The State of Pastoralism

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This report assesses the feasibility of researching and publishing a periodic 'status report' on pastoralism in the Horn and East Africa. For simplicity, and in order to distinguish it from other reports, we give it the working title of 'Report on the Status of Pastoralism' - ROSP for short. Such a status report should illuminate the social, economic, environmental pressures on pastoralism, and the resulting trends in pastoral livelihood systems, especially in the extent and impact of poverty. The primary aim is to provide information to encourage and promote new or improved policies, resource allocation, and public perceptions of pastoralism.
  [OXFAM final report 2] 13 December 2004 THE STATE OF PASTORALISM   MONITORING POVERTY TRENDS IN PASTORAL AREAS OF EAST AFRICA AND THE HORN INITIAL FEASIBILITY SURVEY 1. INTRODUCTION Despite a growing campaign against pastoral poverty in East Africa and the Horn, many organisations, including Oxfam, believe that pastoral poverty is growing, not declining. But it is hard to be sure: there are too few indicators, and the indicators that do exist do not give an accurate picture of critical developments and trends in pastoral livelihood systems. It seems likely that present monitoring systems show only the tip of an iceberg of massive changes occurring among pastoral livelihood systems. Current monitoring suffers from several intractable problems. Because of the logistic difficulties in doing research in pastoral areas, national censuses and household budget surveys often ignore the pastoral population altogether. Information is gathered by government, NGOs and researchers, but objectives and methods vary widely, making aggregation and comparison difficult. Even where good data are gathered, most indicators are static 'snapshots' of the situation at a single point in time, and are rarely able to identify trends. Studies done with different methodologies sometimes reach conflicting conclusions, with one study claiming poverty is increasing, another that it is diminishing. The lack of authoritative data on pastoral livelihood systems means not only that there are no  ROSP Feasibility Study, Jeremy Swift, December 04 2  baselines against which to measure the success or failure of policies or practical interventions,  but also that it is difficult to identify alternative options. This report assesses the feasibility of researching and publishing a periodic 'status report' on  pastoralism in the Horn and East Africa. For simplicity, and in order to distinguish it from other reports, we give it the working title of 'Report on the Status of Pastoralism' - ROSP for short. Such a status report should illuminate the social, economic, environmental pressures on  pastoralism, and the resulting trends in pastoral livelihood systems, especially in the extent and impact of poverty. The primary aim is to provide information to encourage and promote new or improved policies, resource allocation, and public perceptions of pastoralism. Data should also  be researched and presented in such a way as to stimulate debate among pastoralists themselves about poverty. What is proposed here is not simply a new study. Additional research will be needed, as will further analysis of data already collected. But the overall aim of ROSP is to identify and promote the changes necessary to reduce pastoral poverty and achieve the Millennium development goals. This is not a task for Oxfam alone. In this report we try to identify how different agencies - government, NGOs, community organisations, researchers - should collaborate in this work, and spread ownership of it widely. This report identifies what needs to be done, and who might do it, as well as the specific roles that Oxfam could play, mainly as catalyst and facilitator, in the  process. The region covered initially is East Africa and the Horn - defined as Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania - but the door is left open to a wider participation, including Sudan (at least South Sudan), Somalia, Somaliland, Puntland, and possibly Eritrea. 2. PURPOSE OF ROSP  The proposal to monitor the status and trend of pastoralism arises partly from a feeling of frustration about slow progress (indeed in many cases lack of progress or even retreat) in identifying and putting into action policies and programmes to support pastoral livelihoods. Governments, Oxfam and many other organisations have made large investments in pastoralism in the Horn and East Africa, but results in terms of reduced poverty, improved well-being, or greater pastoral ownership of the development process have been meagre. Increasingly NGOs and some government departments in the region have started to accept that  pastoralism is a specialised, appropriate and potentially productive livelihood system, but lack the data, especially statistical data, to understand its internal logic or to formulate accurate  policies to improve the lives of pastoralists. Despite some excellent research and even some statistics gathered but not analysed, we do not yet have a reliable and detailed account of most of the trends and processes which are now profoundly altering pastoral livelihood systems. The data available to help planning are often poor, and even where they exist are generally only an account of events at a particular moment in time. A negative public perception of pastoralism,  ROSP Feasibility Study, Jeremy Swift, December 04 3 fuelled by widespread ignorance about pastoralists, mean that planners are operating largely in the dark. They do not know how to plan for pastoralism, and as a result it often escapes the formal government planning and budgeting process all together. This is more serious than simple marginalisation: the problem is the exclusion of pastoralists from key aspects of political and economic life. The goal of the ROSP project is to change this situation