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Governance and Inclusive Development

Governance and Inclusive Development

Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies

Governance and Inclusive Development (GID) aims to understand how changing geo-processes influence the capabilities of actors at various administrative levels and how these actors in turn influence geo-processes. It focuses at local (urban/rural) through to global levels.

Transformations in political, economic, financial, social, legal, environmental, educational and cultural landscapes at multiple levels of governance are interconnected and widespread.

Linked to processes of uneven development, global environmental change, globalization and changing geo-politics, they underpin the need for rethinking the governance of sustainable development capacities in low, middle and high-income nations.

Three research clusters

Governance and Inclusive Development has three clusters:

  1. Urban governance and resilient development
  2. Governance of natural resources and wellbeing
  3. Governance of education, development and social justice

Research goals

The team focuses on the strategic issues of multi-level (glocal) governance and inclusive development. The reason for doing this is that drivers of change and development processes emerge and interact at all scale levels in unpredictable ways. Such dynamics include feedback loops at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. 

Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS)

GID supports CSDS

Programme Group Leader

Prof. J. (Joyeeta) Gupta

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

Research Staff

Our Research Staff

Our Projects

  • Inclusive business-smallholder partnerships for greater food sovereignty and sustainable landscapes in Ghana and South Africa

    This NWO WOTRO funded project seeks to generate knowledge and methodologies that enable partnerships and associated innovation platforms to enhance food sovereignty, inclusive value chain collaboration, and landscape sustainability.

    The programme, coordinated by Dr Mirjam A.F. Ros-Tonen (AISSR), is an innovative combination of value chain and livelihood trajectory analysis, action research in learning platforms, and a landscape approach. It seeks to generate knowledge and methodologies that enable these partnerships and associated innovation platforms to enhance food sovereignty, inclusive value chain collaboration, and landscape sustainability.

    Three PhD researchers and postdocs, together with an extensive team of Ghanaian and South African researchers, are going to address questions such as:

    1. Do these partnerships align with the livelihood trajectories and innovation capacity of male and female smallholders involved?
    2.  Do they contribute to their food sovereignty (access to food, having a say over the way in which it is produced and marketed, and sustainability)?
    3. Can 'learning platforms' make the collaboration more inclusive and innovative?
    4. How can tree crops contribute to sustainable landscapes?  

    Consortium

    The awarded proposal is one of the first activities under the Memorandum of Understanding between AISSR and KIT and mobilises a broad range of academic partners, governmental and non-governmental institutions and private sector actors in Ghana and South Africa. Together, these partners pledged another 0.2 million euro to the research. Consortium partners in Ghana are the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani and GAABIC (Ghana Agricultural Associations Business & Information Centre), and the University of Limpopo (UL) and Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in South Africa.  

    • Funded by: NWO/WOTRO 
    • Period: 2014-2018 
    dr. M.A.F. (Mirjam) Ros-Tonen

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

    dr. ir. Y.P.B. (Yves) Van Leynseele

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

  • The Popular Culture of Illegality: Criminal Authority and the Politics of Aesthetics in Latin America and the Caribbean

    The topic of this research is the “popular culture of illegality”: the music, visual culture and material culture through which the socio-political authority of criminal gangs is produced.

    In contexts of urban marginalization worldwide, criminal organizations have become increasingly powerful and institutionalized. In Latin America and Caribbean countries, criminal leaders and gangs have taken on the functions and symbols of the state. Many of these mafia-like organizations have evolved into extra-legal structures of rule and belonging. Offering social welfare, security and dispute resolution to the urban poor, these governance structures complement or even replace the formal state.

    This project  takes on a new approach with regard to the understanding of the reproduction of the socio-political authority of gangs and cartels within socially excluded communities. Whereas previous research has mainly focused on their use of violence, or their provision of material goods and services that the state does not provide, this research centers around the aesthetics that constitute and legitimate their power. Such aesthetic practices are critical in persuading inner-city residents that gang rule is normal and natural.

    The topic of this research is the “popular culture of illegality”: the music, visual culture and material culture through which the socio-political authority of criminal gangs is produced. Through which aesthetic practices are people mobilized to accept and support criminal authority? How is the popular culture of illegality central to forms of governmentality? How do visuality, aurality and materiality work to constitute and legitimate authority?

    The research includes three Latin American and Caribbean subprojects. The first sub-project focuses on how criminal leaders are iconized through visual culture in Kingston, Jamaica. The second sub-project studies the “sonic supremacy” of criminal militias, generated through music in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The third sub-project analyzes the material culture of syncretic Catholic forms associated with drugs crime in Mexico City.

