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University of Nairobi (2015)

Poverty, livelihoods and resilience against food insecurity in pastoral areas of northern Kenya

Watete, Patrick W

Titre : Poverty, livelihoods and resilience against food insecurity in pastoral areas of northern Kenya

Auteur : Watete, Patrick W

Université de soutenance : University of Nairobi

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in Dryland Resources Management 2015

Researchers, policy makers and donors have in the recent past developed great interest in resilience approach as a way of achieving sustainable development of communities. For pastoral communities however, opinion is still divided on what makes pastoral households less resilient and on what can be done to enhance their resilience. Inadequate understanding of pastoral livelihoods has led to implementation of sub-optimal interventions, and thus achievement of pastoral resilience has remained a mirage. This study sought to explore the linkages between poverty, livelihoods and resilience to food insecurity among communities residing in pastoral areas of Turkana and Mandera, Kenya. The three specific objectives of this study were : i) to establish how pastoral communities of Turkana and Mandera have moved in and out of poverty between 1993 and 2013, ii) to determine drivers of livelihood diversification among Turkana and Mandera households and iii) to identify the key indicators for computation of household food security resilience index. Household survey was conducted in 662 households in the two Counties. Further data were collected through Focus Group discussions and key Informant Interviews. The study found out that 71% and 58% of the households in Turkana and Mandera respectively could be classified as poor in 2013. Loss of livestock through drought, diseases and raids was the main reason for increased pastoral poverty. Pastoral households escaped poverty through diversification, receipt of remittances and employment. Agro-pastoral households (though few) were relatively more resilient compared to both pastoral and off-farm households. The number of income sources, distance to water source, education level of household head, total livestock units (TLUs) held, durable index (a measure of physical asset ownership) and age of household head influenced the ability of a household to pursue particular livelihood strategies. Diet diversity score, durable index score and education level of household head were the most important indicators determining household food resilience. Pastoral resilience can be improved through policies and interventions that protect and facilitate accumulation of livestock, while at the time supporting individuals who exit the pastoral economy to take up other non livestock-based opportunities. Improved education levels and better access to water are important factors in encouraging adoption of non-livestock based income generating activities. To achieve enhanced resilience against food insecurity, interventions should seek to improve household incomes.


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