In summary as per the author and the institution/ organisation This brief reviews and updates the generally accepted conceptual framework of drivers of acute malnutrition in Africa’s drylands, where emergency levels of global acute malnutrition stubbornly persist. The revised framework preserves the immediate and underlying drivers of acute malnutrition and recognizes the synergism between them. More fundamentally, the updating reconceptualizes the basic more systemic drivers of acute malnutrition to include three interlinked areas: i. environment and seasonality; ii. systems and institutions; and iii. livelihood systems.
The report also indicates and lists the challenges faced by Africas drylands communities. • Weak informal institutions such as markets, land tenure regimes, and traditional institutions contributing to increasing farmer-herder conflict and insecure access to natural resources, especially for women and youth; • Rapid demographic change, linked with population growth, migration, and displacement; Increasing livelihood diversification and transformation, which has undermined the former integration between producers and led to increasing competition and farmer-herder conflict; • Conflict at multiple levels and of increasing complexity; • Increasing frequency of climate shocks (drought and floods) and increasing temperatures over recent years in the Sahel linked with climate change
Arid Landscape Initiative is a social think tank group with focus on Biodiversity, Governance, pastoralism and Land development in Africa. Because we are suposed to increase voices on urgent matters we would like to re-post IGAD – FAO statement on the new emergency of zoonoses in IGAD region. IGAD and FAO are working closely to monitor the progress of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) outbreak across some African countries indicating low and high risk countries.
On 17 May 2020, IGAD/ICPALD and FAO released a joint Rift Valley Fever (RVF) alert to IGAD and EAC Member States, as well as to key stakeholders and partners. The alert pointed out the high-risk areas and provided key recommendations to increase preparedness for this disease in the region. IGAD/ICPALD and FAO commend the steps taken following the alert, such as:
Communication and follow-up made by ICPALD/IGAD with the chief veterinary officers (CVOs) and epidemiologists of high risk Member States;
Activation of national RVF contingency plans in member countries in collaboration with Ministries of Health (MoH);
Active surveillance and monitoring of local environmental conditions for better identification of risk areas;
Equipment of RVF laboratory testing kits and reagents;
Provision of vaccines aligned with the OIE Terrestrial Code and the requirements of trade partners when necessary;
Increased readiness of field rapid deployment teams;
Increased awareness of key stakeholders and partners in ‘hot spot’ areas.
RVF is a viral zoonotic disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can cause severe disease in animals and humans, including death and abortion in infected livestock. This epizootic disease in animals, which can spill over to the human population, tends to develop extremely rapidly following abnormally high seasonal rainfall at the local, national or regional scale.
RVF outbreaks can disrupt the livestock sector by depleting future generations of affected herds and therefore constitutes an important socio-economic and food security threat to vulnerable households. The disease can disrupt communities depending on animal trade by affecting their local animal markets. It can also affect the funds directly available to households through their animals and thereby impact their capacities to access health care and child education. As such, IGAD considers RVF a major threat to the economic development and stability of the region and strongly advocates for a regional approach to supplement national initiatives.
FAO maintains a system for RVF forecasting based on precipitation and vegetation anomalies, among other environmental factors. During the past six months, most of the Eastern African countries remained at a persistent risk of RVF occurrence due to a rainy season that was the wettest on record since 1981. Exceptional rainfall and floods have enhanced and maintained suitable environmental and climatic conditions that will likely lead to the explosive proliferation of RVF vectors in the region. for further reading on the RVF outbreak . Find attached statement by IGAD and FAO team.
Arid Landscape Initiative (ALIN Africa) is a think tank organisation working to improve the quality of lives and landscapes through community participation and empowerment in sustainable access, ownership, and utilization of ecosystems services for social-economic realization. With the main focus of promoting community transformation through raising voices and advocacy for social economic and cultural wellbeing on Biodiversity, Governance, and Research in rural landscapes.
Early this year ALIN Africa received small funding support from AfriFoods and Euro Afri Link to reach out to pastoralists in manyattas and kraals. It was such a great experience meeting pastoralists able to respond quickly to the sensitization message. Despite limited access to water, detergents like soap, sanitizers, untranslated pandemic information pastoralist are always ready to respond together. Knowing and having information is the power to them qualifying why indigenous knowledge is critical to local communities.
It is a call of action to inform us that pastoral people are not static to change, they are always responding and are ready to respond. Due to sensitization and awareness efforts reached by ALIN Africa, the Video can be used to support other pastoral communities to respond equally to COVID 19 pandemic the video produced through the support of Ateker TV can now be accessed on the link Karamoja COVID 19 response.
