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Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC)

Hero image description: An agricultural worker on a strawberry farm in Argentina Image credit:Nahuel Berger/World Bank Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

What we do

Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) generates evidence and addresses knowledge gaps in agricultural, technological, social and economic best practice to build the resilience of millions of pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and farmers in the drylands of East, West and North Africa and the Near East. Pastoralist livelihoods are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, conflict and land degradation as well as the ongoing global pandemic.

We aim to create impact using research and evidence to develop knowledge that supports development partners, local and national governments, non-governmental organisations and civil society to empower these dryland communities.

Our goals are to:

  • carry out new research on how support delivered to agro-pastoralists, pastoralists and farmers can be designed, implemented and evaluated more effectively; and
  • support innovation and the use of technology in partner programmes working in protracted and recurrent crises situations.

How we work

We do this by engaging widely in partnerships to tailor and distil key research findings that have the potential to strengthen livelihoods and wellbeing of dryland communities.

Valuable knowledge on the sustainability and medium-term impacts of community initiatives and donor programmes is being generated, largely thanks to the initiatives of local communities and the support of national governments, international donors, aid organisations and businesses. By evaluating and assessing these research outcomes, SPARC ensures that they are not lost beyond the lifetime of the initiatives but are disseminated to decisionmakers.

SPARC also assesses how promising approaches can be adapted for use in different regions and countries – or scaled up, given the diversity and dynamism of the regions involved. We have a particular focus on empowering women and girls, young people and people with diverse abilities.

We disseminate this knowledge to field partners, donors and decisionmakers to support them in making informed decisions to support pastoralist communities based on the best available knowledge and best practice.

Who we are

SPARC is a six-year research programme, the consortium is managed by fund manager Cowater, working in partnership with ODI, the International Livestock Research Institute and Mercy Corps. The programme is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The SPARC team comprises researchers and knowledge specialists on agriculture, climate change, economics, livelihoods, gender equality, social inclusion, humanitarian issues, conflict and peacebuilding, and research communications. See the SPARC website for more information and to sign up to the SPARC newsletter, and follow SPARC on Twitter.


  1. Rapid Assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

    Emerging analysis

  2. Stabilising the Sahel: Livestock as a driver of regional integration

    Briefing/policy papers

  3. Impacts of disruptions to livestock marketing in Sudan

    Working papers

  4. Financing livestock trade: Formal and informal finance in Kenya, Mali and Somalia

    Research reports

  5. Livelihoods and markets in protracted conflict: a review of evidence and practice

    Literature reviews

  6. Making the concept of resilience in the Sahel more useful

    Briefing/policy papers

  7. Obstacles to and opportunities for anticipatory action in Somalia

    Briefing/policy papers

  8. Impacts of war on food prices and food security in potentially vulnerable countries

    Briefing/policy papers

  9. Conflict in the time of Covid-19

    Case/country studies

  10. Livelihoods, conflict and mediation: Nigeria

    Case/country studies

  11. Livelihoods, conflict and mediation: Somalia

    Case/country studies

  12. Somalia: drought and rising costs take hold

    Briefing/policy papers

  13. Climate adaptation investments in conflict-affected states

    Briefing/policy papers

  14. Transboundary climate and adaptation risks in Africa: perceptions from 2021

    Research reports

  15. Understanding the role of anticipatory action in Somalia

    Briefing/policy papers

  16. Exploring the conflict blind spots in climate adaptation finance

    Research reports

  17. Issue brief: Resilient Generation: supporting young people’s prospects for decent work in the drylands of east and west Africa

    Briefing/policy papers

  18. Report: Resilient Generation: supporting young people’s prospects for decent work in the drylands of east and west Africa

    Research reports