Inclusivity of Climate Smart Agriculture to Fast Track Prosperity

Workshop, Saturday 7th of September 2019, British Institute in Eastern Africa

Our understanding of prosperity is changing. For decades prosperity has been associated with economic development through industrialisation, and GDP oriented economic growth has been seen as the only way to improve standards of living. Environmental degradation, pressure on resources and the persistence of widespread poverty have demonstrated not only the shortcomings of this vision, but have also made it evident that it is fundamentally unsustainable, and cannot deliver wellbeing and long-term opportunities for citizens and communities across the globe.

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Looking ahead to the challenges Africa faces, notably climate change, urbanisation and the future of work, it is clear a new vision encompassing natural prosperity will be needed to create communities that are sustainable, autonomous and resilient. While Kenya embodies many of the challenges faced across sub-Saharan Africa, we also see it as a hub of innovation and inspiration that is fostering African solutions to global problems. During the event we will be diving into the Big Four Agenda, Agriculture and Food by looking at among other things:

  1. How can data be used to innovate agriculture and improve the prosperity of small-scale farmers?

  2. We will ask what kind of data are needed to improve the value chain? How can we use space data to improve agriculture?

  3. Moving from the farmer to the trader and wholesaler to the consumer – how do you think data can help in handling potatoes/maize/tomatoes improve the value chain?

  4. There will be examples of digital platforms that are helping farmers in Vihiga, Makueni and Marakwet improve crop production.

To register please email Eve Njau

PROCOL Kenya Hackathon

Building a Prosperity Index for Kenya and the World

10am-1pm, 17th August, 2019, British Institute in Eastern Africa

This ‘hackathon’ meet-up will introduce participants to PROCOL Kenya’s prosperity research and challenge you to build new Prosperity metrics.

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This ProCol event is designed to exchange ideas about current and future uses of data and information in building Prosperity in Kenya and across the continent. We will exchange ideas on what Prosperity means to you and compare this with what communities in other parts of the world consider Prosperity to be. We will examine how Prosperity Indices have been co-created with communities in other places – in east London and Beirut in Lebanon. We will look at how the Africa Regional Data Cube, geographic information systems and earth observation can be used to develop future businesses and jobs here in Kenya. The idea is to create better data and information systems to support better decision making and improve lives. In the room we will have data and information from different places in Kenya and will be asking you how you think you can help build a voice for your community through data and information

 During the day we will use the Big Four Agenda and agriculture as a particular focus of discussions. How do you think that data can be used to innovate agriculture and improve the prosperity of small-scale farmers? We will ask what kind of data are needed to improve the value chain? How can we use space data to improve agriculture? Moving from the farmer to the trader and wholesaler to the consumer – how do you think data can help in handling potatoes/maize/tomatoes improve the value chain? We will look at examples of digital platforms that are helping farmers in Vihiga, Makueni and Marakwet improve crop production.

To register please email Eve Njau

Citizen science and botanic knowledge among herders and farmers in Kenya

Citizen science and botanic knowledge among herders and farmers in Kenya

In collaboration with Dr Matthew Davies and Professor Jacqueline McGlade of the IGP, Dr Wilson Kipkore of the University of Eldoret, Dr Solomon Ole Ntaiyia, and Kipkeu Kiprutto of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, the Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) research group at UCL have started two new projects using the Sapelli platform to support the documentation of indigenous plant knowledge and issues surrounding sustainability among herders and farmers in Kenya.

Upcoming PROCOL Kenya Events

Building a Prosperity Index for Kenya and the World

10am-1pm, 17th August, 2019, British Institute in Eastern Africa

This ‘hackathon’ meet-up will introduce participants to PROCOL Kenya’s prosperity research and challenge you to build new Prosperity metrics.

To register please email Eve Njau


Inclusivity of Climate Smart Agriculture to Fast Track Prosperity

7th September 2019, British Institute in Eastern Africa

Using Climate Smart Agriculture as a focal point, this meeting will initiate PROCOL Kenya’s Fast Forward 2030 initiative - a network of young entrepreneurs dedicated to solving global challenges.

To register please email Eve Njau


PROCOL Kenya Launch

14th November 2019, Venue TBC

This major Launch Event will showcase the work of PROCOL Kenya and outline our wider plans for the future. The schedule and venue are yet to be confirmed, but please do hold the data and watch this space for further information.

IAS Talking Points Seminar: Self-Devouring Growth - A Planetary Parable

IAS Talking Points Seminar: Self-Devouring Growth - A Planetary Parable

This talk, like the book from which it is drawn, calls into question the imperative of economic growth, tracing the unintended consequences of escalating consumption. Using a series of linked cases of successful economic growth in Botswana as a model (water, roads, and cattle), it shows how insatiable growth, predicated on consumption, will inevitably overwhelm, a process I term self-devouring growth.