ALIN Africa is a social think tank group with a focus on arid and semi-arid landscapes, pastoralism, and natural resource governance in Africa.
Reach out to ALIN Africa via Facebook on Arid Landscape Initiative (ALIN Africa), on Twitter on @AridLandscapes
The article features the recent online discussion by Enviro Wild on advancing climate action in Africa. Climate change knows no territorial boundaries so it will always be a grave mistake to restrict pastoral mobility as pastoralism practices equally have no borders.
Climate change is a cross-cutting phenomenon affecting all sectors of societies, as it stifles the global attainment of development objectives. The effects of climate change on dry lands in the Horn of Africa pose serious and difficult policy challenges. The arid climate together with the poverty faced by its inhabitants mean that the higher temperatures, intensifying rains and increasingly frequent extreme weather events that climate science projects for the region can only exacerbate the problems of development. However, the dry lands have under exploited development potential and the dominant land use system is pastoralism with unique adaptive characteristics that, together with the right enabling policies, suggest that climate change can be adapted to, and development can be achieved.
Climate alone is rarely the reason many pastoralists in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALS) continue to remain poor; instead, it interacts with existing problems. For example, migration as a climate adaptation strategy increases population pressure and environmental degradation if concentrated in one point. Failed rainy seasons will result in reduced agricultural yields in already highly fragmented landscapes, and increased climatic shocks electuary fuel conflict over resources and access.
Demand for water already exceeds supply in many parts of the world it is estimated that 783 million people lack access to clean water. The global demand for food is expected to double by 2050 — yet wild pollinators are dying, 75 billion tons of soil disappear every year, and droughts are becoming more common. The global political economy of climate change is already evident. The Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-driven by climate change knows no boundaries and does not respect states’ territorial sovereignty. The consequences of climate change in Africa include a fall in agricultural production, water shortages, mass migrations and greater risk from vector-borne diseases.
Pastoralist are community or group of people that herd or keep livestock (cattle, shoats, camels, alpacas, donkeys etc.) in a mobile system obtaining nutrients and materials from an expansive landscape also known as rangeland. Pastoral groups in the Kenya and Uganda which includes; Karamojong, Turkana, Pokot, Samburu and Masai among others. Pastoralists use mobility to respond quickly to fluctuations in resource availability, dictated by the dry lands’ scarce and unpredictable rainfall. They also employ a number of highly specialised risk spreading strategies to safeguard their herds against drought, floods, diseases and social unrest. These strategies include building up herd sizes as insurance against times of hardship, splitting herds across different locations to spread risk, keeping different species and breeds and loaning surplus animals to family and friends – ensure the rational use of the natural resource base and also develop and strengthen social relations as a form of social capital.
Climate change as a threat to livelihoods: meanwhile pastoralist continue to adapt to changing climatic conditions through herd mobility, resource scouting, and traditional insurance systems like herd splitting, marriage prizes, and livestock to markets and herd diversity. While it is also important to note that climate shocks and stress is affecting pastoralist households. Due to droughts induced by climate change factors resource conflicts linked to land grabbing, struggle for scarce pastures and water in some parts of Kenya and Uganda still take stall. Communal related conflicts such as cattle raids and rustling experienced by pastoralists during discriminate mobility has since lead to lose of lives and property. A drought for example leads to drying off of pasture, causing wild fires that destroys and degrades the rangeland pastures making it unavailable at the right time. Hence force a shift of mobile herders to areas that can adequately provide with enough feeds. Climate change their matters to pastoralists looking at the needs to protect and safeguard livelihoods and society from food and nutrition insecurities including violent conflict and are inevitable in human relations as it acts as a motor of change.
Perception of pastoral communities on climate change: nature will always clean its systems. For pastoralists in Kenya and Uganda border corridor punishment that a rises from a change in environment is a sign of annoyance from the gods. For the pastoralist in Uganda (Karamojong) shrines that are always around forests and mountains are most sacred places were elders go to determine future of the society and the environment they live in.
Women and Climate change: As the effects of climate change begin to be felt heavily by different genders and with mixed response mechanisms among pastoralists the herders are the first always to detect the change through animal behaviours. Young herders and the course with Men always have to move with livestock for fodder scouting for long periods of time. It is said of recent mobility without any close proximity to the homestead takes 3 to 5 month of year for herders to stay in the rangeland location until the onset of the wet season.
