Building impact over time: experiences from Zimbabwe

ESRC blog

Ian Scoones, Director ESRC STEPS Centre, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex – Second prize winner of the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize for Outstanding International Impact.

Ian Scoones 1

Generating impact takes time. And this is especially so when research challenges conventional wisdoms and entrenched interests. This is the lesson from our ESRC-funded research in Zimbabwe over the past 15 years, through which we have collected data on changing livelihoods following land reform, now in several parts of the country.

Gradually, evidence has accumulated that challenges the oft-repeated narrative that the Zimbabwean land reform of 2000 was an unmitigated disaster. Instead, a more complex picture emerges: some considerable successes, especially among small-scale farmers, and some failures, perhaps especially on the larger-scale farms.

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