ILRI livestock insurance innovation highlighted at launch of Kenya Government’s ‘Open Data Web Portal’

Kenya Government 'Open Data Web Portal' launch: Kenya President Mwai Kibaki and ILRI's Bruce Scott and Andrew Mude

ILRI’s Bruce Scott and Andrew Mude (right) discuss ILRI’s use of open data with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (centre), Minister for Information and Communication Samuel Pogishio (centre left), Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information and Communication Bitange Ndemo (centre right), and other dignitaries when they visited ILRI’s booth at the launch of the Kenya Government’s ‘Open Data Web Portal’ on 8 Jul 2011 in Nairobi (photo credit: ILRI/Njiru).

An ‘Index-Based Livestock Insurance’ project led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) was today (8 July 2011) highlighted as one of the successful, innovative and technology-driven initiatives using open data to create solutions that contribute towards helping Kenya achieve its long-term national development plan.

Speaking during the presidential launch of the ‘Kenya Government Open Data Web portal’ at Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Andrew Mude, a scientist with ILRI who leads the Index-Based Livestock Insurance project, described how the project has developed an insurance model for pastoralist livestock keepers using open data. The project uses satellite-based readings of forage cover to find out how much fodder is available for livestock in northern Kenya and the data is combined with livestock mortality data from the Kenya Arid Lands Management project to predict livestock deaths against which livestock herders can insure themselves.

‘This model allows us to predict the current state of livestock mortality in northern Kenya. It currently shows there is a high livestock mortality rate in Marsabit District, which means that insurance may be paid to pastoralists this year,’ said Mude. Marsabit District, in Kenya’s northern drylands, is currently facing a severe drought that is also affecting Somalia and southern Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa.

Stared in January 2010, the Index-Based Livestock Insurance project is insuring over 2600 households in Marsabit, which is helping livestock keepers there to sustain their livelihoods. The project is supported by the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development and the United States Agency for International Development, among other donors. It has received considerable support from the Kenya Government and recently received the Vision 2030 ICT award for ‘solutions that drive economic development as outlined in Kenya’s Vision 2030.’

Kenya President Mwai Kibaki officially opened the Kenya Government Open Data portal. He said the new open data platform would allow policymakers and researchers to find timely information to guide-decision making. ‘This launch is an important step towards ensuring government information is made readily available to Kenyans and will allow citizens to track the delivery of services,’ Kibaki said.

The new Kenya Government Open Data Web portal will make available to the public several large government datasets, including information on population, education, healthcare and government spending in an easy to search and view format. The portal will allow Kenyans to search and display national and county-level data in graphs and maps for easy comparison and analysis of information.

The launch brought together government officials, policymakers and ICT-sector players who are using open data to build applications that take information closer to Kenyans. Among today’s presentations was the National Council for Law Reporting Kenya Law Reports website, which is making available to the public for the first time the Kenya Gazette (from 1899 to 2011) and all of Kenya’s parliamentary proceedings since 1960.

‘Open data leads to open knowledge, which leads to open solutions and open development,’ said Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Kenya, who shared lessons from the World Bank’s experience and said open data can ‘fuel innovation in Kenya’s technology sector.’

‘This is a turning point in Kenya’s history,’ said Bruce Scott, ILRI’s director of Partnerships and Communications. ‘Kenya is among the first African countries that have made available this kind of information to their citizens online; this will empower its people in line with the country’s new constitution. ILRI is happy to be associated with this event.’

For more information about IBLI see the following.
ILRI news articles
http://www.ilri.org/ilrinews/index.php/archives/5000
http://www.ilri.org/ilrinews/index.php/archives/3180

Short video
http://blip.tv/ilri/development-of-the-world-s-first-insurance-for-african-pastoralist-herders-3776231

To read more about the Kenya Open Data portal, visit their website:
http://www.opendata.go.ke

Visit the IBLI project website

World Bank president says it’s time to push the CGIAR agricultural research agenda

Zoellick_1

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank (image on Flickr by International Monetary Fund).

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, spoke today (6 July 2011) at the 40-year-anniversary celebrations of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) at the World Bank in Washington, DC. His presentation followed a film about the historical beginnings of the CGIAR, including interviews of Norman Borlaug and Robert McNamara.

‘Both Norman Borlaug and Robert McNamara believed that it is possible to defeat hunger,’ Zoellick said. ‘They both worked to boost food production through science. And they both died within a few months of each other in 2009.’

