Roman Hinz: Analysis of potential conflicts between “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) under different “Shared Socioeconomic Pathways” (SSPs) in India


In order to ensure food security in the future, agricultural systems will have to respond to global changes such as population growth, changing dietary habits or climate change. However, alterations of how food is produced in the future may conflict with other important sustainable development issues such as the protection of biodiversity and carbon storage. In a case study for India scenarios are combined with a land-use simulation model (LandSHIFT) to specify and quantify trajectories of land-use change until 2030. Biodiversity impacts are calculated based on a combined approach by Scholes and Biggs (2005), Alkemade et al. (2009) and Jenkins et al. (2013) while for the analysis of carbon gains or losses the empirical model proposed by the European Renewable Energy Directive is applied. During a three months field stay in Bangalore, a set of four plausible country-specific scenarios for India were developed (adapted from the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways SSPs). Participants of the scenario development process (through stakeholder workshops) included actors coming from sectors like policy, academia, agriculture or non-government and civil society organizations. Furthermore, the scenario quantification process and assessment implementation procedure, as well as the interpretation of first results, was carried out in close cooperation with scientists from the Centre for Ecological Economics and Natural Resources (CEENR) – Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC).

Download Robert Hinz's report here .

Hagos Niguse: Social media and the discourse of hate speech in Ethiopia: The case of Facebook


Though, hate speech is not a new issue in Ethiopia, it has become prominent since last few years mainly after the coming of social media chiefly Facebook. Nevertheless, there are no any theoretical / empirical studies that access the Social Media and the Discourse of Hate Speech in Ethiopia: The Case of Facebook. In view of these evident research gaps this study is intended to investigate how Facebook is aiding the discourse of hate speech in Ethiopia. Mainly it investigates the role and causes of Facebook in catalyzing/worsening hate speech, the conditions of hate speech in mainstream media in comparison to Facebook and finally the ways that can be used to curb Facebook hate speech. To serve these objectives, qualitative research method was applied and the data was collected from 22 interviewees who have a close know-how about the issue, observation supplemented by secondary sources was also employed.  With regard to the role of Facebook in catalyzing hate speech the result of study has shown that the characteristics of Facebook and the nature of spreading information within seconds to a wide range of followers, the users behavior, lack of know-how about usage of Facebook and the power of Facebook in fueling the polarized politics and linking the extremist Diasporas with Ethiopia were identified as the major roles. This study also identified that the Ethiopian Diaspora politicians and extremists, politically interested countries such as Eritrea, Egypt and Arab, the ethnic based federal system the country has, the longstanding historical and social injustices, lack of good governances, oppression for freedom of expression, ignorance, anonymity , simplicity and accessibility of Facebook are identified as causes that are aggravating hate speech on Facebook in Ethiopia. This study also reviled that the domestic mainstream media in catalyzing hate speech have a very minimal role whereas the mainstream media which are owned by Diaspora Ethiopians are contributing a lot in aggravating hate speech in Ethiopia. Finally, this study comes up with solutions that can condense hate speech on Facebook, hence equally integrating different ethnic groups in the political economy of the country, enhancing freedom of expression, exposing the motives of those who spread hate speech, teaching tolerance to all citizens, establishing laws that ban hate speeches, increasing media literacy and know-how of the social media users, long sighted communication strategies , giving appropriate and speedy answers to the questions and demands of the people in a transparent manner.

Download Hagos Niguse's report here.

Eric Siems: Stakeholder Management in Bioenergy Supply Chains: The Case of Chile


Energy is the backbone of every nation and its industry in the common world. A stable and independent energy supply is necessary to face the future challenges. Bioenergy can be a part of it. Considering Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM), it is relevant in developing nations to take the sector’s development opportunities and to minimize social as well as environmental risks. Bioenergy based value creation usually happens on a local level and can create related jobs. In this work, Stakeholder Theory is used to take the needs from different actors affected by the bioenergy supply chain into account. As a consequence, the empirical study combines the idea of the Stakeholder Theory with the concept of Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM). This is applying to the case of Chile, a biomass rich country where a number of energy related challenges are evident.
During a three-month field stay, 23 transcribed semi-structured interviews with top-management and decision makers were conducted. The final data sample includes 1) biomass suppliers, 2) producers of energy, 3) representatives of communities, 4) researchers from universities, 5) the government, 6) unions and 7) consulting companies. By addressing multiple stakeholders of the bioenergy supply chain, the study considers the differences of the bioenergy supply chain, the legal framework and the actors that influence sustainability in the context of bioenergy in Chile. Related findings also address the social dimension of bioenergy use.

