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Non-Motorized Transport in African Cities- A Meeting of the Minds interview with Winnie Mitullah

Meeting of the Minds talked with Winnie Mitullah about her work on public and non-motorized transport in Africa. Dr. Mitullah is an Associate Professor of Development Studies at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) of the University of Nairobi.

Winnie Mitullah is the current Director and Associate Research Professor of Development Studies at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), and the Director Gender Affairs, University of Nairobi. She hold a PhD in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of York, UK. The PhD thesis was on Urban Housing, with a major focus on policies relating to low income housing. Over the years, she has researched and consulted in the areas of governance, in particular in the area of provision and management of urban services and the role of stakeholders in development. Her focus in these areas has included an examination of policies, and institutional dynamics in relation to local level development, including that of devolved governments, Micro and Small Enterprises [SMEs], public and Non-Motorised Transport (NMT), gender, youth and media.

She has worked in both the public and the non-profit sector. Immediately after finalising her Masters at the University of Nairobi in 1983, she joined Mazingira Institute as a principal researcher in a comparative study of seven African cities coordinated by the University of Toronto in Canada. After this assignment, she took up a Ministry of Local Government and UNICEF contract to set up the Social Services coordination Unit within the former Ministry of Local Government. This exposed her not only to researching, planning and monitoring but also to actual implementation and evaluation of development programmes. This prepared her for a research and teaching employment which started at the end of 1987 with a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS). She have researched, taught, consulted and collaborated with a number of academic colleagues and institutions, Government Ministries, UN and other local and international agencies, notably: UNICEF, UN-HABITAT, UNDP, UNDESA, UNIFEM, UNEP, World Bank, EC, DFID, FIT, USAID, DANIDA and both national and international NGOs. The collaborations have included research, evaluations, project development, write-ups and facilitation of related processes. In the area of research she has built a large research network and funding agencies across the globe, which is reflected in the research projects and funding she was able to attract to the University of Nairobi. Most of these projects also provide for student scholarships and exchange programmes for academic staff.  Since her last promotion to the position of Associate Research Professor in 2006, she has continued to undertake research, to publish and to undertake University management assignments.

Currently, she directs two major IDS research programmes, one, AFROBAROMETER Governance Surveys covering 36 African countries and another, African Centre for Public and Non Motorist Transport (ACET) covering three African countries, and collaborating with scholars from Kenya and other African countries. Besides these projects, and other on-going small projects at the institute, at the UON management level, she has been a member of a number of committees, including UMB Committee on Intellectual Property/Creativity Awards, Committee on alignment of UON Policies to the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Senate Representative in the Board of Post Graduate Studies, Task Force on Structure of the Graduate School and College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) Restructuring Committee.

Winnie Mitullah is the author of many publications.

Christina Olsen holds a master’s degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard and a BA in Environmental Studies – with a joint major in
Anthropology – from the University of Victoria. She provides research, advisory services, project management, planning, and general management to a wide range of sustainability organizations and projects around the world. She uses this background to leverage system change for cities, being particularly interested in rooftops, bioregional carrying capacity, urban metabolism, and how our social, natural, and built environments can be better harmonized for regenerative cities.

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