Ian Scoones is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and is co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre. He is the Principal Investigator of PASTRES. An agricultural ecologist by original training, he has worked on dryland agrarian change, livelihoods and the politics of sustainability for over 30 years, including on pastoralism. His books include Living with Uncertainty: New directions in pastoral development in Africa (1995), Dynamic Sustainabilities: Technology, Environment, Social Justice (2010) and Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development (2015). For more information, see Ian Scoones’ website.
Michele Nori is based at the Global Governance Programme of the European University Institute (EUI), Firenze. A tropical agronomist by original training, with a PhD in rural sociology (Wageningen), he has worked extensively in pastoral areas in Africa, Qinghai-Tibet, China and the Mediterranean region. He has recently completed a Marie Curie Fellowship with EUI, focused on migration and pastoralism in the Mediterranean region. For more information, see Michele Nori’s profile on the EUI website.
Country leads and institutions
Gongbuzeren is an Assistant Professor at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu. His research has focuses rangeland management and policy, the relationship between cultural beliefs and nature reserve management, rural development and poverty alleviation. He works closely with Wenjun Li, who is a professor of natural resource management in the Department of Environmental Science at Peking University.
Antonello Franca is a researcher at the Institute for Animal Production in the Mediterranean, based in Sassari, Sardinia. He has a doctorate in Crop Productivity from the University of Sassari. His research interests include the ecophysiology of pastures, germplasm collection and evaluation, sylvopastoral ecosystems and seed bank dynamics.
Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud is Head of Department of the Department of Social Sciences at the Technical University of Mombasa. He completed his PhD in anthropology at the University of Kentucky. His research interests include pastoral livelihoods, marketing, innovation, conflicts, citizenship and natural resource management in the Horn of Africa, especially northern Kenya. He has published extensively on these themes, and has consulted for the Government of Kenya, the African Development Bank, the FAO, Mercy Corps and CARE International in both Kenya and Somalia. He was the co-convenor of the pastoralism theme of the Future Agricultures Consortium and is a Fellow of the Rift Valley Institute.
Other project members
Dr Jeremy Lind is a development geographer with over 10 years research and advisory experience on livelihoods in conflict areas and the difficulties of aid delivery in such contexts, including one year researching the impacts of armed violence on pastoralist livelihoods in northern Kenya.
He is currently Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex and a Research Associate of the Centre for Civil Society at the London School of Economics. He has extensive fieldwork experience in north-east Africa, where he lived and worked for three years as a Research Fellow for a Nairobi-based international research institute.
Video playlist: watch videos of each student introducing their work by exploring the playlist below.
Natasha has a multidisciplinary social sciences background with experience working with smallholder farmers and pastoralists in India. She holds an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, during which she researched resource related contestations among a pastoralist community in western India. Currently working with the Pastoralist Knowledge Hub at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Natasha is keen on bringing pastoral voices into global policy processes.
Through her PhD research with the PASTRES project, Natasha wishes to use approaches from geography, anthropology and political ecology to broaden conceptions of pastoral mobility. She is interested in nomadism, resource rights, the commons, micropolitics, and living life in technicolor.
Watch: Natasha Maru introduces her research (YouTube)
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A large part of Linda’s professional experience has focused on research and data collection methodologies, including on Community-Based Rangeland, Livestock Management and governance impact data.
Linda has worked on pastoralism in the Middle East and North Africa, in particular with an Omani anthropologist on the shawawi pastoralists in Jabal- Al Akhdar, speaking with pastoralists and rangers on governance issues at the frontiers of nature reserves in Iran, and working with the International Livestock Research Institute on assessing the possibility of applying payment for ecosystem services to pastoral systems in Tunisia. Her PhD research with the PASTRES project has explored themes of presence and absence in southern Tunisia.
Linda holds a BSc in Economics from Nottingham University and a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University (School of International Political Affairs), with a concentration in Energy and the Environment and a specialization in Applied Sciences.
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Tahira Shariff is from Northern Kenya. She is an anthropologist and holds a Master’s Degree in International Studies from the University of Nairobi. Her MA project was on human smuggling across the Kenya-Ethiopia Border. Tahira is very interested and enthusiastic about research-based work, driven by a personal interest in working with communities, coupled with her academic foundations in anthropology.
As a pastoralist woman, Tahira has noted the lack of minority representation in academia and this deficit has motivated her to seek a doctoral degree under the PASTRES Project, both to increase her own knowledge and experience, but also to provide her with skills and experience to mentor and engage the next generation of female Kenyan scholars.
