My research and
activities concentrate on understanding the mechanisms that lead to
livelihood strategies. All my activities require collaboration with
several disciplines. Methodological approaches in my research
household economics, political economics, and sociology to study
making in rural areas of the tropics, especially in semi-arid
and sub-humid regions of Latin America and East Africa. The
purpose is to
understand the factors that enable individuals, households and
communities in rural areas to transition to food security and economic
in a sustainable matter, and to design technologies and policies to
this process. The study the impact of climate, markets,
technologies and policies at the
household, and intra-household levels include gender,
political economy approaches.
Specific on-going research in the Andean region focuses on adaptation to change, mostly driven by climate, but also markets. This effort is based on past research to understand household strategies to cope with climate variability, changes in land use patterns, and welfare through the life cycle in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia. Current research is funded by USAID Title XII and several partnering institutions in the US and the Andes. Previous research was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Human Dimensions of Global Change Program.
Research in East Africa my research has focused on the role of livestock in household food security, understanding households strategies to deal with climate shocks that affect income, consumption, and food security (household consumption smoothing strategies), agricultural and non agricultural activities (rural strategies). More recently it has focused on the pathways for research to impact on wellbeing.
Research has developed into outreach. My efforts focus on strengthening the capacities of people in national agricultural research institutions by incorporating social sciences research to facilitate a greater positive impact of technologies for small holder producers. On the other hand, my outreach in Mexico evolved into an initiative in Missouri to address the changing needs of our state due to the rapid growth of Latino Newcomers. Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) in Missouri 2002 was the first of now 8 conferences addressing change. This led into a new research program on Asset Accumulation Strategies in New Settlement Communities in the Midwest, funded by USDA CSRESS NRI.
Finally, also in Missouri an interdisciplinary project focusing on agroforestry practices for economic development and environmental benefits is studying current land use management practices, portfolios of economic activities, and motivation for diversification.
My goal as a scientist in an institution of higher education is to learn, develop and communicate approaches and methods that enable us to understand, evaluate, and identify means through which people can pursue sustainable and secure livelihoods. As an economist I strive to understand the underlying economic constraints and opportunities to achieving this security; as a social scientist I incorporate non-economic motivations (eg. life cycle, gender, institutions) to the research process, to understand how decision makers are agents of change.
-for the NOAA Human Dimensions project between 1998 and 2003, please visit ClimAndes.
-for the Social Sciences in the Small Ruminant Collaborative Research Support Program in Kenya and Bolivia between 1994 and 1997, our project collaborated with researchers in the Instituto Boliviano de Tecnología Agropecuaria and in the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute in several projects. Some of the research results are published in this site.