Improved access to information on livestock early warning

Improved access to information on livestock early warning

Providing pastoral communities with information can empower them to limit the impacts of natural disasters

Particularly in vulnerable pastoral regions, early warning systems can empower individuals and communities to act to prevent loss of life and reduce the economic and material impact of disasters. In this two-page article from Baobab, the essential aims, products and approaches of people-centred early warning systems are summarised, drawing on examples from the Horn of Africa. The aims of a people-centred early warning system should be to:

  • facilitate creation of awareness on risks that the community is likely to encounter in their particular environment
  • disseminate, in a timely manner, messages that are easily understood by those likely to be affected
  • ensure a constant state of preparedness
  • guide the community in implementing workable disaster-relief interventions.

In Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, examples of such systems include the Livestock Early Warning System (LEWS), which generates country-specific forage situation status reports and forecasts, and USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET).

The article observes the urgent need to establish the right institutions and mechanisms to deal with disasters affecting communities; for the project to be effective and sustainable, it must actively involve the local communities while ensuring gender parity and observing cultural diversity. It should also adopt a multifaceted approach and ensure appropriate governance structures are in place.

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