Zoellick said that agriculture is a subject of strong personal interest for him; he grew up around farm families in the American midwest. And he said few things were as satisfying for him as speaking to farm families that had doubled, tripled or quadrupled their incomes through improved farm practices, which in turn rely on agricultural science.

Zoellick said that high food prices today are pushing 44 million people into poverty, and the global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

‘We’ll have to increase food production by 70% to feed everyone by mid-century,’ he said. ‘And we’ll have to do that with the rate of production increases dropping and in the face of climate change, which is predicted to decrease crop yields in Africa by 28%.’

Zoellick reported on some of the great achievements of the CGIAR over the last four decades. Among them, he cited the following work by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its partners, including the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute.

There is now a vaccine for East Coast fever, which kills 1 cow every 30 seconds in 11 countries of Africa. The vaccine is expected to save more than a million cattle, with benefits worth up to USD270 million a year in the countries where the disease is now endemic.

‘I’ve been urging the G20 to put food first this year,’ said Zoellick. ‘One of my key messages at both G8 and G20 is the need to support agriculture and agricultural research.

“I see a 5-step challenge for the CGIAR,’ said Zoellick.
(1) Donor agencies increase funding to the CGIAR from USD670 million last year to USD1 billion by 2013.
(2) Donor agencies commit to multi-year predictable funding.
(3) Research institutions place greater focus on research to reduce post-harvest food losses (which can make up 20–50% of yields).
(4) Developing countries themselves increase their investments to agricultural research and development.
(5) Researchers and their supporters stand up for science and fight the current trend of cloaking ignorance in fashionable causes.

The moment is right to push the agricultural research agenda, Zoellick said. ‘The agricultural sector is fertile for innovation. And we can demonstrate the intimate links between this work and two of the big issues of our day—food security and climate change.’

Given the ammunition, he said, he’ll push this agenda forward.

New director general of global livestock research institute appointed: World Bank livestock advisor Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith

New director general designate of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Jimmy Smith (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Jimmy Smith has been appointed the new director general designate of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

ILRI board chair Knut Hove made the announcement at the 35th meeting of the ILRI Board of Trustees, on 13 April 2011, to an afternoon gathering of ILRI staff, management and board.

In his announcement, Hove said, ‘We are facing challenges to make livestock more beneficial to the poor and less harmful to the environments of the poor. We think Jimmy Smith is a strong leader for ILRI, one who will open up new partnerships for pro-poor livestock research.’

Born in Guyana, in the Caribbean, where he was raised on a small mixed crop-and-livestock farm, Smith holds dual nationalities with Canada. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, at Urban-Champaign, USA, where he completed hid PhD in animal sciences. Now based at the headquarters of the World Bank, in Washington, DC, he currently leads the Bank’s Global Livestock Portfolio.

Earlier in his career, Smith served for ten years at ILRI and its predecessor, the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) (1991–2001). At ILCA and then ILRI, Smith was the institute’s regional representative for West Africa, where he led development of integrated research promoting smallholder livelihoods through animal agriculture and built effective partnerships among stakeholders in the region. At ILRI, Smith spent three years leading the ILRI-led Systemwide Livestock Programme of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of 10 CGIAR centres working on issues at the crop-livestock interface. Since leaving his decade of work at ILCA/ILRI and the CGIAR, Smith has continued playing a major role in supporting international livestock for development in terms of both funding and strategizing.

Before joining the World Bank, where he has served for five years, Smith held senior positions at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) (2001-2006) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) (1986–1991).

Smith will take over from Carlos Seré, ILRI’s current director general. The actual date of change-over will be announced in the near future and is expected to take place in the next 6 months.

Smith said, ‘I congratulate Carlos Seré, John McDermott [ILRI deputy director geneneral-research] and all ILRI staff for their work in making this institute such a strong player in livestock for development. Every member of staff has a contribution to make. My commitment is to take ILRI to even higher heights. I am excited about coming here and look forward to working with all of you. I hope I can demonstrate that I earn your trust and hard work.’

Seré commented, ‘I have known Jimmy for ten years and have learned to appreciate his many talents. He is familiar with important constituencies of livestock research and understands our partners well. We appreciate how strongly he has promoted the global livestock agenda in his work for CIDA and the World Bank and we believe he brings a number of important assets to the family. We will support him completely.’

