Deo Zihindula Namwira

Fisherfolk livelihoods and institutional bricolage in conflict and fragile states: Coping and adapting on Lake Tanganyika, DR Congo

Supervisors: Dr Fiona Nunan and Dr Danielle Beswick

Deo's research is concerned with how small-scale fisherfolk respond to situations of prolonged, violent conflict in developing countries and how institutions help them in such a context to maintain their livelihoods. Institutions, which are viewed as 'rules of the game', shape people’s livelihoods and their coping strategies. The concept of livelihood encompasses the idea that people have many strategies that go beyond employment to gain their living. There is little documentation on how institutions mediate small-scale fisherfolk's livelihoods and livelihood strategy responses in situations of conflict, and who/what people turn to for help in times of need. Therefore, Deo's research will investigate: How are fisherfolk affected by situations of prolonged conflict? How do they respond and why? How do institutions influence their response? Which institutions and why?  The study will use Lake Tanganyika in Eastern DR Congo as the case study, with fieldwork planned in three lake-side villages.


Deo Namwira is currently a PhD candidate in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham working under the supervision of Dr Fiona Nunan and Dr Danielle Beswick on Institutions and Fisheries Livelihoods in Developing Countries.  He has over 20 years of experience in International Development, with expertise in programs design and management as well as capacity building as instruments of poverty reduction and sustainable development. He has worked on a range of humanitarian, disaster, emergency, conflict resolution and development projects with several NGOs, local and international, both in Africa and in Canada.  The international nature of his work has allowed him to visit professionally more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America, acquiring training, experience and exposure on several key International Development issues, as well as offering workshops in planning, monitoring and evaluations of development interventions


  • PhD – ABD, International Development Studies, Food Security and Agricultural Development Policies, University of Ottawa, Canada, 2013 -2015
  • MNRM Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Canada, 2012-2013: ABD
  • MSc International Development Studies: Capacity Building and Extension, University of Guelph, 2002
  • Graduate Course Certificate, Conflict Transformation, University of Toronto, June 2001
  • BSc (Ingenieur Agronome Ao), Agricultural Production Science, Evangelical
  • University of Africa (UEA), DR Congo, 1997
  • BSc (Ingenieur Agronome A1), General Agronomy, University of Agronomic Sciences, Yangambi, DR Congo, 1993

Research interests

  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Community resilience in situations of violent conflicts
  • Institutions (formal & Informal) and development
  • Food security policies and interventions.
  • International development
  • Agricultural development

Other activities

In his spare time, Deo enjoys instructing karate for health, fitness and peace-making. He holds a third-degree black belt with the International Meibukan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Association.


Namwira, D. Z. (2002) International Development and Poverty Reduction: An Exploration of NGOs' Perceptions of Performance, University of Guelph

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