A colourful chart showing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Realising the SDGs: why a sustainable livelihoods approach can help

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched with great fanfare in September 2015. This was an ambitious agenda for the whole world, aiming to transform development towards sustainability, while leaving no-one behind. I was excited by the prospects. Back then, I expressed the hope that this was perhaps the moment when a new politics of…

A Kharai camel stands with factory chimney stacks behind it on the horizon.

Livelihoods on the edge: contested mangroves in Kachchh

There is a real buzz about Mundra village on the Gulf of Kachchh coast, one of the fastest growing industrial hubs in India. A sprawling port, two of India’s biggest thermal power plants, and a special economic zone with growing export industries jostle for space in what once used to be western India’s biggest stretch…

Herd of cows

Livelihoods and the political economy of dairy in India and South Africa

This is the second of two blog posts comparing the dairy sector in India and South Africa, as part of research from the Governing the Land-Water-Environment Nexus in Southern Africa project. Read the first post, exploring the reasons behind the different pathways taken by the two countries.   The dairy sectors in both South Africa…

Woman stand in front of a dairy parlour in South Africa.

Divergent Dairy: comparing pathways in India and South Africa

As a significant agricultural commodity in both India and South Africa, what role can dairy play in spurring development?

Empowering chickens?

In his latest Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones looks at the latest scheme from Bill Gates to distribute chickens to help poor rural women.

Why livelihoods perspectives still matter

Livelihoods perspectives have become increasingly central to discussions of rural development over the past few decades. They have offered a way of integrating sectoral concerns and rooting development in the specifics of different settings. Central to livelihoods perspectives is an understanding of what people do to make a living in diverse circumstances and social contexts….

New book: Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development

Livelihoods are a vital lens on rural development, but should be examined in the context of wider questions of political economy. A new book by STEPS director Ian Scoones looks at the relationships between livelihoods and sustainability, and proposes four elements of a new politics of livelihoods: interests, individuals, knowledge and ecology. Sustainable Livelihoods and…

STEPS Director Ian Scoones wins ESRC Impact Award

STEPS Director Ian Scoones was a winner of the Outstanding International Impact Award at the ESRC’s 50th anniversary Celebrating Impact Award ceremony, for his work on rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe. ESRC Blog: Building impact over time: experiences from Zimbabwe by Ian Scoones The awards recognise and reward the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who are achieving…


By MELISSA LEACH, STEPS Centre director Last week I visited Sierra Leone catching up on happenings in its eastern rainforests following a long absence and a decade of civil war, and exploring collaboration possibilities for the STEPS Centre’s work on epidemics and the ecology of infectious disease. It was fantastic to be back there, and…