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Innovation works:pastoralists building secure livelihoods in the Horn of Africa

Pastoralist areas of the Horn of Africa are experiencing rapid change. Markets are opening up, helping to improve livelihoods and generate substantial new wealth for local and national economies. Political and constitutional changes are creating opportunities for pastoralists to influence decision-making around the allocation of public resources as well as laws and practices affecting their rights. New technologies such as mobile phones as well as improvements in roads are opening up pastoral areas to greater movements of people, goods, and ideas. And new ways of delivering services to mobile and remote pastoralist populations have improved their access to healthcare, veterinary services and education.

Pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: Diverse livelihood pathways

CAADP Policy Brief 06

by Kate Wellard-Dyer

Pastoralists in the Horn of Africa have struggled for centuries with drought, conflict and famine. They are resourceful, innovative and entrepreneurial peoples, by necessity. While there are profound difficulties in creating secure livelihoods for all, there are also significant successes.

The African Union’s Policy Framework for Pastoralism in Africa recognises pastoralists’ contributions to national and regional economies – supplying huge numbers of livestock and livestock products. Pastoralists’ production systems are highly adaptive and constantly respond to market and climatic change. At the same time human development and food security indicators are amongst the lowest on the continent. The Framework is designed to secure and protect the lives, livelihoods and rights of pastoral peoples, and is a platform for mobilising and coordinating political commitment to pastoral development in Africa.

This policy brief, based on latest research by Future Agricultures Consortium, reviews understandings and misunderstandings about pastoral livelihoods - innovation and entrepreneurship, not just coping and adapting; and cooperation and networking across borders, not just conflict and violence. It highlights the multiple pathways for future development of pastoral areas and offers an alternative view of pastoralism and practical ways forward.

Jostling for Trade: The Politics of Livestock Marketing on the Ethiopia-Somaliland Border

Future Agricultures Working Paper 75Abdurehman EidFebruary 2014

Cross-border livestock trade (CBLT) is an important livelihood activity for many pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in the Horn of Africa. The trade has developed into an informal industry supporting many stakeholders along the value chain: livestock-keepers, fodder suppliers, ranch owners, itinerant traders, large livestock traders and transporters. This paper examines the CBLT spanning the border between Somali Region of Ethiopia and Somaliland. Specifically, it considers policies and controls shaping the dynamics of the trade in recent years. The study also highlights the competition that Somaliland and Djibouti have found themselves in to become the livestock export hub in the Horn of Africa, as well as clan dynamics.

Contested Margins, Complex Pathways: The Afar Triangle in the Horn of Africa

Future Agricultures Working Paper 94 Alan Nicol and Mosope Otulana June 2014

The ‘Afar Triangle’ straddles Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. Historically it has been at the centre of state building and contestation between state and society for over a century. The contemporary relevance of this area lies in the overlapping contestations of power, economic development and nationhood that continue to mark the present-day struggles of the Afar people. Understanding the challenges, dynamics, histories and continuities of this situation can help in providing future support to Afar development – across all three countries, but particularly in Ethiopia where the majority of the Afar live.

The paper traces key social, political and environmental issues and argues that the Afar Triangle, rather than a single contiguous shape, in fact represents many overlapping and contested ‘margins’ which range from areas of contested (political) control to territorial group identity, and from temperature gradients and rainfall isohyets to environmental and agro-ecological margins. These patterns determine the range and extent of Afar pastoral systems and their interactions with other, often competing, social groups. We identify key interrelationships between these margins and how they affect the security of Afar livelihoods, emphasizing the heterogeneity of experience, but also the major challenges that Afar pastoral systems continue to face.

Creating Policy Space for Pastoralism in Kenya

Future Agricultures Working Paper 68Mohamed Elmi and Izzy BirchJuly 2013

This paper reflects on the work of the Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands between its formation in April 2008 and the elections of March 2013. The paper begins by summarising the historical, political and institutional contexts within which the Ministry was created, as well as the multiple narratives that have driven policy in Kenya’s drylands over time (section 1). It explains some of the policy choices the Ministry made in interpreting its mandate and shaping the policy agenda. The paper reflects on the response of different actors to the policy space opened up by the establishment of the Ministry, and looks at how it implemented its mandate and its day-to-day engagement with others. The authors discuss the institutional framework in more detail and the steps required to strengthen it further. The paper concludes with reflections and recommendations.

