Tag Archives: Student

Yassine Ben Rejeb (2015 – present), MA, Univ. of Ottawa

aaeaaqaaaaaaaaf1aaaajdiymwrmogy3ltmxn2etndqxni1inmvhltu3otixyjfizmnlzgMA, Thesis: Social franchising in the development non-profit sector: Prospects for achieving adaptable and sustainable scale of impact. (Oct. 2015 – present)


Brenna Croal (2015 – present), MSc., Institute of Env. Sustainability, Univ. of Ottawa

MA, Major Research Paper (Institute of Environmental Sustainability): Caribou Variability and Inuit Food Security: A case study of Iqaluit and the Baffin Island Caribou herd. (Oct. 2015 – Aug. 2016)

The relationship between food security and climate change in Canada has largely been addressed in the context of large-scale agriculture-based food systems but there have been few studies considering how smaller, subsistence-based food systems are affected. Moreover, there are distinctive food security considerations for First Nations and Inuit related to the harvesting and consumption of traditional foods, which impacts the commonly considered dimensions of food security: access, availability, supply and utilization. Due to shifting away from a traditional to more modernized economy, there has been increased competition between traditional food consumption and a more westernized diet which can be conceptualized as a “nutrition transition”. However, traditional foods still make up a large proportion of people’s diets and, in combination with store-bought foods, remain integral to the contemporary Inuit food system. Climate change appears correlated with increased variability of traditional food sources such as caribou, which may be impacting local food security for First Nations communities.
This research paper sought to investigate this relationship by using a case study of the Baffin Island caribou herd, which has recently plummeted to critically low levels of abundance, and its impact on the community of Iqaluit. The research found that climate variability caused a decrease in the availability of caribou likely due to the subsequent shift in their distribution as a result of changing ability to access forage. While this created a shortage of caribou meat in Iqaluit, it can be argued that broader socioeconomic conditions such as poverty and unemployment were more pressing than environmental conditions in terms of food security determinants among those living in Iqaluit.

Pamela Tom-Jack (2014 – 2016), MA, Univ. of Ottawa

MA, Major Research Paper (Graduate School in Public & International Affairs): The Evolving Geopolitical Relations of Nigeria and China: What is the impact of the Nigeria-China trade and direct investment on the Nigerian economy?

This paper examines the growing economic relations between Nigeria and China with the aim of providing more information on the true impacts of their bilateral trade expansion on the Nigerian economy, both at the domestic and international level through the lenses of authors of various literature reviews.
In order to perform this assessment, this paper will examine the history of Chinese penetration into Nigeria and its industries in comparison to other Western investors. This research evaluates current trade statistics between both countries. Data was collected mainly from secondary sources.
Nigeria and China have had a longstanding relationship founded on a strategic partnership to promote a South-South cooperation, development and growth of their economies. The conclusion is that there is a neo classical dependency theory that Chinese growth and development model is beneficial for the Nigerian economy and China’s expansion in Africa is not a new form of colonialism. However, Nigeria needs to create more employment opportunities for its local population by reducing the number of the Chinese workers through a process of skills and acquisition transfer.

Olga Gurts (2014 – 2015), MA, Univ. of Ottawa

MA, Major Research Paper:  Who profits from ecosystem services? The winners and losers of forestry PES schemes in Costa Rica and beyond. (Dec. 2014 – Aug. 2015)

olga dnABSTRACT:
Costa Rica’s National Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) program has been hailed as an example of a successful application of market-based conservation to increase forest cover. The theory and application of PES has greatly evolved since its inception in the mid-1990s, but many questions remain unanswered including the real environmental and social benefits derived from PES schemes, particularly effects on the poor and landless. Using a thorough literature review of forest cover and watershed PES case studies in Costa Rica and other countries in Latin America, this paper reveals that PES benefits have, in most cases, been beneficial as a form of income diversification for larger landowners with insignificant benefits for participants at the very bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid. Suggestions for evolution of the PES framework include incorporation of greater and more diverse incentives, social and environmental targeting as well as improving awareness of PES effectiveness at the local level. More broadly, the PES framework has been useful in testing the grounds for market-based conservation with state participation while promoting a culture of sustainable ecosystem use within socioeconomic boundaries.

Download the full Major Research Paper here.

Mohamed Noorani (2013-2014), MA, Univ. of Ottawa

Mohamed Noorani
Mohamed Noorani

MA Thesis: To Farm or Not to Farm? Rural Youth Perceptions of Farming and their Decision of Whether or Not to Work as a Farmer: A Case Study of Rural Youth in Kiambu County, Kenya.

