Boston -- Pastoralist communities in dryland areas of Africa are reliant on livestock as sources of food, income and social support. However drought is common in sub-Saharan Africa, making these communities vulnerable to loss of livestock when rains fail. The Feinstein International Center (FIC), part of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, in partnership with United States Agency for International Development Ethiopia (USAID Ethiopia), CARE, and Save the Children USA, describes non-traditional drought-relief interventions involving livestock in Ethiopia in a report entitled "Impact Assessments of Livelihoods-based Drought Interventions in Moyale and Dire Woredas." Seemingly counterintuitive, these interventions enabled families to reduce livestock assets during droughts, but ultimately helped feed families, support communities, and sustain pastoralist livelihoods.
"Recurring drought contributes to the vulnerability of pastoralists in Ethiopia," says Andrew Catley, PhD, a research director at the FIC and lead editor of the report, "as drought kills livestock, creates hardship for pastoralist communities, and leads to repeated need for humanitarian assistance. While food aid helps keep people alive, other relief interventions can not only save lives but also, importantly, be effective in preventing the loss of livestock and allowing pastoralists to protect their main resources and way of life."
To test these livelihoods-based relief interventions, during the 2005-2006 droughts in southern Ethiopia, researchers worked with the Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative (PLI), a program based on the creation of a national Livestock Policy Forum by the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and facilitated by the FIC. The two-year program, funded by USAID Ethiopia, allowed FIC, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government to test field level interventions and feed results into national guideli
Contact: Siobhan Gallagher