Learning botany from the real experts: IGP-led team secures funding for Citizen Science project to explore local botanic knowledge in Eastern Africa

We are pleased to announce that an Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) team led by Dr Matthew Davies (IGP), in conjunction with the UCL Extreme Citizen Science Group (ExCites) and colleagues in Geography and Anthropology, has secured funding to develop a Citizen Science based project and mobile application to scale up the collection and use of indigenous botanic knowledge in Kenya.

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The project will utilise a customised version of ExCites Sapelli software and will test and refine data collection, working with existing citizen science groups in both the Maasai Mara and Elgeyo-Marakwet regions of Kenya. The data collection and application testing will aim to capture the botanic knowledge of both Maasai herders and Marakwet farmers. The project will develop strict community protocols and procedures designed to ensure protection of sensitive knowledge and intellectual property, and to record data utilising localised concepts and categories. It will also aim to integrate the data collected with broader data infrastructures such as the African Regional Data Cube and use this for the first time to systematically correlate indigenous botanic knowledge with remotely sensed data at a large scale.

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We see this as a first step towards empowering community botanic knowledge within a policy and development planning agenda, and look forward to future developments.

The Indigenous African Plant Knowledge and Sustainability (IAPS) project is funded by a UCL GCRF research grant. It is led by Dr Matthew Davies (IGP) with Professor Muki Haklay (UCL Geography), Professor Jacqueline McGlade (IGP), Dr Jerome Lewis (UCL Anthropology), Dr Michalis Vitos (UCL Geography), Dr Megan Laws (UCL Anthropology), Professor Henrietta Moore (IGP), Dr Wilson Kipkore (University of Eldoret) and the British Institute in Eastern Africa.

Public understanding of climate change - a workshop

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By Daisy Sibun and Fabio Valbuzzi

In the first official PROCOL event, the Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) based at University College London (UCL) worked with the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) and the UCL Global Engagement Fund to organize a comprehensive workshop on public understanding of climate change. The workshop was organised in three different sessions.

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Session 1 focused on public and citizen understanding of climate change among the population in certain parts of Eastern Africa, with panellists varying in terms of scope and focus of the work they presented. Citizen perceptions were elaborated on with focus on historic climate change related community responses as well as in relation to a study on “Digital Farmers” in Elgeyo-Marakwet, Kenya and in a country-wide youth-led initiative that deploys Virtual Reality to enhance understanding and awareness on climate change related impact.

The second session focused more on scientific and institutional understandings of climate change. Here, panellists discussed how the Kenyan media reports on the issue, what policy documents are currently in place in Kenya at national and sub-national level and what insights can be obtained from a climate change adaptation project in the area of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

In session 3, panellists discussed the creation of multi- and transdisciplinary teams in efforts of raising awareness and ramping up communication relating to climate change. It was discussed how the public can get engaged with science, how a community in Kibera develops responses and adaptation to problems related to flooding and what our roles are in dealing with dissemination of knowledge about the cause-effect issues of climate change.

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The workshop was very well attended and a successful start to PROCOL-led initiatives. It was fantastic to have so many people of diverse ages, experiences and knowledge gathered under the BIEA roof to confront a common agenda. We explored public perceptions of climate change from an inter-disciplinary perspective which gave a real richness to our analysis – not just within the speaker presentations but also amongst the questions and lively discussions that followed each session.

The workshop was filled with future-orientated discussions which felt equal parts well-informed about the multifarious concerns of climate change and optimistic for the future. This was a refreshing take from other forums that can operate at a more singular official level at the danger of excluding heterogeneous populations and perspectives from important debates. At the same time, the optimistic energy of the debate helped the dialogue from falling into the silos of determinist conclusions and helped us leave the room encouraged for the future.

We eagerly look forward to the bright future of PROCOL Kenya and continuing these lively, engaging and responsive discussions at upcoming events.

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Professor Henrietta Moore writes on prosperity and climate change for Guardian Global Development

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The Institute for Global Prosperity’s Founder and Director Prof. Henrietta Moore writes about the impact of using prosperity “league tables” that aim to tell us who’s getting it right for their citizens, in the face of global challenges such as climate change, and how different understandings of prosperity give us an alternative way of understanding life for communities across the world.

“But there's a serious problem in seeing our world in this way. There's an uncomfortably close correlation between these supposedly more sophisticated measures and old-fashioned GDP. Perhaps more troubling in the context of a planet threatened by climate change is the reinforcement of a belief that some countries have "made it", while others need to catch up."

“In truth, many of the world’s most “prosperous” countries are its least sustainable. Since the 70s, humanity has been in “ecological overshoot”, with annual demand on resources exceeding what the Earth can regenerate each year. Today, humanity uses the equivalent of 1.7 Earths to provide the resources we use. This applies to the vast majority of today’s wealthy countries.”

