The 2018 Field School successfully took place in Ethiopia between 31st of January to 7th of February 2018.
Organized in a close partnership with the CADES Ethiopian ICP Partner, Arba Minch University, the Field School aimed at forming an international learning community of researchers, lecturers and students to understand development processes and, by this way, strengthening the research capacity of the participants. The 2018 edition of the Field School focused on the nexus between Tourism and Development in the Southern Ethiopian Rift Valley. It aimed to study, analyze, understand and present the various relationships between tourism development and the wide range of social, cultural, religious, and political structures and processes that such development sets in motion today, and might or will bring in the nearby future, by means of an intensive collective fieldwork. The School was set up around lectures concerning the themes and the (South-)Ethiopian context, on relevant theories, and on qualitative research methods including ethnographic fieldwork.
The Field School combined lectures, debates and intensive fieldwork, integrating several disciplines and involving anthropological, social, economic, political, territorial and environmental studies. Five of our ICP partner institutions have participated in this Field School with two staff members (with the exception of KULeuven because of the organizing staff), and two or three students.
- Arba Minch University, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (Ethiopia)
- Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Department of Anthropology (Mozambique)
- University of Cape Town, Department of Social Anthropology, and University of Western Cape, Institute for Social Development (South Africa)
- National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Institute of Development Studies (Zimbabwe).
During the first two days, lectures and debates were organized in the University of Arba Minch and stakeholders were being interviewed. In the 3rd day, we visited Jinka, the capital of the region of Debub Omo Zone, and talked to some of the stakeholders, as well as visited the South Omo Research Center. The 4-7th all particpants were based in Turmi, a small Hamar town with a crucial tourist market. The last day of the Field Work School we shared our findings in Turmi and upon return also in Arba Minch.
The work was organized in mixed group activities – reading,, discussion and reporting. We had four groups with an average of five participants each, guided by two staff members of the partner universities. Each at first focused on different stakeholders in Arba Minch (hotels, local authorities related to cultural tourism, tourism offices and handicraft associations), and posteriorly focused on different pastoral villages in Turmi (Domba, Tinishu Wegantri, Kayna, Borea).
The feedback received from the participants – staff members and students from our partner universities – was extremely positive.
The Field School was a success story appreciated by staff and students of all institutions:
‘It was really good to meet with you and the rest of the Team during the well organized Field School in the Southern Rift Valley of Ethiopia. The Field School was was really a life-time experience for the two students, Khulani Dube and Chiedza Hari, Dr Mkhokheli Sithole and myself as such an approach to teaching and learning is new to us in Southern Africa. All of us have a lot to share with the Vice-Chancellor, our fellow colleagues and students at the Institute, from the Lecturers presentations, student group presentations, fieldwork experiences with the communities visited and all the anthropological lessons learned. I was particularly excited about the high level of networking among the Professors and students and I am sure there will be some good everlasting engagements that will result from those interactions established in Ethiopia. For me, every moment during the 10 days of the Field School was a learning experience and indeed that was time well spent, both as a "Tourist and Researcher" as I look forward to the 2019 Field School in Belgium.’ (Prof. Peter Nkala, Executive Dean of Faculty of Commerce, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
‘Altogether, it was a once in a lifetime experience. I learnt a great deal on many levels, and I am sure that the students will take so much home with them. It is hard to imagine now the intense heat, the drives, the tastes, and the pace of events. All good memories, though there are lingering images for me that won't leave me alone. So much work to do....’ (Prof. Susan Levine, University of Cape Town, South Africa)
‘They were days, experiences of taste, emotions, pleasure, interaction, learning process... indescribable. I still need some time to reflect more and more on the intensity of the first and extraordinary field school. Once again, I congratulate the coordination of this program for its courage, professionalism and vision. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of such amazing experience, and I hope that we can continue to think and develop this partnership together for further collaborations, extending to more people, other places and themes. We will let you know our internal dissemination process’ (Prof. Esmeralda Mariano, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique)
The constant internal check I gained in CADES is essential as it is very easy to get caught up in the day to day without taking a step back to analyse the wider impact of your actions, which in this line of work can affect many lives at times.