Juliana Nnoko-Mewanu is an experienced leader with a history of demonstrated commitment to her community. She is the co-founder of an all girls primary school, which focused on the development of skills in Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering, an NGO called Educational Solutions, and has worked on several International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) national committees. She was accepted as a Borlaug LEAP fellow in the Spring of 2014 to support her research examining the conditions under which communities in Cameroon have access to adequate information and institutional capabilities to effectively negotiate terms in land transactions or refuse land deals. Her mentor, Dr. Robert Mazur, of Iowa State University, is a leading authority on sustainable livelihoods strategies and is the founding Director of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods at Iowa State. Dr. Nnoko-Mewanu’s CGIAR mentor, Dr. Ruth Meinzen-Dick of IFPRI, has expertise in local social-relational dynamics involving agricultural transactions and collective property rights, and she helped guide Dr. Nnoko-Mewanu’s analysis of this issue.
Dr. Nnoko-Mewanu’s research continues to combine qualitative and quantitative methods in order to yield important insights regarding social relations at the community level given village capabilities, access to institutions, and existence of a good working relationship among local institutions, private business sectors and governments. Her research objectives are to evaluate the effect of village level factors (access to authority, information, social capital, and financial capital) on negotiations of land deals, and to examine how support for or opposition to land transactions reflects discursive responses of local influences rather than substantive dimensions of land deals, in order to understand reaction patterns to land deals.
She hopes her research will contribute to policies on collective tenure rights in Cameroon, and strengthen local inclusion in negotiations of commercial land deals. Her research may also enhance the capacity of local communities to define and communicate their priorities during negotiations of commercial land contracts that are legally binding and consistent with local needs. This would ensure continued access and availability of food and cash crops within an affected area. Dr. Nnoko-Mewanu successfully defended her PhD in Sociology and Sustainable Agriculture in December of 2015 and graduated from Iowa State in August 2016 and is currently working for Human Rights Watch in Cameroon as a researcher on the connection between women and land in sub-Saharan Africa.