Research Projects

Exploring food system transformations in rapidly changing African cities (Food4Cities)

The aim of this project is to promote sustainable and nutrition-secure city food systems. We will use two case studies (Cape Town, South Africa and Kampala, Uganda) to develop and test planning tools for enhancing city food and nutrition security.

Financial and health diaries in Nigeria and Kenya

How do low-income families in Nigeria and Kenya manage their money, decide on consumption and deal with health issues?

Water Harvesting Technologies revisited: Potentials for Innovations, Improvements and Upscaling in Sub-Saharan Africa (WHaTeR)

The WHaTeR project aimed to contribute to the development of appropriate water harvesting techniques (WHTs) that are sustainable under current and future dynamic global and regional pressure, strengthen rainfed agriculture, improve rural livelihood and increase food production and security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A Sustainable Approach to Livelihood Improvement (ASALI)

The project’s overall aim is to contribute through research and education to the development of sustainable and innovative methods of livelihood improvement for local communities. The focus hereby is on disadvantaged groups such as small-scale farmers, women and youth in the vicinity of the partner universities in western and south-eastern Kenya

Linking Spatial Planning to Agribusiness and Public Policy Development in Greater Western Kenya (SPADE)

The project builds on ongoing research in Kenya on “sustainable livelihood improvement through innovative agricultural practices” (ASALI project) implemented by VU Amsterdam in collaboration with Moi University and South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU)

Spatial assessment of poverty and food security in Mozambique

The project provides training and research collaboration for the research department of the Ministry of Economics and Finance and its partner institutes regarding the spatial assessment of poverty and food security.

The Untapped potential: The Challenges of Agriculture Growth and its Effects on Food Security in Ethiopia

The research attempts to address the following questions: (a) why are the previous and existing policies and strategies unable to achieve sustained agricultural growth and food self-sufficiency at a household level? (b) What are the factors explaining food insecurity at the household level? (c) What is the effect of food insecurity on the wellbeing of household members?

Modelling Policy Coherence for Development: evaluating impact and coherence of Dutch and EU policies towards Ghana

This project from 2013-2014 explored the impact of selected aid and non-aid policies in Ghana pursued by the Netherlands and by the EU over the period 2006-2011, both qualitatively and quantitatively, through the design of counterfactuals in a simulation model.

Climate change predictions in Sub-Saharan Africa: impacts and adaptations

ClimAfrica is conceived to respond to the urgent international need for the most appropriate and up-to-date tools to better understand and predict climate change, assess its impact on African ecosystems and population, and develop the correct adaptation strategies.

Using Climate-Smart Financial Diaries for Scaling in the Nyando Basin, Kenya

Nyando Basin in western Kenya has severe problems of agricultural stagnation, environmental degradation and deepening poverty, aggravated by climate change causing more erratic rainfall patterns and shortening of growing season. CCAFS projects WUR-F2-P248 and ILRI-F1-F2-EA-P263 identified successful interventions supporting farmers to cope with these adverse effects.

Scaling up nutrition-sensitive agriculture in Lao PDR and Vietnam

Building upon existing interventions in Vietnam and Lao PDR, this project generates evidence on the effectiveness of, and best way to scale-up, NSA amongst ethnic minorities in mountainous areas. It utilizes Complex Adaptive System Theory and Transition Management to analyse processes of embedding NSA interventions in food systems.

Productive Employment in Segmented Markets of Fresh Produce

This research project investigates the segmentation of the avocado sector in Kenya, comparing a modern and innovatively programmed and a more traditional and non-programmed mode of farming.

Stimulating Community Initiatives in Sustainable Land Management

The project highlights the potential of sharing and stimulating community initiatives in Africa. It focuses on four diverse African countries – Ghana, Morocco, South Africa and Uganda – with UN Environment as the GEF implementing agency

Water harvesting as community based response to drought

At the premises of the SEKU University in Kitui a research site has been developed, to study improved water management in semi-arid regions, with a specific focus on small scale water harvesting systems

GLOLAND (Integrating human agency in global land change models)

The GLOLAND project, which focuses on land system change, contributes to a new generation of integrated global assessment models. These models will explicitly account for the (spatial) variation in decision making to support the design of earth system governance.

Land use modelling capacity building in the Greater Mekong subregion

The Mekong land use change modelling – capacity building project aims to build a the experience and knowledge in selected universities and governments in this region to conduct model-based land change assessments.

LUC4c: net climate forcing

LUC4C will advance our fundamental knowledge of the climate change - land use change interactions, and develop a framework for the synthesis of complex earth system science into guidelines that are of practical use for policy and societal stakeholders.

W4RA, Web Alliance for Regreening in Africa

W4RA’s mission is to support farmer-managed regreening activities specifically by enhancing information, communication and knowledge sharing for rural development.

Impact Evaluation of the Dutch Food Security Programme in Rwanda Food Security

The project is an impact evaluation of the Dutch food security programme for Rwanda 2012-2015. The evaluation analyses 14 separate projects in this programme.

Sustainable Tourism based On Natural resource management with Gender Balance tOwards Women (STRONGBOW)

The STRONGBOW project has been specifically designed to contribute to research and capacity building in Ethiopian Higher Education Institutes within the fields of natural resource management, tourism and ecotourism

Towards concerted sharing: development of a regional water economy model for the Jordan River Basin

The project ‘Towards concerted sharing: development of a regional water economy model in the Jordan River Basin (JRB)’, has been completed in September 2016; the project has been executed by a team of water and natural resource specialists and economists from Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestine Territories and a regional research center, who worked jointly with SOW-VU staff to improve their understanding of the local water economy and cross-border related water problems in the JRB

Enhancing food security through development of allotment gardens in and around the cities of Benin

The project aims to create an integrated framework for the development of allotment gardens, providing urban poor with access to fresh foods and with a safe haven for women to gain additional income

Improving resilience of the inland fisher communities and aquatic systems to overfishing and water resource degradation in Benin

The project explores the vulnerability of the coastal inland fishing sector to increasing pressures on water resources caused by a mounting population, pollution from urban areas and changing climatic conditions


The aim of the project is to facilitate the development and implementation of FOOD 2030, a European research and innovation policy framework for food and nutrition security (FNS)

Palestinian-Dutch Academic Cooperation Program on Water (PADUCO)

The main objective of the project is to enhance food security by improving the feasibility of date palm tree cultivation in the Jordan Valley through integrating precision irrigation and optimizing the use of chemical fertilizer applying Real Time SMART software

Policy impact profiling for child food and nutrition security in Zimbabwe

This new project focuses on the heterogeneity of policy impact of agricultural and food policies for child nutrition. These policies interact strongly but complexly with agro-ecologic, institutional, and socio-economic drivers of child food and nutrition security, suggesting that effective and inclusive policies should be differentiated across groups of children and their families.

Reducing trade-offs and increasing synergies associated with improved food security in Lao PDR and Myanmar

In this project we will assess how and to what extent improvements towards food and nutrition security (SDG2) is associated with synergies and trade-offs with poverty reduction (SDG1), health (SDG3), climate change (SDG13), and biodiversity (SDG15). We focus on Lao PDR and Myanmar, two developing countries in Southeast Asia where hunger is still prevalent in many locations.