This project aims to provide a better understanding of how the rush for land is affecting the fabric of society in Central Africa and the local chances for peace and stability. The team is collaborating with academic and civil society partners to adopt an innovative methodological approach in which a simulation game (Land Rush) is transformed into community theatre for action-research. Land Rush is a game that simulates the complex reality of access to, and management of, natural resources in developing countries. The research methodology developed in this project allows researchers to access people’s hidden transcripts. This allows researchers and civil society partners to detect the deeper dynamics in land conflicts and inserts a positive dynamic into the civil society partners’ community building projects.
Our research analyses land conflicts and rural dynamics in Central Africa. We study how global and local 'turbulences' - together with formal policies - interact with people's livelihioods. Our research takes place in a context of instability, violence, and (post-) conflict.
In terms of RRI practices, two points are key in our project:
Our project brings together a team of researchers from very different backgrounds (disciplines, gender, nationality) in a spirit of continuous reflection and mutual coaching. We continuously adopt a self-reflexive approach in how we can deal ethically with the turbulences we come acress in our research. We do not stick to a check-list-at-the-start approach to ethical practices but stretch our reflection along the whole process of knowledge generation.
Our project engages actively with the actors of the ground. Those are not only policy makers and civil society actors, but also – and most importantly – the women and men embedded in a daily struggle for survival. We do this through local community theatre that we use as a tool for research, but also and together with our research participants, as a dynamic for social change.
Leading organisation: Université Catholique de Louvain
Cooperation partners: ARES (Académie de Recherche et d’Enseignement supérieur), FNRS Mandat d’Impulsion Scientifique, Institut Supérieur du Développement Rural – Bukavu, civil society partners: Louvain Coopération and Action pour la Paix et la Concorde