Browse by Theme: Food Security

Pastoral communities in the Borana and Shinile zones of Ethiopia have been changing and adapting their livelihoods to changing environmental conditions for centuries. Recurrent droughts have been a major issue throughout history in the Ethiopian lowlands, and strategies to cope with, and adapt to these droughts are embedded in communities’ traditional social structures and resource management systems.

Despite the sense of determination, pastoralists’ ability to adapt is constrained by many factors including increasing land degradation; conflicts over scarce resources, which limit movement and destroy assets that are key for adaptation (especially in Borana); limited access to information (including that on weather, climate change, markets, as well as pest and disease outbreaks); limited education, skills and access to financial services and markets required to diversify their livelihoods; inadequate government policies, capacities and coordination; demographic pressures; and social and gender inequalities and marginalization, which reduce the voice and adaptive capacity of the most vulnerable.

Enhancing the adaptive capacity of pastoralists will require community-based and community-led interventions, but will also require tailored support from NGOs, donors, and governments and this study explores the issues and options facing all stakeholders.

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This review recognises that addressing pastoralists’ political marginalisation, adopting appropriate cross-border approaches and improving donors’ policies to drought management is only part of broader efforts to address pastoralists’ vulnerability in the Horn of Africa (HoA), which may include efforts to improve access to markets, support viable economic alternatives, enable sustainable resource management to arrest or limit environmental degradation and so on. However, for the purpose of this analysis, this review is limited to the literature that discusses the above three key focus areas in relation to pastoralists’ vulnerability. In addition, this review recognises that pastoralists are a highly diversified group with widely different needs, backgrounds and levels of vulnerability. While there are pastoralists who are relatively wealthy and still able to profitably engage in pastoralism, in recent years an increasing number of pastoralist groups across the HoA have been confronted with a series of livelihoods shocks and have suffered from the progressive weakening of their livelihood systems and increased levels of vulnerability and food insecurity.

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COMLIVE provided CARE/DFID with a unique opportunity to strategically enhance a self-sustaining business model for rural development, linking private sector  markets, organic agricultural production, alternative livelihoods and natural resource management in a way that could effectively address the core needs of poor, vulnerable and food insecure families.

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"The Sahel has long been vulnerable to drought, impoverishment and food insecurity, as the droughts of the mid-1970s, 1980s and 2005 show.

Over the past 20 years, IIED has run a major programme of work in the Sahel that aims not only to demonstrate the fragility of human and environmental systems, but also to show the remarkable energy and innovation that local people can draw on to adapt and survive in an often hostile setting.

Beyond Any Drought makes clear people’s vulnerability stems from a combination of political, economic and social forces, as well as the impacts of highly variable rainfall.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms the likelihood of higher temperatures for the region over the next few decades.

Current predictions of changes to rainfall in the Sahel are less certain, with forecasts ranging from a drop of 20% to a 20% rise. In either case, more heat will increase evaporation from soils, rivers and lakes, and reduce the value of whatever rain does fall.

For a region already suffering from poverty and drought, such predictions are unwelcome news. Finding ways to help strengthen resilience in human and environmental systems is thus key to helping people adapt to the challenges ahead."

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