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New initiative to include pastoralists in research

University of the Bush aims to enable pastoralists to engage with and comment on pastoralist-relevant research (© David Hughes/Future Agricultures)
University of the Bush aims to enable pastoralists to engage with and comment on pastoralist-relevant research
© David Hughes/Future Agricultures

A new initiative that brings together leading pastoralists from Ethiopia and Kenya and researchers to discuss and advance solutions to pastoralist issues, recently met for the second time in Kenya. The 'University of the Bush' is designed to link debate with action in the drylands and aims to enable pastoralists to engage with, comment on, critique and input into how pastoralist-relevant research is proceeding. "The University is an innovation in itself, drawing on tradition but enriching research," explains Jeremy Lind, a fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and researcher with Future Agricultures Consortium.

On the outskirts of the Meru National Park, a group of 50 researchers, policymakers and community members met under an acacia tree to discuss the preliminary findings of studies aimed at documenting some of the innovative ways in which pastoral communities are mitigating the consequences of climate change. The new Kenyan constitution, land and boundaries, traditional authority, state law and security, and innovations in production and marketing were also examined.

Hosted by the Pastoralist Shade Initiative, the participants heard how some pastoralists are buying land in their areas to avoid losing it to international investors, which has occurred in the Tana Delta. "This delta is a very unique ecosystem," explains Mr Abdirizak Nunow, lecturer at Moi University, "the only wetland of its kind in the Horn of Africa, with a huge biodiversity." Other innovations highlighted include purchasing of animal feed to compliment natural pasture and adding value to their products.

Hosted far from urban conference centres, it is hoped that similar dialogues will enable pastoralists to engage in more dynamic and productive environments in order to interact with future development decision making processes.

Written by: Eric Kadenge

Date published: December 2010

 

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I saecherd a bunch of sites and this was the best. (posted by: Sharky)

 

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