Read the full thesis here (pdf file).

Mohamed was in Kenya from Feb.-May 2014 to study how youth in central Kenya perceive and engage with agriculture.  He was particularly interested in those who are approaching (or returning to) agriculture as an entrepreneurial opportunity.  Mohammed worked in conjunction with FarmShop (www.farmshop.co.ke), a Kenyan NGO.

For more information contact me or Mohamed himself (through LinkedIn).


The present study examines rural youth perceptions of farming and their decision of whether or not to work as a farmer by paying special attention to personal career aspirations, social (peer and parental) influences, and structural (land, finance, market, and agricultural education) constraints as the “push” and “pull” forces of farming. Interviews were conducted with 59 youth in six villages of Kiambu County, Kenya. Findings revealed that non-agricultural career aspirations, such as engineering and teaching, may create the desire to migrate away from farming. While many youth held negative perceptions of farming, which were reinforced through peer and parental influence, a sub-set of youth expressed a passion for farming and considered farming an attractive career path. However, the existence of structural barriers and the difficulties in overcoming them, especially access to land, limited their participation in farming.

Lynsey Longfield (2013-2014), MA, Univ. of Ottawa

MA Thesis:  Challenges and Opportunities Shaping Smallholders’ Engagement with Formal and Informal Markets for Food and Livelihood Security: A Rift Valley, Kenya Case Study Analysis. (Jan. 2013-Aug. 2014)

Thesis available from UofO here.

Lynsey’s project addresses whether and how smallholder farmers in the Eldoret-Kitale corridor of Kenya are effectively able to gain access to supermarkets and other formal markets.  For more information contact me or Lynsey herself (through LinkedIn).


This case study analysis looks at four communities in Rift Valley, Kenya including Matisi, Moi’s Bridge, Sirende and Waitaluk.  The research focuses on the role of markets in achieving food and livelihood security for the smallholders in these communities and smallholders’ perceptions of the roles of the Government of Kenya and other institutions in facilitating market access. The largest challenges to market participation, as reported by the smallholders in the studied communities, include low yields, weather inconsistencies, and lack of land.  In terms of the Government of Kenya, many smallholders noted the benefits of participating in groups as they are subsequently offered training or field days and subsidies.  A significant group of respondents did comment on their lack of interest in joining similar groups as they were seen as unstable or corrupt.  The potential roles of formal and informal markets to increase food security were also analyzed.  All smallholders wished to be participating in informal markets, but twenty-five percent were constrained by the lack of surplus produce.  Similarly, although many reported their desire to be participants in formal markets lack of surplus produce, price fluctuations, inconsistent weather patterns, transportation costs and post- harvest losses or food waster were recognized as significant barriers.  In order to mitigate these constraints, most smallholders recommended subsidies on inputs and the overall restructuring of markets.  It is recommended that organizations and governments implement a livelihood diversification policy program or initiative to diversify and intensify agricultural activities and other non-agricultural activities.  This case study analysis demonstrates the need to recognize the importance of local contexts, specifically Rift Valley as much of the research done in Kenya is found in Nairobi and surrounding areas and cautions labeling communities as food secure based on favorable conditions.

Nathalie Rainville (2011-2014), MA, Univ. of Ottawa

Major Research Paper (MRP): Women at the Center of Food Security in Ghana? An analysis of National Investment Plans’ Support of Women in Agricultural Development.   (2011 – Aug. 2014).

The Government of Ghana’s national investment plan was compared with IFAD’s support plan for how they framed the role of women farmers


Women farmers in Ghana are responsible for 80% of agricultural output and make up the majority of the population who is concerned with household nutrition and food security. Yet, this study of the government of Ghana’s Medium term Agricultural Investment Program (METASIP) and IFAD’s Country Strategic Operations Program for Ghana (COSOP) did not find any evidence that point to these labor statistics or women producers’ potential as leaders in agricultural development. Rather, the findings point to strong support for the private sector as the knowledge holders to modernize Ghana’s agriculture industry, despite strong gender equality policy dialogue advocating for shifts in gender dynamics, which would empower female producers as entrepreneurs and decision-makers. This study concludes that future studies need to delve into this disconnect between the gender mainstreaming policies that promote power shifts in gendered relations and the disempowering agricultural development programs and cooperation practices that are actually implemented in the West African context.

Download the full Major Research Paper here.  For more information contact me.