PhDs in Focus: Helping Uganda’s neglected pastoralists

karamoja pastoralist
Karamojong pastoralist selected from the community and trained by the Ugandan Army. Copyright: Sven Torfinn / Panos

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“I’m opening frontiers of research in an area where people don’t believe it’s possible to conduct research” says PhD student Anthony Egeru, who is studying the effects of climate change on forage resources in Karamoja, in northeast Uganda.

Karamoja is a semi-arid plain largely populated by pastoralists. It is an area that has seen many years of armed conflict and unrest between armed pastoralists and the Ugandan army (UPDF), to the extent that Egeru has needed armed protection from the UPDF whilst conducting his research in Karamoja.  

Egeru argues that governments need to be more proactive in setting the research agenda, so that university academics do not remain in their “ivory towers” but instead begin answering some of the many developmental challenges faced by countries in Africa. 

Egeru, who is Ugandan, is studying for his PhD at the University of Nairobi, in Kenya. His studies were funded initially by seed grants from RUFORUM (the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture).

This is part of the Africa’s PhD Renaissance series funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.