Generators in Lagos and Dakar
  • Makerere University (Uganda) AirQo: Low-cost and Participatory Air Pollution Monitoring
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt) Reinventing the wheel: cycling as a mode of mobility in Africa
  • CSIR, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (South Africa) Establishing a road-map for Africa’s first Decision-Theatres
  • ENVAROS (Zambia) Collaborative approach to dealing with Groundwater contamination in Lusaka
  • MFCC, Madagascar Forest Company Corporation (Madagascar) Supporting wedged fisheries post-projects activities for Tampolo protected area for sustainable activities
  • University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa/Mozambique) Harnessing the demographic dividend for enhanced food security and disaster risk reduction
  • NM-AIST, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (Tanzania) Baobab Talker
  • Universite d’Antananarivo (Madagascar) Citizen implication for clean seaside city towards sustainable tourism
  • Rhodes University (South Africa) Citizen Sciences: Strengthening Ecologies of Knowledges
  • Tanzania Water Partnership (Tanzania) Private Sector Engagement in the Management of Water and Coastal Resource in Tanzania
  • CORDIO East Africa (Kenya) Not in my ocean. Reducing marine debris in a coastal city

The SDG Labs Africa organizers will present what they have done and what they plan to do in the four months that the Labs will run after the conference. Seedbeds participants are invited to listen in to, provide feedback and perhaps support for, the Labs.


Afternoon Plenary: 16:00 – 17:00

Introduction of the SDG Labs concept

Wendy Broadgate, Director, Future Earth Sweden Global Hub

The SDG Labs is a concept to solve complex sustainability problems in a local, hands-on, and innovative way. They are multi-stakeholder processes where research meets local practitioners and traditional knowledge-holders. The aspiration of the SDG labs is that they plant seeds of change that can grow and spread, inspire and provide knowledge for transformation on a greater scale.

Three top rated SDG Labs will present their ideas and impression followed by the introduction by Wendy Broadgate. We also invite all participants to interact, learn from, give advice to, and support the SDG Labs after the plenary. Inputs that the SDG Labs receive will be useful for the 4 months they have to complete the projects after the conference.


Parallel session: 11:00 – 12:30
SDG Labs: Applying innovative approaches to addressing sustainability challenges

The session is built around the concept of DWA, Design for Wiser Action, which is similar to World Café format. It enables the lab participants to present their ideas and get feedback from other participants in an interactive and structured way.

Tables will be provided for the general feeling of sitting in a café, where 1-2 lab participants (“leaders”) together with 4-8 other participants (“supporters”) will display their projects (one table per lab). Alternatively, each lab presents using a large flip chart stand/poster wall with a feedback board on it, to a group of participants standing around.

The owners get 45 minutes to present, discuss and end up with valuable input for their projects. Then, the supporters will rotate, and the process is repeated once more with a new set of supporters for each lab.

  • There is a fixed set of issues that is gone through over the process, all put on the feedback board:
  • First, the owner goes through the purpose of the Lab, the questions/issues it addresses, the specific needs it satisfies and the principles that guide it. This opens up the discussion space.
    Secondly, they probe what possibilities there are, what limiting assumptions they have made, and what they may need help with (concept wise or practically)