Kesho’ scenario development for supporting water-energy-food security under uncertain future conditions in Zanzibar

Rebecca J. S. Newman*, Charis Enns, Claudia Capitani, Jessica Thorn, Colin Courtney-Mustaphi, Sam J. Buckton, Eugyen Suzanne Om, Ioan Fazey, Tahir Haji, Aziza Y. Nchimbi, Rebecca W. Kariuki, Robert A. Marchant

*Corresponding author for this work

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Social-ecological interactions mediate water–energy–food security in small developing islands, but community-scale insights are underrepresented in nexus research. These interactions are dynamic in their response to environmental and anthropogenic pressures and need to be understood to inform sustainable land use planning into the future. This study centered on bringing together diverse stakeholders to explore water–energy–food futures using the “Kesho” (meaning “tomorrow” in Kiswahili) scenario tool for two of the largest islands that comprise the Zanzibar Archipelago. The methodology comprised four core stages: (1) exploration of how past drivers of change impacted water–energy–food security; (2) modeling of a Business as Usual Scenario for land cover change; (3) narrative development to describe alternative futures for 2030 based on themes developed at the community scale; and (4) predictions about how narratives would shape land cover and its implications for the nexus. These results were used to model alternate land cover scenarios in TerrSet IDRISI (v. 18.31) and produce visual representations of expected change. Findings demonstrated that deforestation, saltwater incursion, and a reduction in permanent waterbodies were projected by 2030 in a Business as Usual Scenario. Three alternative scenario narratives were developed, these included Adaptation, Ecosystem Management, and Settlement Planning. The results demonstrate that the effectiveness of actions under the scenario options differ between the islands, indicating the importance of understanding the suitability of national policies across considered scales. Synergies across the alternative scenario narratives also emerged, including integrated approaches for managing environmental change, community participation in decision making, effective protection of forests, cultural sensitivity to settlement planning, and poverty alleviation. These synergies could be used to plan strategic action towards effectively strengthening water–energy–food security in Zanzibar.
Original languageEnglish
Article number195
Number of pages26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2024


  • Livelihoods
  • Nexu
  • Climate change
  • Development
  • Ecosystems
  • Western Indian Ocean


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