5.1 Management associations and committees
5.2 Grazing reserves and land tenure changes
5.3 Other applications
This Chapter presents a short list of projects and programmes that have tried to incorporate LKMS into the development process. Some of the projects were initiated by NGO's or the local people themselves, but the majority were assisted in one way or another by national Governments and International Donor Agencies. The examples all deal directly or indirectly with the management of natural resources, but not all come from Africa. There are examples of resource management associations and committees, of establishing grazing reserves and other land tenure changes, and a miscellany of activities ranging from restocking to vaccination campaigns. They are all intended as concrete illustrations of the potentials and pitfalls of incorporating LKMS into the development process.
5.1.1 Fulani clubs in Niger
5.1.2 Fulani Livestock Association in Nigeria
5.1.3 Bishnois movement in India
5.1.4 The Kgotla as a forum for modern land management in Botswana
5.1.5 Hima grazing society in Uganda
5.1.6 Fulani committee for managing a borehole in Senegal
5.1.7 Afar grazier associations of Ethiopia
One of the more difficult aspects of development has been the creation of local institutional structures to manage natural resources. The examples that follow show how these institutional structures can successfully be based on the local social organization and/or existing local institutions.
On the left bank of the Niger River (south of a line between Tillabery and Filingue, Niger), the transhumant and semi-settled Fulani have created voluntary clubs called laawol fulbe, meaning the way of Fulani wisdom. The clubs, created in the late 1970's and early 1980's, are intended to raise the standard of living of the Fulani by re-establishing the traditional communal-aid system. For example, they enforce such traditional obligations as keeping an eye out for each others' livestock, cooperating and exchanging labour for herding, and lending and borrowing livestock on the traditional habbanae basis1.
In response to decreasing grazing lands (due to crop expansion), the Fulani of Nigeria organized the Miyetti Allah Association in 1970. It was initially an Islamic organization aimed at facilitating access to pastures for its members. After ten years of existence, it was finally recognized by the Federal Government and six northern State Governments. A meeting was held at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1980 between the Association and a Special Assistant to the President where the Association had a chance to present its case and to receive backing from the Government. In response to Government concerns about its religious undertones, the Association also changed its name to National Livestock Rearers Association².
The Bishnois (twenty-niner) pastoralists of India follow the visions of a young man in the late 15th century, who predicted total environmental collapse unless people restrained and controlled their use of natural resources. Among his 29 principles, most of which deal with hygiene, diet and social relations, are three principles dealing with the environment: 1) Bishnois must love all forms of life, 2) they must protect beneficial animals, and 3) they must not cut living trees. The Bishnois, especially women, have achieved fame by repeatedly hugging trees to protect them from cutters. The first time women hugged trees was in 1730, when the Maharajah Ajit Singh was building a palace and needed wood to fire his brick-kiln. It was only after 363 women were cut down along with the trees that the King relented and granted the Bishnois total immunity and freedom to use and manage their natural resources. The Bishnois are now active in nature conservation on a national scale. They have set up the All India Bishnois Jeev Raksha (Life Protection) Committee, and give awards to people particularly active in nature conservation³.
The Kgotla, or traditional formal communal meetings, of Botswana are still viable and are regularly convened. In 1979 a Presidential Commission, chaired by the Vice President of Botswana, observed the continuing viability of the Kgotla, and called for a restoration of the traditional leaders and institutions. A Communal Area Land Use Planning and Development Programme for western Botswana (starting in 1979), defined the Kgotla as the forum for discussion and decision-making for all land management programmes, including grazing management systems and regulations, and established it as a consultative body for the project4.
The traditional clan structure of the Hima people of southwestern Uganda placed enough controls on individual members to prevent mismanagement of natural resources. In the 1970's, a project in the Ankole District of southwestern Uganda was able to form Grazing Societies based on this clan structure, and helped to prevent resource degradation5. However, the present fate of this project is unknown.
