In a widely discussed image taken at a 2018 conference on Youth Employment in Agriculture in Kigali, Rwanda, Tamara Happyface Kaunda passionately argues that, despite massive unemployment levels, countries are still failing to attract more youth to agriculture. Holding up a cover of a typical publication, Tamara suggested that the images used to depict African farmers neither resonate with how young people see themselves, nor do they help to change attitudes among decision makers in the sector.

In calling for more “attractive” photos and stories of young people who are succeeding as farmers and agripreneurs, Tamara unleashed a social media…


‘Social Distancing in the Market’, April 22 2020, Kenya, World Bank / Sambrian Mbaabu

How Covid-19 puts the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities at risk

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the globe, some may be reminded of the urgent, but somehow rather platitudinous mantra of the UN’s sustainability community: “we are all in this together”. Yet, just as the effects of the climate crisis are unevenly felt around the world, it has been clear since the earliest days of the pandemic that people in precarious living conditions suffer far more from the social and economic effects of Covid-19 than those living in comparatively safe and privileged circumstances.

The pandemic both reveals and exacerbates existing social inequities

Social inequality in the context of the…


Restoration is a very powerful word … It implies what happens after some kind of disaster. So we have to ask ourselves, what are we restoring [land] from, and what are we restoring it to?

Mordecai Ogada, Inspirational Speaker at GLF Africa 2021.

The first-ever Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) digital conference dedicated to Africa’s drylands convened on the eve of the official launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030), signalling the growing commitment to safeguard Africa’s threatened, but globally important landscapes. …


Insights for empowering community-led land management as the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030) kicks off

One of the most iconic images of Africa in international media is of vast rangelands teeming with wildlife. The dream of seeing “the big five” in the flesh not only fuels a multi-billion dollar tourism industry, but also draws in huge money for conservation programmes that promise to maintain Africa’s rich biodiversity as the last bastion of a rapidly disappearing natural world.

But there is also a downside to this romanticised view of the continent. People tend to be conspicuously absent from most of…


When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Nairobi in March 2020, nowhere was the fear of an imminent disaster stronger than in the city’s extensive informal settlements. Depending primarily on informal and itinerant jobs, many residents were immediately affected by the strict lockdown measures imposed by the government. When coupled with the limited availability of social protection, media channels were soon awash with stories of the worsening conditions. One of the worst incidents took place in the sprawling Kibera slum when hundreds of residents were injured in a stampede for relief food.

According to data compiled by the International Institute for Environment…


When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Nairobi in March 2020, nowhere was the fear of an imminent disaster stronger than in the city’s extensive informal settlements. Depending primarily on informal and itinerant jobs, many residents were immediately affected by the strict lockdown measures imposed by the government. When coupled with the limited availability of social protection, media channels were soon awash with stories of the worsening conditions. One of the worst incidents took place in the sprawling Kibera slum when hundreds of residents were injured in a stampede for relief food.

According to data compiled by the International Institute for Environment…


3rd International Ocean Governance Forum lays agenda for transformative Blue Economy pathways

Oceans constitute a blind spot in an otherwise ambitious EU environmental agenda, as exemplified by the EU Green Deal setting out the transition to climate-neutrality by 2050, or the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030. Yet the region has the vision and resources to “lead by example” by championing a coherent and transformative global agenda on clean oceans.

The EU’s role in driving stronger multilateral collaboration to achieve progress on key issues, including marine pollution, fisheries, deep-sea mining and other destructive practices, was high on the agenda of the 3rd…


Felix Twaya, a farmer from Balaka, Malawi. Image credit: T. Samson/CIMMYT, Creative Commons

Despite producing most of the world’s food, a large proportion of smallholder farmers and pastoralists — and especially women — lack secure tenure rights over land. The resulting uncertainty not only impacts their food security, or ability to earn a decent livelihood, but also discourages them from investing in good land management practices, such as planting trees, or preventing soil erosion. Moreover, insecure land tenure arrangements, both on privately-owned and communal land, often contribute to conflicts that can have devastating consequences for families or entire communities.

Enacted in 2016, Malawi’s National Land Policy introduced several laws to ensure tenure security…


This International Women’s Day we highlight the importance of women to the success of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, 2021–2030

Women discussing a soil rehabilitation project in Burkina Faso. [Credit: Larissa Stiem-Bhatia]

2021 to 2030 is the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a programme coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of the earth’s ecosystems.

The protection and restoration of ecosystems around the world — whether in farmland, oceans, peatlands, forests, savanna or even urban areas — can help to end poverty, combat…


Lockdown and social distancing have led to a worldwide boom in online food and grocery delivery services, with Nairobi now being the leading city across Africa in terms of active online shoppers (Kanali, 2020) on platforms such as UberEats, Glovo, and Jumia Food. However, the use of digital solutions for the marketing and delivery of fresh food is not reserved for big supermarket chains and platforms alone. Our recent fieldwork in Nairobi’s informal settlements reveals a number of digitally facilitated business models used by informal fresh food retailers and urban farmers here.

Over the past two months, the SEWOH Lab…

TMG-Think Tank for Sustainability

TMG is an applied research group focusing on climate and energy, land and food systems, Agenda 2030 governance, and innovations for sustainable transformations.

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