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In: Inside Poverty and Development in Africa
Urban Farming in an East-African Town
Author: Dick Foeken
Urban agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa has gained momentum in recent years in terms of research and policy, as well as in practical terms. The paradox of accelerated urbanisation and the increase in urban agriculture in developing countries is widely recognised. More than ever before, urban residents all over the developing world are cultivating urban plots and/or keeping animals to sustain their livelihoods. This volume looks at urban farming in the Kenyan town of Nakuru and is based on surveys and in-depth studies carried out by various researchers, including Kenyan Masters students. It considers farming techniques, the socio-economic aspects of urban farming and the environmental issues involved, and there is also a chapter on school farming. Specific attention is paid to urban farming in relation to poverty, with the conclusion being that those who depend on urban agriculture the most are, in fact, benefiting the least from it.
Exploring the Wealth of the African Neighbourhood
Editors: Dick Foeken and Piet Konings
At times of economic and political crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa, urban dwellers display a large degree of creativity in their survival strategies by developing social networks and constructing imaginative and original practices and ideas. This volume views the urban neighbourhood from two different perspectives and explores the importance of these creative processes. The first approach considers the neighbourhood as a geographical domain in which people are engaged in a variety of activities to advance their material and immaterial well-being, making use of their ‘wealth’ of opportunities, assets and diverse forms of natural, physical, financial, human and social ‘capital’. The second angle sees the neighbourhood as not necessarily geographically located or bounded but as having been created and defined by human beings. These neighbourhoods may take on the form of self-help organizations, associations or churches, or may be based on gender, generational, ethnic or occupational identities. As the contributions from all over Sub-Saharan Africa show, the two approaches do not necessarily exclude each other.
In: Transforming Innovations in Africa
In: Land, Law and Politics in Africa


Multi-spatial livelihoods refer to households with a livelihood foothold in both urban and rural areas. Although it is well known that multi-spatial households are common in Sub-Saharan Africa, the phenomenon has seldom been looked at from the urban household perspective. Studies so far indicate that rural food and/or income sources are important for urban dwellers. Data from a 1999 survey undertaken in the Kenyan town of Nakuru confirm that over 60% of Nakuru households can be considered as having a multi-spatial livelihood. Although one-adult households and low-income households are relatively under-represented in the survey, multi-spatial livelihoods may be particularly important for the latter group’s food security situation. However, the results indicate that rural farming by urban dwellers should be seen mainly in terms of ‘opportunity’ and not, like urban farming, in terms of ‘necessity’.

In: Mobile Africa
Critical Reflections on Pro-poor Policies
When discussing development issues in Africa, it is not sufficient to simply stress the ubiquity of failure, malnutrition, disease, predatory states and war; one also has to recognize that important aspects in the lives of millions of ordinary people have been transformed over the last five decades. The contributions in this book are rooted in extensive empirical research at local, regional and/or national level in different African countries (Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa and Uganda), while some take a pan-African view. All, however, offer insight from different analytical perspectives into the heterogeneity of poverty and development processes in Sub-Saharan Africa and confront the ideas, concepts and assumptions that lie behind pro-poor policies. The volume also encourages policy makers to choose realistic policy prescriptions in an attempt to move people out of poverty.

In: Development and Equity
In: Development and Equity