An article published by DW, 2019 titled “Climate Change and sexual violence; growing resource scarcity also increases the risk that women and girls will be victims of violence. With increasing drought and desertification in the global south, more and more water sources and wells are drying up. Fetching water is often a woman’s job, and if they’re forced to walk farther for that water the risk of sexual assault also increases, especially in regions characterized by armed gangs. Due to pastoral mobility women in pastoral communities are left with new and tougher responsibilities to execute that include tend for young children, lactating animals and elderly persons in absence male assistants (men and boys). The women tasks at this time round always is to ensure continued flow of nutritious food to the family, coordinate between the family at the homestead and the family at the rangelands, to secure food and health system of the family. Also a similar article posted by an organisation Eviro Wild, 2020 titled “How women pastoralists suffer climate change effects the most” noted that in Karamoja and Pokot communities of Uganda and Kenya climate change has not only enslaved women pastoralists but subjected them to continued retrogressive cultures such as Female Genital Mutilation.
The devastating impacts of climate changes are linked to drought, for instance, is an effect of climate change, leads to drying of fodder, rivers, women in most cases have been linked to daily exposure to rape and abductions conditions by bandits while they move long distances to find clean water, food (wild fruits) and firewood (energy sources). It is also noted that climate change has continued into forced female genital Mutilations (FGM) among the Pokot pastoralists in Kenya and Uganda. High cases of malnutrition have risen up among large size families because one person cannot be able to continue providing enough nutritious food and health needs for the family without support.
Addressing impacts of climate change in a pastoral context: Meanwhile countries in Africa are taking stiff efforts to manage the effects induced by climate change. Most of these issues are linked to inadequacy of stronger policy relationships with the public domain. For example environmental governance suffers from both a lack of political will, poor policy implementation, limited sensitization, and limited institutional resources … Therefore, it is fundamentally important to mainstream Climate Change in our interventions. The projects such as pastoral resilience to climate change funded by World Bank has components of enhancing natural resource management, peace building, One health programmes supports pastoralist to cope with increasing shocks and stress as a result of climate changes.
Civil society organizations have recently increased efforts of local communities’ capacity building, Utilizing spaces of advocacy on policy and development frameworks on resources and infrastructural development, sharing voices of communities and civic education to respond to climate change. However, as more actions are taken both at local, regional and international levels of engagement there is need for states, national development partners to increase efforts on engaging with pastoralists to identify development means through participatory development models, protection of the rights of pastoralists on natural resources such as land, water and traditional forests, recognize the traditional knowledge and include cultural shrines as part of endangered environment.
The environmental variability in dry lands and pastoral systems are leading to drought, desertification that are effects of climate change impacting livelihoods, Changing climate has forced the pastoralists to change their ways of lives—most are moving from entirely depending on livestock to mixed farming (small-scale agriculture), occasioned conflicts (ethnic clashes, cattle rustling) as communities fight for ownership and utilization of the limited available natural resources. The examples are Pokot and Ilchamus/Tugen communities in Baringo Kenya, Karamoja of Uganda, and Turkana of Kenya, Irregular weather patterns have provided a basis for illegal cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation among the Pokot community that go unnoticed, Loss of identity among the pastoral communities is becoming a reality because what pastoralists have been known for culture is slowly losing value. But at worst pastoral communities are advised to reduce their herds to manageable sizes that can thrive in the current climate state and adopt improved livestock breeds and practices, most of which can’t travel long distances and are not resilient enough to long periods of drought.
The most important action is to address knowledge gaps about climate and Climate Change in communities taking into consideration that pastoralists are not static to change but rather dynamic and quickly adjusting to change.
How Pastoralism has been affected by climate change the effects of climate change are heavily felt among the pastoral communities because of their unique ways of life that almost entirely depend on natural resources. While the geographical location, economic and social status of a country dictate the magnitude of climate change impact, the pastoral communities…
Introduction: The Karamoja sub-region (i.e. Karamoja) in Northeastern Uganda occupies 27,000 square miles of land and is currently inhabited by approximately 1.4 million diverse people – most speak the Nga’karimojong language (Feinstein International Center, 2007). It is environmentally, socially, politically and economically different from the rest of Uganda. Being largely dryland, its economy is traditionally based on livestock complemented by opportunistic crop cultivation (International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs, 2019). Karamoja has 9 local governments with one referral hospital situated in Moroto district the regional administrative town in Uganda.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease of humans caused by a coronavirus newly discovered in 2019 – SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic and continues to spread around the world including to Africa, where the number of cases is steadily increasing with 30,536 reported cases and 1,085 deaths as of May 4 (World Health Organization, 2020a). Uganda’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in March 2020 after a Ugandan businessman returned from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Since then, Uganda has confirmed 114 cases, with 55 recoveries and no deaths as of 3rd of May, 2020. The number of cases continues to rise. Karamoja has not yet confirmed or reported any COVID-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic. However, due to porous borders, continued inter and intra conflicts among pastoralists COVID-19 cases could come from Kenya or South Sudan across the border if stiff border security is not enforced. The facilities at the referral hospital in Moroto are able to carry out surveillance, containment, communication and case tracking activities related to COVID-19.
