Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Internship Program :: Center for Science and Technology Policy Research

About the internship program Application information Summer Placements Notes from the field


notes from the field

These field notes are personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre

Amy Quandt

Isiolo, Kenya
May 18 – August 5

May 18, 2013

Amy QuandtHello everyone!  My name is Amy and I am very excited to be participating in the summer internship collaboration between the University of Colorado-Boulder and the Red Cross / Red Crescent Climate Centre.  I just finished my first year in the Environmental Studies PhD program here at CU-Boulder.  This summer I will be based in Isiolo, Kenya working with the Partners for Resilience project.  This project is a partnership between Netherlands-based organizations including CARE Netherlands, the Red Cross/ Red Crescent Climate Centre, The Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid, Netherlands Red Cross, and Wetlands International.  The Partners for Resilience aims to increase the resilience of communities to disasters, climate change, and environmental degradation, to increase the capacity of civil society organizations, and to make the institutional environment from international to grass-root levels more conductive to integrating disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and ecosystem-based approaches. 

My main project this summer will be the development and implementation of an ecosystem friendly livelihoods survey.  The purpose of this survey is to identify resilient, ecosystem friendly livelihoods that help people cope with the impacts of climate change.  To undertake this survey I will be talking with local organizations and conducting interviews in the local community.  These results will them be used for future livelihood enhancement projects.  I am very excited to do this work and love working in the field and talking to people about their livelihoods and how their livelihoods interact with the environment. 

From 2007-2009, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania working in their environmental education and sustainable agriculture program.  I was also part of a Master's International program, which combines Peace Corps service with Graduate school, through the University of Montana in International Conservation and Development.  Therefore, while I was in Tanzania I conducted a similar livelihood survey that was focused on agroforestry and the potential of agroforestry in the community for my Masters thesis.  I am looking forward to putting this past experience to use for the Partners for Resilience Project.  I also speak Kiswahili at a fairly advanced level, which will come in handy for interviewing community members.    

As I stated above, I will be based out of Isiolo, Kenya.  Isiolo is in central Kenya, north of Mt. Kenya and Nairobi, and is considered the last stop before entering the rather desolate and uninhabited northern part of Kenya.  Isiolo grew around military camps for Somali soldiers who fought in World War I.  Today the town has about 80,000 people.  The people are made up of various ethnic groups including the Ameru, Samburu, Turkana, Rendille, and Boran. Isiolo is closed to many tourist destinations including Meru National Park, and Samburu and Shaba Game reserves.  Isiolo County is a poor part of Kenya, and 71% of the people live below the poverty line.  It has also been severely impacted by drought and the 2011 drought affected nearly 3.5 million Kenyans.  This illustrates the need for climate-resilient, ecosystem-friendly livelihoods and I am excited that my research this summer could help people cope with things like drought. 

This will be my 3rd time in Kenya.  I first visited Kenya in 2004 for a Wildlife Management study abroad program that was ran by the School for Field Studies and based in southern Kenya.  My experience as a study abroad student was eye opening and has undoubtedly shaped the course my life has taken.  I also visited Kenya in the spring of 2012 to see a friend who was working there and traveled to Tanzania as well as to visit my Peace Corps Village.  During that trip I spent most my time near Mombasa on the coast and near Lake Naivasha.  I have never been to central Kenya and am looking forward to seeing a new part of a really beautiful country.  I really appreciate the incredible opportunity I have this summer for my internship collaboration with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre and the University of Colorado.