Pastoralists livelihoods strategies have evolved over centuries to adapt to hot and dry climate with low and erratic rainfall, typical of the arid and semi-arid lands of the Horn and East Africa. Sophisticated and dynamic strategies such as tracking pasture and water in time and space and maintaining high levels of mobility across large tracts of land, have allowed pastoralists to effectively cope with the threats and risks that characterise their environment and to maintain a viable production and livelihoods system. Pastoralism contributes to the livelihoods of many millions of people and has the potential to meet national, regional, and even international demands for livestock and contribute to food security in regions around the world.
However, the political, economic and social marginalisation of most pastoralists, decades of adverse national policies which have restricted their access to key natural resources, increased frequency and intensity of climate shocks such as drought, and endemic conflict have all contributed to significantly undermine their resilience. Today many pastoralists communities in the Horn and East Africa are chronically vulnerable populations.
Since 2006 HPG has been carrying out research to shed light on ongoing gaps in the international response to drought and exploring ways in which policy approaches, funding mechanisms and interventions can be strengthened to mitigate the disastrous impact that drought continues to have. The overall objective of these studies is to improve international drought management and response to ultimately reduce chronic vulnerability among pastoralists communities in the Horn and East Africa.
Taking drought into account: Addressing chronic vulnerability among pastoralists in the Horn of Africa
This HPG Policy Brief argues that the catastrophic effects of drought can be averted if pastoralist livelihoods are supported with timely and appropriate livelihoods-based interventions.
Saving lives through livelihoods: critical gaps in the response to the drought in the Greater Horn of Africa
This paper reviews the extent of emergency livelihoods responses in the crisis in the Horn of Africa.