This action-oriented research project explores, applies, and evaluates the potential of digital innovation in three key areas: urban agriculture and nutrition; sustainable land management and soil organic carbon payments; and gender and access to natural resources. The project places a focus on developing and advancing concrete solutions for low-income urban populations as well as well as small-scale farming communities in several African countries.
The aim of the Urban Agriculture and Nutrition thematic research strand is to explore the role of digital solutions in further strengthening food security and livelihood opportunities for marginalised groups. We explore how digitalisation can enhance the empowerment of vulnerable groups through strengthening access to information and public services, lowering transaction costs in the agri-food sector, and improving the design and enforcement of relevant public policies.
Looking beyond their climate mitigation potential, our work on Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) is dedicated to identifying the conditions under which such initiatives can contribute to enhance food security and biodiversity. We investigate the challenges involved in operationalising carbon sequestration projects, exploring social and technical innovations that can enhance the benefits of such schemes for smallholder farmers, as well as reducing transaction costs.
The Gender and Land Rights workstream focuses on how digital tools such as participatory tenure mapping tools and user-oriented databases can be used to
support women’s land rights. We aim equally at an in-depth analysis of the opportunities as well as risks of digital innovations in the context of strengthening tenure security for women.
Central to the SEWOH Lab is the question of how, and under what conditions, digitalisation translates into practical opportunities for addressing the numerous challenges mentioned above. This requires understanding broader social, political and institutional dynamics, and, where necessary, exploring the kinds of social and organisational innovations needed to harness the potential of digital technologies to deliver on multiple targets under the Sustainable Development Goals, including food and nutrition security, sustainable natural resource use, and resilience to climate change.