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University of Waterloo (1998)

Locally-evolved knowledge in livestock and range management systems in southern Zimbabwe’s drylands, a study of pastoral communities in beitbridge district

Mutandi, Robson

Titre : Locally-evolved knowledge in livestock and range management systems in southern Zimbabwe’s drylands, a study of pastoral communities in beitbridge district

Auteur : Mutandi, Robson

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) 1998

Université de soutenance : University of Waterloo

Résumé
Through a largely phenomenological and qualitative approach, the role of locally-evolved knowledge systems in pastoral resource management and development is explored in the Communal Areas of Beitbridge District of Zimbabwe. However, more objective methods such as socio-economic survey and mapping were also used to complement the qualitative methods, and to enable triangulation and validation of field data. The social organisation of the pastoral system in the study area, the decision-making processes, and the institutional relations governing the production system and relations were examined at two conceptual levels, namely, the homestead and the wider community. The homestead rather than the household was the primary focus of coping and adaptive strategies (cooperation, sharing, reciprocity and mobility) among residents of the area. It was also the locus of most decision-making processes, and economic and social activities. In that respect, marriage and child fostering were important elements of the risk-sharing strategies among residents of the area. The pastoral system was centred around cooperation among resource users at homestead and community levels, and based on the mobility of livestock herds and people within and outside their designated area in search of food, water and improved livelihoods. While the pastoral system was largely controlled by men, women and children played a significant role in the management system. At the community level, the headman’s institution was central to the sustainable management of grazing resources in the area. The traditional informal rule system had widespread legitimacy among residents of the area. Many social control measures were used to enforce the traditional rule systems, and often seemed to perform better than the government-imposed system of administration. Their success was largely dependent on the headman and his institutions for administration of the area under his control. The headman’s area boundaries were found to be more useful administrative units in the study area than the village-head (sabhuku)’s area as is widely advocated in Zimbabwean government publications. This study concluded that the basic ingredients for reforming the administration of livestock development in regions of Zimbabwe that have similar conditions to the Beitbridge District environment were in place at community levels. What is required is a change of structure and attitude of agencies working in these areas, and more commitment by development agents towards the development of these peripheral regions of the country. The focus of these changes should be the district administration structure which should be reformed in such a way as to create a basis for facilitating vertical linkages between traditional (community level) institutions with district, regional and supra-regional institutions responsible for Communal Area development. A framework to facilitate the reform process is proposed and recommended for adoption by the responsible agencies. Therefore, this research has immediate implications for reforming livestock development policies and programs in the arid and semi-arid Communal Areas of Zimbabwe

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