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László Szerencsés: Kosovo and the World Bank Inspection Panel: Can the subaltern speak?


The six weeks long field research in Kosovo was conducted to explore the role of civil society in representing the interests of the people who are affected by World Bank (WB) supported projects near Prishtina. The government of Kosovo in 2012 requested the WB to support the construction of a power plant that would use domestic lignite coal as a fuel to produce electricity under the framework of the WB Kosovo Power Project. Although the new coal power plant’s construction works has not started yet, the preparation of the mining fields affects the involuntary resettlement of around 7.000 people around the mining field. The WB’s Operational Policy on Involuntary Resettlement (WB OP 4.12) prescribes a Resettlement Plan as the guideline of the displacement operations which is missing in Kosovo and consequently, the resettlement does not happen in accordance with international standards and the WB OP 4.12 (Downing, 2014: 14).

Thus, the Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID) a consortium of NGOs in Kosovo began a public campaign with an aim of representing the interests of the project affected citizens. Individuals and NGOs, the Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ), GAP Institute of Advanced Studies (GAP) and the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP) from Kosovo have filed two complaints to the IP in 2012 (Case no. 78) and 2015 (Case No. 103) related to the planned construction of the coal power plant and the field-works preceding it, with a great concern to involuntary resettlement (Inspection Panel, 2012; 2015b). The research seeks to explore the role of NGOs as a representing body and tries to answer the question: to what extent can the NGOs act as a voice of the subaltern and have an impact on the World Bank, through the Inspection Panel in the case of the Kosovo Power Project?

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Florian Dörr: The Political Economy of Cocoa - Rural Differentiation & Upgrade Strategies of Peasants in Ghana


Cocoa is mainly grown by smallholders on up to two hectares of land and provides a source of income for over two million smallholders and their families in Ghana as a major producer of cocoa globally. The aim of the field research was to conduct both expert interviews to identify major challenges for local value addition, as well as to conduct individual farmer interviews in order to explore opportunities and challenges for upgrading along different steps in the cocoa – chocolate value chain. Furthermore, two focus group discussions were conducted to generate authentic information and perspectives about opportunities and challenges for upgrading and local value addition. The field research was key to identify rural differentiation among cocoa producers (land owners, sharecroppers and day laborers) and challenges for value addition which were then confronted with hypothesis deduced from Food Regimes (macro), social and economic upgrading (meso) and peasant theory (micro level).

Download Florian Dörr's report here.

Juliana Gomes Campos: The Developmental State in the 21st Century: An Analysis of the Industrial Policies during the Workers' Party Government in Brasil


After decades of Washington Consensus, the return of the developmental state in the 21st century in several countries in Latin America under governments declared new-leftists seems to break with neoliberalism. New-leftists governments claim that is essential the return of the state to tackle market failures and, at the same time, works as a democratic channel between the private sector and the civil society in order to create a virtuous circle of development: industries would be able to change to an export-profile of high-value added products, while enhancing human capabilities through social programs and job creation. Thus, the aim of the field research was to analyze the industrial policies developed during the government of the Workers’ Party (PT) in Brazil to understand if a more open-ended democratic relation advocated by the government between state- private sector- civil society is a feasible alternative to generate sustainable social and economic growth. The field research focus on expert interviews and took place at São Paulo city and Campinas, Brazil, in December and January 2016-2017 as an essential part of this research in order to have a broader picture of the post-neoliberal alternative in Latin America.

Download Juliana Gomes Campos' report here.

Kaniz Fatima: Breastfeeding Practices & Nutritional Assessment of Under-two year children: A Cross-cultural and cross-national comparative study of Bangladesh and Germany


Now a day empirical scientific knowledge of breastfeeding is very essential for every mother. Breastfeeding faces a big challenge in this global and rapidly changing competitive lifestyle. I was interested about the current situation and practice of breastfeeding in different culture. One part of my field research work for my Master Thesis was conducted in Bangladesh from November, 2016 to February, 2017. The aim of my current study is to identify the breastfeeding practices and observe the nutritional status of under two year babies and their mothers in two different nations. For evaluating the situation of breastfeeding all over Bangladesh; four divisions were selected for field research work. A structure coded questionnaire was conducted for data collection. Though it was a very big challenge for me to collect data from Bangladeshi mothers who are very sensitive to consult regarding breastfeeding issues; but at the end of my work my mind was fulfilled by satisfaction. The obstacles and barriers help me to learn how to work in the practical field. My overall field research work was very successful. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) for making possible the field research work in different areas of Bangladesh.