ILRI Board Chair Hove said: ‘Jimmy Smith has an impeccable track record in developing extensive networks in the livestock sector globally and with development partners around the world. He is familiar with the CGIAR reform process and the international agricultural research agenda. We have full confidence that Jimmy Smith will build upon the strong ILRI foundation and provide the leadership and vision to propel ILRI to greater heights.’

Click on the slide presentation below to watch Smith’s presentation to the ILRI community.

Livestock scientist and former director general of ILCA Peter Brumby: An obituary

Roy Burke writes the following about Peter Brumby, former director general of the International Livestock Center for Africa (ILCA), one of two predecessors of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), who died at the age of 82 on 31 January 2011.

‘Peter, a Massey College graduate, was a Ruakura researcher. He springboarded from there to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and later also with the World Bank. There, in a number of senior posts, he effectively advanced the lot of populations-in-poverty by building their agriculture skills. He “retired” in 1989 to live his life-held dream – to be a farmer. He and wife Patricia had bought a farm in the Waihi area. Today it milks 400 cows. His herd is one of the most productive in New Zealand.

‘His was a brilliant career, quietly achieved and warmly remembered by colleagues. Tributes to Peter came from all points of the world when former colleagues and friends learned of his death from cancer on January 31. He was 82.

‘He is survived by Patricia, one daughter, two sons and four grandchildren.

‘Peter is particularly remembered for notable achievements, his leadership, vision and commitment to agricultural advancement, his ability to develop strong teams, his encouragement and enthusiasm.

‘He was born in Melbourne on January 4, 1929, the elder of two children of Ada and Aubrey Brumby. Aubrey was an orchardist and agriculturalist. At Melbourne University Peter earned a scholarship to study at Massey College, Palmerston North. He did well, yet found time to immerse himself in Massey life – rugby, tramping, skiing, tennis, squash, debating. He was a member of the publication committee of the Massey student magazine and in the 1949 issue wrote of agriculture, famine and the wellbeing of peoples – thoughts that would preoccupy him for much of his career.

‘He broke his nose playing rugby and it changed his life, for at Palmerston North Hospital while being treated he met nurse Patricia Caldwell. The courtship that followed was stamped by significant ecstasy. Peter Hildreth, a fellow student, recalls being sound asleep in his hostel room “when at some unearthly hour my door opened, the light came on, I opened my eyes and I was facing a euphoric and ruddy Peter.” He excitedly announced: “I am engaged to Patricia and it is the most exciting event in my life!”

‘How many others in the hostel were woken in similar style to learn that news is unknown.

‘Peter and Patricia married from her parents’ home in Suva, Fiji, on December 27, 1952.

‘He completed his Master of Agricultural Science degree in 1953 and joined the Ruakura staff under Dr C P (Mac) McMeekan, a Massey graduate who had transformed Ruakura Research Station from a farm into one of the most efficient agricultural research centres in the British Commonwealth. Mac was a scientific leader Peter held in highest esteem.

‘They were exciting times at Ruakura with strong emphasis on rigorous scientific principles being put to good use to improve farming practices. There was opportunity for Peter to work in his special interests of genetics and livestock agriculture. At this time he was told he must return to Australia under the conditions of his scholarship or refund his bond. Peter was determined to be part of the exciting developments at Ruakura. He and Patricia worked to repay the bond.

‘In the late 1950s the family (now with daughter Suejane and son Ian) moved to Edinburgh where Peter completed a doctorate degree in two years at the Institute of Animal Genetics. They returned to Hamilton and Ruakura for the birth of David in 1960.

‘Peter joined the FAO in 1962 and the family headed for Nicosia, Cyprus, where he helped establish the livestock research programme of the Agricultural Research Institute of Cyprus. Civil war broke out and Patricia and the children would lie on the floor of the car when they left the Greek compound to visit Turkish friends – a bullet in their direction was always a possibility.

‘Two years later Peter was appointed director of the World Bank Livestock Project in Santiago, Chile. In 1967 he moved his family to Rome to become chief officer for the FAO/International Bank of Rural Development Livestock Group. His job involved reviewing the livestock sector of member countries of the World Bank including in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

‘He became senior agriculturalist to the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington DC in 1974, responsible for the appraisal, negotiation and implementation of major agricultural and livestock loans. From 1978 to 1981 he was based in New Delhi, India, handling developmental loans to the Indian dairy industry and initiating new livestock projects in several other Asian countries including Cambodia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

‘Peter was seconded from the World Bank to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in 1981. This global partnership engaged in research for sustainable development, something close to Peter’s heart. It was responsible for improving science that underpins world food production. He was appointed director-general of CGIAR’s International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) and moved his family to Ethiopia. The eyes of the world were on Ethiopia’s famine. Rock stars were singing “Feed The World.”

