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Civil society engagement with land rights advocacy in Kenya: what roles to play?

Exploring the various roles CSOs undertake when advocating for fair and inclusive land deals in Kenya

This project explores the various roles civil society organizations (CSOs) undertake when advocating for fair and inclusive land deals in Kenya. Advocacy activities by CSOs may take place on the local, national or transnational level, and may be directed towards government agencies, donors, investment banks, or private actors. CSOs might navigate differently between confrontational and cooperative strategies vis-a-vis government and private actors. While some CSOs prefer to specialize in one role, perhaps within a broader CSO coalition, others may choose to combine roles.

The aim of this study is to explore how Kenyan CSOs working on land rights balance such activities, and how the decisions they make play out in terms of their local embeddedness, autonomy, and legitimacy, as perceived by various stakeholders.

The empirical part of the study will encompass case studies in which CSOs advocate for fair and inclusive land deals in Kenya. A literature review will also be conducted as well as a document analysis, stakeholder mapping and interviews. The research will inform the future policy choices of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs by providing insights into the desired level of specialization of CSOs in terms of their different political roles and, more broadly, between their political and service-oriented roles.

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  • ActionAid Kenya
  • ActionAid NL
  • African Studies Centre Leiden
  • Moi University
  • Radboud University Nijmegen

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