RVI Event: Participation, Voice and Governance in Investment Corridors in Africa: The case of LAPSSET on Thursday 14 Feb 10-12 Nairobi


Participation, Voice and Governance in Investment Corridors in Africa: The case of LAPSSET


Since 2012, the Kenyan government has begun commissioning work on the Lamu Port and South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Corridor) project, commonly known as LAPSSET. The corridor, which consists of road, railway and new port facilities, promises to radically alter the landscape of northern Kenya—a historically marginalized region.

Communities living in the corridor have raised concerns about the project’s potential negative impact on the environment, their livelihood systems and culture. Meanwhile, local residents, as well as people from across the country, are also anticipating the potential benefits that the corridor may bring. This has stimulated competition between different groups, and the government, to gain control over land and other resources.

On 14 February 2019, the Rift Valley Forum will host a panel discussion to disseminate a new report —Participation, Voice and Governance in Investment Corridors in Africa: the case of the Lamu Port and South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project, LAPSSET—produced by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies of the University of Western Cape, in partnership with the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa Programme. The report examines the extent to which smallholder farmers, fishers, women and youth have been included in the implementation of LAPSSET, and its potential impact on these communities.

The study aims to create an evidence-based assessment of implicit or explicit barriers that prevent smallholders, women and youth from the decision-making processes involving the design and implementation of corridors.



Hussein Mahmoud
Technical University of Mombasa


Ngala Chome
Durham University


Somo Abu Somo
Lamu County Beach Management Unit

Raya Famao Ahmed
Sauti Ya Wanawake, Lamu County Chapter

Peter Mungai
Lake Kenyatta Farmers’ Cooperative Society

Umulkher Athman
Lamu Youth Alliance

Event: Five Years After Westgate, RVI & ICG, 21 September (Friday)



Five Years After Westgate

10am – 12.30pm・Friday 21 September 2018
Rift Valley Institute・Seminar Room
Laikipia Road ・Kileleshwa

The attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on 21 September 2013 demonstrated Al-Shabaab’s reach outside Somalia. The initial response by Kenyan authorities – including mass roundups of Muslims and ethnic Somalis – compounded matters and aided Al-Shabaab recruitment. A change of approach in mid-2015, which prioritised greater community engagement and more prominent roles for Muslim leaders, has helped to reduce the threat of Al Shabaab in Kenya.

Yet, five years on, Al-Shabaab remains committed to striking targets outside Somalia. The group has adapted in various ways, including by building partnerships with local militant groups in southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique and recruiting outside Kenya. A new research report by the International Crisis Group examines the regional evolution of Al-Shabaab since the Westgate attack and outlines the contrasting reactions to its activities by Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan authorities.

     Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

On 21 September, the Rift Valley Institute will host the launch of the ICG report Al-Shabaab Five Years after Westgate: Still a Menace in East Africa. This will be followed by a panel discussion on policy options for addressing radicalisation in East Africa.

Murithi Mutiga
Researcher, International Crisis Group

Abdullahi Abdille Shahow
Researcher, International Crisis Group

Rashid Abdi
Horn of Africa Project Director, International Crisis Group

Martine Zeuthen
Royal United Services Institute

Razia Kimani
United States Agency for International Development

Event: Reading Africa in the Black Panther Film, Friday 6 April 2018, Rift Valley Forum & BIEA

 Reading Africa in the Black Panther Film 

4.30pm – 6.30pm・ 6 April 2018
Rift Valley Institute・Laikipia Road・Kileleshwa

The 2018 superhero film Black Panther, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name has evoked a lot of debate both within social and academic circles. The discussions have ranged from the casting, gender representations and use of violence, to female and black empowerment, and tensions between Africans and African Americans.

On 6 April 2018, the Rift Valley Forum in partnership with the British Institute in Eastern Africa will bring together panelists from different backgrounds to discuss the representation of Africa in the film. It aims to explore the question of how Africa is depicted by exploring the issue of homogenization and the concept of Blackness and diasporization, among others.

Sitawa Namwalie

Dr Wandia Njoya
 Lecturer, Daystar University

Nanjala Nyabola
Political Analyst

Mehul Gohil

Patrick Gathara

Dr Njoki Ngumi
The Nest 

Event: One ‘slum’, three upgrades, Rift Valley Forum

It could be interesting to see how wageni are analysing slum upgrading efforts. If you have more direct life experience, go and chime in loudly!


