Vacancy PhD Governance and sanitation in DR Congo

Published on
September 24, 2014


PhD project

The Public Administration and Policy Group (PAP) and the Sociology of Consumption and Households Group (SCH) at Wageningen University offer a 4-year PhD project on “Governance for Sanitation in the Democratic Republic Congo: The Bottom up Approach".

The aim is to understand how in African semi-urban areas governance actors can use sources of social capital to establish sustainable sanitation services. The case study will be conducted in Gemena, DR Congo. The PhD will focus on collaboration between local government and society in a context of fragile statehood. The PhD researcher will conduct formative research through which support is offered to the local government to set up arrangements that facilitate other civic society actors to develop, maintain, and market sanitation facilities. The goal is to achieve sustainable sanitation services and to understand the social mechanisms that are triggered when sources of social capital are used in the context of a fragile statehood.

Key theories are those on social capital, limited statehood, local governance, gender and trust. The PhD will conduct fieldwork by using methods such as participatory observation, (group)interviews and surveys. The project will be part of the Oxfam Novib programme "Sanitation Marketing". Academically the project will be supervised by PAP and SCH groups of Wageningen University.

More information about the groups’ research programs can be found on and

The research is mainly carried out in Gemena, DR Congo, partly in Wageningen, the Netherlands, and should lead to a PhD dissertation.


We are looking for a social scientist (MSc degree) with an excellent MSc degree in public administration, policy studies, political science, or organizational studies, who has a keen interest in local development and cooperation in Africa. Fluency in French and English (TOEFL test will be required), as well as good communication and writing skills and a hands-on mentality are essential. Knowledge of the local language Lingala is considered as an important asset. Experience with empirical research projects, local governance, interdisciplinary research and quantitative and qualitative research methods is an advantage.


A new national sanitation policy in DR Congo has lead Oxfam Novib to respond with a project in which top-down donor ship is replaced by bottom-up and sustainable market creation for sanitation. The Department of Social Science of Wageningen University has been invited to perform a Formative Research in which generating knowledge and  understanding, testing, adapting and upgrading of this approach form the main core. Funding has become available for two PhDs and a post-doc researcher. The PhD fellowship includes costs for a living allowance, training and research. A PhD position starts for a period of 18 months, and will be extended with another 30 months upon favorable evaluation. You will be working with a small group of supervisors, one other PhD, and a post-doc.


Additional information (project plan) can be obtained from:

Dr. Carja Butijn (, tel.  +31 317 482547)

Dr. Gerard Breeman (, tel. +31 317 484234)

Please do not use these e-mail addresses to apply.

Please send your application before 30 September 2014 to

The organization

The Public Administration and Policy Group

The Public Administration and Policy Group is a young, enthusiastic, ambitious and growing group within the Department of Social Sciences of Wageningen University. Our mission is to analyze governance in the life science policy domains, to flesh out the social mechanisms that contribute to stability and change, and to use these findings for designing innovative governance arrangements and interventions. In this way the group aims to contribute to scientific progress, to societal debates, and to the reflective practice of professionals involved.

The Sociology of Consumption and Households Group

The Sociology of Consumption and Households is a dynamic, steadily growing group within the Department of Social Sciences of Wageningen University. Consumption and households are analysed from the core disciplines of sociology, social demography and anthropology. The household, however varied in form and composition, is seen as a universal social institution: the 'arena of everyday life'.  Consumption, care, food and livelihood security, and health and wellbeing are studied in relation to this context. The group has a solid track record of research (and supervising PhDs) on these issues in Africa.

Wageningen University and Research Centre

Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That's our focus – each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.