Esther Mwangi

Ziff Environmental Fellow: 2007-2009

Faculty Host: 

Esther Mwangi, a native of Kenya, was a political scientist whose broad research interests concerned the role of institutions (particularly property rights) in fostering sustainable natural resource management and improving local livelihoods. Her research also addressed issues of gender, land rights, and the politics of policy making in natural resources and conservation.

Esther earned a PhD in public policy from Indiana University in 2003 and is co-winner of the 2005 Harold D. Laswell Award for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of policy studies. Her dissertation examined the ecological and livelihood impacts of changing property rights arrangements in the Maasai rangelands of East Africa. She most recently was a postdoctoral fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), working with the CGIAR System-Wide program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi). As part of her fellowship, she coordinated a global research project examining the role of collective action and property rights for poverty reduction in East Africa and Asia. She also started research on the implications of forest governance reforms on local livelihoods and forest sustainability in East Africa and Latin America. Prior to joining IFPRI in 2007, Esther was a consultant to the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and to OXFAM's pastoralism program in Africa. From 1992-1997 she held a position as a research scientist with the Kenya Wildlife Service.

As an Environmental Fellow, she worked with William Clark of the Kennedy School of Government. She used multiple methods – including survey research, in-depth interviews, and remote sensing – to extend her analysis of the interactions between property rights transformation, rangeland management, and livelihoods in semi-arid pastoral systems, with a focus on East Africa.

Esther passed away in October of 2019

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