Challenging power through methods

By Linet Mwirigi, Maureen Kabasa, Kennedy Mbeva and Joel Onyango In every sphere of life, different methods and power relations are at play. The dynamics and dimensionality of power and methods are evident in different disciplines, more so in research and academia. Historically, the seat of power in research is seen to be the global…

waves on a beach

Waves of challenging research for sustainability

by Patricia Pérez Belmont, Umbela Transformaciones Sostenibles How can research methods inform and catalyse change towards more sustainable worlds? Last month, the STEPS Centre held an online event to launch a series on the theme of ‘Challenging Research’. Over the last 15 years, STEPS has worked to shift discourses on the politics of sustainability to…

Buba river

How do we ‘decolonise’ research methodologies?

by Nora Ndege and Joel Onyango, Africa Research and Impact Network / African Centre for Technology Studies This blog post is part of the STEPS Centre’s 2021 theme on Methods. Researchers and the research community are increasingly asked to reflect on various research methods that can have positive outcomes and impacts on society, and challenge…

Farmer with livestock

Does the African Green Revolution include smallholder farmers?

This year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) took place online, hosted out of Kigali, Rwanda. Chaired by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the AGRF is a high-profile global summit that brings together international donor agencies, governments, African leaders and agribusinesses. The summit is an annual opportunity for them to plan, mobilise…

geothermal plant with pipeline in landscape

How have large investment projects affected people in Africa’s drylands?

by Jeremy Lind, Doris Okenwa and Ian Scoones In recent years, the gaze of global investment has been directed to Africa’s land and resources. Over the past decade, global capital from Europe, the Near East, China and elsewhere poured into land-based investments in industrialised agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa alongside green energy projects, oil exploration and…

Improving Africa’s knowledge systems: six lessons from Covid-19

The Covid-19 situation is unprecedented and is reshaping various aspects of society, including the way we produce knowledge, share it and use it. In this blog post, Joanes Atela and Nora Ndege of the Africa Sustainability Hub reflect on lessons from diverse experiences across the African continent. Knowledge systems (i.e. how we produce, disseminate and…

maize

What can the land-water-environment ‘nexus’ do for young farmers in Kenya?

The agrifood system is one of the best examples of the ‘nexus’ of land, water, and the environment. In Kenya, as in some other African countries, there is a push to get young people to return to farming. But the way this is promoted often fails to demonstrate how young farmers ought to respond to…

How can we rethink progressive transformations to sustainability?

In a series of three recent blog posts, Andy Stirling reflects on the governance of transformations to sustainability, and what it means for opening up spaces for politics and democracy. The blog posts draw from a workshop organised by the Africa Sustainability Hub, related to the ‘Governance of Socio-technical Transformations’ (GOST) project. The Nairobi workshop…

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…

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,…