Read the full article on the Guardian Global Development Website 

Prosperity mambo! Pathways to prosperity through PROCOL Kenya

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By Dr Matthew Davies, Associate Professor at the Institute for Global Prosperity

Re-adjustment, Re-imagining, Re-thinking

In many parts of the world there is widespread dissatisfaction with contemporary economic systems and the impact they have had on livelihoods and the environment. This dissatisfaction has been expressed in diverse ways, from anarchic protests, to calls for 'degrowth', and right wing nationalism. Within this cacophony of divergent voices a small but growing community are arguing that what is needed is not an outright rejection of society and the economy as it stands (whether on the left or right) but rather a re-adjustment of values and ideas, a re-imagining of what society should prioritise, and a re-thinking of what the economy should be and do. 

This community take their lead from multiple critiques of growth-based GDP economic thinking, such as Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi (Mismeasuring our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Upand the work of thinkers such as Tim Jackson, (Prosperity Without Growthand Kate Raworth (Doughnut Economics). Many of their ideas are crystallising around the concept of 'Prosperity' as a property that embraces both human wellbeing, satisfaction and capability, alongside the health, sustainability and resilience of the natural world.

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Prosperity for different peoples, cultures and places

The Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) at University College London was established to enhance, refine and disseminate just such ideas about prosperity, and most importantly to turn them into operational policy so that they can help shape peoples lives for the better. More than this, researchers at the IGP argue that prosperous societies do not take one form or one type, but rather that prosperity has multiple forms for different peoples, cultures and places and that it must be co-created or generated by the people in those contexts. This simple idea is radical, because it argues that there is no singular path to development or progress, no model to be transferred from one place to another, no 'developed world' or 'Global North' to be copied. Instead, prosperity must be generated in context and in today's changing, unstable and unpredictable world, new forms of prosperity are just as likely to emerge from the 'Global South' as they are from the Global North. In other words models for change from Africa, indeed from Kenya, may be globally inspirational and better suited to the challenges of the future than those from the 'old world'.

PROCOL Kenya

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The IGP has been working in Kenya and across Eastern Africa since its inception. While Kenya embodies many of the challenges faced across sub-Saharan Africa, we also see Kenya as a hub of innovation and inspiration, and we aim to foster home-grown solutions to these challenges. In 2018, the IGP established Prosperity Co-Lab (PROCOL) Kenya to begin a debate about what prosperity really means in Kenya and across Eastern Africa. We want to understand the real voices of citizens, value the knowledge, experience and ideas that they have and then work with communities, government and other stakeholders to co-design novel, innovative pathways to prosperity that break from the old norms of economic growth and market integration. We also aim to build the robust empirical data and research on which these novel pathways to prosperity can be based and are calling for multiple partners to achieve these ends. 

On the 2nd November we launched PROCOL Kenya at an event at the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA). The launch built on work already being conducted by the IGP with several Kenyan partners which has focussed on rural livelihoods and the future of agriculture (especially in Elgeyo-Marakwet County), and which include approaches to engage with and foreground citizen experiences, especially through the concept of Citizen Science. We also showcased work into new possibilities of collecting, collating and disseminating data, especially around the African Regional Data Cube. At the launch we were able to hear from a range of existing project partners, including Professor Grace Cheserek from the University of Eldoret, Dr Rosemary Okello from Strathmore University, the Elgeyo-Marakwet County Government, Dr Wilson Kipkore from the University of Eldoret, Mr Timothy Kipruto from the Marakwet Research Station and Dr Freda M'Mbogori from the BIEA. All spoke to the need for new alternative paradigms for change and embraced the key role of Kenya in generating models for change which value the knowledge and experience of its citizenry and home-grown thinkers.

Embracing difference, championing diverse values and perspectives

Over the coming months and years, we hope that PROCOL Kenya will not only contribute to the emerging counter narratives around the idea of prosperity but that it will come to shape and refine them: adding a voice and ideas that represent a truly global vision of prosperity, which embraces difference and champions diverse values and perspectives. We believe that Kenyans have a great role to play in positively shaping the future in dynamic ways which break from old norms, and we hope that PROCOL Kenya will be a start to this process. Do please join us in this ambition!

If you would like to hear more about PROCOL Kenya and how you might like to get involved, please do contact Dr Matthew Davies (matt.davies@ucl.ac.uk). 

PROCOL Kenya Launch

On 2nd November we will launch PROCOL Kenya as a partnership with multiple stakeholders from Kenyan national and county governments, international organisations, Kenyan Universities and local community groups. PROCOL Kenya will begin by mapping out a new paradigm for sustainable ecological management and future rural livelihoods, based on a re-valuing of nature and the concept of Natural Prosperity. Drawing on IGPs Prosperity Metrics work from elsewhere in the world, we will re-map metrics of well-being and quality of life on to measures of environmental quality, linking these explicitly to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the four pillars of Kenya's Vision 2030. Our aim is to re-think the delivery of the SDGs and Vision 2030 in light of climatic and demographic change and in ways which are resilient, sustainable and both socially and environmentally just.