One ‘slum’, three upgrades
Lessons for building community resilience from Kibera

2pm-4pm・ Tuesday 13 February 2018
Rift Valley Institute・Laikipia Road・Kileleshwa・Nairobi

In 2004, the Kenyan government in collaboration with UN-HABITAT launched the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP), which aims to improve the living conditions of about 60 per cent of the country’s urban population by 2020. Kibera, the largest informal settlement in the country, is a pilot project under this programme. Other major development projects in Kibera include the Nairobi Railway Relocation Action Plan, and the National Youth Service-led Kibera Slum Upgrade Initiative. These programmes are geared towards providing better security and infrastructure, opportunities for improved housing as well as income generation…

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Shading Tree Fund, for field course scholarships, Rift Valley Institute

Something to keep an eye out for… 

The Shading Tree Fund—scholarships for Eastern and Central Africa

The RVI scholarship fund is relaunched this month as the RVI Shading Tree Fund. This follows a generous donation from the family of Ranald Boyle, a former District Commissioner in South Sudan.

Since the Institute was founded, the scholarship fund has enabled young scholars and activists from Eastern and Central Africa to participate in RVI annual field courses and attend classes at universities in the region. Over thirty such scholars have participated in the Sudan and South Sudan Course, the Horn of Africa Course or the Great Lakes Course.

Some former scholarship students have gone on to teach on RVI courses, and many have achieved success in their respective fields in academia, civil society and the media.

One student wrote: ‘I feel privileged to have participated in the RVI Horn of Africa Course. I benefited from the program in many ways. It helped me understand the sub-region as I pursue my own research and provided the opportunity for personal interaction with distinguished professors.

To date, RVI scholarships have been funded through a combination of grants, gifts, income from hard-copy sales of Institute publications and RVI’s own funds.

The fund recently received a donation from the Shading Tree Trust, established by the family of Ranald Boyle in memory of his lifelong commitment to southern Sudan, where he worked as a District Commissioner in the 1940s and 1950s. Taking its name from the translation of Ranald Boyle’s Dinka cattle name, Timatiep, the Shading Tree provided funds to support a range of projects in Bahr el-Ghazal.

In recognition of this donation the RVI scholarship programme has been renamed the Shading Tree Fund. The new fund will provide educational support to students and activists from all the regions where RVI works, including South Sudan, and will continue to raise further funds for this purpose.

Kenya Elections 2017 course, Rift Valley Institute (very not free)

Kenya Elections 2017 courseNairobi22–23 FebruaryRift Valley Institute
APPLY HERE (USD $1700 per person — 176,000 KES)

Syllabus and teachers confirmed

The final syllabus and teachers for the RVI Kenya Elections 2017 course are now confirmed. From 22–23 February, RVI will host this new, customized training course focused on the upcoming Kenyan elections. Designed and taught by leading Kenyan and international experts, the course will outline and unpack the complex electoral processes and political context for Kenya’s second post-devolution election set for August 2017. The course is designed for practitioners and policy makers. It will discuss the ways in which donors, civil society and the business community can best engage with the electoral process, and evaluate the kind of supportive interventions available to domestic and international actors, and the likely impacts these might have.

Teaching staff

  • Nic Cheeseman, Professor of Democracy and International Development, Birmingham University
  • Denis Galava, Visiting Research Fellow, Kings College London, formerly Managing Editor at the Daily Nation
  • Karuti Kanyinga, Professor, Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi
  • Gabrielle Lynch, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Warwick
  • Mutuma Ruteere, Director, Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS), UN Special Rapporteur, Racism and Xenophobia.
  • Justin Willis, Professor of History, Durham University

How to apply

To reserve a place on the course, please complete the online application form before 1 February 2017. The course fee is USD1,700 per person, and comprises lunch and refreshments, and additional learning resources that participants will receive in advance of and during the course. Accommodation, travel and visas are not included in the fee. The venue location in Nairobi will be shared with confirmed participants only. APPLY HERE

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Call for Junior Researchers: Strengthening leadership & influence of women in politics (Rift Valley Institute)

Call for Junior Researchers: Strengthening the leadership and influence of women in politics in Kenya

Application deadline 25 September

The Rift Valley Institute seeks 3 current or recent MA, MSc, or PhD graduates to
conduct 11 weeks of field research from 10 October to 23 December 2016.

Project leaders are a team of Kenyan and US academics and activists working on
a research project funded by the East Africa Research Fund (EARF) on behalf of
the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID). The main objective of the study is to map the representation of women in the Government of Kenya following the enactment of the 2010 Constitution and introduction of the two third gender rule; and test the hypothesis that increased representation of women in government has a positive influence on human and economic development outcomes at both county and national levels in Kenya.

Researchers will be paid a stipend and all expenses will be covered upon participation in the team process, meeting reporting deadlines, and justification of expenses…

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