My Graduate Fellowship at ILRI

My graduate fellowship at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Hey there, I am glad you’ve taken some out to time to read this blog post. In this post, I write about ILRI and what I learnt/experiences as a graduate fellow, I share.

About ILRI
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is a research institute that works on research of livestock as an avenue to address poverty and sustainable development through high-quality science and capacity-building. ILRI works in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and China. Research by ILRI and its partners is helping to alleviate inappropriate policies, lack of feed, devastating diseases, degrading lands and insufficient water resources, and poor access to markets, by developing new knowledge as well as technological and policy options.

The ILRI headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya, with a second principal campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I spent the past month of my research at the campus in Nairobi where I worked on parts of my literature review and methodologies chapters prior to heading to the field in Tanzania (Morogoro and Tanga).

Prior to my registration for the MSc. CCAFS programme, I must say I was a bit oblivious to the impact of livestock on human livelihoods especially in the context of the least developed countries.

About Livestock

Being at ILRI, opened up my eyes to the prospects of improving livelihoods through livestock, their motto being ‘Better lives through livestock ’.

Very few of us are aware of why livestock matters, below are a few informative points:
•Throughout the developing world, livestock is a means for hundreds of millions of people to escape absolute poverty.
•Livestock in developing countries contribute up to 80% of agricultural GDP; 600 million rural poor people rely on livestock for their livelihoods.
•Livestock is increasingly becoming the most economically important sub-sector, with demand for animal produce to double over the next 20 years.

The ongoing ‘livestock revolution’ offers many of the world’s poor a pathway out of poverty, as a source of food, income, and fertilizer. The ‘livestock revolution’ also acts as catalysts for transforming subsistence farming into income-generating enterprises, allowing poor households to join the market economy.

My affiliation to ILRI

My research project under the title ‘Gender analysis of dairy intensification and climate change adaptability of men and women farmers in Tanzania’ is in collaboration with two ILRI research programs, these being the Livestock, Gender and Impact (LGI) under the mentorship of Dr. Alessandra Galiè, and the Livestock, Systems and the Environment (LSE) with Dr. Todd Crane.

My experience at ILRI has been good in the sense that I was exposed to different people from different backgrounds, who share similar developmental interests. It was amazing to be in an environment with people who are really intelligent and working on exciting projects contributing to development objectives of the areas where ILRI works.

I had a great opportunity to network with some of the ILRI staff in the office and during the Friday morning coffee catering for the whole campus, as well as the Monday morning office coffee. In one of the Monday office coffee sessions, I was privileged to share my research plans and discuss the objectives and methods of my research and interests more generally. This was very helpful, as I was also able to think through my research through an audience.

I definitely learnt a lot during the past month and certainly inspired to continue on the career path that I have chosen (or that chose me, whichever way you look at it 😛 ). I enjoyed my time at the institute and definitely look forward to working with ILRI in future if the opportunity arises.

Thanks for following. In the next blog post, I will write about the interesting friends I met at ILRI and their interesting research interests and how these have encouraged me to think outside of the box, even in my own research.

Please check out this blog post about my research work if you haven’t already:
https://livelihoods-gender.ilri.org/2016/06/07/itumeleng-mafatshe/

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ILRI

Cows

Mara HouseLater 😉

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