The Tatki borehole in northern Senegal was created and managed by the parastatal Société d'Outillage Mécanique et Hydraulique of Louga. Since November 1985 the Government has tried to hand over the borehole to a local management committee. However, they chose the committee members from a minority (wodaabe) rather than a majority (bisnabe) group, with the result that this Government sanctioned committee has failed to establish and enforce a management plan for the borehole. At the same time, the bisnabe have created their own committee alongside the Government one, and are more effective at collecting dues for fuel from individual users. However, the bisnabe committee lacks the necessary backstopping from the Government, and has been unsuccessful in maintaining the borehole6.
The pastoral Afar of northeast Ethiopia and Djibouti have traditional grazier associations based on clan membership. The associations have a general assembly, an association committee, elders of each community that mediate between the association and an individual, and a traditional association chief. The associations have distinct pasture boundaries. Recently, the Government of Ethiopia has incorporated these associations as local administrative units. The association committee is the main liaison between the association and the government, whose members are elected for two years. All major decisions, such as range improvement plans, are first passed by the Government to the Committee who then will decide on their merits and pass them on to the general assembly for approval. By 1986 when a study of these associations was done, it appeared that the Government had successfully adapted a traditional institution to modern needs7.
5.2.1 Legalizing traditional grazing boundaries in the Sudan
5.2.2 Reviving grazing reserves in Somalia
5.2.3 Reviving grazing reserves in Zambia in 1940's
5.2.4 Reviving sacred groves in Madagascar
5.2.5 Hema grazing reserves in the Middle East and North Africa
The experience with reviving traditional grazing reserves has been mixed. In some cases they have been successfully planned and implemented. In other cases they have started well but later been overtaken by political changes or droughts. In all cases, the examples show that the chances of success are greater if these reserves have a traditional basis, are accompanied by appropriate legislature, and are given enough time to become established.
As part of its policy of restructuring the local political system, the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium (British Colonial Administration) in Sudan established nazirates or chieftainships in northern Sudan, and assigned them to land areas that usually followed the traditional grazing boundaries. Thus they effectively legalized the traditional land tenure system. However, after Independence, the Sudanese military Government in 1969 abolished these nazirates, and attempted to introduce a modern land tenure system aimed at replacing the traditional system8. Unfortunately this new system resulted in greater confusion and conflicts over pasture rights among the pastoralists.
Following a failed attempt by the British Administration in Somalia to revive traditional grazing controls and reserves, some projects in the late 1960's were more successful at creating grazing associations. However, after a good start, the associations were overtaken by the 1974 drought which completely disrupted all forms of grazing control9. Since the herders continue to show their willingness to abide by grazing rules, there still is a potential for reviving grazing controls and reserves, but any new attempt should allocate enough time for the associations to mature, and that contingency plans should be in place in case of droughts and other disasters.
The Tonga of southern Zambia had a traditional system of grazing reserves, called machelelo a ngombe, where certain areas were reserved for grazing in order to protect them from crop expansion. These areas included seasonally flooded grassland, slopes of escarpment hills above farmland, and thorn grassland. However, the system broke down in the 1930's as a result of population increase and uncontrolled crop expansion. In the 1940's the Agriculture Department of the Native Authority based its land use plans on these traditional reserves, and helped to revive them10. However, the present fate of the reserves is unknown.
Traditional sacred groves in Madagascar were established on the graves of ancestors and sites of ritual importance. The resources in the groves were protected by the local people against all forms of use. However, with a decreasing belief in the traditional religion, many groves were no longer being protected. The Government has successfully established new nature reserves, sometimes on the site of the old groves, by couching them in the same terms as the sacred groves (asking the people to protect the memories of the past) accompanied by education and training on the ecological reasons for nature reserves11.
The hema (plural ahmia) is probably the world's oldest effective range conservation programme. There are five types of ahmia reserves: 1) reserves were all types of grazing are prohibited, but hay can be collected at specified times and places, and by a specified number of needy people, 2) reserves were grazing and/or cutting are allowed, but only in specified seasons, such as the Elazahra and Hameed ahmia near Belgurashi in Saudi Arabia, 3) reserves were grazing is allowed all year round, but the number and type of livestock are controlled, such as most of the ahmia around Taif in Saudi Arabia, 4) reserves for beekeeping where grazing is allowed only after flowering, and 5) reserves where certain trees are protected, such as the Oneiza hema in the Najd Plateau where Haloxylon persicum is protected to help stabilize the dunes.
