Farmlands, or agricultural landscapes, captures the interest of a number of researchers based at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. On this blog we share information about research findings, activities, events and comments related to our work.

Our interest in farmlands has three roots: farming, landscape and society.
Farming as a practice, including farmers knowledge and labour investments
Landscape as society-nature relations, congealed history, and as space and place
Society as a short form for institutions, gender relations, political economy and scientific relevance

Most Welcome to FarmLandS!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Re-reporting and exchange trip to East Africa

Lowe Börjeson, Lars-Ove Westerberg and I have just come back from a 10 days field trip to Kenya and Tanzania. The aim of the trip was to conclude the research project financed by SIDA titled "Current expansion and past dynamics of small-holder irrigation farming in African dry-lands, measuring landscape, labor and climate interactions”. 

During this trip participants and research assistants from Tot, Sibou in Kenya and Engaruka in Tanzania had the opportunity to meet each other and visit the other study site. It was an insightful trip for all of them as they finally got to meet the people and see the places that I had been talking to them about in the last 4 years.

This 10 days were a great learning experience for all of us. Not only could participants and assistants share knowledge about farming and irrigation practices or reciprocal cultural customs, but it also created an amazing setting for us as researchers to share the results of our work.

The booklet that we had written in English and had been translated in Marakwet and Swahili was distributed among participants during several meetings we had with local farmers and women´s groups, for instance. In this setting, participants and research assistants could discuss about similarities and differences between their villages without our intermediation, which was truly the first objective of this trip: facilitate reciprocal learning. 

Often participants when they received the booklet asserted that we were the first researchers to come back to present the results of our study, especially in the form of a book. That was a rewarding comment, which made us reflect on the ethics of doing research. Research should primarly be for the benefit of participants. However, this principle is often bypassed due to lack of funding or time in the final stage of many research projects. 

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