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Chapter 5 Lessons of the past to inform the future

The objective of this section is to summarize the major findings on socio-economic and cultural factors that determine when and how it might be appropriate to involve communities and individual livestock farmers in T&T control operations. Most information available to date relates to targets and traps as the principal techniques being proposed for T&T control. However, experience is slowly emerging with other non-bait technologies, including integrated systems of control, involving several approaches to ensure sustainability.

Factors affecting sustainability of tsetse and trypanosomiasis: individual and community participation

All the research and experience in sub-Saharan Africa suggest that in locations where serious outbreaks of human African trypanosomiasis have occurred within living memory, there is a major incentive for community action (Barrett and Okali, 1998a; Gouteux and Sinda, 1990; Echessah et al., 1997). Outside these locations, it is not easy to identify similar incentives that might mobilize the whole population. Barrett and Okali (1998a) have also suggested that a desire for continued outside links at the level of whole communities is an important incentive, although limited by development priorities and existing commitments. People’s willingness to contribute to tsetse control in places where there is a risk of human trypanosomiasis, but no livestock present to contract animal trypanosomiasis, can be assessed using the contingent valuation technique.

Ownership of cattle, and in some instances ownership of other livestock, has been indicated as a significant factor in determining individual willingness to contribute resources to T&T control (Swallow and Woudyalew, 1994; Echessah et al., 1997; Kamuanga et al., 1997, 2001a; Pokou et al., 1999; Mugalla, 2000). It is not clear, however, what level of cattle ownership might be linked to which specific contributions. In general, it might be expected that the larger the proportion of livestock owners within a community, the greater the community’s incentive to participate. Where communities live and depend on cattle for their livelihoods, as is the case in most pastoral societies, it is the benefit-cost calculations of alternative strategies that influence their decision to participate individually or as a community in T&T control operations.

Previous experience of externally initiated research and development action in the community is an important variable in determining an individual’s willingness to contribute resources. Swallow and Woudyalew (1994) attribute at least some of the positive responses of beneficiaries to the interest of local people in being more involved in the activities of a research institute (ILCA). Mugalla (2000) has shown that farmers who participated in the ITC health and productivity studies in The Gambia pledged higher amounts of resources (labour and money) to tsetse control for an integrated experiment using traps, sprays and pour-ons.

Knowledge of the symptoms of trypanosomiasis is an important factor affecting farmers’ willingness to contribute money to tsetse control (Swallow and Woudyalew, 1994; Pokou et al., 1999; Echessah et al., 1997; Kamuanga et al., 1997, 2001a). Before people are engaged in active programmes for controlling tsetse, it is important that the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of local residents are understood so that knowledge gaps can be targeted for active programmes of basic education. Role-play and simple colour posters have proved to be effective mechanisms for communicating technical information about T&T (Echessah et al., 1997). Even in situations where livestock farmers are sufficiently aware of trypanosomiasis and its consequences, and/or where successful T&T control operations have been carried out, for example along the Uganda-Kenya border between 1991 and 1995 (Magona et al., 2001), there may still be a need to increase farmers’ awareness about known control techniques (pour-ons) to facilitate their participation in future T&T control activities.

The amount of time that people devote to community tasks creates a favourable precedent for engaging in self-help projects. This variable was positively related to farmers’ willingness to contribute labour to tsetse control in the Sissili area of Burkina Faso (Kamuanga et al., 1997). Swallow, Woudyalew and Leak (1995) found that people’s use of pour-ons in the Ghibe Valley was related to their livestock holdings and the use patterns of their neighbours. Both results indicate that observation, information exchange and the local “social capital” of trust and organization are important for effective collective action for tsetse control. This implies that people’s willingness to contribute to local collective action for tsetse control will depend upon their general involvement in formal and informal forms of local organization and collective action.

Everything else being equal, it can be predicted that collective action for tsetse control will be most effective where:

1. participating households can be organized into groups that are quite small (e.g. less than 20 members);

2. participating households are relatively homogeneous with respect to culture and values; and

3. compliance with, or deviance from, rules and norms can be easily monitored (ILRI, 1997).

Experience from eastern Africa indicates that sustained control seems to depend mostly on a small committed group of smallholders and pastoralists (Brightwell et al., 2001).

Community participation has several aspects that should be considered in relation to the tasks and the operations of T&T control. These include (but are not limited to) contribution of resources (labour and/or money), leadership tasks, participation in meetings, registration as a member of producers’ groups, attendance at workshops and performance of ad hoc tasks. These factors are influenced in various degrees by training, knowledge of T&T, gender and residence in low or high tsetse density zones, as well as proximity to sites of control operations.

Primary and secondary information on ethnic composition, status, purpose for keeping livestock and management practices provide a reasonable basis for behavioural analysis of the target population with regard to attitudes towards the level and form of participation in T&T control operations. Other studies have indicated that age, level of education and logistical matters, for example distance to and simplicity of traps and frequency of trap monitoring, are also relevant factors. One weakness of tsetse control projects examined by Brightwell and colleagues (2001) in Kenya was the attempt to involve the entire community through a series of committees, rather than separately encouraging cohesiveness among smallholder arable farmers and pastoral farmers. Pastoralist communities need to develop the type of organizational structures best suited to their situation, rather than being forced into “standard” structures.

In the Samorogouan area of Burkina Faso (ILRI, 1997) and the Bansang area of The Gambia (Mugalla, 2000), pastoralists (Fula in both cases) were found to be more willing to contribute money and less willing to contribute labour than agropastoralists. This indicates that control programmes should be designed to encourage people to contribute in the manner - including contributions in kind - they deem most suitable to their needs and constraints. In many ways financial contributions are preferable to labour contributions; money is fungible (can be used to purchase different types of inputs at different times) while labour is not.

