Pastoralist Knowledge Hub

Eastern and Southern Africa

Pastoralism is the main livelihood in the arid and semi-arid areas of Eastern and Southern Africa. Over 90% of the meat consumed in East Africa and more than 50% of the milk produced comes from pastoral herds. Countries like Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are also major exporters of livestock to the Gulf countries generating foreign exchange earnings and contributing to the economy.

In this region pastoralists occupy rangelands with varying grasslands, shrubs and woodlands and practice horizontal movement across communally managed or open-access resources, including transboundary mobility, for example between Kenya and Tanzania, and between Kenya and Uganda. They rear camel, cattle, sheep and goats and are keepers of famous livestock species such as Ankole cattle and Tswana cattle.

The pastoralists in the region are facing increasing loss of resources from large-scale industrialization, privatization of communal lands and wildlife conservation initiatives. Through this their mobility is curtailed and their resilience to climate fluctuations is diminished. All this region has faced some form of conflict especially in the border areas in the last few years.

The Pastoralist Knowledge Hub has provided crucial support for the development of the Eastern and Southern African Pastoralist Network. Despite the importance of pastoralism in the region and the large number of pastoralists, a regional network of pastoral civil society organizations was still not developed. 

The Hub supported:

  • Community dialogues and regional meetings for the development of the network. The first meeting was held in Lukenya in Kenya in January 2016, then in Arusha, Tanzania, in May 2017.
  • A knowledge sharing workshop on pastoral land tenure between pastoralists from Eastern and Southern Africa that was held in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2017 with the support of FAO’s land tenure unit.  This workshop resulted in the publication of a case study of applying the VGGT to the case of the oil exploration in Turkana, Kenya, and an informational pamphlet on the VGGT in Swahili.

Additionally, the ESAPN has participated in several forums such as the Committee on World Food Security, the European Development Days, the PKH’s Partners’ Meetings as well as regional forums such as dialogue on IGAD’s transhumance protocol, and the Kenya and Ethiopia Pastoral Weeks.