PhD project: Development interventions

Photo: Mads Yding

My PhD research focus on understanding the dialectic process of the development encounter; how development interventions affect local communities and environments and on how interventions were appropriated and affected by local communities.

Empirically my project is rooted in Turkana County and the development projects which took place there in the 1970s and 1980s. Like the Maasai, the Turkana are a Nilotic people with a strong pastoral culture and identity.

My investigation of Turkana responses to western development interventions, settlement and wider western influences can not only provide knowledge on the dynamics in Turkana; more generally it contributes to the understanding of how the nomadic pastoralists of the Rift Valley responded and responds to these phenomena. Understanding local responses and perspectives on development encounters, and the long lasting effects of these, will not only nuance and deepen the understanding for local cultures, ecologies, and histories, but also speak to approaches to local engagement and involvement in development efforts.

The cultural similarities and connectedness between the Maasai and Turkana provides an excellent opportunity for comparative studies and knowledge exchange. I am convinced that the MMSDI will benefit from the empirically grounded  knowledge gained in my project as basis for more comparative studies of the dynamics affecting the pastoral peoples in the Rift Valley.

Cooperation with Professor Jesse Njoka and PhD student Philemon Ong’ao Ng’asike, African Drylands Institute for Sustainability and the British Institute in East Africa. Research assistant Josephine Lochampa, undergraduate at Mount Kenya University.