‘Jeff Durkin, emailing from Ethiopia, says Peter and Patricia turned ILCA from the depths of despair to an international organisation respected for its leadership and research. “Peter’s ability to let all researchers run with the ball and try many things allowed ILCA to mature.”

‘Guido Gryseels, from Belgium, says Peter played a visionary role and turned ILCA around to an internationally recognised research institute of world class. It became the reference centre for livestock research in Africa.

‘Peter completed his assignment in 1987 and returned to the World Bank in Washington as livestock adviser, now with the additional task of developing new policies for livestock production and agricultural biotechnology.

‘In 1988 Peter and Patricia spent four months shopping for a farm in New Zealand, looking for “the perfect spot.” They saw it first from Waihi Golf Course’s number one green. The farm was not on the market but they made a bid for it. There were negotiations; they bought it. They took over in 1989, and their dream came to life.

‘Among the flood of condolence messages at Peter’s death is one from Dani Bruna, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: “The Great Brumby was bigger than life and worked hard for others. No one would ever doubt that he was a force to be reckoned with and when the chips were down and it was raining manure you would surely want him on your flank. He cared for you heroically.”’

Could fighting climate change become a major development opportunity for Africa?

Gully erosion in Kenya's Nyando Basin

Naomi Nyangancha, Jennifer Ojwang and their (common) husband stand in front of their homestead in the surreal landscape of Katuk Odeyo, which bears the brunt of extreme soil erosion in Nyando District, in Western Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Mann).

Can we grow more food and feed more people and capture more carbon? 'Yes,' say those organizing an Agriculture and Rural Development Day held on 4 December 2010 in parallel with the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change taking place at Cancún, Mexico.

Yes—if we support the small-scale producers and sellers of food and acknowledge that climate security and food security depend on each other. Read a report of the Agriculture and Rural Development Day at the 'CGIAR in Action' blog: Opening the door for agriculture at COP16,' 7 December 2010.

'Yes,' agrees Alex Perry, a journalist writing for Time Magazine this week (13 December 2010).

Yes—if we make green development work for the 7 out of 10 Africans living on small farms. 'Climate change is the mother of all negative externalities,' says Perry, who defines an 'externality' as a by-product of economic activity not included on the balance sheet.

'The problem is measuring it: How do you calculate the cost of climate change and then apportion it fairly among the world's businesses? Skeptics say rich governments and Big Industry can't or won't. Some, like Nicholas Stern, who produced the British government's Review of the Economics of Climate Change, say it can be done. But Stern's figures—which show that climate change could cut global gross domestic product by 20% if quick action is not taken—have been criticized as both over- and underestimates. And others argue that since climate change most affects the poor, programs to lift the developing world are the best way to fight its impact.

'But what if the externality could be accounted for, in a way that helped the poor? What if the economic rule book could be rewritten so that fighting climate change became development? . . . As a result of works by Sukhdev and others, UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme] executive director Achim Steiner can measure the financial benefits of saving the planet. New assessments indicate that "nature may represent between 50% and 90% of incomes in the developing world," he says. "In the past, these services have been invisible or near invisible in national and international accounts. This should and must change.". . .

'What is clear is the potential. "It is essential that climate change be viewed as a major development opportunity for Africa," World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said last year.

'And this is primarily a developing-world opportunity for two reasons. First, the poor world tends to be rich in things like forest and sunshine. Second, the rich world has few incentives to change its ways. "Suddenly there is the possibility of a whole new green trajectory for Africa," says UNEP spokesman Nick Nuttall. "You might ask, Can combatting climate change actually offer a new future for Africa?" . . .

'The question of whether green development becomes an African norm hinges on whether it works for companies and business leaders. That means Africa's farmers: 7 out of 10 Africans live on small farms. Unexpectedly, scientists are finding that it is those farmers who offer some of the best reasons for hope.'

Read the whole article at Time Magazine: Land of hope, 13 December 2010.

World Bank report and e-discussion on rising global interest in farmland: Who benefits?

