Announcement of MSc thesis research fieldwork funding on the topics of

Multi-stakeholder processes along pastoral meat chains in Northern Kenya to reduce losses and improve livelihood benefits (» download announcement)
to contribute towards
Social Sciences: Knowledge, Collaborative Learning and Action (Sub-Project 7)
in the frame of the project
Reduction of Post Harvest Losses and Value Addition in East African Food Value Chains (RELOAD)
funded through the
Research for the Global Food Supply (GlobE) initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Project aims and approach

The RELOAD project aims at developing and testing improvements for the reduction of post-harvest losses and the creation of added value using transdisciplinary research methods based on a cooperation of scientists, practitioners and other societal actors. Through the integration of cross-cutting social science methods (SP7), a project goal is to implement learning possibilities with different actors along the supply chain, including producers, transporters and small-scale processors, to enlarge their scope of action and to improve their position along the value chain.

Transdisciplinary approaches for action research inform how to engage with the people who comprise the human activity systems that create these food chains such that they can increase their benefits through reduced losses and added value. Qualitative research methods based on facilitation of group activities will inform analysis. Quantitative methods can be used when the people involved are interested in the results such as through a co-inquiry, in order to ensure that the process of research remains relevant and fine-tuned to the people directly involved. When the people whose actions make up the system are engaged in learning, there is more possibility, that they might be able to change their actions, either individually, or through collective action.

Focus area
In Marsabit district in Northern Kenya, the sale of goats and sheep in the study area provide vital contributions for the fulfillment of household monetary needs. The goat and sheep supply chains from Northern Kenya have both domestic and international flows, along which multiple actors play a part. In 2015, multi-stakeholder processes (MSP) contributed multiple benefits for actors along the chain through increased coordination and collaboration. Likewise, stakeholder dialogues between those active “on the ground” and government officials responsible for regulation have already resulted in a re-consideration of tax policies. These MSPs will continue in 2016 with continued focus on taxation, alternative markets, and improvement of coordination.
Theoretical lenses for MSc fieldwork in Agricultural Sciences can draw upon one or more of the following fields: Social Ecology; Education and Extension; Systems Science with focus on Food Systems.

A master thesis to be developed focusing on Multi-stakeholder processes to improve benefits in the small-scale pastoral meat chain – including multiple types of pastoralists and traders from Marsabit County.
During the fieldwork to facilitating a collaborative learning approach with members of a multi-stakeholder platform (MSP), activities may include:

  • Facilitate creation of self-monitoring structures with pastoralists and traders for critical analysis and evaluation
  • Development of an Action Plan for the MSP
  • Facilitate co-experimentation and co-inquiry

Following up fieldwork activities of PhD student Guyo Malicha Roba conducted in 2015-2016, this MSc will be developed to strategically continue action research regarding market coordination, finance, and permitting.

Time frame

  • Positions are open until filled. In your application, please specify exactly when you would be available for three months of fieldwork with the earliest starting date of April 2016.

Study area
The study will be carried out in pre-selected research sites in collaboration with other RELOAD research partners in Marsabit County, Kenya.


  • Strong interest in active collaboration with people involved in pastoral meat supply chains and application of social science methodologies associated with a transdisciplinary action research approach.
  • Fluency in English for fieldwork activities and for writing of MSc thesis in English.
  • Permission from MSc program for first supervisor to come from DITSL.

Costs of fieldwork and travel are covered by the BMBF project - RELOAD. This includes travel from Germany to the fieldsite, in-country transportation, supplies such as facilitation materials, field translation services and transcription. This does not include housing and food.

Supervision from DITSL
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Kaufmann and Dr. Margareta Amy Lelea in close cooperation with PhD student, Guyo Malicha Roba

Application Process
Please send your application (CV, transcript of records, motivation letter) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or ask for further information.