Student Blog – Janvier Kini

PhD topic: Empowering Women Food Entrepreneurs through Inclusive Business Models in the Urban Food Chains: A Case Study of Burkina Faso.

My name is Janvier Kini. I am a PhD student in Human Geography and International Development AISSR University of Amsterdam. I am researcher at the National Centre for Scientific and Technological Research (CNRST) in Burkina Faso. I hold 10 years of experience in the development field, basically in Burkina Faso. In the current work related my thesis, I am investigating the key socio-economic factors that determine the participation of women food entrepreneurs from city slums to win-win businesses in the context of urban food value chains. I am particularly focusing on understanding the gender-sensitive value chains development strategies that can contribute to a better inclusion of those women entrepreneurs in the urban food system mainly dominated by men. For doing so, I consider the theory of short value chain as central to my analysis and capable to put together the inclusiveness of those women’s current businesses as well as the gender-sensitive approach to value chain analysis.

As I have started my third year as PhD student at UvA, I have already completed two important fieldwork activities in Ouagadougou, my research site. The first one happened from August 2016 to January 2017. During this period, I familiarized with women groups I am working with. The interviews I did with these women gave inspiring knowledge on how to reframe my research from the title to questions as well as the conceptual framework. The second fieldwork activities have been carried out from July 2017 until now (some data are still on the process of collection with a team that I have constituted to work with me). During this fieldwork, I deeply went into the specific understanding of three different women groups that businesses frame with the concept of short value chain. The objective is to understand what we can learn from their activities as well as the limitations in order to propose better ways for inclusive business models within gender-sensitive value chain. Therefore, I am expecting that my currently writing-up activities I have started will allow me to achieve this objective.

Being able do all these research activities is basically linked to the fact I attended CERES Courses. Indeed, I am member of CERES Cohort 2016. I have been benefiting from very relevant and important research-oriented courses. I learned to deeply think about the ontology and epistemology related to the social problem one wants to contribute to solving. As both concepts help to better design the research questions as well as the methodology linked to the conceptual framework. I also learned about the importance of self-questioning on what we have been doing through the go and back reflection on our research activities to see if they are valid and relevant. Such courses are really helping me to become a better thinker than ever.