Farmers with irrigation channels

Irrigating Africa: can small-scale farmers lead the way?

by Ian Scoones, Felix Murimbarimba and Jacob Mahenehene We often hear that irrigation in Africa is too limited, and that the key to a “green revolution” on the continent is to expand to levels seen in Asia. But what if there is much more small-scale, informal irrigation in Africa than we thought? Could this be…

farmers in dryland landscape

Five problems with ‘integrated assesment’ models, and what to do about them

What are the most appropriate ways of understanding changes in natural resource change in rural areas, particularly in the context of climate change? How can we make use of data that is patchy and uncertain? How can models help decision-making about future management? These questions are at the heart of three recently published journal articles…

Milk market

Pastoralist milk is a viable commodity. What enables it to flourish?

Pastoralists’ integration into market dynamics is mostly addressed through the lens of trade in meat products, involving male traders. Pastoral milk, mostly traded by women, is often ignored. But good production of healthy milk is definitely the best way to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of a pastoral system at whatever level. Milk is central…

Could Kenya’s local flour mills be an early warning system for famine?

By Fred Ajwang, Relational Pathways project In the Relational Pathways project, we have been exploring how rural people relate to technology in their everyday lives. This has included fieldwork in a part of Kenya called Machakos. One upshot of rural fieldwork is how easily one can slip in and fit into the community. And so,…

Destruction-prone conservation policies: one pathway to sustainability?

By Niak Sian Koh (Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden) and Amos Ochieng (Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism, Makerere University, Uganda) In an attempt to address the crucial problem of biodiversity loss, governments, conservation NGOs and the private sector are experimenting with different approaches to increase sources of funding for conservation. On a global level, the…

Learning from crises: state-citizen relations in the time of cholera

The cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe in 2008 was the worst ever recorded in Africa. There were nearly 100,000 infections and some 4,300 deaths. The disease swept through the crowded urban areas in particular, and spilled across the borders to neighbouring countries. The deadly bacterium caused illness and death, but also new forms of politics in…

Triple exposure photograph with road sign reading 'Autres Directions'

Towards a more convivial politics of science

This is the last in a series of three blog posts by Andy Stirling about the theme of the STEPS Centre for 2019: Uncertainty. In previous blogposts in this series, I argued that not all is as it seems in the politics of incertitude. Deep intractabilities are papered over with the apparently precise language of…

How politics closes down uncertainty

This is the second in a series of blog posts on uncertainty by Andy Stirling. The first one is here and the third in the series is here. In a previous blog post, I discussed how uncertainty is a subjective state of knowledge, not an objective condition in the world. The example of nuclear accident…

University of Rwanda

How can knowledge systems in East Africa contribute to sustainable development?

Unpacking Knowledge Systems for sustainable development in East Africa: Practical perspectives from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania by Joanes Atela, Fiona Marshall, Nora Ndege, Joanna Chataway, Andy Frost and Andy Hall, Knowledge Systems Project Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is rising up the agenda in East Africa – and it is being embraced as a way…

Reflections on Authoritarian Populism: Democracy, Technology and Ecological Destruction

Using anarchist critique to unearth the ‘roots’ of authoritarian populism can offer a productive gateway for understanding the origins and continuation of socio-ecological and economic crises. The language of ‘authoritarian populism’ creates the potential for a broad spectrum of inquiry, which can ignite timely and much-needed debate on the nature and mechanisms of authoritarian political…