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Drought, livestock and livelihoods: lessons from the 1999–2001 emergency response in the pastoral sector in Kenya

Working paper

Working paper

The livestock intervention programme that took place during the 1999–2001 drought in Kenya’s pastoral areas was the largest the country had ever seen. Donors made more funds available than ever before; more types of intervention were carried out; more agencies were involved in implementing programmes; a larger geographical area was covered; and coordination at national level was more extensive than ever before.  

This paper documents the experiences and lessons learnt from the livestock interventions in response to the drought. It focuses on the arid and semi-arid districts of Kenya, where the drought’s effects were most severe. The first chapter describes the severity and impact of the drought, introduces some of the response activities that were implemented, and underscores the livestock sector’s importance to Kenya’s economy.

The second chapter describes in more detail the range of livestock-related interventions that were implemented, and discusses their broader socio-economic impact. In chapter three, the costs and benefits of the various interventions are laid out. The paper concludes with the key lessons of the intervention, and offers recommendations and suggestions to guide future work.

Yacob Aklilu and Mike Wekesa