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UNDERSTANDING THE DYNAMISM IN PASTORAL AREAS AS POINT OF DEPARTURE FOR APPROPRIATE PLANNING: EXPERIENCES FROM SOMALI REGION,ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0306-06]
It is believed that the cumulative effect of knowledge gaps and top-down approaches to pastoralism have contributed to the introduction of inappropriate policies, triggering resource-based conflicts, land degradation and food insecurity. Accordingly, the overall aim of this study is to document rational and invisible pastoral activities which are usually simplified and underestimated by outsiders based on one of the districts of the Somali Region of Ethiopia. As a methodology, Shinile district is selected due to its diversified livelihoods, interfaces of the rural and urban, and the presence of both conflict and peace. Moreover, both a household survey and group discussion were held with pastorals and agro-pastorals of different wealth ranks. A total of 160 people were consulted in the household survey and group discussions.
The study revealed that pastoralism as a system is subject to dynamic changes in the environment, livelihood, land use and land cover and demographic features. However, these complex and diverse dynamics are less understood by the decision makers, which attribute them to a defective policy formulation in pastoral areas instead. Moreover, pastoralists have a wide range of invisible activities, amongst them their ecological and socio-economic setting acting as opportunities to develop their livelihoods. Finally, the study concludes that some of the invisible pastoral activities are rational pathways to adapt to environmental and policy changes. Supporting the local initiates and recognition of community competence to experiment and innovate appear essential to assure sustainable livelihoods in the pastoral areas.