COVID 19 response in Uganda and Karamoja The Ugandan government through the Ministry of Health has recently implemented public health measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. These include shutting down international air travel, campaigns on social distancing, washing hands with soap and water, and the sanitization and closure of schools and most public places. As numbers have increased, the president of Uganda announced a partial lockdown that is currently in effect.
Although the lockdown is intended to be country-wide, many rural people, including those in Karamoja, are not aware of it and have continued business as usual. This indicates that information on public health measures have not reached rural communities, especially pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the manyattas and Kraals, likely due to inadequate and limited communication channels.
Responding locally with pastoralists The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 response guidelines are global in nature and therefore need to be contextualized from the bottom to top through a participatory approach that respects the fact that communities have previous experiences in managing similar health challenges. It is therefore important to harness local knowledge to enhance the pandemic response.
The Young Volunteers Group (YVG) of ALIN Africa conducted an outreach with selected pastoralist local leaders, Village Health teams (VHTs) and kraal leaders in Kaabong East and Lodiko sub counties of Kaabong District to identify gaps linked to COVID 19 information access and flow to rural people (Pastoralists and Agro-pastoralists) while responding to the pandemic. During community outreach at manyattas and kraals that took place over a weeklong period, a number of limitations in regard to COVID-19 public health measures were identified. These included limited access to water, soap and health services. Pastoralists asked how they could buy soap without an income due to the closure of livestock markets. The pastoralists also asked on how they could stay at home when they don’t have food to eat or find clean water when the boreholes are far away and have dried up.
Based on this initial outreach and the identified shortcomings of the COVID-19 response in Karamoja, Arid landscape Initiative (ALIN Africa) a social think tank on pastoralism and natural resource governance received financial support from AfriFood and EuroAfri Link (EAL) to implement a COVID-19 sensitization and awareness campaign from April 26th to May 1st among manyattas and kraals in parts of Kaabong East and Lodiko sub county. Young Volunteer Group (YVG) of ALIN Africa led the campaign with the support of the Kaabong District Task Force (KDTF) on COVID-19 in Kaabong East and Lodiko Sub-Counties. The campaign included COVID-19 health promotion, engagement on community-based solutions to the pandemic in Karamoja, and the distribution of 49 cartons of soap to 1,225 pastoralists’ households and impacting 9,800 members of the Household in the community and about 1,050 livestock keepers over a six-day period.
The following Manyattas have been reached out during sensitization: Moruayao, Loburiekori, Naita, Toroae, Kalongor, Simalok, Nayangasae, Napetabul, Nariyobwel and Lokolia health center. The kraals reached include: Loburi ekori and Simalok kraal all in Kaabong East and Lodiko Sub counties of Kaabong District.
Safeguarding pastoralist livelihoods Noting that COVID-19 brings about other shortcomings among rural communities, sensitization and awareness activities did not focus solely on the direct health impacts of the virus. The team of volunteers also highlighted ways communities can respond to impacts caused by lockdowns and the closure of other systems, including food insecurity, gender violence and conflict management. Pastoralists were encouraged to graze animals, go on farm, harvest firewood, honey, wild fruits, edible leaves and mushrooms while following physical and social distancing guidelines in order to keep the community food secure.
ALIN Africa in the process of sensitization also took keen interest to understand the local actions taken in the past to respond to related devastating outbreaks like cholera and livestock diseases. Communities noted “that in the past numbers of sick people was overwhelming and hundreds of people died by 1980s due to cholera outbreak”. But local actions such as isolation, good feeding and treatment of infected persons with local herbs secured lives of some community members before the catholic missionaries and Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) stepped in to rescue the situation. This provides an example of how local experience and strategies can help to combat COVID-19.
Pastoralists are not static to change. They are rather quick to adapt to any crisis at hand. Participatory decision making to safeguard livelihoods is critical for communities.
