OTuRN affiliates are carrying out individual and collaborative research. Below is an overview of some of the past and current projects:


OTuRN affiliates Jenny Hodbod, Jed Stevenson, Emma Tebbs, and Eshetu Ewnetu are leading the Monitoring and Evaluation for a new USAID project in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo region. BIOM aims to improve biodiversity, livelihood security, and human rights in the Lower Omo through community-based conservation, ecotourism, and regenerative agriculture plus capacity building in political advocacy, with the overall goal of contributing to improved resilience.

  • USAID Award # 72066322CA00004
  • Start date: 16 May 2022
  • End date: 15 May 2027
  • Value: £525,648 (total $8,700,000)
  • OTuRN Partners: University of Leeds, Durham University, King's College London, Arba Minch University


Conflict Prevention and Low-Carbon Development - Opportunities for promoting and sustaining peace through renewable energy projects. This Swedish-government funded research project on conflict and low-carbon development is piloting citizen science approaches to map-making in the Omo-Turkana basin. The overarching aim of this research is to produce policy-relevant knowledge about the opportunities for conflict-sensitive development and sustaining peace through different renewable energy projects. The project is funded by FORMAS [Project number 2017–01941]. For further details see:  

Apprehending Asapan

Sam Derbyshire, Abdi Kurewa and Greg Akall are running a project funded by the British Museum Endangered Material Knowledge Programme called 'Apprehending Asapan'. This project seeks to document the complex array of skills, knowledges, histories and experiences that encompass the asapan initiation ceremony in Turkana. More information on the EMKP initiative is here:


“Shifting In/equality Dynamics in Ethiopia: from Research to Application” (SIDERA) was an 18 month research project funded by ESRC/DFID funded project (Grant Ref: ES/R002460/1) between 2018-2019. SIDERA aimed to understand the links between environmental change, poverty, and conflict in the Lower Omo. Working in Nyangatom woreda, affiliates from Addis Ababa University, Durham University, King’s College London, Michigan State University, and University College London collaborated on this project. See the briefing notes page for outputs from SIDERA. 

Situation Analysis

Affiliates who attended the 2016 Workshop created an interdisciplinary situation analysis - a peer-reviewed paper synthesising the knowledge of the network to develop a holistic view of the environmental changes underway in the Lower Omo and how they interact with social, historical, political and economic inequalities, highlighting the most pressing issues and pathways to solutions. This paper (found on our publications page) identifies priority research areas and prepared the ground for more comprehensive research projects addressing the challenges in this region and similar settings globally.

2016 Workshop

In 2016, OTuRN received funding from the National Science Foundation (USA) to host a workshop in Nairobi, funded under Grant No. 1561106 "Conference: Large-Scale Land-Use Transformations: Implications for Social-Ecological Systems and Resilience". The objectives of the meeting were:

  1. To review current developments in the region;
  2. To design a series of briefing notes accessible to non-academic audiences;
  3. To build a network of researchers active in the basin;
  4. To confer on an interdisciplinary research agenda that the network might take forward.

The workshop was attended by 16 researchers from five countries representing multiple disciplines who worked together to design the current format of OTuRN and its current activities. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the OTuRN materials are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

2015 Workshop

In 2015, OTuRN held its first activity - a one-day workshop at the University of Oxford's African Studies Centre. The workshop explored the potential for a network of researchers focused on the Lower Omo.