Dick Foeken

Dick Foeken focused on a wide range of research topics during his time at the ASC between 1987 and 2014. All were closely linked to his background in human geography and all but one of his projects were based in Kenya. The most important subjects included:

  • seasonality, especially in Kenya’s coastal areas
  • labour conditions on large-scale farms in Trans Nzoia, Kenya
  • small and medium-sized enterprises in Kenya
  • urban agriculture in Nakuru (Kenya) and Morogoro and Mbeya (Tanzania), looking at the subject from a variety of angles, including the legal and policy aspects
  • school farming and school feeding in Nakuru town, Kenya
  • urban water supply in low-income neighbourhoods (Homa Bay, Kisii and Kisumu, Kenya), focusing on the impact of water interventions on the livelihoods of the urban poor and the political economy of urban water supply

The research on urban agriculture, school farming and urban water supply (which is still ongoing) was undertaken in close collaboration with Dr Samuel O. Owuor from the University of Nairobi. Dr Alice Mwangi, also from the University of Nairobi, was one of the key researchers in the school farming study, while Dr Romborah Simiyu, from Moi University, has played an important role in the urban water project. These three Kenyan researchers obtained their PhDs in the Netherlands under Dick Foeken’s supervision.

In addition to his extensive research work, Dick Foeken held various managerial positions at the ASC. He was chair of the ‘staff representation’ committee, head of the department of socio-economic studies and later a theme group leader. He was on the ASC’s Management Team for almost 20 years, and was deputy director for the last 10 of these years.

In his position as ASC Publications Manager, he was instrumental in expanding the number of different series that the ASC could offer authors. When he retired in 2014, the ASC had seven book series, three of which were with the renowned academic publisher Brill. He also initiated the ASC’s Infosheets to make the Centre’s research more accessible to a wider audience.

Honorary fellow
African Studies Centre
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