Scholarship for Research on Demilitarisation in Lesotho

Durban University of Technology
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Thursday, 31 August, 2017
Opportunity type: 
Fellowships and Scholarships

In 2016, Lesotho spent some M600 million on its military, which represented 4.6% of central government expenditure. Worldwide, there is little consideration given to the size of such expenditures – it is simply assumed that a large military is necessary for the security of a modern state.

However, for many countries, there are formidable arguments against military expenditure, including its opportunity costs, its ineffectiveness, its irrelevance to a country’s security needs, its questionable morality (by encouraging violence as a way dealing with conflicts) and the availability of cost effective alternative ways of providing security. Indeed, a number of countries exist without a military, including Costa Rica, Iceland, Panama and Mauritius.

Tlohang Letsie from NUL will be completing a PhD thesis on demilitarising Lesotho by the end of 2017. He has developed a strong a case for demilitarisation and has been a significant contributor to the discussions of the issue which have taken place during the last couple of years.

The Peacebuilding Programme at Durban University of Technology  is offering a scholarship at master’s or doctoral level to extend this work. In particular, the student might work in the following areas:

  • Examine the findings of the Lesotho foresight and scenarios project, titled ‘The Lesotho we want: imagining the future, shaping it today’. Any demilitarisation initiative would have to fit with and build on the attitudes and priorities of the population
  • Research on the diffusion of innovations tells us that when around 20 per cent of a population accept a new idea, then it is virtually unstoppable. The student would, in conjunction with others, plan a campaign to build acceptance of the idea of demilitarisation and then implement the plan
  • Demilitarisation would be a political decision so the idea has to find acceptance in the minds of politicians. In conjunction with others, the student would plan and implement ways to bring this about

The scholarship 

A scholarship is available for a well-qualified student to work full-time on this topic at either Masters for 18 months or Doctoral level for 30 months. The benefits are free tuition fees, a living allowance of R3000 (Masters) or R4000 (Doctoral) per month and research expense support of R10 000 and R15 000 respectively.
Essential criteria

  • A citizen of Lesotho
  • A demonstrated personal commitment to peace
  • Maturity and self-confidence; these is absolutely essential for this challenging project
  • A strong academic background i.e. a four-year university qualification at a first or upper second class level (70%+) for entry to the Masters, or a Masters at a first or upper second class level (70%+) for entry to the Doctorate. The discipline of previous degrees is not important
  • Ability and willingness to spend 18 or 30 months full-time on the research, commencing with five months full-time on campus from early February, 2018 (Note: while full-time study is definitely preferred, an applicant who is very well qualified in other respects might be considered for part-time study. However, the first two months full-time at DUT is non-negotiable and no scholarship would be provided if the applicant was employed elsewhere)

Desirable criteria

  • Research experience and/or experience in planning and implementing projects

The successful applicant will be responsible for meeting the costs of travel to and from Lesotho, those involved in securing a visa and taking out medical aid. The physical location of the student after June, 2018 will be a determined in conjunction with his/her supervisor.

Information and applications 

An application package and further information is available from Professor Geoff Harris (27 31) 373 5609 or (from within South Africa) 031 373 5609.

Applications close at 4pm on Thursday 31 August, 2017. 

Applicants will be notified of the outcome by email in the week commencing Monday, 11 September.

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