The big development issues of the coming decades, including inequality, sustainability, exclusion and security, all have specific and critically important rural dimensions.
Rural societies, economies and areas face challenges and opportunities that can be qualitatively different from their urban analogues, including limited access to infrastructure, services and political decision-making and greater exposure to environmental shocks and stresses. At the same time, many possible rural futures can be envisaged, which will have major implications for local livelihoods, poverty and social relations, conflict, migration, production and distribution systems, food security, natural resource management and environmental change.
Through our research, policy engagement, teaching and training, the Rural Futures Cluster seeks to support the emergence of pathways that deliver both greater social justice and sustainability for rural people and places, while recognising their important interconnections with urban areas.
We assume that improvements in social justice and sustainability can be achieved by opening up a diversity of economic, environmental and technological pathways, practices, models and institutional arrangements that create new democratic spaces, strengthen social movements, enhance innovation and empower rural men and women to take greater control over their productive assets.
Further, we take it as self-evident that the aspirations, agency, voices and assets of rural people must be a central to these dynamic processes at different scales. Thus, a key focus of the Rural Futures Cluster is to understand how local change processes articulate with those at national and global levels.
Livelihoods After Land Reform
This collaborative project, which involves IDS and is led by the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) in South Africa, asks: to what extent is land redistribution in southern Africa achieving poverty reduction and livelihood improvement objectives? More details
Enhancing the Productive Capacity of Extremely Poor People in Rwanda - Evaluation
IDS led the evaluation of the Concern Worldwide graduation programme in Rwanda ‘Enhancing the Productive Capacity of Extremely Poor People’. More details
Understanding the Social Protection Implications of Changing Demographics in Rwanda
In order to inform discussions of social protection policy options in the short-, medium-, and long-term, this study collected and analysed both quantitative and qualitative data on the experiences of older people in Rwanda, along with the wider literature and evidence base from the region and beyond. It also undertook a detailed policy simulation exercise to assess both the needs of older people and the impact of policy options. More details
Impact Evaluation for the UNICEF SCT Project in Oromia and SNNPR
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is collaborating with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to conduct an impact evaluation of the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) programme in Oromia and SNNP Regions of Ethiopia for UNICEF Ethiopia. More details
African Farmer Game
African Farmer is a free, open source game that simulates the complex decisions and uncertainties faced by small-scale farmers living in Sub-Saharan Africa. More details
Youth, smart phones and tractors in Africa – a new agrarian class?14 Nov 2017
By Lidia Cabral, Jim Sumberg
Youth savings – it’s a family affair (Part II)18 Oct 2017
By Justin Flynn, Jim Sumberg
How do we decide what we research?17 Oct 2017
By Terry Cannon
Edible insects05 Oct 2017
By Dominic Glover
Decent work for all? We need to talk about rural informal employment!28 Sep 2017
By Jim Sumberg, Philip Mader, Justin Flynn
‘Decent enough work’ - Should Africa’s youth hope for more?18 Sep 2017
By Jim Sumberg
Is there such a thing as ‘good shame’ or ‘positive shaming’?12 Sep 2017
By Keetie Roelen
Agricultural commercialisation – where it’s hot and where it’s not12 Jul 2017
By Jim Sumberg
Is 'mind-set change' the new frontier for Africa’s youth?29 Jun 2017
By Jim Sumberg
Whose problem? Fixing our food systems22 Jun 2017
By Santiago Ripoll