Recently, Tahira has worked with the Effective State and Inclusive Development (ESID) Research Centre at the University of Manchester on a project examining governance and the politics of implementing social protection in Kenya through the case for Marsabit County in Northern Kenya. For her PhD, Tahira aims to examine how pastoralist communities evolve community safety nets and coping strategies in response to external shocks, and how such strategies are rooted in cultural institutions.
Watch: Tahira Shariff introduces her research (YouTube)
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Giulia Simula is an agrarian and food movement researcher and activist originally from Sardinia, Italy. She completed her MA at the Institute for Social Studies in the Hague, with a Major in Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies in December 2015. Her thesis looked at the struggle for autonomy of shepherds in Sardinia. She completed her BA in International Relations at Leeds University in the UK.
Giulia’s PhD research interest with the PASTRES project lies in the politics of pastoral markets and the dynamics of agrarian transformation. She strongly supports the struggles of social movements and civil society organisations advocating for food sovereignty and for the right to adequate food and nutrition for all.
After completing her MA, she became engaged in food sovereignty efforts and worked with the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), then from 2017 to 2018 she worked for the Italian NGO Crocevia that, among other things, serves as the secretariat of the International Planning Committee (IPC) for Food Sovereignty. She also worked with the secretariat of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) for relations with the UN Committee of World Food Security. In all her experiences, she worked to facilitate the participation of small-scale food producers in policy processes.
Watch: Giulia Simula introduces her research (YouTube)
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Masresha has recently ended a post at the International Livestock Research Institute’s (ILRI) Program on Innovations for Resilient Livelihoods in African Drylands (in the Index-Based Livestock Insurance project team) where he was working for over four years as a Program Coordinator (Ethiopia) to be an affiliate PhD student for the PASTRES programme.
After finishing his Masters in Development studies in 2008, Masresha worked as a Socio-economic Researcher for different projects for more than nine years focusing on Rural and Agricultural Development, Food Security, Integrated Land Use Studies and Planning, Pastoral Resilience, and Market and Digital Innovations for Dryland Systems.
Masresha has research expertise in Ethiopia, Kenya and Niger drylands. His PhD project with the PASTRES project focuses on the role of insurance in mitigating risk and generating resilience among Borana pastoralists of southern Ethiopia.
Watch: Masresha Taye introduces his research (YouTube)
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Palden Tsering (Chinese Pinyin: Huadancairang) is from Amdo Tibet, Qinghai, China. He has worked recently as the project manager for Qinghai Plateau Nature Conservancy (PNC), a local NGO which is dedicated on the Biodiversity Conservation and Community Development around Three Rivers Region (Sanjiangyuan Area). In 2017, he completed an MSc in Conservation and Rural Development at DICE, University of Kent. The research was designed to explore the perspectives and attitudes of Tibetan Pastoral Communities in Qinghai toward monasteries involved in conservation and development.
Previously, he has worked as the communication and outreach officer for FFI Tibetan Project from 2013 to 2016 – an organisation dedicated to providing awareness building and capability training to motivate Tibetan pastoral communities to get involved in conservation and community development projects.
With a PhD under the PASTRES programme, Palden hopes to benefit from the significant research expertise within IDS, and to use PASTRES as a platform to carry on his research on the contemporary roles and changes of Traditional Tibetan Communities who are experiencing severe development processes and uncertainties on the Tibetan plateau. His PhD under the PASTRES project is exploring hybrid process of land control in pastoral areas of Qinghai, Tibet, in the context of rising uncertainties on the Tibetan plateau.
Watch: Palden Tsering introduces his research (YouTube)
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Three post-doctoral researchers are involved with the PASTRES programme. They are based at institutions in Europe and the USA, and supported by a variety of grants.
Jamila Haider is a post-doctoral researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. She has a PhD in Sustainability Science from the Stockholm Resilience Centre on the topic “Resilience and Development: Re-thinking poverty and intervention in biocultural landscapes.” Her research focuses on how development interventions can improve human well-being in food systems without eroding biological and cultural diversity.
Jamila is co-author of the book “With Our Own Hands: A celebration of food and life in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.” She has previous degrees in Geography from the University of Cambridge, and political science and biology from Carleton University. She worked from 2009-2011 as an international development professional in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
Jamila currently leads a research project from the Swedish Research Council that conceptualises development as coevolution and aims to understand how social-ecological relations are built, maintained or changed in biocultural landscapes and where the capacities lie to do that. Case studies for this project are in the Tajik Pamir Mountains and the Austrian Alps.
