Elizabeth Ngutuku

Elizabeth Ngutuku

Research Officer

Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa

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English, Swahili
Key Expertise
Social Protection, Sexual and reproductive Health, Education

About me

Elizabeth (Eliza) Ngutuku is a Researcher at FLIA. She holds a PhD in Development Studies (Cum laude) from the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS-EUR). Her PhD research that explored children’s complex lived experience of poverty and vulnerability in Kenya was also awarded the prize for the best PhD thesis in 2020 by the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH). 

Eliza holds a Master of Arts degree specialising in Women, Gender, Development also from ISS-EUR and her master’s thesis won the award for the Best M.A thesis in 2005. She has over 20 years of experience, working on multidisciplinary issues on children and youth Development in the eastern Africa region. Some of the issues she focuses on are child poverty & vulnerability, education for the marginalised children and youth, social protection, youth activism, sexual and reproductive health & rights, and young people’s experience in conflict situations. 

Her practice involves critical inter-disciplinary research on voice and lived experience at the complex interstices of representations in policies and practice. Her work investigates children and young people’s lived experience within the context of poverty and vulnerability, conflict, activism and citizenship claims-making as well as contestations on their sexual and reproductive health & rights. She explores lived experience not as intersectional, but as an assemblage, complexly entangled with diverse structural processes, various processes of intervention and children and young people’s emergent agency. 

 As a scholar-activist, Eliza has been part of a movement that advocates for decolonising knowledge and leveraging local knowledge in development issues in Africa.  

While a doctoral researcher, she was a fellow in the four-year capacity-strengthening project on sexual and reproductive health & rights in Uganda, a Dutch funded project led by ISS-EUR, 2016-2020. She was also a graduate teaching assistant in the ISS-EUR M.A course, Qualitative Interviewing in ISS-EUR.  In 2020, she was part of the core faculty in the postgraduate diploma course in Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights led by ISS-EUR and Makerere School University School of Public Health targeting African practioners and researchers.  Eliza is also an associate in the Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights in the Makerere University School of Public Health in Kampala and its satellite centre in Lira University, Northern Uganda.   

Eliza is a co-founder and previously the Executive Director of Nascent Research and Development Organisation, an institution working in eastern Africa that engages dominant knowledge in development processes. As the Executive director, Eliza was a principal investigator in many of the Organizations’ research funded programmes.  She is also a research mentorship advisor in Eider Africa; an organisation whose aim is to develop research leaders in Africa through mentorship. 

Currently, at FLIA, Eliza is a researcher at the CPAID project, and she is carrying out her research ‘Beyond colonial politics of identity: being, becoming and belonging as an adolescent girl among the Kamba and Luo in Kenya’. In going beyond how the imperial imagination and practices affected the ways of being adolescent, the research hopes to uncover other place-based understandings around which the experience of adolescent girls in rural Kenya was enacted.  The research that is aimed at re-reading the dominant stories about the Other in Africa also furthers Eliza’s long-term commitment to the need to engage the global scriptedness of interventions on children and development, identities health and well-being in Africa. 


Expertise details: 

Investigating children and young people’s lived experience within the context of poverty and vulnerability; conflict; activism and citizenship claims; as well as contestations on their sexual and reproductive health and rights; Critical decolonial research and practice.