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Pennsylviana State University (2012)

Effects of Drought on Nomadic Pastoralism : Impacts and Adaptation among the Maasai of Kajiado District, Kenya

Mwangi, Margaret

Titre : Effects of Drought on Nomadic Pastoralism : Impacts and Adaptation among the Maasai of Kajiado District, Kenya

Auteur : Mwangi, Margaret

Université de soutenance  : Pennsylviana State University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2012

Résumé
In the greater horn of Africa including Kenya, recorded drought-events are often spatially extensive and/or prolonged, and they usually trigger and/or intensify water shortages, ecosystem denudation, resource conflicts, agricultural losses, livestock mortality, and/or food-crises. The very manifestation of these common deleterious effects means that the occurrence of drought across the region constitutes a disruption to the proper operation of pastoralism—one of the major primary livelihood upon which region’s economies are buttressed. Like similar livelihood in the region, nomadic Maasai-pastoralism (NMP) has suffered the brunt of droughts. The manifestation of these common deleterious effects is likely to intensify as the climate continues to change. Although, extensive research undertakings and academic discourses have addressed the patterns and processes of precipitation for Africa ; and the effects of drought on pastoralism are widely documented for Kenya, and indeed for all the countries of the GHA, information about this hazard and its effects on NMP has never been discussed alongside concerns of climate change and cross-scale social and biophysical factors. So far, the interplay among these factors on NMP is not well understood, the exact mechanism of how drought-vulnerability of NMP evolves is unknown, and whether the occurrence of frequent droughts, coupled with these factors will accommodate NMP has not been explored. This dissertation uses an integrated approach to examine the effects of drought on the NMP, and to define key factors affecting the drought-adaptive capacity of the Maasai pastoralists of Kajiado District, Kenya. The study argues that drought-adaptive capacity of the Maasai is as much a socially constructed and existing condition, as it is a biophysically generated one, is embedded in Maasai’s regular livelihood, and is scalar. The empirical evidence from the current study shows that drought is a common occurrence in the district. It also reveals that pressures from variable and historically contingent social and biophysical conditions and happenings are hampering the adaptive operation of NMP ; and that drought occurrence is only partially responsible for the presently inadequate drought-adaptive capacity of the Maasai. Taken together, the findings of the study suggest that efforts toward enhancing drought-adaptation and drought-adaptive capacity of the Maasai should be based on a holistic understanding of the social-biophysical landscapes within which NMP is entrenched.

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Page publiée le 4 juin 2021