Professor Hazel Barrett

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Professor Hazel Barrett

Associate Dean for Applied Research, Professor of Development Geography

My Research Vision

In the early 1980s I spent fourteen months lodging with local families in The Gambia when I undertook the research for my PhD. In the process of researching food production and its marketing, it became very clear to me that whilst African women were the main producers of foodstuffs for their families and communities and  the main traders in local markets, they suffered poor health and had low levels of education. In fact they were the neglected dimension of development at that time. It was the empathy I had with these hard working women that inspired me to focus my research on the issues that directly affected women’s livelihoods and  in particular their access to Human Development. Whilst the issue of the role of women in development and their access to the capital assets necessary for  development are now high on the political agenda they still have lower levels of education than men and suffer the most serious consequences of the HIV/AIDS epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa. Whilst they suffer inequity in the development process I will continue to undertake research to give them a voice.


Hazel is a human geographer who undertook her degree at the University of Sussex in the School of African and Asian Studies. She then moved to the University of Birmingham to undertake her MA and PhD in West African Studies. Her main areas of research are the socioeconomic aspects of development, in particular gender, health and rural development in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the last decade her research has been directed at the social and economic aspects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and The Gambia as well as amongst migrant groups in the UK. More recently her research has focussed on the traditional harmful practice of FGM in Africa and amongst the African diaspora in the EU. She is an internationally recognised expert on FGM. She is a specialist on participatory action methods and community-based participatory research and has published a number of referred papers on this methodology. She has published books and chapters on health and development issues and has over 40 referred articles to her name. In 1998 she was promoted to Reader in Development Geography and in 2006 she was conferred a Chair in Development Geography. She has been Associate Dean for Applied Research in the Faculty of Business and Law since 2010. She is President of the Geographical Association (2013-14).



  • REPLACE1: Researching FGM intervention programmes linked to African communities in the EU: EC Dapne III funded, 2010-2011 (12 months) £151,000. This one year pilot study used community-based participatory research methods to understand the barriers to ending FGM amongst Somali and Sudanese communities in the UK and Netherlands. The study used a health behavioural change approach to develop  a new REPLACE framework for communities to use to work towards ending FGM.
  • COMBAT: Combining against trafficking: EC Daphne III funded, 2010-2011 (24 months) £20,000. This two year project aimed to raise awareness of the trafficking of children and young women in Bulgaria, Lithuania and UK. The project involved developing training and awareness raising materials ande delivering them to front line professionals, non front line professionals and young people perceived to be vulnerable to or at risk of trafficking.
  • Jamaica PRIDE: promoting rural integrated development and enterprise: a participatory business model for organic agro-tourism. EU Banana Support Programme, 2008-2009  (12 months) £217,000. A study of alternative sources of livelihood income for a rural community previously dependent on banana as a cash crop.
  • Social and environmental disturbance: impacts on fertility and poverty in Africa. ESRC funded, 1994-1997 (36 months). £78,000. Research examined the disturbances of rural out-migration, high morbidity associated with HIV/AIDS epidemic as well as environmental degradation including drought in Zambia. This was found to be linked to increasing birth rates and rising level of rural poverty.
  • The prospects for horticulture exports under trade liberalisation in adjusting African countries. Overseas Development Administration (ODA) funded, 1994-97 (24months) £66,000. A study of high value horticultural exports from Kanya and The Gambia to UK supermarkets.
  • Organic farming in sub-Saharan Africa: prospects and implications for policy. Overseas Development Administration (ODA) 1995-7 (24 months) £82,000. A study of the barriers and policy implications to organic agriculture in Ghana and Kenya.
Research breakout image

Associate Dean for Applied Research, Professor of Development Geography

Building: William Morris
Room: WM445
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