Download Kaniz Fatima's full report here.

Nikolas Kelling: Sustainable Supply Chain Management for Mineral Commodities - The Case of South Africa


Mined mineral commodities are part of almost each product that we use. The biggest leverage-effects towards sustainability can be expected in the mining country (e.g. mining company). Considering Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) is highly relevant in developing nations to seize the sector’s development opportunities and to minimise social as well as environmental concerns. In this study, Institutional Theory is used as a theoretical anchor for conceptualising and empirically researching the governance of mineral supply chains and extractivism in South Africa. As a result, the empirical study connects the concept of Supply Chain Management (SCM) with Institutional Theory and sustainability topics.
A three-month field stay yielded 39 transcribed semi-structured interviews with top management representatives and decision-makers. The study evaluates the structure of mineral Supply Chains (SC), the applied sustainability standards, and the actors that shape sustainability in the South African extractive industry. By building on the balanced sample of interview partners, this is done from the perspectives of 1) Industry and consulting companies, 2) Financial institutions 3) National government departments and 4) Unions and NGOs.
On-site visits at mines and mining affected communities accompanied the interviews. The overall experience is positive since the good interview realisation rate is a great contribution for my master’s thesis and this strategic topic.

Download Nikolas Kelling's report here.

Artemisa Ljarja: Global Production Networks and Social Upgrading: The case of the garment industry workers in Albania


In order to gain empirical knowledge and insights of the working conditions of the workers in the apparel and footwear industry in Albania I have conducted a field research from the middle of October until the middle of December 2015. The aim of my M.A. thesis research is to investigate how has the integration of Albania into the global networks of production of garment affected the chances and possibilities for social upgrading of workers in this sector. Further on it will be discussed whether we can relate to it as an upgrade or a downgrade. For this purpose I have carried out structured and semi-structured interviews with employers’ association representatives, trade unionists, government officials and civil society experts. During the field research I have also worked on the behalf of the Clean Clothes Campaigni, as part of a research team in cooperation with the Gender Alliance for Development Centerii (GADC). The focus of the research was to inquire the working conditions in the garment and footwear industry in Albania and to ascertain whether the international core labor standards and also national ones are met. Being part of this project enabled me to approach workers of several factories in order to conduct focus groups interviews with them also few informal interviews. The field research was successful in that it gave me the empirical data to develop my key research questions and also to further define the theoretical standpoint. The overall experience was characterized most of the times by positive outcomes despite few challenges faced which nevertheless contributed into strengthening my research abilities.


Download Artemisa Ljarja's report here.

Dustin Schäfer: On the Role of Civil Society Organizations in the Inspection Panel Process


The two-month field research in Uganda was conducted to explore the influence of the engagement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the ongoing Inspection Panel Case No. 981 (the Case). The Transport Sector Development Project2 (TSDP) which consisted of building a new road between Fort Portal and the district of Kamwenge was financed by the International Development Association3 (IDA) of the World Bank. The engagement of CSOs was triggered by the negative effects of the TSDP on the people living along the newly constructed road. The accountability mechanism of the World Bank, embodied by the Inspection Panel4 (IP) as an independent investigating body, allows negatively affected people to hold the World Bank accountable for their activities (cf. Treakle/Fox/Clark 2003: 246). Therefore, my research targets two objectives.

On the one hand, the research seeks to explore the role of campaigning CSOs as political actors, focusing on their empowerment strategies which enabled local people to address their complaints. On the other hand, it targets the research demand on the IP and its bridging nature (cf. Fox/Brown 1998: 3) as an accountability mechanism and a showpiece of democratic accountability for almost all development banks (cf. Hale 2008, Putten 2008, Anderl 2015).

Download Dustin Schäfer's report here.


Lena Schätzlein: Tensions on the sustainability of the pineapple supply chain in Uganda



During my study of sustainability management and economics one specific question kept rising up over and over again: Does the consideration of sustainability goals lead to economic limitations or advantages - respectively do tensions among these goals arise? Hahn et al. (2015) analyse tensions that occur when adapting sustainable business practices with a relatively new approach for corporate responsibility: the paradox approach. Due to its novelty the theoretical framework has not yet been elaborated with empirical studies. My master thesis aims at contributing to this practical application as well as extending it towards a supply chain perspective with the help of a field research stay in Uganda. 35 semi-structured interviews were conducted within the organic pineapple supply chain, as Ugandan pineapples are considered economically highly relevant.

Download Lena Schätzlein's report here.