As part of that project, she has research affiliations with the PASTRES programme, as well as Lancaster Environment Centre BOKU in Vienna and the University of Central Asia in Khorog Tajikistan.
Greta has recently earned a DPhil (PhD) from the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford (2015-2020). Her research explored the challenging concept of resilience in drylands from the perspective of pastoralist populations. It is an ethnographically-informed study of desertscapes based on extended multi-sited fieldwork in Turkana County, in the arid lands of Northern Kenya.
She has a position as Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) (2020-2022) with the research project: “LIVING BORDERS—Emerging tools of transnational governance from everyday lives across borderlands: From Sub-Saharan Africa to Europe” (see details).
Previously, Greta worked for FAO Somalia as Monitoring and Evaluation International Consultant and collaborated with LAMA Development and Cooperation Agency for research on formal and informal social protection strategies in rural Malawi. She also held several research assistance positions with ODI (Overseas Development Institute), IMI (International Migration Institute), and EUI (European University Institute).
She holds a BA in Development Economics and International Cooperation from the University of Florence (laurea triennale) and a MSc in Development Economics from the University of Florence (laurea specialistica).
Ryan Unks began an appointment as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland in June 2020. His research draws in equal parts from natural and social sciences and uses mixed methods to study changing pastoralist livelihoods and ecologies in central and southern Kenya.
He recently completed an appointment as a postdoctoral researcher in geography at the University of Lyon. He holds a PhD in Integrative Conservation in Forestry and Natural Resources from the University of Georgia, where his interdisciplinary training drew from landscape ecology, GIS/remote-sensing, anthropology, and political ecology. He previously completed a Master of Science in Natural Resources at North Carolina State University with an emphasis on restoration ecology and plant ecology.
Through affiliation with PASTRES, his focus will be on complexity in semi-arid ecological change, institutions and governance at different scales, and pastoralist/agro-pastoralist livelihood adaptation strategies. At the heart of this work will be a critical engagement with different knowledges and experiences of ecological change in the context of conservation and development interventions.
More information on Ryan’s research can be found on his Researchgate profile.
Giulia’s work explores issues of collective boundary-making and ethnicity, mobility, space, and everyday politics. Her recently-completed Phd in Anthropology “Mobility, Politics, and Ambiguity among Kel Tamasheq in Bamako” (University of Torino, 2016-2019) focuses on everyday strategies of navigating uncertainties, discourses on crisis and its effects on nomadic-pastoralist practices by Kel Tamasheq urban subjects in Bamako. This work followed her previous research on questions of nationalism, belonging, and forced migration among Kel Tamasheq refugees in Burkina Faso (Mphil in Development Studies, Oxford University, 2013-2015).
She will be a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) from September 2021 with the project: “Emerging (Dis)Connections. Crisis, (im)mobilities and citizenship: navigating uncertainties among Kel Tamasheq in Bamako.”
She has also worked on issues of (forced)migration in Europe with projects focusing on receptions of health services by third communities (CeSPI, 2013), and connectivity and mobility, TRAFIG Project (FIERI, 2020-2021).
Currently, applications to become an affiliation are closed, but if you are interested in becoming an affiliate of the PASTRES programme in the future, contact us.
Alberto Stanislao Atzori was born and raised in an agricultural village in Sardinia. He is an agronomist with a PhD in Animal Science, and is currently Senior Researcher in Animal Nutrition at the Departnment of Agriculture, University of Sassari.
Alberto’s background is rooted in ruminant nutrition and dairy farm management, and he has studied dairy cattle and dairy sheep husbandry in Mediterranean areas. His special focus has been on the link among ruminant nutrition and production efficiency, to enhance good practices, to improve profitability and to reduce the environmental impact of livestock farms.
Since 2011, Alberto has worked on Life Cycle Assessment and System Thinking (ST) and System Dynamics (SD) modeling techniques. He actively participates as VP to the SD Italian Chapter (Sydic) and promotes the SD group on Agriculture & Food (A&F-SIG) of the SD Society. He is currently working with SD models to study environmental sustainability and sustainable policies relevant to sheep and cattle dairy farming systems in Sardinia and South America.
To contribute to the PASTRES project’s goals as a project affiliate, Alberto is interested in applying ST and SD to improve understanding of the complexity of the behaviour of pastoral systems, and to provide possible scenarios of the pastoral world of the future.
