Marta is a PhD researcher at the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI), University of Leeds. Her project aims to critically examine interactions between multiple interventions being implemented in rural Tanzania as part of the Integrated Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Programme – led by the EU-initiated Global Climate Change Alliance. Marta investigates how those multi-dimensional interventions impact on local communities, their adaptive capacity and well-being. This research also entails collaborative partnerships with conservation and development practitioners working on the ground in East Usambara Mountains in north-eastern Tanzania: the ONGAWA and Tanzania Forest Conservation Group.
Although Marta started her academic career in natural sciences, after coming to the realisation that most of the drivers of environmental change are socio-political in nature she decided to complement her deductive research practice with theories and methodologies from social science. Hence, in 2014 she enrolled to read an interdisciplinary MSc in Anthropology, Environment and Development at UCL to deepen her understanding of the social aspects of development and natural resource governance and its implications for vulnerable communities in developing countries.
In her PhD project, Marta draws on the cross-disciplinary school of thought to critically evaluate approaches undertaken to reduce climate-related vulnerabilities in poor countries. The research will involve extensive fieldwork in Tanzania collaborating with local government, NGOs and grassroots work; experience she gained working on a pioneering conservation programme in Dominica (ZSL); and her anthropological research in Guyana. Both were collaborative projects, involving many stakeholders including the Government and NGOs, aiming to protect local biodiversity but also safeguarding local livelihoods. Those experiences taught Marta the huge importance of an in-depth understanding of the local context to inform decision-making. She became a passionate advocate of innovative and adaptive strategies that recognise the importance of local peoples’ voices and community-based management models that support participation and accountability.