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Livelihoods After Land Reform in Zimbabwe: Small grant competition - call for applications

The land reform that has unfolded in Zimbabwe since 2000 has had diverse consequences. There is no single story. Today policymakers are grappling with the question of ‘what next’? How can a new agrarian structure be supported, and a vibrant rural economy be developed? Yet such discussions are often taking place in a vacuum, with limited empirical data from the ground and overshadowed by misperceptions and inappropriate assumptions.

To increase access to and recognition of research conducted on this theme, a number of organisations have come together to support a small grant competition aimed at generating new case study insights based on original and recent field research by young scholars.

Grants of £1000 (UK sterling) per study are available to successful applicants who wish to undertake research or (more likely) write up a paper based on research that is being/has been undertaken on any of the following themes (or combinations).

  • Detailed site-specific assessments of changes in livelihoods following land reform
  • Analyses of farm productivity in new resettlement areas
  • Ethnographic studies looking at changes in social relationships, including class and gender dynamics, at the local level in new land reform sites
  • Analysis of changes in institutional authority and leadership in new resettlement areas
  • Assessment of issues of tenure on the new resettlements, and its social, institutional and political bases
  • Investigations of changing patterns of farm labour in new resettlement areas
  • Analysis of changes in markets and market relationships following land reform in particular sites
  • Assessments of interactions between different farm and land use types (e.g. communal, A1, A2, large-scale commercial, conservancies etc.), and the implications for livelihoods
  • Analyses of emerging forms of natural resource use in new resettlement areas (e.g. forest and grassland, resources, wildlife), their significance for livelihoods, and environmental impacts

The research must be original, policy-relevant and based on detailed, site-specific field studies (involving either qualitative or quantitative methodologies, or mixes of the two). General review papers will not be accepted. Final papers will be a maximum of 10,000 words long, and guidelines for their production will be issued to successful grant holders. The institutional supporters of the small grant competition will aim to publish the final papers, subject to peer review. There will additionally be an opportunity to submit a selection of the papers – or summaries
thereof – to a dedicated section of the Journal of Peasant Studies (again subject to review).

To be eligible:
  • The applicant must be a Zimbabwean national, and a post-graduate MA/MSc/PhD) student (or have recently graduated – within the last 2-3 years)
  • The research must be based on recent (over the last 5 years), field-based, site-specific research

Short proposals (300 words maximum) for the research/paper must be submitted by email to by May 29 2009. These should outline key questions and themes, as well as details of where the research was done and when. Justifications for eligibility should also be included. A review committee, drawn from the sponsoring institutions, will choose ten papers for small grants. Successful applicants will have until October 16 to complete the paper. All papers will be reviewed and final versions will be submitted by December 18 when a final payment will be made.

This is an initiative of the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex, UK), Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS, University of the Western Cape, South Africa), the African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS, Harare), the Centre for Applied Social Sciences Trust (CASS Trust, Harare) and the RUZIVO Trust (Harare).

The small grant competition is being coordinated through the Livelihoods after Land Reform research programme.
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