African roads to Sustainable Agroecology - Transdisciplinary Field Course

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African roads to Sustainable Agroecology

 Transdisciplinary Field Course
 
Eldoret, Kenya

10 - 23 July 2022

Outreach & International Students’ Centre (OISC), University of Eldoret,  Kenya
Under the auspices of ETH Zurich & supported PE&RC, CIRAD and University of Eldoret

Scope

Africa consists of a massive network of infinitely many tiny paths that collectively go everywhere, but in any one place only the locals know where each path leads. This ‘African roads’ concept forms a good analogy for the agroecological approach needed for sustainable human cultivation on the continent. Instead of a few blanket solutions that are uniformly applied, a variety of techniques needs to be tailored to the local environment, knowledge, and peoples. The environmental challenges in Africa are multiple, including soil degradation, a hotter climate, water scarcity, elevated pest pressure, endangered biodiversity, and human-wildlife conflicts - the consequences of which are increasingly felt.

Agroecology, as an inclusive bottom-up process, has the potential to find optimal solutions to these challenges. However, the initial success of typical agroecological practises, including push-pull technology, integrated pest management, use of legumes and rhizobia, and no-till, were later shown not to be universal. It is becoming ever more clear that environmental context, in space and time, calls for local adaptation of agroecological principles and tailored solutions: African roads. Finding effective ways to address the environmental challenges is key. This is true not only for the developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa themselves, but also for the developed countries that depend on them as net importers of African products and (indirect) labour, and net exporters of environmental problems.

In this two week intensive on-site field course we will take a highly multidisciplinary mix of participants and instructors on a tour of the agroecological opportunities and challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. We will visit farming communities across the wide environmental and economic gradients found along the Rift Valley in Kenya, to see how the local biophysical and socio-economic context matters. We will engage in a transdisciplinary learning experience with local stakeholders to come to a common understanding of how agroecological principles can be applied, allowing participants to build understanding and find solutions across disciplinary boundaries in their own work.

Keywords
Co-creation, diversity, food-environment nexus, ten principles of agroecology, 10-steps of transdisciplinary research.

Learning goals
Participants will develop
1. An in-depth understanding of the FAO’s 10 Element of Agroecology and their interactions
2. Gain hands-on experience with developing transdisciplinary (research) projects, i.e. to understand and experience the 10-steps to rendering research societally relevant
3. Assess the agroecological challenges and opportunities in biophysical and socio-economic context around Eldoret.

Course set-up

The course is composed of a series of pitch lectures, subsequent discussions, field visits, and centrally a continuous group work where the transdisciplinary research approach is the guiding principle, culminating in a final presentation event for stakeholders. The course will start on Sunday and will run for two weeks. As soon as more detailed information about the programme is available, this will be published here. 

General information
Target Group The course is aimed at international PhD candidates and Kenyan PhD/MSc candidates. We require ≥ 5yrs of relevant work experience for MSc candidates. Furthermore, Kenyan practitioners are welcome by invitation.
Group Size Min. 25, max. 40 participants
Course duration 12 days on-site, and possibly some preparation work before
Language of instruction English
Number of credits 3 ECTS
Lecturers To be determined
Location Outreach & International Student Centre, University of Eldoret, Kenya
Accomodation Accommodation and full board catering is included in the fee of the course

 

Fees 1
 
   FEE 1 Notes
PE&RC  PhD's with an approved TSP € 750,- PE&RC subsidizes travel costs up to € 600.00
Other international PhD candidates € 750, -  
PhD/MSc candidates from University of Eldoret/other Kenyan institutions € 0,- Participation is funded through a special grant.
Practitioner’s from Kenyan institutions € 0,- By invitation only. Participation is funded through a special grant.

1 The course fee includes local transport (within Kenya), accommodation, all meals, course materials, coffee/tea, and water. It does not include beverages in the bar.

Note:

  • If you need an invoice to complete your payment, please send an email to office.pe@wur.nl, including ALL relevant details that should be mentioned on the invoice (e.g., purchase order no., specific addresses, attendees, etc.).
  • Please make sure that your payment is arranged within two weeks after your registration.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that he/she (or his/her secretary) completes the payment correctly and in time.
PE&RC Cancellation Conditions
  • Up to 8 (eight) weeks prior to the start of the course, cancellation is free of charge.
  • Up to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of € 350,- will be charged.
  • In case of cancellation within two weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of € 750,- will be charged.
  • If you do not show at all, a fee of € 750,- will nevertheless be charged.

Note: If you would like to cancel your registration, ALWAYS inform us. By NOT paying the participation fee, your registration is NOT automatically cancelled (and do note that you will be kept to the cancellation conditions)

Course organizers

• Dr. Abigael Nekesa Otinga, University of Eldoret, Kenya.
• Dr. Ruth Njoroge, University of Eldoret, Kenya.
• Prof. Dr. Johan Six, Sustainable Agroecosystems, ETH Zürich, Switzerland. • Dr. Pius Krütli, Transdisciplinary Lab, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
• Dr. Marc Corbeels, CIRAD, France & International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Kenya.
• Dr. Claudius van de Vijver, PE&RC, Wageningen University, Netherlands.
• Dr. Jasper Wubs, ETH Zürich, Switzerland & Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Netherlands.

The African roads to Sustainable Agroecology Transdisciplinary Field Course is financially supported by:
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More information
Dr. Abigael Nekesa Otinga, Outreach & International Students’ Centre (OISC), University of Eldoret, Kenya. Email: abigaelno@uoel.ac.ke Tel: +254 712 211001

Application and participant selection
To apply you need to:
1.   Have a full vaccination against COVID19 at the start of the on-site course, proven with a certificate from the issuing country.
2.   Show your motivation by answering these questions: 

  • Why are you interested?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • What would you be able to contribute to group work?

3.  Write your motivation in 1 A4 page maximum and have it signed by the Head of you Research Group or Department before applying.

The course organizers will select participants based on their motivation via a blind procedure. Registered people will be informed once a month of they have been admitted, based on their motivation and background. 

Note that deadline for application for the local (Kenyan) participants is  1 March 2022..

For further information contact Dr. Claudius van de Vijver (claudius.vandevijver@wur.nl) or Dr Jasper Wubs (j.wubs@nioo.knaw.nl)

Registration

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