Mann09MAL254

Village nestled in the landscape of central Malawi (photo by ILRI / Mann).

The recent food price crisis prompted an interest in acquiring farmland abroad to secure food supplies. Together with the biofuels boom and the financial crisis, it led to a rediscovery of the agricultural sector by different types of investors. However, there is concern that this wave of investment could deprive local communities of their rights and livelihoods. Reliable data on land acquisitions is scarce, leading to speculation and making it difficult for stakeholders to make well-informed decisions.

To fill this gap, the World Bank undertook a comprehensive study, which documented actual land transfers in 14 countries, examined 19 projects, reviewed media reports and explored the potential for increasing agricultural yields.

The demand for land has been enormous. The number of reported large scale farmland deals amounted to 45 million hectares in 2009 alone. That’s compared with an average expansion rate of 4 million hectares a year in the decade leading up to 2008. There is a strong investor focus on African countries with weak land governance. Furthermore, land is often transferred in a way that neglects existing land rights and is socially, economically, and environmentally unsustainable.

Recommendations of the World Bank report include the following.

01 Protect and recognize existing land rights, including and secondary rights such as grazing.

02 Make greater efforts to integrate investment strategies into national agricultural and rural development strategies, ensuring that social and environmental standards are adhered to.

03 Improve legal and institutional frameworks to deal with increased pressure on land.

04 Improve assessments of the economic and technical viability of investment projects.

05 Engage in more consultative and participatory processes to build on existing private-sector initiatives and voluntary standards such as the Equator Principles and the Forest Stewardship Council.

06 Increase the transparency of land acquisitions, including effective private-sector disclosure mechanisms.

You can join an online discussion to present your views on the report. The eDiscussion will take place from 13 September to 8 October 2010 and is jointly hosted by the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

The aim is to gather inputs on recommendations for next steps from the perspective of three key stakeholder groups: civil society, public sector and private sector. The outcome of the eDiscussion will be considered at the World Bank’s Annual Meetings in October 2010 and a number of subsequent events.

If you wish to send a short written opening statement for the eDiscussion website, send your contribution to eDiscussion@donorplatform.org by 12 September 2010.

Read the whole World Bank report, Rising Global Interest in Farmland, September 2010.

ILRI, Equity Bank and UAP Insurance launch first-ever project to insure cows, camels and goats in Kenya’s arid north

Satellite images of remote African lands are used to insure herders from devastating droughts

Arid lands

Thousands of herders in arid areas of northern Kenya will be able to purchase insurance policies for their livestock, based on a first-of-its-kind program in Africa that uses satellite images of grass and other vegetation that indicate whether drought will put their camels, cows, goats and sheep at risk of starvation.

The project was announced today in northern Kenya’s arid Marsabit District by the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), microfinance pioneer Equity Bank and African insurance provider UAP Insurance Ltd.

The index-based livestock insurance program will use satellite imagery to determine potential losses of livestock forage and issue payouts to participating herders when incidences of drought are expected to occur. If successful in the Marsabit District—where few of the 86,000 cattle and two million sheep and goat populations, valued at $67 million for milk and other products, are rarely slaughtered—the program would be offered to millions of semi-nomadic pastoralists and livestock keepers in other parts of the east African region.

“Today, our agents will begin selling insurance policies backed by UAP that for the first time will provide pastoral families in Kenya’s remote Marsabit District with a simple way to reduce their drought risk —the biggest threat to their cherished herds of cattle, sheep, goats, and camels—from devastating lives and livelihoods,” said Equity Bank Managing Director James Mwangi. “Livestock is the key asset for families in this region and securing this asset is critical to their ability to obtain credit and investments that can allow them to grow and prosper.”

ILRI, which is part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), developed the project with partners at the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya, Cornell University, Syracuse University, the BASIS program at University of Wisconsin, and the Index Insurance Innovation Initiative. The project is funded by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank and Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSD Kenya).

Insuring livestock of pastoral families has long had been considered impossible due to the formidable challenges of verifying deaths of animals that regularly are moved over vast tracts of land in search of food. ILRI and its partners have overcome this impediment by combining satellite images of vegetation in the Marsabit District with monthly surveys of livestock deaths to pinpoint the level of forage reduction that will cause animals to die. This program is different from all others because it does not pay clients based on the actual loss of their livestock assets, but rather on indicators that the animals are at risk of death.

