Governing the Land-Water-Environment Nexus in Southern Africa

A woman pumps water into a bucket in Mozambique

In southern Africa, the intersection of land, water and environment is central to a range of challenges for policymakers, businesses and local people.

This project studies the different ways in which the ‘nexus’ of land, water and environment are governed in the region. It investigates different governance styles (including technocratic, market-led, state-led and citizen-led approaches), and asks what difference they make to the mechanisms and actors that are involved.

The project asks what narratives about problems and solutions are implied by different styles of governance. It also looks at how these styles of governance overlap and combine in different ways, and what are the outcomes.


Working Papers

Green Transformations, Charcoal and Social Justice in Rural East-Central Tanzania
Mathew Bukhi Mabele

Kenya’s Youth Agricultural Livelihoods and the Land–Water–Environment Nexus
Grace Mwaura

Crises in Variegated Capitalism, Co-produced, Hydro-Social Impacts
Chris Büscher

A Class-Analytic Approach to Agricultural Joint Ventures in the Communal Areas of South Africa
Brittany Bunce

Blog posts

Grant awardees

Grants were made to 8 researchers for 2015-2016. Read their biographies and a summary of their research projects.

Grants were awarded to 7 researchers for 2017-2018. Read their biographies and a summary of their research projects. 


Visiting fellowships and exchanges will take place between the three project partners.

There is a small grants fund to support early career researchers, who will write working papers based on the work

The project will also fund bursaries for attending the STEPS Summer School

A final conference in 2019 discussed findings.

Partners and funding

The partners are the ESRC STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape and the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Nairobi.

This project is co-funded through a grant from the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. It runs from 2015-2018.

Team photo
Team members (left to right) Andreas Scheba, Brittany Bunce, Kennedy Liti Mbeva, Gregory Dowo, Amber Huff and Felix Donkor at the STEPS Summer School in Brighton, May 2016

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Project team

Contact: [email protected]

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