Heidelberg University

Semi-arid areas in transition:
Livelihood security, socio-ecological variability and the role of development interventions in East Africa
(SAAT II / extension)

Principal Investigator / Recipient of grant:

Project Group:
    Dr. Boniface Kiteme - Director of Center for Training and Integrated Research in Arid and Semi-arid Lands Development (CETRAD), Nanyuki (Kenia)
    Dr. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza - Center for Training and Integrated Research in Arid and Semi-arid Lands Development (CETRAD), Nanyuki (Kenia)
    Prof. Dr. Elias Ayiemba - University of Nairobi, Department of Geography (Kenia)
    Prof. Dr. Francis K. Lelo - Egerton University Nakuru, Faculty of Environmental Studies and Natural Resources, Njoro (Kenia)
    Prof. Dr. Zebedayo S.K. Mvena - Sokoine University of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Education and Extension, Morogoro (Tansania)
    Prof. Dr. James Ngana - University of Dar es Salaam, Institute of Resource Assessment (Tansania)
    Dr. Davis Mwamfupe - University of Dar es Salaam, Department of Geography (Tansania)
    Prof. Dr. Urs Wiesmann - Universität Bern, Geographisches Institut, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)(Schweiz)
Funding: Volkswagen Foundation

This interdisciplinary project builds on the understanding that improving the adaptive capacities of rural actors in semi-arid areas remains a crucial leveraging point for development and a means for addressing the persisting socio-ecological challenges that rural actors face. The interplay of continued population growth, climate variability and change, increasing exploitation of natural resources and associated conflicts, and the exposure to dynamic market structures among others constrains rural actors’ livelihood options.
The study builds on the results of the previous research project (SAAT I) which provides an understanding of livelihood dynamics, the challenges and opportunities the rural population face, and the different strategies they adopt to improve their resilience and adaptive capacities to socio-ecological variability. It further identifies reasons for the spatiotemporal distribution of development interventions, and the role they play in improving local livelihoods.Knowledge-sharing workshops will now be held with representatives from local communities, policy makers, development workers and academia.
The extension will further enable joint publications and supports PhD students to strengthen their concepts for postdoctoral studies.



Collection of charcoal in Laikipia (M. Nüsser 2009).
Further Information
Volkswagen Foundation
'Knowledge for Tomorrow – Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa'

(M. Nüsser 2000)