Tailored opportunities: PhD scholarship: Co-creating knowledge to improve mothers’ child-feeding practices in the drylands of Kenya

DITSL is recruiting a highly motivated young scientist to conduct a PhD study in the framework of the international collaborative project NaviNut: “Enhancing women’s agency in navigating changing food environments to improve child nutrition in African drylands”.

The project is designed as transdisciplinary research project in which knowledge co-creation between different disciplines and societal stakeholders is core. It is conducted by a network of partners in Benin, Kenya and Germany and led by the German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture (DITSL). The project will likely receive funding by BMEL as from 1 October 2020.

Content of the envisaged PhD study is to understand mothers’ perceptions on child nutrition and their child-feeding practices in the Kenyan drylands. An actor- and activity-oriented approach will be used to learn about mothers’ knowledge and decision-making in child feeding as well as their room for manoeuvre, given their respective food environments. This will feed into participatory action research to develop contextual improvement possibilities.

Qualifications of the applicants:

  • Excellent Master or equivalent degree in human nutrition, community health, social ecology, human geography, anthropology, agricultural/ rural sociology, agricultural/ rural communication and extension, food science or related fields
  • Very good English communication and writing skills
  • Teamwork orientation and networking skills.

You are a particularly suitable candidate if you have:

  • experience (through research or by family background) in pastoral systems,
  • practised and appreciated participatory research and cooperation with societal stakeholders,
  • experience in social science methodology or action research.

Given the need for building trustful relationships with mothers, we prefer female candidates for the position. We also see this as a chance to promote young female scientists from a pastoralist background.


The candidate will be supervised by Prof. Dr Brigitte Kaufmann from DITSL, Dr Hussein Wario from the Center for Research and Development in Drylands (CRDD) in Kenya and others in an interdisciplinary team. The candidate will be registered as a PhD student in a German university and spend about 15 months doing field work in Marsabit County in Kenya. The remaining 21 months of the 36-months scholarship shall be spent at DITSL.

Please send your applications (incl. motivation letter, CV and transcripts) to b.kaufmann@ditsl.org and hussein.tadicha@crdd-kenya.org . Selection of candidates will start on 28 September 2020 and continue until the position is filled. Further information can be found at https://www.ditsl.org/en/research/projects/navinut

Author: African Academic/Researcher

Science and Research by Africans for Africa

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