by (i) better documenting and understanding the internal logic of the pastoral livelihood system, and the contribution of  pastoralism to the national economy (ii) assessing present processes and threats, and (iii) identifying the policy implications for poverty reduction. ROSP will illuminate the present state of pastoralism, and allow an understanding of the mechanisms at work in the pastoral economy. It will track changes in pastoral livelihoods, especially those relevant to poverty and well-being. It will provide high quality information, including quantitative information where relevant and feasible, to herders themselves, to organisations working on their behalf, and to government. It will follow and analyse key changes in production, marketing, consumption, heath and education. It will assess and where possible measure, both vulnerability and capabilities, and report how pastoralists are engaging with markets and states in new ways. By doing this, it will  provide analysis and information on which governments can draft better pastoral policies and implement better programmes, and Oxfam and other non-governmental organisations can work in a more targeted and effective way. The precise indicators to be monitored should be decided at the initial project workshops discussed below. An outline of the main topics which could provide indicators is in Annex 1. ROSP should be a status report. But it should provide not only reliable indicators of process and trends, but also a better understanding of the processes underlying these trends, and a develop a strategy to bring these insights into the public, policy-making, domain. To achieve these objectives ROSP should have four main activities: -   to build the capacity of national statistics departments, other relevant organisations such as NGOs, and eventually community-based organisations, to research, analyse, and  present accurate information on pastoralism, including appropriate qualitative information; -   to encourage disparate existing initiatives on pastoral information-gathering to co-operate through effective networks within and between countries in the region; -   to use the output to encourage debate among researchers, officials and pastoralists about  poverty and its remedies; identify the risks and constraints inherent in this process especially for pastoralists; -   to make the results of this debate available for policy-making and resource allocation, and encourage debate and action on the policy consequences of the conclusions. ROSP's aim goes beyond simple poverty monitoring. ROSP needs also to develop a critique of  present government policies and activities. Creating a policy-oriented database and facilitating the drafting and implementation of new policies is the key. None of the countries in the region has a fully-articulated pastoral policy, and some have no relevant policies at all. In at least two  ROSP Feasibility Study, Jeremy Swift, December 04 4 countries, government has announced its intention to settle pastoralists, as in their view this is the only way social services can be delivered to them, more livestock can be sold, and the destruction of the rangelands can be avoided. Poverty alleviation initiatives in the region started with high expectations about reaching pastoralists, but these hopes have been largely dashed as the difficulties involved in securing good data, and the failure of many activities, became apparent. The value added by ROSP would be to generate new, more accurate and representative understandings of pastoralism, of pastoral poverty and what to do about it, and to assist in identifying and implementing better policies and programmes. If ROSP is successful in achieving these aims it will trigger fundamental changes in the ways key institutions, especially government and others, understand and respond to pastoral issues. 3. ROSP PARTNERS  There are many potential stakeholders or partners in ROSP. 1  In order to keep management simple, we should be selective in the choice of close collaborators, starting modestly, working in depth with a small number of partners, and possibly expanding later as methods improve and capacities grow. Partners  are individuals and organisations who will use ROSP as a prime source of information, or who contribute funding or information. They are part of the informal network of organisations, small groups and individuals who generally share Oxfam's approach to  pastoralism, who provide information, funding, or both, who are already collaborating on a day-to-day basis, and who will use the reports. Partners range from local organisations of pastoralists, through non-governmental organisations, to government departments, including especially departments responsible for livestock and rangelands, and for central statistics departments. Partners often work alongside Oxfam in pastoral areas. Partners may be contributors , users , or both   . Contributors provide information or funding to ROSP. Users are in the network primarily because they use the results of ROSP in their work. Users include the people who transform information into national policy or action on a large scale, and therefore decide the impact of the information from ROSP, but they can also be small community organisations using ROSP information to develop more appropriate programmes for their members. The categories of contributor and users overlap considerably, with many organisations performing both functions.  Potential partners The ROSP partnership will take time to develop and should be negotiated through the meetings and workshops proposed for the development of the ROSP system. Likely partners in the four 1  Stakeholder and partner are used interchangeably in this report to mean those organisations and individuals who are involved in pastoral develop issues, who might contribute to ROSP, or who might use its results in their work.
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