Joseph Ndiwa is a PhD student at the Sustainable Minerals Institute within CSRM, contributing his expertise to the Community-Smart Consultation & Consent (CSCC) Project.

His research addresses the critical issue of structural disadvantages deeply ingrained in Sub-Saharan African Historically Underserved Traditional Local Communities as they engage with development actors. Ideally, projects situated within "traditional local communities" should prioritize intentional community engagement that align the principles of the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) and should provide an essential procedure to enable communities to self-determine their own development goals and plans through decisions that are well informed by the communities themselves. His research illuminates the 'implementation gap'- the stark discrepancy between formally accepted frameworks for natural resource governance and the realities of their execution on the ground.

Using a mixed-methods approach (ethnography, in-depth qualitative interviews, and document analysis), Joseph carries out a comparative analysis of this disconnect against Good International Industrial Practice (GIIP) guidelines for responsible mining. He pays particular attention to the World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Guidelines and the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Performance Standards, as these are crucial for safeguarding vulnerable land-dependent communities' rights. The setting for Joseph's research is Kwale County, Kenya, amongst the native Mijikenda, a community of nine tribes known as "the nine kayas." His work explores how one of the tribes; the Digo, who are motivated by a strong desire to uphold both their Mijikenda and Islamic identities, navigate the challenges of land access rights amidst large-scale mining operations. Joseph aims to illuminate the realities faced by this tribe, and in doing so, he hopes to propose effective strategies to bridge the 'implementation gap.' Notably, Kwale County forms part of the “Swahili Centre of Endemism”, also known as the “East African Coastal Forest Hotspot” and has forests listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are regarded as sacred forest areas by the Mijikenda Peoples.

Joseph holds a Master of Environmental Studies (Climate Change and Sustainability) degree from Kenyatta University and Bachelor of Education (Arts)-Geography & Kiswahili degree from Moi University in Kenya.