Saving the livestock of drought-hit pastoralists in the Horn of Africa

Saving the livestock of drought-hit pastoralists in the Horn of Africa


In 2017, FAO used early warning information to prompt early action in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, easing the impact of drought on pastoralists who were struggling to save their livestock.

When it became clear that the Horn of Africa’s secondary rain season would fail, herders across the region were already migrating vast distances in search of water and feed for their increasingly thin, diseased and sometimes dying animals. In response, FAO provided thousands of vulnerable families with livestock feed, water and veterinary treatment. This was achieved using a new flexible funding modality established under the Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities that releases resources after analysis of a range of forecasting triggers, putting tailored plans into action before a crisis hits.

At the peak of the drought, the livestock assisted by FAO had not only survived, but were thriving. Milk production increased, nearly tripling in quantity in northern Kenya – 86 percent of which was kept for families’ own consumption, and more than half of which fed children under five years of age.

As a part of its initiative to link early warning to early action, FAO works with national governments and partners from the development, humanitarian and scientific communities to detect, monitor, prevent and mitigate risks facing food security and agriculture. This results in FAO’s quarterly global early warning monitoring report, which scales emerging risks by likelihood and potential impact, and identifies appropriate actions.