The ahmia date before the advent of Islam, but the Prophet Mohammed was instrumental in persuading his followers to maintain them. Ahmia, or similar systems, can be found in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kurdistan, the border of Syria and Lebanon, and Tunisia. However, political and legislative changes in this century have contributed to a breakdown of the systems. For example, in Saudi Arabia, a 1953 Royal decree that was aimed at breaking the power of local emirs, was misunderstood by the herders and actually resulted in a breakdown of the ahmia and other range controls. In Syria, the Government has tried to revive them by creating project-assisted Hema cooperatives. Eight coops were established in 1968-1972, and 22 were in operation by 1978. The Government has signaled the importance it attaches to the programme by passing supporting land tenure legislation (such as an Act in 1973 that prohibits ploughing and cultivating of rangelands within the Syrian steppe), and setting up research/development centers in each hema for developing appropriate range management techniques12.
5.3.1 Restocking drought-hit Wodaabe Fulani of Niger
5.3.2 Veterinary programme in Mali
5.3.3 Using pastoralists as project researchers in Niger
The following examples show how particular elements of the traditional social system and technical know-how can be incorporated into development activities.
The Oxfam-Abala project in 1974 tried to help the Wodaabe who had lost considerable numbers of livestock during the drought to restock their herds. The project based its programme on the traditional system of lending cows, called habbanae. According to this system, the borrower of the cow could retain her for three carvings, after which he would have to return the cow. The project slightly modified the traditional system by: 1) allowing women to borrow cows, 2) accepting equivalent cash returns for the loans, and 3) empowering an elder or other member of the community to record loans and repayments, thus in effect relying on traditional social sanctions against unrepaid loans13. The project has been considered a success since most of the loans have been repaid. Between 1974 and 1983, about 350 families were given loans. By 1982-83, 80% of the cows had been given back to the project, which when sold, increased the original capital of the project by over 80%14.
The Office of Animal Husbandry and the OMBEVI (Malian Office of Livestock and Meat) depend on the technical knowledge of the herders to implement their programmes. For example, their vaccination programme was easily accepted by the herders because it was explained in terms of the traditional vaccination technique15.
The Niger Range and Livestock Project in the early 1980's could not find enough trained Nigeriens to accompany the pastoral camps for a survey of labour allocation and household budgets. Thus the project decided to train and pay local herders for the job. The problem of illiteracy was solved by choosing herders who knew tifinagh (the phonetic Twareg script). These herders would then use it to write Fulfulde, and read it back to a supervisor every two weeks. Additional training included how to read a watch for the labour allocation study, and how to write numbers. Although the survey results were satisfactory, there were some problems related to the social relationship between the surveyor and the surveyed, which were rectified by the supervisor in the course of the study. For example, initially children's work was not recorded well, women were neglected, and some surveyors were constrained by social prohibitions, such as not being allowed into the house of a new wife16. Less problems might be encountered if the herders are used as forest and range researchers.
1. Riesman 1984, p. 186.
2. Ezeomah 1985, p. 9.
3. Sankhala & Jackson 1985, pp. 207-209.
4. Odell 1982, pp. 9-12.
5. Monod 1975, p. 79.
6. Diop 1987, p. 44.
7. Gebre Mariam, A. 1986, cited in Swift 1988b, pp. 15-16.
8. Adams 1982, pp. 268 & 278.
9. Swift 1977, pp. 289 & 299.
10. Allan et al 1948, pp. 115-116.
11. Andriamampianina 1985, p. 86.
12. Draz 1974; Draz 1978; and Draz 1985.
13. Scott & Gormley 1980, p. 107.
14. IFAD 1987, p. 6.
15. Woillet 1979, p. 208.
16. Maliki et al 1984, pp. 333-339.