Lessons from interaction of researchers with pastoralists from eastern Africa

Pastoralism is a way of life in the arid and semi-arid areas of East Africa where livestock rearing is the cornerstone of livelihoods and is characterized by movement of people and livestock in search of pasture and water. Due to past neglect and marginalization of this sector, little is known on the contribution of the sector to society and how new innovations can change their lives leading to overall economic development. In addition, current undergraduate training especially for science students is lacking in soft skills which is essential if proper engagement between researchers and pastoralists is to be useful. In this study, two research projects based in pastoral areas are analyzed. In the first project supported by RUFORUM, disease search for Peste des Petits Ruminant (PPR) a disease which has been killing goats in East Africa was conducted among the Turkana people in Northern Kenya as well as Tandahimba, in Mtwara, Southern Tanzania. In the second project, supported by Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project (KAP), the constraints of hygiene on camel milk chain was analyzed in Garissa and Wajir districts in Northern Kenya. In all projects, engagement of multiple stakeholders enhanced achievement of results. Use of participatory techniques was found effective in eliciting response and support for the study. Soft skills were found to be effective in enhancing the researcher-pastoralist interface. Proper planning in logistics was paramount in overcoming challenges like distance, flooding, and the nomadic lifestyle of the pastoralists. It is recommended that researchers be trained in soft skills before embarking on research in pastoral areas. Engagement of multiple stakeholders and a clear understanding of the socio-culture and natural environment in the pastoral areas is also highly recommended.

Prof. Adipala, Ekwamu
Dr. Paul, Nampala
Issue Date:
Mar 24 2017
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Record Identifier:
Published in:
African Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD), Volume 1, Issue 3
Page range:
271 -280

 Record created 2017-09-22, last modified 2018-01-23

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