Dr Jacinta Victoria Muinde wins ASAUK Audrey Richards Prize for ‘inspired’ research

We are delighted to say that Dr Jacinta Victoria Muinde, a former PhD student at Newnham College, has been awarded the Audrey Richards Prize 2020 for the best PhD dissertation in African Studies.

The African Studies Association UK described her work as “an inspired piece of research which gives unexpected and deep insights into the challenges of economic survival and livelihoods of communities in Kenyan coastal communities.”

Dr Muinde, originally from Kenya herself, set out to do her PhD on the impact of government cash transfers on women and children in the Msambweni region of Kenya.

Her research demonstrates that, far from making Kenyan women dependent, cash transfers have enabled them to challenge gender roles. She’s seen women develop sophisticated financial planning around their limited budgets, carefully balancing expected income against expenditure. Women are running small businesses, taking out micro loans, and receiving family contributions, alongside the cash transfer. “The cash transfer allows for planning and negotiation,” she explains. “It helps the world become more inclusive. I really would encourage more development organisations to include more cash transfers.” (Read more about her research)

The prize committee noted, “She really gets into the life of her research subjects and explores their lives in relation to the contemporary economics of coastal Kenya. Her exploration of the “mradi” system and its effects on the female headed households with whom she lives with and observes is detailed and makes sense of an outwardly basic economic support system.”

Dr Muinde is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo. She tells us, “In a very special way, I appreciate the college for unwavering and invaluable support and inspiration during my studies.”

Dr Muinde’s award-winning dissertation is ‘An Economy of (Dis)Affection: Women-Headed Households, Cash Transfers and Matrilineal Relations in Kenya’s South Coast’.