It was also found that the mean and variance of people’s contingent contributions declined each time they were asked the contingent valuation questions (Mugalla, Swallow and Kamuanga, 1999; Mugalla, 2000). The decline in the variation of contingent contributions implies that the later surveys provided more reliable information. One way to increase the reliability of the results of a contingent valuation survey is to implement it more than once with the same sample households. There are two possible causes of the decline in average contributions:

1. seasonal fluctuations in available labour and money; and

2. overall downward assessments of the potential benefits to be derived from the control techniques in use.

The results obtained from contingent valuation surveys must be regarded as indicative. The amount of information that can be gained from a contingent valuation survey can be increased through repetition with the same population, especially if that population is given information and/or involved in an actual trial at the same time.

All studies of people’s willingness to contribute to tsetse control in West and East Africa have found over 90 percent of respondents indicating that they are willing to contribute either labour or money to effective tsetse control. This indicates high general interest in the problems of T&T in all of the study areas. However, it is noteworthy that actual contributions are often lower than pledged contributions generated in contingent valuation surveys (Mwangi, 1996; Kamuanga et al., 2001a). Governance issues and community fatigue from too many unsuccessful efforts have taken their toll on the sustainability of T&T control.

Table 3 summarizes the results from seven studies on the willingness of people to contribute to tsetse control using traps or targets. Between 50 percent and 100 percent of respondents indicated that they were willing to contribute money, and between 46 percent and 100 percent of respondents indicated that they were willing to contribute labour. There are no systematic differences between the countries or regions (east versus west Africa). In general the areas with high proportions of people identifying themselves as being of pastoral ethnic groups (e.g. Fula) had larger proportions of people willing to contribute money than labour. The results show that if there is evidence of human or animal trypanosomiasis and if people are previously aware of the problem or are made to be aware of it, then the majority will indicate general interest in its solution.

Summary of results from contingent valuation studies conducted in five African countries

Description of the location and study

Percent of respondents willing to contribute labour

Percent of respondents willing to contribute money

Burkina Faso
296 households in the Sissili area, 1994-1997, contribution to targets (100% pastoral ethnicities)



Burkina Faso
214 households in the Satiri area, 1996, contribution to strategic traps or targets (15% pastoral ethnicities)



Burkina Faso
177 households in the Samorogouan area, 1996, contribution to strategic traps or targets (100% pastoral ethnicities)



Cote d’Ivoire
224 households drawn from the Odienne, Boundiali, Korhogo and Bouna areas, stratified by production system, 1995, contribution to targets (33% Fula)



The Gambia
360 households, stratified by the level of trypanosomiasis risk and ethnicity, 1995, contribution to sprays (45% Fula)



180 households in the Gibhe Valley, 1993, contribution to targets or traps (all agropastoralists)



180 households in six villages of Busia District, contribution to targets or traps (all agropastoralists)



Sources: Adapted from ILRI, 1997; Kamara and Echessah, 1994; Swallow and Woudyalew, 1994; Mugalla, 2000; Kamuanga et al., 2001.

Policy issues at the regional/district and national level

The overall objective of suppression or eradication of tsetse flies is incorporated into a national tsetse control strategy. An eradication policy may satisfy national or regional livestock and agricultural objectives in general, but should be implemented with a view to maintain it within the expectations and needs of local people. Barrett and Okali (1998a, 1998b) discussed several options in relation to the benefits and costs to communities located in close proximity to affected areas, compared to the areas threatened further away from the immediate location of the barrier and/or control operations. This would appear to exclude any plan to seek financial contributions from local populations without also considering measures for taxing communities at risk but located further away from the area of greatest challenge. As indicated in Table 4, there are other important factors that are likely to influence national or regional/district decisions to involve communities directly in a T&T control programme.

As discussed above, several factors (e.g. knowledge of disease symptoms and ownership of livestock) affect decisions at both individual and community levels. When the programme involves bait technologies, the population density, distribution and movement are important if communities are expected to provide labour to service traps or targets over a wide geographical area. The risk of human trypanosomiasis is another factor that will significantly influence consideration of tsetse control programmes at a national level.

An information gap regarding costs and perceived immediate and future benefits may also exist at the level of policy-makers. There is an urgent need for those funding research and development in relation to T&T control to ensure that projects are visited and the findings published, preferably in refereed journals (Brightwell et al., 2001).

In general, governments need to put in place important policies on T&T management for any real impact to be made. These include - but are not limited to - drawing up regulations, establishing quality assurance, acquiring and distributing trypanocidal drugs, and setting and implementing integrated pest management strategies that require different contributions from different segments of the society. Implementation of regional T&T control policies should be undertaken with a top-down approach, particularly when it is necessary to ensure that socio-economic benefits at national level will help promote such industries as tourism and commercial livestock rearing for beef and dairy exports. Community-level action should be promoted by favouring bottom-up strategies.

Significant variables that influence decisions to initiate or participate in community-based tsetse control programmes


Levels of decision-making

District and national



Overall policy objectives


Previous experience of external assistance



Links with outside agencies


Incidence of human trypanosomiasis



Population density, distribution and movement


Alternative disease management strategies


Involvement in previous community tasks



Cattle and other livestock density




technical advice








Perceived immediate and future benefits

human health


more land


more livestock


more productive livestock




fly-free environment


Public pressure


Development priorities



1 indicates a strong association.
Source: Adapted from Barrett and Okali, 1998b.

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