Identifying livestock-based risk management and coping options to reduce vulnerability to droughts in agro-pastoral and pastoral systems in East and West Africa

There is a growing consensus that the frequency and severity of meteorological droughts in arid and semi-arid zones of Africa have increased. There is also a general agreement that the pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in these zones have become more vulnerable to climatic shocks, especially droughts.
This project will contribute to a better understanding of the nature and dynamics of vulnerability to climatic shocks in pastoral and agro-pastoral systems. It will enable the identification of livestock-based interventions to mitigate and cope. The combination of natural and social science approaches provide an opportunity to look at the issue in a holistic way, which is necessary to address the different dimensions of vulnerability.

This project will identify intervention options at technical, policy, and institutional levels that reduce the vulnerability of livestock keepers and/or communities to climatic shocks, particularly droughts. In pastoral and agro-pastoral systems in East and West Africa, securing livestock assets is important in view of the roles they play in drought mitigation and coping strategies.

It is being carried out in semi-arid agro-ecological zones of Kenya (East Africa) and Niger (West Africa) where pastoral and agro-pastoral systems are the main livestock production systems. This will enable a comparative study of agro-pastoral/pastoral vulnerability and identification of livestock-based options to reduce vulnerability. Project sites in Niger are Fakara, Gabi and Zermou in Tillabery, Maradi and Zinder regions. In Kenya, they are northern Kenya (Samburu) and southern Kenya (Kajiado and Narok).

Users and beneficiaries of project outputs include poor pastoralist and agro-pastoralist producers and associations. Others are non governmental organizations (NGOs) that work with pastoral and agro-pastoral societies, manage micro-loan and rural gain/livestock banks and provide emergency relief; Donor organizations, researchers and policy makers.


Project objectives
• To synthesize the best available knowledge on the changing nature of pastoralism and agro-pastoralism as a result of climate change, especially drought in East and West Africa, based on both scientific and indigenous knowledge.
• To understand the changing nature in the vulnerability of pastoralists/agro-pastoralists to droughts in East and West Africa.
• To identify potential policy options regarding livestock-based risk management and coping options so as to reduce vulnerability of pastoralists/agro-pastoralists to droughts in East and West Africa.

Collaborating institutions (partners)
• Institut National de Recherches Agronomiques du Niger (INRAN)
• Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya
• Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Kenya)
• Resource Conflict Institute (RECONCILE)