    Objective

    Focusing on three urban case studies allows an analysis of criminal authority and aesthetic formations that is comparative, first, in terms of sensorial domains and second, in terms of a broader regional perspective. The research intervenes in the field of critical aesthetic theory by linking it to criminal authority and to work on Latin American and Caribbean popular culture. In so doing, the research will make significant empirical and theoretical contributions to studies of governmentality. 

    • Funding: NWO

    • Period:1/1/2014 until 31/12/2018
    prof. dr. R.K. (Rivke) Jaffe

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Urban Geographies

    Martijn Oosterbaan

  • Towards inclusive commodity chains and innovation platforms – the role of corporate-smallholder and public-private partnerships in increasing food sovereignty in tree crop systems in Ghana and South Africa

    More than 80% of food consumed in developing countries comes from family farms smaller than 2 ha. Smallholders – categories of small-scale family farms producing for both market and subsistence – are becoming increasingly vulnerable due to global economic crises, environmental degradation, and land and water grabbing. This threatens their food security and the natural environment. Policies focus on smallholder market integration and value chain development. Research, however, indicates declining dietary diversity and biodiversity with increasing market-oriented production.

    This research seeks a better understanding of smallholder tree crop systems within the mosaic landscape and of the conditions needed to make chains, partnerships and innovation platforms more inclusive (i.e. better attuned to smallholders’ trajectories and creative adaptations through which they try to increase control over their inputs and strengthen their natural resource base). It critically interrogates the emergence of the market-driven approach towards creating an ‘entrepreneurial smallholder’, which favours a single pathway to intensification that narrowly defines inclusive development by tightening farm-firm relationships, in which the smallholders involved have access to services in exchange for their commercial produce. The knowledge acquired about tree crop systems and platforms will be used to develop methodologies and guidelines for strengthening inclusive institutional arrangements in corporate-smallholder relations.

    Objectives:

    1. investigate smallholder trajectories with respect to their potential to be part of innovative partnerships in an autonomous way,
    2. study endogenous processes of resilience-building by smallholders and novel institutional combinations at farm and landscape levels,
    3. develop and test a methodological framework to improve negotiation about the terms of engagement in emergent partnerships and innovation platforms,
    4. mobilise transdisciplinary knowledge to strengthen partners’ institutional capacity and methodological luggage for maintaining more inclusive partnerships, and
    5. disseminate results to enhance novel institutional capacities across wider stakeholder groups and value chain actors. 
    dr. M.A.F. (Mirjam) Ros-Tonen

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

  • Breaking the Vicious Circle between Poverty and Ill-Health. Are cash transfers and social health protection policies in Ghana and Kenya mutually complementing?

    Social protection is increasingly considered as relevant instrument for inclusive growth. This reflects a substantial change of perspective. Good health is an important component of inclusive growth. Cash transfers and social health protection share similar objectives in this regard, but the relationship between both has not been thoroughly addressed yet.

    Nicky Pouw's research aims at developing new strategic knowledge on the effectiveness of cash transfer programs and social health protection policies in Ghana and Kenya with respect to the accumulation of health-related human capital and its spill-over effects on further intermediate inclusive growth objectives, including labour participation, asset accumulation and equality. It seeks to understand if and under which conditions these policies are mutually complementary. It further extends existing research by combining cost-effectiveness with political-economic considerations.

    Methods

    This will be achieved by engaging in a multi-level and interactive process of co-production of knowledge between strategic actors in the process (i.e. researchers, ministries, practitioners). The project will build-up strategic knowledge on the integration of inclusive growth objectives into design and implementation of social protection interventions with a focus on instrument choice and the interaction between different policies integrating technical, financial and political considerations. The research employs a within-country comparison across time using existing household level data. The research addresses in particular poor women and children as these groups are among the most vulnerable population groups. A political economy perspective combining a process-tracing and institutional approach assesses factors hindering or facilitating policy change at national or local level. Results are compared across countries.

    Funding: NWO WOTRO grant under the Research for Inclusive Development in sub-Saharan Africa programme. 

    dr. N.R.M. (Nicky) Pouw

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

  • Women Food Entrepreneurs in Kenya and Burkina Faso. Building inclusive business models for food security in the city slums of Kisumu and Ouagadougou

    Dr. Nicky Pouw was granted the NWO-WOTRO grant for a 4-years research project that aims to strengthen women’s food entrepreneurship in city slums in Kenya & Burkina Faso, based on an integrated understanding of the complex interactions between soil quality, food production and quality and nutrition for vulnerable groups.

    The project has a transdisciplinary team of social and natural scientists, Dutch, Kenyan and Burkinabé entrepreneurs, government and civil society actors, and community-based women groups.

