Emma Laura Awino Oketch

I am a PhD student in SP10 Gender Order: Embedding Gender in Horticultural Value Chains to Close or Reduce the Productivity Gap. The research on gender and power dynamics that I conduct is supervised by Prof. Christine Bauhardt and Dr. Ann Kingiri.

Our research focuses on the gender dynamics of AIV value chain upgrading. We carry out field research in three main areas in Kenya: Kakamega (rural), Kiambu (peri-urban) and Nairobi (urban). The research entails a lot of travel to and from the field. For example, it takes me eight hours by car to travel from Nairobi to Kakamega and the distances between respondents in the field can be quite far. However we still manage to collect the relevant data and meet our obligations. During this spring semester in Berlin I am auditing two classes: Gender and Climate Change as well as Gender and Globalization, which are two times a week. Once a week we normally have a project meeting where we discuss relevant texts, our research results and analysis and next research steps. The other days I work exclusively on the PhD research.
I graduated with First Class Honours, Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and English Literature from the University of Nairobi. I was awarded a University of Nairobi and a Japanese Sasakawa scholarship to undertake my Master’s degree. I graduated with a Master of Arts degree in International Studies from the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies. After graduation I was employed at the same institute as a lecturer. Before joining HORTINLEA I carried out research on gender and national security in conjunction with UN Women and Prof. Maria Nzomo of the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies. I also collaborated with her on another project supported by the German Heinrich Boll Foundation on gender and terrorism. I was also involved in research on IGAD CEWARN in internationalised conflicts in the Horn of Africa.

When joining HORTINLEA I was excited because the opportunity enabled me to integrate gender into value chain analysis and, thus, to contribute to the value chain scholarship and also in some small way to sustainable livelihoods in Kenya. I was also very motivated because of the possibility of undertaking a PhD within the project. I like HORTINLEA because of the learning opportunity, the diversity, the networks and career opportunities therein. After HORTINLEA I intend to go back to my career in academia and also continue to carry out research. I will be applying the skills learnt in HORTINLEA in my work.