Improving weather resilience for Mongolian and Kenyan herding communities

Kenyan countryside

By collaborating with local herding communities in Mongolia and Kenya, a GCRF funded project team has developed new management tools and approaches to deliver improved weather resilience for these herding communities.

In Mongolia where 30% of the population are dependent on livestock herding, extreme winter weather events called dzuds are devastating for the poorest herders leaving them in extreme poverty. In Kenya where 30% of the total population are pastoralists and agriculture accounts for 67% employment, the impact of severe weather conditions is being made worse by global warming.

Researchers from the UK and Kenya have collaborated with pastoral communities in Mongolia and Kenya. The team collected, documented and analysed the community’s experiences to co-produce stories that helped contribute towards a new pastoral resilience framework. They engaged with the local pastoralist communities using oral and visual methods to capture indigenous oral traditions in the form of ‘Resilience Stories’. Where allowed by the resilience storyteller, these narratives were also supported by photographs and video clips. The participatory visual tool ‘PhotoVoice’ was also used as a way to give power and a voice to the communities. The local communities welcomed the team as it made it possible for their knowledge to be co-produced and articulated in ways they agreed with and approved of.

As a result, Mongolia’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry worked with the project team to develop new management tools and approaches. A memorandum of understanding with key government agencies in Mongolia further extended the reach of this work. Following on, a UK Space Agency funded SIBELIUs project is now looking to provide greater dzud-resilience for herders using new sources of satellite data.

Resilient pastoralism: Towards sustainable futures in rangelands (Grant no. NE/P01626X/1)

UK project lead: Dr Caroline Upton, University of Leicester
International lead: Bockline Omedo Bebe, Egerton University Kenya
Call: Global Challenges Research Fund’s (GCRF) Building Resilience call – September 2016
Partners and funders include: Natural Environment Research Council, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA), Rural Investment Support Centre, International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism (IUCN WISP)

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