This report examines the implications of change on resilience
programming in the eastern Africa drylands, defined to include South
Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda. It presents evidence of
important changes that occurred over different timeframes (long-term and
rapid), as well as a new conceptual model (Pastoralist Livelihood
Systems Analysis) to help understand longer-term pathways for pastoral
livelihoods and the consequences for poverty, vulnerability and
resilience. The report focuses change since 2000, when a severe drought
greatly affected the pastoral areas. It draws upon a review of more than
400 scholarly and ‘grey literature’ documents, and more than 100 data
sets to identify trends in the region and implications for how
pastoralists make a living.
In recent decades, people have lost access to rangeland and water
resources, concentrating wealth with those able to acquire and exploit
these resources in successful trade, and creating a larger group of
people who have exited and are engaged in low-return activities, often
in small towns. A growing proportion of the population in pastoral areas
is chronically vulnerable and lacks clear alternative livelihoods. In
most parts of dryland eastern Africa, per capita livestock holdings have
dropped sharply, to a point at which holdings now fall far short of
subsistence requirements for a large proportion of pastoralist
The trends highlighted in this review – rangeland fragmentation,
sedentarisation, small town growth, commercialisation, and
infrastructural investment, among others – are reshaping access to
resources (to support herds) and markets (for livestock and other
goods). This, in turn, is driving decisions about livelihood choices and
creating new livelihood pathways for the region’s dryland populations.
The Pastoralist Livelihood Systems Analysis approach is used to analyse
the dynamics and impacts of change over time in pastoralist systems.
Specifically, it provides a method for: (1) mapping a system in a
holistic way that draws on internal and external meta-level influences
as well as livelihood profiles at intra-system (group and household)
level and; (2) identifying changes and understanding resilience
trajectories for livelihood groups within the system. This is a crucial
step towards future efforts to map and understand change in dryland
eastern Africa, and subsequently to provide appropriate support to
policy, markets and provision to pastoralist systems in these areas.
Lind, J.; Sabates-Wheeler, R.; Kohnstamm, S. Changes in the drylands of Eastern Africa: a review of evidence and data and their implications for efforts to strengthening resilience. IDS, Brighton, UK (2016) 50 pp.