The Long Conversation: Customary Approaches to Peace Management...
The Long Conversation: Customary Approaches to Peace Management in Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya

Patta Scott-Villiers, Hussein Boru Ungiti, Diba Kiyana, Molu Kullu, Tumal Orto, Eugenie Reidy and Adan Sora June 2011

FAC Working Paper 22

This working paper is a contribution to understandings of peace-building among pastoralists. From a pastoralist perspective, it throws light on the achievement of peace in a five-year effort led by leaders of the Borana and Gabra peoples of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The instigators of the research, elders of Gabra and Borana, set the frame of the inquiry and its analysis, assisted by researchers from the Institute of Development Studies and Pastoralists Consultants International.

Their study reveals four aspects of peace management among pastoralists inthe Kenya-Ethiopia borderlands: moral consensus, information exchange, law and surveillance. It shows how these principles are understood, debated and acted upon by particular segments of society and with varying degrees of success in rural and urban areas and in different districts. To explain to an external audience some of the background, we draw on the work of Marco Bassi on vernacular procedures of consensus, and his observations on how moral and political principles entwine within East African pastoralist societies.

The study, by focusing on local people’s expressions to a group of local elders, necessarily plays down the roles of those that people understood less, saw less of, underestimated, or decided to remain silent about. Thus the story risks the impression that the indigenous citizens involved in this case manage peace, security, crime and violence with a minimum of outside help, which would not be entirely true. We hope the reader will tolerate this bias in order to understand the pivotal role of citizens in building peace.

The Politics of Pastoral Violence: A Case Study of Isiolo County, Northern Kenya

Future Agricultures Working Paper 95 June 2014

Conflicts and violence taking the form of cattle rustling, ethnic violence, displacements and massacres have characterised inter-communal and clan relations among the various pastoralist communities of northern Kenya and the greater Horn of Africa region. In addition to stress factors such as environmental degradation, drought, famine and other natural catastrophes, pastoralists face complex challenges of land related conflicts (some of which are related to administrative and electoral boundaries); recurrent violent conflicts aggravated by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALWs); tensions with agricultural communities; and human-wildlife conflicts aggravated by competing uses of land for commercial ranching and wildlife conservation, amongst others.

However, while the nature of pastoral conflicts has changed over time, recent violence in northern Kenya suggests that there are worrying new dynamics at play. The nature of pastoral conflict seems to be changing yet again alongside northern Kenya’s new importance in the country’s wider development strategy and also in relation to the politics surrounding its new decentralised political system. Through a case study of Isiolo – historically the gateway to northern Kenya – this paper examines in detail the dynamics of new violence in the region’s pastoral areas and assesses their implications for conflict reduction and peacebuilding efforts. While many automatically link intensifying development with more secure livelihoods, well-being and a greater propensity for peace, a different picture emerges from recent violence in northern Kenya. Here, violence and militarism have accompanied and marked developmental transitions. Even with the advent of a new constitutional dispensation that heralded a devolved governance system, from Samburu to Isiolo to Marsabit violence has persisted and flared anew across northern Kenya. Fear of devolution and complex political and economic interests converge to fan violence among Isiolo’s communities.

Pastoral Innovation Systems Perspectives from Ethiopia and Kenya

While there has been much discussion of the importanceof innovation in African agriculture, remarkably littlehas focused on mobile pastoral systems. Everyone agreesthat science, technology and innovation must be at thecentre of economic growth, livelihood improvement anddevelopment more broadly. But it must always be asked:what innovation - and for whom? Decisions about direction,diversity and distribution are key in any discussionof innovation options and wider developmentpathways.

In March 2009 over 50 pastoralists from acrosssouthern Ethiopia and northern Kenya from a dozenethnic groups gathered in the Borana lowlands at the‘University of the Bush’ to debate key pastoral developmentissues.

