DARG Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Winner

We are delighted to announce the winner of this years Undergraduate Dissertation Prize; Miles Harrison from UCL for dissertation titled ‘Empowering the poor?: The effects of formalising informal settlements in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’. Many congratulations Miles!

The DARG committee were impressed with the amount of data Miles collected through his reflective, mixed methods approach using interviews and questionnaires. Miles’ analysis and findings are presented clearly and he makes important contributions to work on housing tenure in Dar es Salaam.

We would also like to highly commend two runners up who also wrote excellent dissertations. They are:

– Charles White (Durham), dissertation titled: An investigation of the hydropolitics of conflict and modernity: a case study of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
– Katharine Gardiner (Oxford), dissertation titled: A Nascent Nation: the stateless Dominicans of Haitian descent and their constructions of nationality.

 

We received many fantastic dissertations so we would like to acknowledge all of the hard work and enthusiasm from all the students whose dissertations were submitted.

 

The Developing Areas Research Group in conjunction with Routledge offers an annual prize for the most promising dissertation concerning ‘The Geography of Developing Areas’. The author of the winning dissertation receives £100 worth of Routledge books of their choice, and 20% discount on any further Routledge books ordered.

 

The prize is open to any student taking a first degree in Geography. Students taking joint degrees are eligible to enter for the prize, provided that at least half their course is in Geography. It is suggested that no Department of Geography submits more than one dissertation for this prize. Dissertations will be evaluated by three members of the DARG Committee.

David W. Smith Essay Prize Winner 2018

The Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) annual essay competition is in memory of David W. Smith. David W Smith, who also published under the name of David Drakakis Smith, was an outstanding scholar committed to researching on Third World cities. He died in 1999.

 

The competition is open to A2 level students in England and Wales and Advanced Higher students in Scotland who are invited to write an essay of up to 1500 words to a title chosen by DARG. This year’s essay title was:

With reference to one city in the Global South and one key theme (gender, health or sexuality) answer the following question: To what extent (& in what ways) does the city ensure the safety of its citizens?

 

We at DARG are delighted to announce the winner of the David W. Smith Memorial Prize 2018, Antonia Hogan from St. Mary’s School, Ascot.  Antonia wrote a wonderful essay to the title; With reference to Cairo, Egypt and Gender: To what extent (& in what ways) does the city ensure the safety of its citizens? She wins £100 in book vouchers from Routledge Publishers.

 

 

 

Many thanks to all who submitted an essay. We hope you will continue with your work on development geography and your engagement with the important issues of gender, health and sexuality.

 

The 2019 competition will be announced in Autumn this year so please keep an eye out for details.

 

David W. Smith Memorial Essay Prize

The Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) runs an annual essay competition in memory of David W. Smith. Our prize is £100 cheque from Routledge Publishers.

 

A2 level students in England and Wales and Advanced Higher students in Scotland are invited to write an essay of up to 1,500 words on the following title:

With reference to one city in the Global South and one key theme (gender, health or sexuality) answer the following question: 

To what extent (& in what ways) does the city ensure the safety of its citizens?

 

  • Essays should be word processed, 1.5 spaced.
  • The word count does not include the reference list.

 

Essays must be received by Friday 16 March 2018. Please include your name, school and contact details with your essay. Your teacher must confirm that the essay is your own work.

 

If you would like to acknowledge receipt of your essay please indicate this in your submission email.

 

Submit an electronic copy to the email address below:

Dr Jessica Hope jessicachloehope@gmail.com

DARG Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Winner

We are delighted to announce the winner of this years Undergraduate Dissertation Prize; Clara Ida Bartram Gurresø from the University of Edinburgh with the title ‘Why do People Volunteer? A Critical Study into the Motivations of International Volunteers’. Many congratulations Clara!

 

The DARG committee thought that Clara’s dissertation was insightful and innovative with excellent discussion of critical development issues. It was deemed to be an authoritative and professional dissertation that provides an excellent contribution to geographical knowledge on the morality of international voluntourism.

Clara’s winning dissertation can be read here.

 

We received many fantastic dissertations so we would like to acknowledge all of the hard work and enthusiasm from all the students whose dissertations were submitted.

 

The Developing Areas Research Group in conjunction with Routledge offers an annual prize for the most promising dissertation concerning ‘The Geography of Developing Areas’. The author of the winning dissertation receives £100 worth of Routledge books of their choice, and 20% discount on any further Routledge books ordered.

 

The prize is open to any student taking a first degree in Geography. Students taking joint degrees are eligible to enter for the prize, provided that at least half their course is in Geography. It is suggested that no Department of Geography submits more than one dissertation for this prize. Dissertations will be evaluated by three members of the DARG Committee.

DARG Postgraduate Travel Award Report- Belen Martinez

Empowering women through a non-traditional economic activity: A case study of a female operated trekking company in Ladakh

 

My research, based on a feminist approach, analyses how a group of women in Ladakh is navigating their gender relations in order to work in the trekking sector, a traditionally male dominated environment. By using a case study of the only all-female run travel company in Ladakh, the research addresses the impact that challenging stereotypes is having for these women. It also studies the impact that a project like this can have in contrast to an income generation program.