Jonathan Trenk: Governance Structures in Pineapple Supply Chains in Uganda


Utilizing the Global Value Chain (GVC) Framework which has been elaborated by Gereffi et al. (2005) the aim of the thesis was to explore different modes of governance in pineapple supply chains in Uganda. In a second step shortcomings of the framework are pointed out and potential extensions are discussed. In order to collect the needed data, semi structured interviews were conducted with various actors, which are active in the pineapple sector in Uganda. These interviews and the following analysis, supplemented by rather informal field visits, provided a solid foundation for my thesis. The experience was overall enriching and very successful with regard to the aim of my thesis.

Download Jonathan Trenk's report here.


Anita Ansong: Field Research Report For Master’s thesis Grant Programme Upper West Region, Ghana


Poorer households in Northern Ghana often depend on cash transfers from relatives living in other regions. Remittances reaching these households serve varying purposes. During my three months stay in Ghana, I interacted with households, migrants, NGOs and other researchers to gather information on how households take decisions on how to spend remittances received. Each household takes different decisions of how to utilize remittances received. These decisions may depend on factors such as the amount remitted, characteristic of the recipient and members of the household as well as the time and purpose for which the money was sent.
The aim of my research is to identify the characteristics of households that enable them to invest part of the remittances received into income generating activities.

Download Anita Ansong's report here.

Joaquín Bernáldez: Disputes over the Appropriation of Nature in Argentina


The field research for my M.A. thesis was conducted in Argentina for almost three months. It aimed at exploring the struggles for the appropriation of nature within the context of a developmental model based on natural resource extraction. I analyzed how social movements attempt to access natural common goods and the controversies and challenges they face. I have interviewed local scientists with knowledge on social movements and rural issues. I have also visited a rural area in the region of Mendoza
where I have observed and participated in social movement’s daily activities as well as conducted interviews with many of its members. The field research was successful in that it enabled to compare expert knowledge with ground knowledge and will allow me to finish my thesis. The experience on the field was very enriching with many positive outcomes as well as challenges from which I have learned the most.

Download Joaquín Bernáldez' Report here.

Oscar Mbella Ikome-Likambi: The Role of Development Banks in Promoting Economic Development: Case of the Development Bank of Southern Africa and its Role in Promoting Municipal Infrastructure Service Delivery.


The aim of my field research in South Africa was to conduct semi-structured expert interviews with executives and employees of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), Municipalities (clients) and the National Treasury (shareholder). The interviews conducted were helpful in broadening my understanding of the field of development finance and to analyze the bank´s role in the municipal (local government) space in terms of promoting service delivery. The experience gained in the course of the field research and the interactions had during interviews as well as informal discussions with experts in development finance and local government were beneficial to the scope and depth of the research. Though I was confronted with some challenges, the field research was relatively successful.


Download Oscar Ikome-Likambi's Report here

Mohd Raisul Islam Khan: Labour Conditions: A Case Study of the Readymade Garment Industry in Bangladesh


In order to gain empirical knowledge for my master thesis on the labour conditions of the Readymade Garment (RMG) industry of Bangladesh, I have made an extensive field research from October, 2014 to January, 2015 with the financial support from the International Center for Development and Decent Work, Kassel, Germany. The objective of my master thesis research is to investigate what has changed in the policies of national and international actors related to the Bangladesh RMG industry in improving the labour conditions after the two prominent accidents of 'Rana Plaza' and 'Tazreen Fashions' and how the much applauded 'Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety' (Accord) and the 'Tripartite National Plan of Action' (NAP) are working toward establishing workplace safety in the RMG sector. For this I have conducted structured and semi-structured interviews of the garment workers, owners, trade unionists, government officials and civil society experts. I have also observed the actual working conditions through extensive field visit at several RMG factories under the initiatives of Accord and NAP. Beside my field research my working as a research intern in ‘Updating the Occupational Safety and Health Profile of Bangladesh’; a collaborative research work carried out by the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) and supervised by the International Labour Organization, Bangladesh Office has helped me a lot in finding my key empirical findings of my research questions. Despite a few negative experiences my overall filed research was a great success in finding empirical solutions to my key research questions along with strengthening my theoretical framing and conceptualizing my thesis work.

Download Mohd Raisul Islam Khan's Report here.

Daniel Oberko: Understanding Informality in the Ghanaian economy: The Role of regulations and socia relations.


