Fragmented lives: reconstructing rural livelihoods in post-genocide Rwanda

M. Koster

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


During the genocide in Rwanda (1994) nearly a million Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed and millions of people were displaced. Since 2002, social scientist Marian Koster has regularly visited the country for her PhD-research at Wageningen University. Her study centred on the strategies that households in the northeast of Rwanda use to secure their livelihoods. During her visits to Rwanda, Koster was told that the poorest and most vulnerable households consist of those headed by women, and specifically those headed by widows. However, her research clearly indicates that this is not the case and that widowed heads of households perform much better than is generally assumed. This has important consequences for development interventions which, in an attempt to reach the poorest of the poor, continue to target widows. Koster’s research also shows that many new laws and policies, meant to increase land tenure security and agricultural production, are counterproductive and directly undermine poor people’s livelihood strategies.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Niehof, Anke, Promotor
  • Frerks, Georg, Co-promotor
  • Price, Lisa, Co-promotor
Award date22 Oct 2008
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789085049678
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2008


  • rural development
  • households
  • household income
  • war
  • conflict
  • sociology
  • socioeconomics
  • rural areas
  • rural population
  • household consumption
  • subsistence farming
  • agriculture
  • poverty
  • rural women
  • woman's status
  • ethnic groups
  • rwanda
  • livelihoods
  • livelihood strategies
  • social capital
  • gender


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