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The goal of the SLE is to provide a link between research and practice. We place great importance not only on scientific and empirical methods, but also on the relevance of research projects for policy and practice. As well as analysing problems, we focus on developing strategies for solving those problems, and make concrete recommendations for appropriate courses of action.

The SLE carries out overseas projects (Auslandsprojekte; AP) together with the students from the graduate programme (SLE STUDIES), produces special commissioned empirical studies (special overseas projects), and carries out its research independently or in collaboration with research partners.

The SLE carries out studies in various formats, including:

1. Overseas project studies (AP) involving students from the postgraduate programme in 'International Cooperation for Sustainable Development'. More information on overseas project studies can be found here.

2. Special overseas project studies together with SLE alumni. Special overseas studies are tailored to the needs of the commissioning body, with differing time frames and formats. More information on special overseas project studies can be found here.

3. Funded research and consultancy projects (e.g. BMBF, BMZ, BMEL).


Current research projects

Towards a socially inclusive and ecologically sustainable rural transformation in Africa

This project involves developing scenarios for the future and using these to identify strategies, tools and policies that can be used to plan for ecologically sustainable and socially inclusive rural transformation in Africa. Project funded by the BMZ (German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation).

About the project


GlobE: Global food security

Worldwide food security is one of the biggest challenges facing the 21st century. With the 'GlobE' funding initiative for global food security, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting efforts to meet this challenge, and is helping to integrate the work of the German government into a planned and effective drive for world food security.

The aim of the initiative is to support the development of productive and sustainable agriculture in African countries, in order to provide more effectively and more reliably for the needs of the local population. The funding initiative covers various research projects carried out in partnership with local institutions in Africa.

The SLE is involved in the following projects:

1. HORTINLEA - Horticultural Innovation and Learning for Improved Nutrition and Livelihood in East Africa

2. Trans-SEC - Innovating pro-poor Strategies to safeguard Food Security using Technology and Knowledge Transfer


Support for urban resilience

Ecosystem-based measures, for example the reforestation of mountainsides to protect against or prevent landslides, have a great potential to reduce the risk of disaster and to support adaptation to climate change.

About the project


UFiSAMo - Urban Agriculture in South Afruca and Mozambique

As part of an interdisciplinary grouping of various academic institutions, the SLE is involved in a funding application for a project on urban agriculture. The focus is on poor neighbourhoods in the cities of Maputo (Mozambique) and Cape Town (South Africa) and on the question of urban agriculture's contribution to food security.

About the project


Civil society in Africa

The SLE is part of a research group whose members have brought together over 20 studies on the subject of 'civil society in sub-Saharan Africa'. These studies were published in September 2014, in a compendium edited by Walter Eberlei.

About the project


Meta-analyses of SLE studies

Gabriele Beckmann, Dr. Susanne Neubert and Anja Katrin Fleig have brought together and analysed 35 overseas project studies in a meta-analysis on the question of how successfully the poorest target groups can be integrated into value chains, microfinance schemes and resource management programmes, and why this sometimes fails.

Read the publication (German)

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