Research Assistant

University of Stirling - Faculty of Natural Sciences

The Post

Since 2013 the Bonthe Oyster Project funded by the Darwin Initiative www.darwininitiative.org.uk/project/21013 has been working with remote fisher-communities living in the Sherbro river-estuary marine protected area of Southern Sierra Leone. The project is helping to develop more environmentally sustainable income-earning opportunities for the female oyster gatherers who are most dependent on this resource. Mangroves act as a nursery for many species of finfish and shellfish whilst their roots are the main substrate on which the most accessible inter-tidal oysters grow.

Harvesting by root cutting and collection of mangrove fuel-wood for oyster processing by a growing population is contributing to mangrove depletion. In a context of weak environmental and market regulation, economic incentives are required to help change behaviour.

The project is working closely with female producers in and around Bonthe town, to evaluate development options including more fuel-efficient processing methods and other post-harvest value-added marketing options including oyster recipes and product-branding supported through the implementation of an annual ‘Bonthe Oyster Festival’ (the first being held in May 2017). The project exit-strategy is centred on establishment of a ‘Bonthe Women’s Oyster Marketing Association’ to sustain the most promising of these activities through collective action. We also envisage the association will act as a vehicle to attract and manage external income from the sale of carbon-credits linked to prudent mangrove management and sponsorship of future festival events.

To contribute to these goals we require a highly motivated person with relevant development experience, willing to travel and work in a highly interdisciplinary capacity encompassing institutional capacity building, technology adoption and marketing.

Description of Duties

  • Support development and capacity building of a women’s oyster marketing association building on collaborative research on post-harvest development options
  • Support design and implementation of longitudinal surveys of oyster, gathering, processing and marketing effort and mangrove impacts with project partners as part of the project monitoring and evaluation strategy
  • Support development and implementation of the project communication strategy including development of dissemination materials, stakeholder meetings, a regulatory policy brief and peer-reviewed journal outputs.

For further information, including essential criteria and details on how to apply, please see www.stir.ac.uk/jobs

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