Perils facing Kenyan pastoralists, livelihood innovations and wider impacts: learning from project experience

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This paper shares findings from a detailed empirical analysis of seven development projects in Kenya that supported remote pastoral communities facing food insecurity and other difficulties linked to environmental degradation and climate change. The projects sought to address these challenges by trialing various livelihood innovations in partnership with communities. These project activities were assessed using a tailored cost–benefit analysis methodology to identify those offering the best use of scarce funds, thus informing future policy and programing for such areas. This evidence suggests that (a) the difficulties communities face are creating a desperate situation, and (b) some of the innovations trialed hold promise while others are problematic. The evidence presented includes an array of local voices that vividly convey community-level dynamics and prospects. This evidence is set in context using the literatures on human security and its wider impacts, notably migration from the Sahel. This analysis found the circumstances of pastoral communities can significantly impact neighboring regions, with ongoing instability posing a threat while smart interventions that create local opportunities offer more synergistic outcomes. The paper concludes by calling for greater recognition of the options facing such communities and their wider significance as a basis for scaled up support measures.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Specialist publicationDevelopment Studies Research
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2021


  • Pastoralism
  • Sahel
  • Climate Change
  • human security

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