Anti-coal Protest in Kenya/ via Flickr ; CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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

Led by Dr M Spierenburg, Radboud University Nijmegen

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About the research group

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.

  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Moi University
  • African Studies Centre Leiden in cooperation with ActionAid NL and ActionAid Kenya
Main questions
  • To what extent does playing a cooperative role strengthen or weaken the representational role of CSOs?
  • What are the underlying mechanisms of the relationship between cooperation and representation
  • How does cooperation influence the way different stakeholders perceive the CSO’s level of embeddedness, autonomy and legitimacy?
Country focus
  • Kenya