Africa / Animal Breeding / Article / ASSP / Climate Change / Drylands / DRYLANDSCRP / East Africa / Kenya / Livestock / Pastoralism

Outsmarting climate change locally


A pastoral woman takes her sheep and cattle to the pastures. Understanding local peoples coping mechanisms in harsh climatic times precedes successful intervention programs (Photo Credit: Dana Hoag/ LCC CRSP in Kenya)

Understanding the local context is key to improving pastoral production and outsmarting climate change, a new study has revealed. It further observes that many top-down approaches that aimed at introducing innovations from outside failed because they ignored the pastoral context locally.

This is published in Identifying local innovations in pastoral areas in Marsabit County, Kenya a manual written by Brigitte Kaufmann, William Nelson and Okeyo Mwai among others. It is a product of the study Mutual learning of livestock keepers and scientists for adaptation to climate change in pastoral areas.

The manual explains that “local innovations – i.e. innovations developed by local farmers or pastoralists themselves of their own accord- respond to a problem situation experienced by the respective innovators…” For this reason, pastoralist-to-pastoralist exchange meetings greatly helps learning about innovations, the reason behind them and how they were developed. It also helps the pastoralists understand the characteristics of the innovation and where they fit within the local culture.

The manual is based on fieldwork carried out among the Rendille, Gabra and Boran communities in Marsabit County in Northern Kenya. It shares innovations from these communities.

The project grant was given by BMZ and the Project partners were: German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture (DITSL), Witzenhausen, Germany (PD  B. Kaufmann, C. Hülsebusch), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Nairobi, Kenya (S. Kuria), and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi, Kenya (O. Mwai)

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