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Pastoralists' vulnerability in the Horn of Africa: Exploring political marginalisation, donors' policies and cross-border issues


Written by Sara Pavanello


The Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) was commissioned by CARE International (CARE) to provide a review of the literature on the nature of pastoralists’ vulnerability in the Horn of Africa (focusing specifically on Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia) and chart ways in which agencies have responded and identifying best practice. This

 literature review is part of a broader project that HPG is undertaking to provide learning support to CARE and document and strengthen best practices around drought cycle management in the Horn of Africa (HoA).

 The learning support and the literature review

 focus on three key areas:

 1. Pastoralists’ political marginalisation

 2. International donors’ policies and approaches

 to drought management and response

 3. Cross-border approaches.

This review recognises that addressing pastoralists’ political marginalisation, adopting appropriate cross-border approaches and improving donors’ policies to drought management is only part of broader efforts to address pastoralists’ vulnerability in the HoA, which may include efforts to improve access to

 markets, support viable economic alternatives, enable sustainable resource management to arrest or limit environmental degradation, and so on. However, for the purpose of this analysis, this review is limited to the literature that discusses

 the above three key focus areas in relation to pastoralists’ vulnerability. In addition, this review recognises that pastoralists are a highly diversified group with widely different needs,

 backgrounds and levels of vulnerability.

Sara Pavanello