19.01.2021 | EADI: Virtual Dialogue: Modeling a Pandemic (COVID-19) Management Strategy for Urban Slums Using Social Geometry Framework, with Francis Onditi PhD

The purpose of this virtual dialogue is to utilize social geometry framework to model a pandemic (COVID-19) management strategy in densely populated informal settlements in Kenya. Our central claim is that the containment strategy that was instituted to control the spread of COVID-19 failed to recognize the socio-cultural and livelihood complexities of the urban slum residents.

This unmitigated strategy predisposed the residents to risks of heightened transmission of the pandemic. Drawing on social geometry approach in the analysis of human relations, we reveal some insights offered by our experiences in theorizing about public health intervention (PHI) and in doing so develop an alternative analytical framework (‘social pendulum’) to support the development of a PHI strategy that is compatible with the swing-like lifestyle of residents in the informal settlements. Our conclusion revisits the reliability and validity criteria for the new framework and offers some direction for further research.

Francis Onditi PhD heads the School of International Relations and Diplomacy, Riara University, Kenya. Dr. Onditi is the 2019 recipient of the AISA Fellowship awarded by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa, for his tenacious research and scholarly work on ‘positioning African States in the Dynamic Global System.’ Dr. Onditi is a widely published pan-African researcher. He has published over 60 research papers in peer reviewed journals, contributed more than 15 chapters in edited books and authored/co-edited 3 books in his area of specialization – geography of African conflict and institutional evolution theory. Dr. Onditi’s current pre-professorial research focuses on “exploring the analytical conception of the closeness centrality and its implications for a theory of interactivities for enhancing understanding of the process of conflict excavators and extractives with the aim of providing an explanation of the intrinsic character of interaction among human beings, communities and states as a process of diffusion of power, conflict reversals, and peace interlocutors.”

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Source: European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), December 2020