Understanding and managing pastoral conflict in Kenya

Understanding and managing pastoral conflict in Kenya

How contemporary understandings and knowledge of pastoral conflict can guide practical work

This literature review explores the range of writings available concerning pastoral conflict in northern Kenya. It argues that that conflict has grown rapidly in Africa in the least three decades, and pastoral areas are among the most vulnerable. For this reason, there is an urgent need for a stocktaking of contemporary analysis of conflict. This paper maps the state of knowledge, to identifies important gaps in understanding, and suggests promising avenues for future practical work.

It specifically explores the literature referring to pastoral conflict in north Kenya, concerning:

  • the prominent actors involved in the conflict in
  • the importance of the national political situation
  • the effect of international influences
  • the outcomes of pastoral conflict
  • the construction of a typology of violent pastoral conflict
  • major changes in pastoral conflict over time
  • the importance of the advent of automatic weapons
  • different analytical perspectives on conflict over resource tenure and use
  • the breakdown of the ability of customary institutions to manage conflict
  • the potential role in pastoral conflict for agencies

The literature synthesises typical recommendations made in order to establish more efficient conflict management mechanisms. These include:

  • give support to participatory development planning to prepare conflict management components of wider development plans and policies, and to assess the likely impact of development activities on conflict
  • integrate conflict management and reduction goals and activities into the national poverty eradication plan as it is implemented, especially: incorporate conflict management considerations into pilot field demonstration projects and into selection of geographic and sector targets for the plan; provide training on conflict management within wider poverty training for senior civil servants
  • develop strategies and methods for more successful development in conflict-prone arid districts, including improved natural resource tenure, food security, marketing and credit
  • support preparation of case studies of the links between conflict and poverty
  • explore regional support to conflict management
  • develop a conflict impact analysis procedure for all new projects

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