    Methods 

    Through a comparative analysis between Kisumu and Ouagadougou, this project will address the constraints faced by women as: (i) food producers in (peri-)urban gardens; (ii) food processors; and (iii) food marketeers, within diversified physical, environmental, social and policy contexts. The project will (a) co-design and field-test hybrid food production and processing technologies; and (b) enhance and propomte women’s business knowledge and skills through inclusive business models. 

    Funding: NWO WOTRO grant 

    Consortium: Faculty of Natural Sciences (University of Amsterdam), Netherlands Agro, Food and Technology Centre (NAFTC) (The Netherlands), Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Sante de Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkino Faso), Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) (Kenya), Victoria Institute for Research on Environment and Development (Kenya), Koninklijk Instituut boor de Tropen (The Netherlands), and BodemBergsma.  

  • Improving smallholders’ food and income security by introducing non-timber forest products in reforestation schemes and tree-crop farms: A collaborative learning process in Ghana

    Employing a gender-sensitive and stepwise collaborative learning approach, this project seeks to integrate nutritious shade-tolerant non-timber forest products (NTFPs) (black pepper, grains of paradise and honey) in Ghana’s modified taungya (reforestation) system and off-reserve tree farms, and enhance their production, processing and marketing. The proposed duration allows integrating research and capacity development through the entire NTFP cycle (seedling production, cultivation/honey production, processing and marketing) and go through all collaborative learning stages (inception/taking stock, joint implementation/co-creation of knowledge, dissemination/enhancing uptake) before project closure. Documenting this process lays the basis for replication across and beyond the country.

    Joint learning

    The project involves farmers, practitioners, policymakers, NGOs and value-chain actors in a stepwise collaborative learning approach including inception, joint implementation, and dissemination. Built on knowledge gaps identified by farmers and practitioners, this project contributes to the broader debate on landscape approaches that aim to integrally address food insecurity, deforestation, environmental degradation, and climate change.

    Deliverables

    Deliverables include insights into opportunities for improved production, processing and marketing of NTFPs and how continual learning can be institutionalised in farmer groups, communities of practice, and learning platforms.

    Capacity building

    The project will host six Ghanaian MSc students at UENR and offer fieldwork opportunities for Master students in International Development Studies. On behalf of the AISSR-GID Mirjam Ros will be involved.

    Funded by NWO-WOTRO (The Food & Business Applied Research Fund)

    dr. M.A.F. (Mirjam) Ros-Tonen

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

  • Deltas’ dealings with uncertainty: Multiple practices and knowledges of delta governance - DoUbT

    This project innovatively combines science and technology studies (STS) with the anthropology of development to interrogate how uncertainties are understood and dealt with in environmental planning.

    We use deltas in South and Southeast Asia as our research object. These deltas are dynamic and densely populated environments typified by agricultural intensification, rapid urbanisation and vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

    Recognition of the existence of multiple (definitions of) deltas informs the main project hypothesis: much delta knowledge used in the South comes from specific epistemic communities, whose knowledge travels through and because of global development-cooperation networks. We trace these networks and travels through space and time to critically examine how delta knowledges are generated and gain authority, and their hybridisation with ‘local’ knowledge and governance practices.

    We do this for four deltas with diverging cultural and historical trajectories and contemporary dynamics: the Ganges-Brahmaputra and the Mekong serve as contrasting reference against which the Chao Phraya and the Irrawaddy will be studied in greater detail. Engaging with contemporary debates in STS, the analyses will be used for a re-consideration of expertise and the role of experts in dealing with uncertainties. This in turn will inform the formulation of guiding principles for productive and responsible ways of environmental knowing and planning at different scales.

    Methods

    The methodology of the project as a whole is explicitly interdisciplinary, in its ambition to contribute to the development of conceptual as well as methodological approaches for rethinking the role of globalising experts and expertise in dealing with complex and dynamic nature/cultures and related uncertainties.

    The project favours a creative research design with multiple methods of inquiry, each able to capture different aspects of the cases studied (see IV.4). Together these help to make explicit and interrogate existing, and formulate new, proposals for developing knowledge suitable for dealing with environmental uncertainties.

    Methodologies include network analysis, case studies of circulation of technologies and knowledge artefacts, professional life histories, and participatory modelling.

    In our methodological approach, we acknowledge that the researchers’ (that is, our own) contexts matter too. Hence, the research methods employed are not considered simply to represent reality ‘out there’ (Morita 2014).

    The research team represents an exciting mix of disciplinary backgrounds, and we intend to make use of this in the overall project. The integration of the results is ensured by sharing similar (but not identical) theoretical starting points, by focusing on a similar ‘web’ of study objects (people, discourses/ideas, models/technologies, land and water management practices) and by collaborating in all work packages .