The idea came from a personal interest in the role of women in different cultures and how particular activities can shape women’s agency impacting individuals and wider society. Ladakh was chosen as an example of the impact of modernisation and the connection between sustainability and women. Ladakh remained almost totally isolated, until 1962 when a road was built by the Indian Army to link the region with the rest of the country. Then, in 1975, the region was opened up to foreign tourists, and the process of development began. Because this process has happened in a short period of time, it is easy to see the detrimental effect upon community and ecology that progress in Ladakh is having. In this context, women are the ones taking an active role in preserving their culture and looking for alternative incomes.

 

General overview

Although the importance of women’s empowerment in achieving sustainable development has been increasingly recognised, still most initiatives focus on income-generating projects for poor women in the assumption that the economic empowerment will also bring empowerment to other aspects of their lives. These initiatives are trying to respond to the need of poor women by making relatively small investments in income-generating projects. Often such projects fail because they are motivated by welfare and not development concerns, offering women temporary and part-time employment in traditionally female skills such as knitting and sewing which have limited markets. The question arises as to whether women would be more empowered if they had the option to leave traditionally female-dominated work roles and enter other economic sectors.

 

Research and fieldwork

Thanks to the DARG postgraduate travel award I could travel to Leh in September 2016 to conduct my research. Being there for a month and conducting face-to-face in-depth interviews to collect primary data was vital. It was important to carry out the interviews in situ so I could provide an appropriate space for participants to express themselves, as well as give examples of their everyday working lives.

The participants were all trekking guides currently working in the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company (LWTC). The LWTC is a travel agency owned and operated by Ladakhi women. Local guide Thinlas Chorol founded the LWTC in 2009 to give women in Ladakh the opportunity to participate in the traditionally male-dominated areas of trekking and mountain climbing. The LWTC is the only all-female trekking agency in Ladakh, with women involved in organising and running treks, which also serves as a unique example to the rest of women in Ladakh.

In total, I conducted eleven audio-recorded interviews. These were conducted in English, which meant no translator was necessary, and therefore without anyone else present, ensuring the anonymity of participants.

 

Findings and Discussion

The results have shown different impacts in diverse areas and the complexity of how these women are negotiating their role between their public and private lives. By working in the mountaineering sector, they have achieved financial independence and have learnt about other cultures, improving their ability to communicate with others and bringing some self-efficacy. As well as gaining confidence from learning English and meeting foreigners, many participants seem to feel empowered by and proud of working in a role traditionally filled by men. However, in the private sphere, women are still expected to fulfil their role of carer and their household responsibilities, resulting in a double burden when they join the labour market. The research has also shown that these women are still not prepared to profoundly challenge the socio-cultural norms and expectations imposed upon them.

A high agency of decision-making was visible in their independence in controlling economic resources, which in turn shows a high level of economic empowerment. However, their participation in the village councils seems to be extremely low, which shows how unrepresented and unheard they are in the decision-making structures. These women have not yet gained the necessary confidence to insist on their voices being heard in the political sphere.

The findings demonstrate that projects focusing only on economic empowerment ignore other vital aspects of women’s empowerment, allowing social and patriarchal norms to go unchallenged and continue to limit women’s lives. Freeing women from these constraints and unlocking their potential should be considered a priority in future initiatives.

 

David W. Smith Essay Prize Winner 2017

The Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) annual essay competition is in memory of David W. Smith. David W Smith, who also published under the name of David Drakakis Smith, was an outstanding scholar committed to researching on Third World cities. He died in 1999.

The competition is open to A2 level students in England and Wales and Advanced Higher students in Scotland who are invited to write an essay of up to 1500 words to a title chosen by DARG. This year’s essay title was With reference to one city in the Global South, discuss the key opportunities and challenges that cities pose for sustainable development‘ . 

We at DARG are delighted to announce the winner of the David W. Smith Memorial Prize 2017, Anna McIntyre from Cheltenham College.  Anna’s essay offered a thorough treatment of sustainability in cities, assessing the key opportunities and challenges for sustainable development in Bamako. She wins £100 in book vouchers from Routledge Publishers.

We have also awarded a Special Commendation to Arthur Fooks, from Eton College, who wrote about Lagos, Nigeria.

Many thanks to all who submitted an essay. We hope you will continue with your work on development geography and your engagement with sustainability.

The 2018 competition will be announced in Autumn this year so please keep an eye out for details.

David W. Smith Memorial Prize

David W. Smith Memorial Prize, supported by Routledge Publishers

David W. Smith
David W. Smith

David W Smith, who also published under the name of David Drakakis Smith, was an outstanding scholar committed to researching on Third World cities. He died in 1999.

The Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) runs an annual essay competition in memory of David W. Smith. Our prize is £100 cheque from Routledge Publishers.

A2 level students in England and Wales and Advanced Higher students in Scotland are invited to write an essay of up to 1500 words on the following title:
With reference to one city in the Global South, discuss the key opportunities and challenges that cities pose for sustainable development.

  • Essays should be word processed, 1.5 spaced.
  • The word count does not include the reference list.

Essays must be received by Friday 10 March 2017. Please include your name, school and contact details with your essay. Your teacher must confirm that the essay is your own work.

If you would like to acknowledge receipt of your essay please indicate this in your submission email.

Submit an electronic copy to the email address below:

Dr Jessica Hope Jch84@cam.ac.uk

Any queries can be sent to Professor Nina Laurie (nina.laurie@st-andrews.ac.uk)