Restocking and poverty alleviation: perceptions and realities of livestock-keeping among poor pastoralists in Kenya

Restocking and poverty alleviation: perceptions and realities of livestock-keeping among poor pastoralists in Kenya

Community and individual-level attitudes towards livestock-keeping greatly impact the outcome of restocking projects

This article investigates the development of decision support tools for pastoral restocking projects. The study focuses on how community and individual-level attitudes and values regarding livestock-keeping influenced the outcome of restocking projects.

The livelihood analysis included underlying this study, reveals that:

  • for many study participants, drought combined with raids precipitated migration to peri-urban areas
  • once settled, households were caught in cycles of dependency and destitution
  • access to sufficient child labour was found to be a key factor to the success of livestock-based livelihoods
  • the vast majority of children were enrolled in school at the time of the study. Restocking provided households with an immediate financial gain that often translated into increased school attendance
  • the need to generate money for purchased foodstuffs and school fees led to high off-take rates
  • for settled communities, restocking did not appear to reverse the decline of traditional livelihoods
  • participant's perceived 'actual' and 'ideal' selves revolved around livestock ownership rather than the pursuit of a pastoralist lifestyle
  • there were distinct changes in community values and norms. Importantly, the analysis outlined the advent of a new form of pastoralism in which the urban elite controlled the productive assets of the rangelands via the labour of the rural poor
  • restocking will have the greatest impact on communities who aspire to a collective future based upon livestock keeping with strong traditional values toward livestock
  • projects and programmes need to be aware of the pressures and forces of social change on potential restocking clients
  • it is important to focus on the role of client motivation as a key factor to the success or failure of development projects and programmes

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