    The joint focus on four deltas – and having part of our team there on the ground – will allow for a systematic comparison between them, while also contributing
    to a high level of integration.

    Period: 1/4/2016 until 31/3/2019
    Funding: NWO ORA

    prof. dr. M.Z. (Margreet) Zwarteveen

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

  • Fish for Food security in city regions of India and Ghana: an inter-regional innovation project (FISH4FOOD)

    This NWO-funded research project studies the food systems that service low-income consumers in selected city regions of South Asia (India) and West Africa (Ghana), with the aim of improving their quality and scope.

    City regions in LMIC are expanding and so are the food security problems of their poorer inhabitants. The nutritional properties of seafood make it vital to the health and food security of millions of poor urban consumers. This project studies the food systems that service low-income consumers in selected city regions of South Asia (India) and West Africa (Ghana), with the aim of improving their quality and scope. These food systems – in which women entrepreneurs often play an important role - derive produce from small-scale as well as industrial (distant water) fisheries, which possess various degrees of environmental sustainability. The project gathers relevant fisheries and food security expertise, pilots new business approaches and investigates their relevant policy environments. The governance lessons gained from the two regions are generalized and fed into the international debate on fish-related food security.

    The following questions guide the project:
    1. What is the contribution of low price fish chains to food security for the poor in selected city regions?
    2. How do low price fish chains operate to service the poor in selected city regions, and how are these chains impacted by policy environments and broader scale economic transformations?
    3. What obstacles exist to the improvement of food security services, with special reference to women traders?
    4. Which policy and business interventions (at national and global levels) are most fruitful in terms of social, economic and environmental sustainability?

    • Funding: NWO
    • Period: sept 2016-aug 2020
    Dr J.M. (Maarten) Bavinck

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

  • Democratization through Education? The role of education in strengthening civil agency and voice in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Case study: Uganda) - EDU-DEM

    This research project, awarded with a Marie Curie Fellowship within the European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme, aims to advance our understanding of the role of education in fostering democratization processes in sub-Saharan Africa. EDU-DEM advances our understanding of the role of education in fostering democratization processes in sub-Saharan Africa from the bottom up.

    Education has been long treated as an area of development programming that is separate from strengthening civil society formation and democratization processes. We still face several knowledge gaps in existing research on how education increases the agency of the wider civil sphere. This void is striking and it is here where EDU-DEM makes an innovative contribution to existing debates.

    EDU-DEM will:

    1) explore the correlations between educational attainment and civil society characteristics and agency;

    2) assess how formal and non-formal education systems and programmes increase the attention to and comprehension of local politics;

    3) identify innovative, multi-scalar and context-specific approaches to nurture democratization processes through education.

    EDU-DEM brings together the disciplines of education and international development while drawing from and contributing to research on democratization, civil society and agency. Uganda serves as a case study as it exemplifies a striking paradox occurring in the majority of sub-Saharan African states. Despite a steady increase of funds and the commitment to support development through the grassroots level, experts witness weak democratization processes on the ground. Leading local CSOs consist of a small group of well-funded, urban-based organisations, led by a highly educated elite, with only a token presence in rural areas. On the other hand, the majority of grassroots and less-visible civil society actors are frequently characterized by political illiteracy –not to mention the country’s poorly educated wider civil sphere.

    • Period: 01/09/2016 until 30/04/2019
    • Funding: Marie Curie Fellowship (Horizon 2020 programme) - European Commission
    dr. T.A. (Mieke) Lopes Cardozo

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

  • Fish for food security in city regions of India and Ghana: an inter-regional innovation project

    Seafood is vital to the health and food security of millions of poor consumers in rapidly expanding city regions in the global south. This project aims to understand how low-price fish chains contribute to urban food security in India and Ghana and to identify policy and business interventions that have potential to improve them.

    City regions in LMIC are expanding and so are the food security problems of their poorer inhabitants. The nutritional properties of seafood make it vital to the health and food security of millions of poor urban consumers. This project studies the food systems that service low-income consumers in selected city regions of South Asia (India) and West Africa (Ghana), with the aim of improving their quality and scope. These food systems – in which women entrepreneurs often play an important role - derive produce from small-scale as well as industrial (distant water) fisheries, which possess various degrees of environmental sustainability. The project gathers relevant fisheries and food security expertise, pilots new business approaches and investigates their relevant policy environments. The governance lessons gained from the two regions are generalized and fed into the international debate on fish-related food security.

    Dr J.M. (Maarten) Bavinck

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development