Ebenezer Offei Ansah, PhD
Hometown: Ahwerase Akuapem, Ghana
Advisor: Michael Kaplowitz
Ebenezer Offei Ansah is a PhD candidate (ABD) of international development, and sustainable agriculture and food systems. Ansah holds a BSc in Agricultural Science from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, Ghana). Before attending graduate school, Ansah worked for four years as a research assistant with several organizations and researchers on various research projects in rural and peri-urban communities in Ghana. In 2014, he joined Michigan State University (MSU) as a MasterCard Foundation Scholar to study for an MS in Community Sustainability with focus on economics and sociology of food and agriculture. Ansah’s PhD has equipped him with knowledge of theories and concepts that enable the understanding of entities, institutions, and spaces within agriculture and food systems in the context of international development. His personal experiences growing up in a small town are the basis for his academic interests.
Ansah is currently working on his dissertation, focused on the experiences of smallholder farmers with sustainability certification programs, which are promoted and implemented with the SDGs in mind. His dissertation also examines the strengths and weaknesses of smallholder farmer groups that serve as channels for implementing sustainability certification programs. This research extends from work that Ansah did for his master's, which resulted in a recent publication with his thesis committee. Ansah’s general research interest centers on where and how smallholder farmers fit in agriculture and food systems, in terms of political ecology/economy. He is interested in applying interdisciplinary and mixed methods to study knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of smallholder farmers with regards to programs and stakeholders within agriculture and food systems. Ansah is also interested in researching how the political positioning of smallholder farmers within agriculture and food systems affects their socioeconomic and environmental outcomes.
In addition to research, Ansah worked as a teaching assistant for two semesters helping to equip undergraduate students with tools to explore contemporary environmental issues through films. Ansah also has business and interest group entrepreneurship experiences. He started and managed the first books and stationary shop in his hometown. And he has been a founding and integral member of many social groups such as youth for community development in his hometown, and the African Graduate Students Association at MSU.
Ansah is an active member of the African community at MSU. He was one of four students that participated in the design of MSU’s Alliance for African Partnership (AAP). He is a facilitator for African Studies Center’s Tea Time program, which serves as a platform for learning about African countries through firsthand experiences. Ansah is proud to say he is a two-time recipient of the Miriam J. Kelley African Scholarship Grant Program award offered by MSU’s Office of International Students and Scholars. Ansah’s active involvement in MSU’s African community is fueled by his passion for the transformation of Ghana and Africa. He is determined to return to Africa to contribute to Africa’s transformation through teaching and/or research. He also plans to engage in advocacy on public education, social justice, and peaceful coexistence.