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Cambridge Global Food Security

A Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge

Dr Shailaja Fennell

Dr Shailaja Fennell

University Lecturer in Development Studies, Department of Land Economy


Office Phone: 01223 764048

Subject groups/Research projects

Political Economy of Hunger and Food Supply:

Research Interests

Over the last two years, Dr Fennell, together with researchers from Anglia Ruskin University, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and the University of Punjab, have been looking at the bottlenecks that limit rural access to the internet and the mobile-based services that could provide educational and employment opportunities to young people. 

 The research team has developed an innovative mobile phone app, Portolan, designed by Department of Computer Science at the University of Pisa,  that tracks and evaluates the benefits of improved connectivity, in terms of its costs, reliability and quality. The team, funded by a UGC-UKIERI grant, is are using this 'app'  in Tamil Nadu and in the northern state of Punjab, both of which have prospered in terms of agricultural productivity increases for the past four decades.

The project provides the opportunity to analyse how rural communities that have improved their economic status translate their agricultural success into the educational improvement and employment opportunities for their youth,The aim of the project is to understand how the reduction in communication costs and increase in connectivity enabled by mobile phones can be best used to promote economic development in rural areas.

 

Keywords

comparative economic development ; provision of public goods and partnerships ; kinship and ethnicity ; institutional reform ; gender and household dynamics