“The reason this system can work is that getting compensation does not require verifying that an animal is actually dead,” said Andrew Mude, who is the project leader at ILRI. “Payments kick in when the satellite images, which are available practically in real time, show us that forage has become so scarce that animals are likely to perish.”

Droughts are frequent in the region—there have been 28 in the last 100 years and four in the past decade alone—and the losses they inflict on herders can quickly push pastoralist families into poverty. For example, the drought of 2000 was blamed for major animal losses in the district.

“Insurance is something of the Holy Grail for those of us who work with African livestock, particularly for pastoralists who could use insurance both as a hedge against drought—a threat that will become more common in some regions as the climate changes—and to increase their earning potential,” said ILRI Director General Carlos Seré.

The cost of the plans offered will vary depending on the number of animals and the area of coverage. The policies contain a clause akin to a deductible, in which a family would buy coverage that would pay-out when livestock losses are expected to exceed a certain level. “We believe this program has potential because it has the elements insurers need to operate, which is a well-known risk (drought), and an external indicator that is verifiable and can’t be manipulated, which in this case is satellite images of the vegetation,” said James Wambugu, Managing Director of UAP Insurance.

The data on forage availability are derived from satellite images of plant growth in the region that are part of a global survey known as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, or NDVI, a database regularly updated by scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). To develop the livestock insurance program, ILRI used NDVI data collected since 1981 estimating forage availability vegetation in the Marsabit District. This information was combined with data on livestock deaths that have been collected monthly since 2000 by the Kenya Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMP) and USAID’s Pastoral Risk Management Project. The result is a statistical model that reliably predicts when and to what degree forage reductions will result in drought-related livestock deaths.

Given the complexity of index-based livestock insurance, ILRI and its partners have developed an insurance simulation game for local communities to explain the key features of the insurance policy and tested it across the Marsabit District. ILRI’s Mude said many of the herders who played the game became intensely involved in the simulation. “It helps them understand how insurance can protect them against losses. They also appear to simply enjoy playing the game itself, which generates a lot of animated discussion,” said Mude.

Mude said there is a potential for livestock insurance to be valuable even without a drought that triggers payments. For example, a policy could prevent stock losses by providing pastoralists the means to obtain credit for purchasing feed and drugs that would allow animals to survive the tough conditions. Similarly, pastoralists who want to expand their herds to take advantage of Africa’s rising demand for livestock products are likely to find it easier to obtain capital from private creditors now unwilling to lend due to the risks associated with droughts.

But more fundamentally, ILRI believes insurance can help avert an all too common catastrophe, and one that could occur with more regularity if climate change alters rainfall patterns in the region: droughts pushing pastoralist families into chronic impoverishment by inflicting losses from which the people cannot recover.

For further background information on project details visit the IBLI website and associates ILRI stories

Kenya Government follows up the ILRI-Kenya poverty mapping book Volume I with Volume II, launched this week in Nairobi

Analysis of the distribution of welfare through poverty maps has become an important tool for designing poverty interventions in Kenya. In 2003, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in collaboration with Kenya’s Central Bureau of Statistics and other partners, launched the first comprehensive map-based view of poverty in Kenya (Volume1). Building on investments made by the Kenya Government in census, household surveys and geographic information, ILRI provided leadership and technical assistance in developing these poverty maps. The maps and figures in Volume I have been used by development partners and local governments to target and allocate resources in a pro-poor manner. New estimates of poverty and inequality at the constituency level—Geographic Dimensions of Well-being in Kenya: Who and Where are the Poor? A Constituency Level Profile. Volume II—were launched this week, 1 November 2005, in Nairobi.

This report, which was prepared by Kenya’s Central Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with the World Bank, Swedish International Development Agency and Society for International Development, applies a similar methodology to that used in Volume 1 to compute poverty and inequality for urban, rural and key socio-economic groups based on constituency-level data. The report also highlights how the results can be used for critical policy interventions, more specifically the Constituency Development Fund.

Details about this new volume can be obtained from the website of the Central Bureau of Statistics: www.cbs.go.ke

Click for news clippings about the book.

Daily Nation

The great divide:Kenya’s richest and poorest areas

Big variation in the levels of poverty

Poverty funds may be aiding the well-to-do

Education the key to a better life, says report

Wajir worst hit district in North-Eastern province

Sh150m grant used in fight against poverty