The informal economy in Ghana has grown in size since the 1980s and 1990s. While the size of employment in the informal economy in the 80s was twice the formal economy, it had increased to more than 5 times in the 1990s. As at 2012, the informal economy was about 7 times more than the formal. As to why the informal economy keeps growing, proponents of the free market economy hold a legalist view. To them it is existence of what they call burdensome labour regulations such as taxes and employment benefits among others. They call for the removal of such regulations as panacea for dealing with the size of the informal economy. This rather puts a burden on labour as more and more people lose their jobs and employment benefits. On the other hand, progressives such as trade unions hold a structuraslist view in response. They argue that it is not conclusive to attribute the size of the informal economy to regulations. They ascribe to social relations of the enterprises in the informal economy as a contributing factor. They also argue that the capacity of State institutions to enforce the regulations as well as the trust between the informal economy operators and those institutions play a role. It is therefore important to find out whether the claims made by both sides are valid, using empirical evidence from the informal economy operators themselves.

Due to the research grant I received from the International Centre for Development and Decent Work (ICDD), I was able to travel to Ghana and back to Germany from the 10th of August to the 3rd of September 2014. Other two data collectors in Ghana supported me. I was interested in whether informal enterprises were registered, their relationship with labour regulations and the institutions of state. Additionally, their social relations. This information aided the thesis in understanding why enterprises operate in the informal economy. Twenty enterprises were interviewed using a questionnaire. Additionally, an officer of the Registrar General's Department (RGD) was interviewed, apart from interviews with other key personalities. The results indicated that in as much as the existence of labour regulations could influence the informal economy of Ghana, the presence of labour regulations could not explain the size of the informal economy. Apart from other factors that influence the size of the informal economy, such as education, what matters most is the capacity of the state to enforce regulations. Therefore, proposal to de-regulate the labour market to deal with the size of the informal economy does not suffice.


Download MA.-thesis here

Marianne Schmid: A resource and dynamic capability analysis of post-harvest losses indairy supply chains in Kenya


During my three months stay in Nakuru, Kenya, I had the opportunity to gather valuableinformation for my Master thesis with the title “A resource and dynamic capability analysis ofpost-harvest losses in dairy supply chains in Kenya”. The aim was to conduct semistructuredinterviews along the dairy supply chain, following the milk from farmers, traders,cooperatives until the processing at dairies. For this the first steps have been to identify theactors, mapping the different chains and an analysis of the market situation in the area.Although there also have been challenges, I was able to conduct a range of interviews withthe different actors making it a successful stay for my master thesis.

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Aylin Kaya: A critical analysis of SEZs in India from a Neo-Gramscian and Post-Structural perspective


The experiences I gained during my two months field research in India and at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) cover a full range of emotions, both positive and negative.

The exchange with other students and experts in my research area and especially the interviews I conducted gave me deeper insights in livelihood of tribal communities in India and their role in the society as well as a local understanding of the power relations between tribes and the state government and state policies regarding displacement.

As a conclusion my field research in India and my stay at TISS was not only an enriching and inspiring experience for my life but also equipped me with important primary data for the finalization of my M.A. thesis.

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Tamilla Tagieva: Indian Public Banks and Their Contribution to the Country‘s Economic Development

In my MA thesis I analyze the Indian government intervention in the banking sector (state ownership of banks coupled with banking regulations) and its impact on the country’s economic development. The research question that the MA thesis attempts to answer is: to what extent and how did Indian public banks and banking regulations contribute to the country’s economic development?

I spent 2 months doing field research in India. My field research was relatively successful with regard to the overall aim of my MA thesis. I conducted interviews with the representatives from the Reserve Bank of India, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Industrial Development Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research and others. Generally, I am satisfied with the outcomes of the interviews as I was able to find interesting ideas and opinions which I incorporated in my research. Also, I had a very good experience participating in the “Roles of Food, Work and Cash in Overcoming Poverty” Annual Thematic Conference at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai where I presented the theoretical part of my MA thesis. There I received useful comments and gained fresh knowledge on banking, inequalities and poverty.

However, while doing field research in India, it may not be so easy to reach out to potential interviewees working in banks or other entities in India. It may happen that an interviewee agrees for an interview on a certain day and time, but then disappears. Or interviewees may postpone interviews 2-3 times which in the end disrupts the plan and strategy of the field research. Thus, for the field research to be successful it may be helpful to enlist the support of senior researchers (especially if potential interviewees work in private organizations). Also, one could try to be politely and reasonably insistent when arranging and taking interviews. For example, if no reply was received from a person who had agreed for an interview, more emails or phone calls should be made.               

I am very grateful for receiving the International Centre for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) Master Thesis Research Grant which gave me the opportunity to carry out the field research in India. I am also thankful for the great help and support I received from the staff of the ICDD and TISS.

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