Matteo Caravani is a political economist lecturing on the agrarian question in modern history and the history of economic theory at the Makerere Institute for Social Research (MISR) in Uganda. He graduated from the faculty of Economics, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ and he was awarded a PhD in Development Studies at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) University of Sussex, in Brighton.
Matteo worked as an international consultant for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) both in Palestine and Rome, for the World Food Programme (WFP) in East Africa, for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and for the IDS in London.
Within PASTRES he focuses his work in deconstructing resilience. Particularly, he is interested in the relationship between existing social structures and power relations and the ways in which these structures and relations keep large portions of the population unable to be resilient to future shocks and stresses.
Georges Djohy is an agricultural engineer and anthropologist. He studied Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Parakou (Benin), and holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Göttingen, Germany. He served as a Research Associate at Göttingen Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology (GISCA), and has been recently enrolled as Lecturer at the National School of Statistics, Planning and Demography (ENSPD), University of Parakou, Benin.
He has been involved since 2008 in short and long-term studies among Fulani pastoralists, with a focus on environmental and socio-technological changes. He has interest in land use, climate change, local innovation and grassroots organisation politics, and has recently published a book entitled: “Pastoralism and Socio-technological Transformations in Northern Benin: Fulani Innovations in Pastoral Migration, Livelihood Diversification and Professional Association”.
Georges is currently studying livelihoods, gender and power relations through grassroots associations of Fulani pastoralist women in northern Benin, as part of Volkswagen Foundation’s Postdoctoral Fellowships on Livelihood Management, Reforms and Processes of Structural Change. His study focuses on how pastoralist women’s professional organisations are driving changes in the socio-economic, cultural and political patterns that shape gender relations within the Fulani communities.
In connection with PASTRES’s objectives, Georges, during the time of his affiliation, is confronting the existing literature with his ethnographic field data, to analyse how pastoralist women in Africa perceive and manage uncertainties, both individually and collectively.
Domenica Farinella is Lecturer in Economic and Environmental Sociology at Messina University, Italy. She previously worked at the University of Cagliari as Lecturer in Environmental Sociology, where she has been conducting ethnographic research, titled Changes in Sardinian Pastoralism: Shepherds and Romanian Workers. She was coordinator for the Italian Research Unit in the EU Project FOOD TRACK (VP/2016/004, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), with a case study on the Sardinian sheep-dairy chain. Drawing on this experience, she will contribute to PASTRES work on mobility-migration interfaces, as well as help support the PASTRES case study on Sardinian pastoralism.
Mathilde is a researcher in development studies, with a PhD from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK. She specialises in resource politics, social mobilisation, pastoralism, land rights, land deals, livelihoods, agrarian change, power, moral economy and social differentiation.
Carried out under the supervision of Ian Scoones and James Sumberg, her doctoral research explored the social mobilisation (or lack thereof) of agropastoralists in the context of farmland privatisation in Madagascar. It evidenced the critical intersection of state and village politics in informing local people’s variegated perspectives, and opportunities for influence, on corporate land access. It also highlighted a resistance, across socio-economic divides, to the “demoralising of land deals”. Her fieldwork was carried out in Ihorombe, an agropastoral area of southern Madagascar where livestock possession is a critical element of local livelihoods and social differentiation patterns, and where pastoralism is underpinned by a community-based natural resource management system based on flexibility and negotiability.
Mathilde has also carried out consultancy work on issues of livelihoods, social movements and democratic politics. Her most recent consultancy looked at how to tighten a humanitarian organisation’s work on livelihood support in the context of forced migration. She has lived in Jordan for five years.
Huatse Gyal grew up in a nomadic pastoral community in the Amdo region of Tibet. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. His research explores how indigenous notions of place and legal languages of property interact, clash, and dovetail in the everyday cultural politics of land use. Applied to the case of Tibetan pastoralists in Dzorge in eastern Tibet, he studies the impacts of the large-scale rangeland privatization policy on Tibetan pastoralists’ changing experiences of land, community, economy, kinship relations, property, and personhood.
He has contributed articles to international journals such as Ateliers d’anthropologie; Critical Asian Studies and Nomadic Peoples. He is the co-editor of 2015 special issue, Resettlement among Tibetan Nomads in China.
Mohammed was born and raised among the pastoral communities of Isiolo, Kenya. For the last nine years, he has been working as a communications research and development professional, currently working with the Drylands Learning and Capacity Building Initiative and the Pastoralist Parliamentary Group in Kenya. He is a keen linguist, fluent in Afaan Borana, Swahili, and English, while also furthering his Somali and Arabic language skills. Since 2010, he have been part of a dynamic team of researchers from Durham University and Arizona State University, where he assisted in investigations into the evolution of large-scale human cooperation around common pool resource use among Borana pastoral communities.
