We would expect the candidate to develop a research proposal around the following topic:
This project will aim to improve the understanding of the role of social capital (SC) for climate resilience of smallholder farming communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Social capital describes the connections that individuals possess at different levels with other individuals, groups and institutions, which may provide increased resilience to climate shocks and other external factors. Social capital may become increasingly important with climate change as resilience needs to be strengthened to adapt to changing hydroclimate extremes and facilitate development.
The project builds on recent work that has identified the importance of different types of social capital (bonding, bridging and linking) and highlighted the potential significance of changes in social capital over space and time. The project will explore how SC changes across spatial scales, between and within countries, drawing from proxy data from existing household survey data, to understand how SC is related to socio-economic factors, including poverty, livelihood and spatial context. The temporal dynamics of SC will be explored by examining how different types of SC change over time and how they transition from one type to another, using proxies derived from available multi-year survey data. The data analysis will be validated by fieldwork and to understand local contexts, likely focusing on communities in Malawi, Kenya and/or Ghana. This project will be interdisciplinary, with both qualitative and quantitative research being undertaken. The research will link to collaborators in the three countries, who will provide invaluable local knowledge and contextualise the potential impact of the research findings