Dr. Willis Okumu is a Researcher/Peacebuilding Coordinator at Anglican Development Services Kenya. He is currently implementing an Inter-communal Peacebuilding and Institutional Strengthening Project among the Maasai and Kipsigis of Transmara region in Narok County. His research interests include human-environment relations, inter-communal peacebuilding and pastoralists livelihoods in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya. Willis previously worked as a Junior Researcher at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at University of Bonn under the Right Livelihood College (RLC)/DAAD Scholarship. He also worked in the Resilience, Collapse and Reorganisation of Socio-Ecological Systems of African Savannas, a project of the University of Cologne and University of Bonn in Baringo, Samburu and Laikipia Counties in Northern Kenya. Willis holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cologne. He also holds an MA in Culture and Environment in Africa from the University of Cologne and a BA in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Nairobi. He is a Fellow of Africa Good Governance Network (AGGN) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and a Member of UKRI International Development Peer Review College (2018-2021).
My research on inter-communal peacebuilding institutions among the Maasai and Kipsigis communities relate to the LICCI project given that pastoralists and agro-pastoralists livelihoods are increasingly threatened by climate change. Increased conflict among the Maasai and Kipsigis communities which is the focus of my project has been blamed on competition over access to common resources such as grazing lands and water-points that are critical for the sustenance of pastoralism as a livelihood.