David Nkedianye is all smiles as he celebrates his success after successfully defending his PhD. He is now officially qualified for the award of doctor of Philosophy in Ecology and Natural Resource Management from the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
“I feel really good that I have come to the end of it. It has been long and energy-sapping!” he says adding that although he never really felt like giving it up, he felt tired and in need of a break!
For the last five years, Nkedianye has been shuffling between Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, Centre for the Study of Environmental Change and Sustainability and ILRI’s People, Livestock and Environment Theme.
He researched on drought-coping strategies among the Maasai of Southern Kenya (comparing Amboseli, Kitengela, Maasai Mara) and Northern Tanzania (Simanjiro Plains) with specific reference to the 2005-06 drought. He also sought to understand the levels of livestock-wealth inequalities and demographic changes within and across the four sites and how these are likely to influence coping and community resilience within a dynamic socio-ecological system.
In 2007, he was appointed a Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Sustainability Science Program where he worked on Linking knowledge with action using community facilitators to span boundaries: Lessons from East Africa.
Nkedianye, who has a wonderful sense of humour offers this advice to the those who think working on the same thing for five years is a monotonous and thankless task: “It’s very likely you are better placed with what you’ve already started and know something about, there are endless battles to fight out there, and each has its down hills and up hills…Others have done it, you can also do it!”
His greatest motivation to keep his eyes to the grindstone was the excitement of doing something new, facing a new challenge and realizing his most recent (major) dream of successfully completing PhD studies! His family and “great colleagues at the PLE!” provided additional support and he is truly grateful.
He is now working part time at Africa Wildlife Fund-Kitengela Project. For the future, he hopes to curve a niche for himself working at the interface of communities, researchers and policy makers, linking knowledge with action.