As a PASTRES affiliate, Mohammed is interested in investigating issues pertaining to land grabbing and large development initiatives in pastoral areas. He is looking to explore the use of novel technologies, such as blockchain, as a means of legitimizing pastoral rights to common land use. He will focus on Isiolo as a case study to explore these themes, paying particular attention to pastoral benefits and risks associated with the LAPSSET corridor mega development project.
Alex is a dual-trained development anthropologist and veterinary surgeon who researches networks of knowledge creation between development organisations and marginalised communities. Alex’s PhD explored innovation and adaptation amongst the camel-owning Gabra pastoralists of Northern Kenya, and he is currently developing a post-doc to develop the methodology to examine creativity between refugee and host communities in Kakuma Camp, Kenya.
Alex specialises in working with marginalised communities using mixed-methods approaches, most recently developing Social Network Analysis techniques to examine how pastoralists’ attitudes and identities can shape community-led adaptations. Through the PASTRES project Alex will continue to explore how combined network and qualitative techniques can provide new perspectives on pastoralist resilience.
Alex holds a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine (BVetMed) from the Royal Veterinary College, BSc in Medical Physics and MSc in Anthropology, Environment, and Development from University College London, and has recently completed his PhD thesis at the University of Sussex.
Cory Rodgers is an anthropologist studying the notion of “inclusivity” as it pertains to inclusive development in dryland areas. Since 2015, his ethnographic work has focused on pastoralists in Turkana County in northwestern Kenya, describing the impacts of development intervention on community cohesion, social change and political marginalization.
His doctoral project at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology (Oxford) was a study of social change and community divisions arising from divergent development pathways in Turkana. Under the post-doctoral Pedro Arrupe Research Fellowship, he studied the efficacy of pastoralist involvement in community dialogues around the Kalobeyei Integrated Social and Economic Development Programme, also in Turkana.
Cory currently leads two research projects at the Oxford Department of International Development. Re-imagining Development for Mobile Peoples is a critical study of the ways that development interventions accommodate, exclude or otherwise affect pastoralists and other nomadic groups. The project aims to identify ‘sedentist biases’ in development and propose alternative models. Social Cohesion as a Humanitarian Objective (SoCHO) is a study of strategies to improve refugee-host relations in contexts of protracted displacement, with a focus on inter-communal relations between Turkana pastoralists and refugees residing within their traditional territories at the Kakuma camp.
Fatih is an anthropologist who has been studying everyday life of dairy farming in Northeastern Turkey. He is a long-term volunteer of the small farmer association in Boğatepe village, Kars, Turkey. He has been involved in various projects on rural development, especially on documenting practices of local-traditional production, and strengthening farming communities through certifications like geographical indications.
Fatih is currently a PhD. Candidate in Anthropology at University of California, Davis. His academic interests include the (territorial) making of the nation-state, anthropology of food, agriculture and place/space, science and technology studies, economies and ecologies of pastoralism, farmer organizations and grassroots rural movements. His dissertation research investigates the making of boundaries and places through practices of dairy farming, science, and small farmer-organizing in the Northeastern borderlands of Turkey. Pastoralism and the central role of pastures in shaping the ecologies and economies of dairy farming constitute an important focus in his research.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Sociology from Boğaziçi University, Turkey. He is also part of the Yerküre Local Studies research cooperative, which undertakes various projects on ecology and agri-food relations in Turkey.
Nathan co-ordinates the communications work of the PASTRES project. He is based at the ESRC STEPS Centre in the UK, where he has worked for several years on communications across a set of projects related to sustainability and development.
Ben is a Senior Project Support Officer at the Institute of Development Studies and works on administration and communications for the PASTRES project. Ben has an MSc in African Politics from SOAS University (2017-2019).
Shibaji is a researcher and consultant based in Kolkata, India, specialising in audio-visual research methods. He provides methodological support to the PASTRES researchers, particularly in the use of the Photovoice method, drawing on extensive experience and research with the method in a variety of contexts.
Roopa Gogineni is a filmmaker and photographer based between Nairobi and Paris. She provides support to the PASTRES researchers in the use of documentary photography. Over the past ten years her work has focused on historical memory and life amidst conflict across East Africa. She holds an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford, where she researched the construction of media narratives around Somalia. To see her films and photographs please visit roopagogineni.com.