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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



1 PhD Scholarship Announcement: “Diaspora Humanitarianism in Complex Crises” (D-Hum), University of Nairobi

Deadline for applications: January 4 2020 at noon (East African Time)

The University of Nairobi (UoN), in collaboration with Rako Research and Communication Centre (RRCC),Hargeisa, Somaliland; Rift Valley Institute (RVI), Nairobi; and the Danish Institute for International Studies(DIIS), Copenhagen, Denmark; invite interested and qualified candidates holding a graduate degree in social sciences and/or relevant disciplines to apply for a fully funded PhD position under the Diaspora Humanitarianism in Complex Crises research project.

The research project

D-Hum explores how Somali diaspora groups mobilize, channel and deliver humanitarian assistance to Somalia during complex humanitarian crises. Based on fieldwork in Somalia, Kenya and Europe, the project will examine the movements of goods, people and ideas, from crisis-affected areas, hubs for humanitarian agencies and diaspora activities, to settlement countries. Theoretically, the project will develop the concept of humanitarian infrastructures to analyze material forms of transport, communication systems and technologies as well as the institutions and social networks that facilitate the movement of support. D-Hum thereby aims at producing theoretically informed and empirically based research as well as enhancing policy development and collaboration between international humanitarian agencies and diaspora actors.

A short description of the project is attached. It can also be found at the University of Nairobi’s IDS website here https://ids.uonbi.ac.ke/index.php?q=node/31630 and the Danish Institute for International Studies’ website here https://www.diis.dk/en/activity/new-research-project-on-diaspora-groups-as-humanitarianactors

General conditions for the PhD position

  1. The position is fully funded and comes with an attractive package.
  2. The successful PhD candidates will be enrolled at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi; and a university in Denmark.
  3. The duration of the scholarship is four years and starts in February 2020. It includes a research stay in Denmark, possible co-enrollment at a Danish university, and a two-week research stay at RVI.
  4. The candidate is expected to do about seven months of fieldwork in Somalia, fully participate in DHum project activities, and follow IDS and the Danish University PhD school requirements.

Eligibility criteria

  • A master’s degree in social sciences or other relevant field.
  • Be highly motivated to develop an academic career and to pursue fulltime doctoral studies.
  • Be willing to conduct fieldwork in Somalia and preferably possess previous fieldwork experience.
  • Ideally have worked with humanitarian and or diaspora issues.
  • Be willing to travel and actively participate in the D-Hum project activities.
  • Good writing and communication skills.
  • Be a constructive and engaged team worker.
  • Somali language skills desirable but not a requirement

Application process

Applicants are invited to develop a concept note that takes departure in one of the following questions,

with a focus on Somali diaspora humanitarianism linking Somalia, Kenya and Europe:

  1. How do goods, ideas and people move or get blocked in diaspora humanitarian infrastructures, how are they governed, and what are their routes, speed, and durations?
  2. How do different social positions such as clan ties, gender, religion and intergenerational relations affect practices, expectations and experience of diaspora humanitarianism at different sites?
  3. What are the effects of Somali diaspora humanitarianism and what principles and future visions of humanitarianism guide it? How does it (re)produce or overcome divisions in Somalia?

The concept note should be about 4-5 pages (max 2,000 words, excluding references) and outline a detailed focus for the proposed PhD project. The following details must be included:

  • Statement of the research problem and specific research questions
  • Theoretical framework
  • Selection and description of the proposed study site in Somalia, including the humanitarian situation and diaspora practices
  • Methodological approach, including fieldwork considerations
  • Practical considerations, including access to the field site and security
  • Ethical considerations
  • Timeplan

In addition to this concept note, the application should be accompanied by the following documents:

  • A detailed CV stating the applicant’s educational and professional history
  • Copies of academic certificates and transcripts
  • An electronic copy of the applicant’s MA thesis (or other relevant publications)
  • Contact details of three references

The application

Deadline for submitting the application is 4 January 2020 at 12 PM (East African Time). Applications should be sent by email with the subject title ‘D-Hum PhD application’ to Director IDS (director-ids@uonbi.ac.ke), cc Professor Karuti Kanyinga (karuti.kanyinga@uonbi.ac.ke), Dr. Mohamed Aden Hassan (m.a.hassan@rakoresearch.com); Mr. Mark Bradbury (mark.bradbury@riftvalley.net); Dr. Nauja Kleist(nkl@diis.dk) and Dr. Peter Alexander Albrecht(paa@diis.dk).

Information on the programme can be obtained from any of the researchers with a copy to all the researchers.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The assessment committee will consist of a panel of D-Hum senior researchers. All candidates will be notified. Interviews with short-listed candidates will take place in the month of January. The final selection will be undertaken by end of January 2020.

D-Hum is funded by the Consultative Research Committee for Development Research (FFU) underDenmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danida).

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