Thursday, 24 March 2011

Future of Pastoralism

March 21st – 23rd, 2011. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This international conference debated the future of pastoralists in Africa.

The future of pastoralism in Africa is uncertain and radical changes are affecting Pastoralist areas in terms of access to resources, options for mobility and opportunities for marketing. These changes bring new possibilities for making pastoralist livelihoods stronger but many questions remain about the sustainability of these changes: Is there opportunity for a productive, vibrant, market-oriented livelihood system or will pastoralist areas remain a backwater of underdevelopment, marginalisation and severe poverty? How can pastoralist ‘drop-outs’ be supported after they leave the livelihood but continue to interact with the livestock sector?

New Policy brief

Report_darkinnovation_worksInnovation 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.
Pastoralist Innovation: a critical comment
Beside its many valuable characteristics and despite its determination to go in the opposite direction, the pastoralists’ innovation approach also lends itself to tick several boxes on the list of the ‘dismissed and undesirables’ in pastoral development.
For a start, the focus appears to be limited to the ‘latest news’. There seems to be no attempt to track and study the development of innovations that might have been introduced in the past. This is probably a feature of any ‘innovation’ approach as such, and would pose no problem if we looked at, say, mobile communication or green combustion. However, in the case of pastoralism, the emphasis on ‘new’ is too easily read in contrast with deeply rooted images (from the pastoral development legacy) of a ‘traditional’ pastoralism, uninteresting and ineffective. In the wrong hands, and obviously contrary to the intentions of the ‘pastoralists’ innovation’ approach, this might just confirm the fictional opposition of ‘old’ and ‘new’ (traditional and modern) that has already costed so much to dryland producers and to their countries.
To make things worse, ‘innovation’ is often defined against specialised pastoralism itself, as a diversion from ‘tradition’. Yet, we know for example that specialised dryland pastoralists have developed (and surely aredeveloping) strategies for exploiting the heterogeneity of the drylands for animal production. One would think that pastoralists’ innovation could therefore be defined against other, less sophisticated or simply different ways of using the environment, rather than against a mythical ‘traditional pastoralism’. In the same light, innovation could be sought at the core of pastoral production (rather than at its edges) and in the continuous development and adaptation of its characteristic strategies. Can we look (also) at the specialised producers rather than only at those who are have fallen out or are opting out of specialised dryland strategies?
After all, as one of the authors did not fail to emphasise when I asked him during the coffee break, these ‘innovations’ are just small-scale practices that depend, for their existence, on the continuation of specialised pastoralism. Innovative ‘town camels’ need to be sent back to the bush at the end of lactation or when they cannot take town any longer. Similarly, the herds of cattle used by pastoralist innovators who have shifted from breeding to trading, still need someone to breed them first. Without those guys in the bush none of this would be sustainable. Securing their requirements as specialised dryland producers would be, indeed, a fine innovation.
Mr. Saverio Krätli, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

Mobile Pastoralists and Education: Strategic Options

Details: 68 pages (Report) The paper reviews successful and innovative approaches to education provision around the world that can inform and inspire new approaches to nomadic education. 


Science, Technology and Innovation among Ethiopian and Kenyan pastoralists - a new FAC Occasional Paper

While there has been much discussion of the importance of innovation in African agriculture, remarkably little has focused on mobile pastoral systems. Everyone agrees that science, technology and innovation must be at the centre of economic growth, livelihood improvement and development more broadly. But it must always be asked: what innovation - and for whom? Decisions about direction, diversity and distribution are key in any discussion of innovation options and wider development pathways. In March 2009 over 50 pastoralists from across southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya from a dozen ethnic groups gathered in the Borana lowlands at the ‘University of the Bush’ to debate key pastoral development issues. This week-long event was hosted by the Oromia Pastoralist Association and organised by the Democracy, Growth and Peace for Pastoralists project of the Pastoralist Communication Initiative.
Pastoralism videos
Hereunder you can view a selection of short videos, in English or French language, exploring the impact of climate change on drylands pastoralists. For more information and downloadable publications, see also:
Diffa: the morning light

Ngaynaaka: Herding Chaos
Ngaynaaka: Herding Chaos, by Saverio Krätli

Ngaynaaka: L'élevage et le Chaos, by Saverio Krätli

Those Wild Bororo, by Saverio Krätli

Ces Bororo Farouche, by Saverio Krätli

Meeting at the Intusa school (WoDaaBe) June 2008, by Saverio Krätli

Réunion à l'école d'Intusa (WoDaaBe) Juin 2008, by Saverio Krätli

Scenario Planning with African Pastoralists
Scenario planning with the WoDaaBe in Niger 2008, by Saverio Krätli

La planification par scénarios avec les WoDaaBe au Niger, by Saverio Krätli

Scenario planning with Boran and Somali Herders (Kenya)

La planification par scénarios avec éleveurs Boran et Somali (Kenya)

Peace, Trade, Livelihoods and Adaptation to Climate Change in Africa's Drylands
Peace, trade, livelihoods and adaptation to climate change in Africa’s drylands