Loupa Pius 2020
As Young Volunteer Group (YVG) of ALIN Africa, we want to support and secure our pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the fight against COVID-19. Our goal is to reach 15,000 pastoralists and agro-pastoralist in rural Karamoja especially youths (herders), women in mayattas and kraals. Our starting point is Kaabong District. We stand together to acknowledge the generous support of AfriFood, EuroAfri Link (EAL)and Government of Uganda (GoU) through Ministry of Health (MoH) and Kaabong District Task Force (KDTF) towards a strengthened pastoral community with an ability to respond to COVID-19. The disruptions that COVID-19 has had on livelihoods, operations and markets are severe, especially in pastoral areas where tough measures affecting mobility, market access and resources have been instituted. Together with our partners, we are focused on working with pastoralists and agro-pastoralists to develop a community based approach to COVID-19 that protects public health, food security and livelihoods.
The development of urban centers in Karamoja arrive with the challenge of unreadiness to manage the waste materials. As positive opportunities flow into the sub region. But for waste materials management it is critical challenge.
Moroto district is one of first track growing towns in North Eastern Uganda (Karamoja sub region) It is also among the nine districts and the old district of Karamoja sub region. Moroto Municipality is the business and administrative center of the sub region. Moroto is a home to hundred thousands of people from whole over Uganda including natives and houses over hundreds of Non Governmental Organizations both international NGOs and cooperation. It is also a center for government regional offices for Karamoja.
Waste material disposal in Moroto Municipality; common wastes are plastics derived from materials found in nature, such as natural gas, oil, coal, minerals and plants. In Moroto town as you walk towards suburbs of Kamshwahili, Kitale Road, all your way from the Hospital lane you will warmly be welcomed by flying squad of vuberas (plastic waste matter of chlorides origin) dumped along the road. It is worst when you reach the central small water catchment separating the up town and the suburb of Kamswhili. In July, 2018 Loupa Pius wrote on facebook tagging the Vice District Chairperson of Moroto Hon. Christine Akot on the dangers of plastics on the environment and it’s features.
The status of Moroto on plastics disposal and management is appealing at it’s tender age of growth. Also tells you that there is limited political will, No attention from public, NGOs and local government departments. Also the municipality has no or unimplemented Environmental Management plan or Byelaws.
The common waste materials in Karamoja: Most of the plastics found in Karamoja are not made in Karamoja, they are foreign to Karamoja. The common plastics are from companies based in urban and cities of Uganda and others are all the way from Europe, India China and USA. The materials that are common are from; Waragi Sackets, Drinking water bottles from Rwenzori Bottling Company, plastics of Mukwano Industries, Riham, and @Nice plastics Uganda and many others. Facebook post quote; “Moroto Municipality, rabish in the Heart of the first City of Karamoja. It’s alarming to see this in town. What is mayor and the Council thinking??? Wake up or you retire forcefully” harmful effects and dangers of failed plastic management are that Plastic bags are not healthy for our soils, water, livestock and human beings and general environment.
The plastics if eaten by animals leads to death
If buried in soil; makes it unproductive for crops and pasture.
If burn’t and acted by high temperatures can produce mix chemicals like the Chloro-carbons or Chlorides that are harmful to the respiratory system of both humans and animals if inhaled.
If dumped in water bodies or sources or pathways can block water ways, infects domestic water sources, kills aquatic animals, cause floods and can clog water pipes.
Some recommendations for thought:
Develop or implement the Environmental Action plan and consider sensitization.
Provide safe places for disposal in every street and every busy corner of the town. e.g the dumping bins/ trash bins.
The leaders should buy their own water bottles and carry water from home.
Enact or implement a byelaw.
Task the business owners and land lords to take full responsibility of their plastics And actions.
Task and engage NGOs that are the largest consumers of this plastics to take full precautions.
Take full partnership in implementation of the actions.
Urban pastoralism Urban pastoralism is a less discussed topic due to its rarity in cities and towns because of the lack of enough space to support such a livelihood. Following a visit to Zebra Manyatta in Utawala, Nairobi metropolitan area, several issues were uncovered that pastoralists in the area encounter resulting from environmental degradation due…
Kaabong Youth Media produces the first video of COVID 19 transmission. It looks at How the traditional knowledge can predict the future, how the corona virus can arrive to a community, how traditional practices can be source of ignorance towards … Read the rest
Planting Trees The rains are here with us, in plenty, in fact, heavier than usual, causing loss of life, property, and adverse environmental damages. At a glance, we always think of trees. As a result, we get warmed up to plant as many trees as we can, which is a fantastic, commendable job. Tree planting…
Climate Change is a problem affected all across the globe. Therefore, everyone has a role to play. Enviro Wild will host a series of discussions by bringing on board different individuals involved in different activities that address climate change. The series will focus on advancing climate action through forest conservation, waste management and clean energy…