The crisis of pastoralism?

By Stephen Devereux and Ian Scoones

As part of discussions on the future of pastoral production systems in East Africa there have been a number of recent interventions arguing that something urgently needs to be done to deal with a Malthusian style crisis in pastoral areas. In short, the argument goes, there are too many people which, combined with a declining (or not increasing) productivity of the natural resource base, means that not enough livestock can be kept to sustain a viable pastoral system. This argument has been most eloquently and effectively argued by Stephen Sandford in "Too many people, too few livestock: the crisis affecting pastoralists in the Greater Horn of Africa". This is a response to this piece, aimed at sparking a wider discussion.

Cashing in or Crashing Out? Pastoralist Livelihoods in Somali Region, Ethiopia
Cashing in or Crashing Out? Pastoralist Livelihoods in Somali Region, Ethiopia

Presentation by Stephen Devereux. Institute of Development Studies, Sussex

L’économie pastorale dans la Corne de l’Afrique: Diverses voies de moyens de subsistance

CAADP Point Info 06Par Kate Wellard-Dyer

Pendant des siècles, les communautés pastorales de la Corne de l’Afrique ont lutté pour leur subsistance en dépit de la sécheresse, des conflits et de la famine. Ces populations sont inventives, novatrices et elles ont le sens des affaires, simplement par besoin. Malgré les importantes difficultés liées à la mise en place de ressources sûres pour tous, des succès considérables ont été observés.

Le cadre de l’initiative africaine pour les politiques pastorales de l’Union africaine reconnaît les contributions des communautés pastorales dans les économies nationales et régionales : elles fournissent des quantités énormes de bétail et de produits animaux. Les systèmes de production des communautés pastorales sont très flexibles et font face en permanence à l’évolution du marché et du climat. En revanche, les indicateurs de développement humain et de sécurité alimentaire sont parmi les plus bas du continent. Le cadre est conçu pour protéger les vies, les ressources et les droits des communautés pastorales. Il s’agit d’une plateforme permettant de mobiliser et de coordonner l’engagement politique en faveur du développement de l’économie pastorale en Afrique.

Ce document d’orientation, rédigé à partir des dernières études réalisées par le consortium Future agricultures, décrit les bonnes et les mauvaises interprétations des ressources pastorales : l’innovation et le sens des affaires ; les populations ne se limitent pas à faire face aux événements et à s’adapter; elles créent de la coopération et des réseaux transfrontaliers, pas uniquement des conflits et de la violence. Il souligne les modèles multiples de développement futurs des régions pastorales et offre une vision différente de l’économie pastorale, et des solutions pratiques.

L’innovation en marche: des pasteurs assurent leurs moyens de subsistance dans la Corne de l’Afrique

Point info 38 par Abdirizak Nunow, Abdullahi Abdi Hussein, Jeremy Lind, Bokutache Dida et Abdullahi Hussein Mahmoud

Les régions pastorales de la Corne de l’Afrique traversent des changements rapides. L’ouverture des marchés aide à améliorer les moyens de subsistance et génère de nouvelles richesses considérables pour l’économie locale et nationale. Les changements politiques et constitutionnels créent des opportunités permettant aux pasteurs d’influencer les décisions relatives à l’affectation des ressources publiques, ainsi que les lois et les pratiques qui ont une incidence sur leurs droits. Les nouvelles technologies, telles que les téléphones mobiles, ainsi que l’amélioration des routes, ouvrent les régions pastorales à une plus grande mobilité des personnes, des marchandises et des idées. En outre, de nouvelles manières de fournir des services aux populations pastorales nomades et reculées ont amélioré leur accès aux soins de santé, aux services vétérinaires et à l’enseignement.

Speech by Mohamed Elmi, Pastoralism book launch, Feb 2013

Speech by Hon. Mohamed Elmi, Minister of State for Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands, on 13 February 2013 at the Nairobi launch of the book Pastoralism and Development in Africa: Dynamic Change at the Margins.

