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Areas for supervision and collaboration
I find diversity and interdisciplinarity a principal source of inspiration for my teaching and research. If students or colleagues also find inspiration for their research in any of the areas below, then I am keen to have a conversation about:
1. Public education, health services and small businesses in remote or fragile areas in East and Southern Africa.
Check out my blogs (2017-2018) on research with butchers and cooks in Tanzania, or this article (2019). You could also read this article (2017), exploring collaboration between aid organisations, rural communities, and African universities. I am passionate about connecting Aotearoa to Africa in this video: “A cent for Africa” (2018). Over the years, I have worked in: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda, and Mozambique – where I was also appointed as Honorary Consul for my country of origin, the Netherlands.
2. The design of development programmes, particularly logic models and composite indicators.
This article (2015) reflects on the application of logframes and theory-of-change in aid organisations. Similarly, I am serious about the design of indicators, the quantification of qualitative variables such as ‘sustainability’ or ‘resilience’. Since 2016, for example, I have been contributor to the global Quality of Nationality Index (Wikipedia, 2018), on which the New Zealand Herald reported in 2018: "New Zealand passports slip down!"
3. Policy-making in non-self-governing islands or small island states, especially in negotiations with metropolitan powers or aid donors.
I co-authored this book (2018) exploring how aid affects the sovereignty of Pacific islands. I am particularly interested in how islands that remain constitutionally connected to their colonial metropoles (so called “sub-national island jurisdictions”) seem to be quite successful in negotiating with their metropoles. With colleagues in the Francophone sphere, I have come to argue these islands are developing a new form of sovereignty: an Islandian sovereignty (2017).
4. Interdisciplinary research and bridges between researchers and local communities.
Check out this this video interview (2’45”) I gave in China about conceptual aspects (language, culture, identity) of interdisciplinary research, or this video interview (2’35”) in Tanzania about operational aspects. I am also involved in this research project (2018-2021) on leptospirosis, a crippling disease that affects mostly men, often Māori, working in dairy sheds and meatworks.
Professional associations and networks
I am “a pracademic”; a practitioner coming to academia after a career in professional practice and I continue to straddle both worlds. I worked for fifteen years with local governments in diverging African countries, before completing a PhD at Massey in 2011 and becoming part-time lecturer.
Since then, I also worked part-time for Dutch NGOs supporting education and health services in six post-conflict states (2011-2015) and a British research programme on food safety in the meat value chain in Tanzania (2015-2018). Recently, I joined a team led by Canada’s Institute of Island Studies investigating "sustainable island futures" (2018-2021).
I am interested in using and building bridges between the work of practitioners and the work of researchers in three spheres:
Development programmes in practice
Development policies and politics
Teaching and researching development work
My activities around indicators are relevant for both researchers as well as practitioners. This comes together practically in an interactive database of over 300 very diverse documents about indicators. This article outlines the background and purpose of the database and this one-minute video clip highlights its content. Please contact me for obtaining free access to this database.
Resource Development and Management
Field of research codes
Human Geography (160400): International Relations (160607): Other Studies in Human Society (169900): Policy and Administration (160500): Political Science (160600): Studies In Human Society (160000)
Project Title: Use of development indicators
Date Range: 2012 - 2013
Funding Body: Massey University
My classes are quite often a mix of 'training in technical skills' followed by 'critical reflection on the application'. As an example, you may want to sit back and check out this audio-visual recording of a postgraduate class on the design and application of logframes as an important management tool in development practice (47'37").
Here's a thought I found worth sharing: “If the student is not better than the teacher, then the teacher is a failure.” (Allen Ginsberg, quoting a Buddhist saying)