Livelihood diversification is essential to food security and improved incomes for human development in African rural communities. Uganda's agrarian economy suffers from limited diversification, environmental degradation, low incomes, and multifaceted negative impacts of AIDS. Efforts to stimulate and support innovation in agricultural production technology, forms of social organization, and poor markets are essential elements in promotion of sustainable rural livelihoods. Iowa State University's Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and its partner organizations are applying a multi-dimensional approach to engage Uganda farmers and rural leaders in community-based learning and capability strengthening. We describe the role played by livelihood diversification and explore the promotion of sustainable livelihoods through scholarship with praxis. Sustainable livelihoods concepts are examined as a means to better understand contemporary African rural development. We identify principles and processes critical to achieving sustainable livelihoods. Their application is highlighted based on our early collaborative experience, including a discussion of the complexities associated with entering into balanced partnerships required for a successful community-based program. We explore the value of social science perspectives and processes for strengthening rural development in developing countries.