Pastoral Innovations and Changing Political Economy of The Orma Pastoralists,Tana Delta, Kenya
Research Update By Abdirizak A. Nunow (Moi University, School of Environmental Studies, Eldoret, Kenya, and Inter-Parliamentary Union of IGAD (IPU-IGAD), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)FAC Pastoralist Theme, November 2010 Huge tracts of land in the Tana Delta, critical pasture resources for the pastoralists, are being set aside for large industrial scale farming for export crops, bio-fuels and minerals More than 25,000 people living in 30 Delta villages stand to be evicted from their ancestral land in favour of corporations and foreign governments In the 2009 drought, there were 3 million heads of cattle in the Delta, coming from as far as Wajir district in north-eastern province. The pastoralists response to the Delta ‘land grabs’ is desperate but some aspects are inspiring
Range enclosures in southern Oromia, Ethiopia: an innovative response or erosion in common property

Research Update By Bokutache DidaFAC Pastoralist Theme, November 2010

In the pastoralist livelihood, the most important change is physical fencing of areas - but reserving a section of rangeland for later use has always been an integral part of the pastoralist innovation land use system Today, expansion of crop cultivation near towns and increased livestock marketing is triggering de facto private enclosures (e.g. in Moyale District) – these contribute to fragmentation of a rangeland ecosystem that is very inter-connected Pastoralists are responding with community reserves: heaps of hay within enclosures covered for protection from rain and sun; these community ‘fodder banks’ are meant for use in the elongated dry season and drought years
Town Camels and Milk Villages: the growth of camel milk marketing in the Somali Region of Ethiopia
Research Update By Abdi Abdullahi HusseinFAC Pastoralist Theme, November 2010 Recently, the growth of small towns in the Somali region of Ethiopia has spread to pastoralists seeking ties to important new markets Camels are the most important signifier of wealth and determinant of status in the community; their milk has been mostly used for domestic purposes In Gode town, one pastoralist struck on an idea to market camel milk in towns Today, this innovation is spreading widely and hundreds of camels are forming ‘milk villages’ around towns to meet increasing demand
Town Camels: Pastoral Innovation in a fast Changing World

Town Camels: Pastoral Innovation in a fast Changing World Case Study from Gode Town, Somali Regional State, Ethiopia

By Abdi Abdullahi Hussien, Seid Mohamed Ali, and Abdurehman Eid Tahir

Because of demographic, socio-economic and political factors, Ethiopian pastoralists are settling down - triggering unprecedented growth of small towns and the creation of urban centers throughout the pastoral lands of Ethiopia. Pastoralists have had to adapt to new situations or risk being left out - without sustainable incomes. One initiative taken by ‘town pastoralists’ (is camel dairy production in and around small towns and urban centers. Contrary to their traditional beliefs, increasingly pastoralists are keeping camels nearer to towns to supply milk to growing urban markets and capitalize on increasing growth of township. This innovative effort on the part of pastoralists to sustain their livelihood has not yet been adequately tracked and documented.

Timelines

Conference participants developed timelines for specific pastoralist areas where they've worked.

Timelines captured trends (population, markets, rangeland change, climate, water, etc.) as well as events (local leadership change, government change, boundaries, conflict, drought, etc.) and publications of key research or other documents.

Ten timelines were developed and are available to download in pdf format here.

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University of the Bush
When: November 22 – 24,  2010

Where: Kinna, Isiolo District, KENYA

All across northern Kenya pastroralists are talking about the new constitution voted by the Kenya Parliament in August 2010. Devolution of power to the new county system could mean local elected administrations responding better to pastoralist priorities. Defining those priorities and the ways in which the political opportunities can best be engaged is a question on many people’s minds. An upcoming seminar in the University of the Bush series will provide a forum for pastoralists to discuss the new opportunities and share innovations in institutions, trade and technology and how they might be used or developed to make the most of new political space.

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In pictures: The future of pastoralists in Africa
"Pastoralists face insecure livelihoods, but depictions of them as victims of forces beyond their control and dependent on handouts fail to tell the whole story, say organisers of the Future of Pastoralism conference."See a pastoralist photo gallery on The Guardian's Global Development site.