Livelihoods, climate change, and pastoralist communities: A baseline analysis and comparative study


This co-curricular opportunity is a collaboration between the UBC Office of Regional and International Community Engagement (ORICE) and a community-based organization (CBO) based in Northern Kenya called Alternative Livelihoods for Pastoralist Communities (ALPC). Students will engage in research including a sustainable livelihood analysis to document the intersectional impacts of climate change on the livelihoods of Pastoralist communities in Wajir, Kenya.

Student research will be of use to the CBO, and other organizations which work on advocacy for funding and services for individuals and communities negatively impacted by the far-reaching, and sometimes obscured consequences of climate change.

This is a multistage project. Various cohorts will build on each other’s work. The first cohort will address the following research questions:

Cohort 1 Research questions

  1. What are the primary intersections between climate change /vulnerability and social, political, economic and ecological factors at a local scale for pastoralist communities in Wajir, Kenya?
  2. What are the domestic policies/frameworks on the protection of people, livestock and the environment related to climate change in Kenya?
  3. What are some potential interventions for the partner CBO to positively mitigate the identified negative impacts on the livelihoods of pastoralist communities?

Note: These research questions may change as the project progresses.

The final goal of the project is to provide foundational situational analysis materials, comparative studies and assessment models for the CBO, Alternative Livelihoods for Pastoralist Communities, to support their community projects and advocacy work.  It will provide students with the opportunity to engage in complex system analysis, support community-led research and develop materials that are accessible and useful for the community partner and associated stakeholders.

Focus areas: livelihoods, sustainable livelihoods, alternative livelihoods, climate mitigation/adaptation; gender+ analysis,

Purpose/Output: Sustainable livelihoods situational analysis report for CBO planning, advocacy and fund development.


  • Final report which contains a research report and sustainable livelihood situational analysis addressing the questions above, with one or two case studies exploring the research questions in comparable settings.
  • Development of info-graphics, topic briefs, social media/web summaries (and additional knowledge translation products that are of direct use to the CBO based on the research conducted for the final report.
  • Final presentation to the leadership of the Alternative Livelihoods for Pastoralist Communities CBO, invited stakeholders, at the end of each term (Dec. and April)

Project dates: Week of, October 3, 2022 to April 28, 2023

What to expect:

Over a period from October to April 2023, teams of 4-6 students will spend 3-5 hours each week to work collaboratively toward completing the report, community organization materials and presentation. Students will be asked to participate in weekly scheduled calls or meetings to ensure collaboration and accountability goals are defined and met. However, much of the allotted time will be self-directed as per agreements with teammates. Where possible, these sessions will be embedded in weekly calls or meetings though some may fall outside of regularly scheduled times.  Depending on accessibility requirements of the team, some meetings may also occur in person or take an online/hybrid format.  Students can expect to meet with scholars, practitioners and community organization staff and members over the course of the engagementship, related to various topics and skills related to the project content and deliverables.

Please note this is a not-for-credit, unpaid research opportunity.


  • Be an undergraduate student (domestic or international) at the UBC Vancouver campus with 60 or more completed credits as of August 31st, 2022.
  • Undergraduate students not meeting 60 credits, as well as graduate students, can apply but preference will be given to undergraduate students with 60+ credits.
  • Currently enrolled graduate students are eligible.
  • Have access to a reliable internet connection and computer to collaborate with peers and attend meetings remotely if online meetings are required.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically and creatively and be willing to take responsibility and initiative to meet project deliverables.
  • Prior knowledge about sustainable livelihoods/ climate change / human rights / gender+ based analysis an asset, but not necessary
  • Able to work within Pacific Time Zone (PST) in cases where virtual meetings are required – with a willingness to have occasional meetings that accommodate time zone considerations for guests joining from Kenya or elsewhere.

Applicants are also eligible to apply for the ORICE Experiential Education Accessibility Award. Learn more about the award below here.


  • Deadline: October 2, 2022 @ 11.59pm PST*
  • Short interviews by: week of October 3rd, 2022
  • Project dates: Week of October 3, 2022 to April 28, 2023

How to apply

Thank you for your interest. The recruitment for this program has now closed.

Please reach out to us at if you have any questions.