Oxfam International Blogs - pastoralists http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/pastoralists en Day 8: Frame new ideas within indigenous knowledge http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-12-19-day-8-frame-new-ideas-within-indigenous-knowledge <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>Experts’ ideas about how resource-poor farmers could improve productivity ought to be guided by indigenous knowledge. Low-cost, micro-innovations that make use of local resources have great potential but are often overlooked by mainstream developers of agricultural technology.</strong></em></p> <p><em>By Dr. Florence Wambugu, CEO, <strong><a href="http://africaharvest.org/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International</a></strong> (AHBFI)</em></p> <p>Although many people know me because of my frontline work in advocating for Africa’s right to Genetically Modified (GM) technology, many don’t know my early involvement in this technology was largely driven by the desire to increase agricultural productivity for resource-poor farmers. I remain true to my calling, but wiser to know that the GM technology is only one in the large arsenal of tools available to scientists and farmers. </p> <p>There is, of course, a place for conventional technologies, but what I really wish to explore in this article is how “expert ideas” targeted to resource poor farmers need to be framed within the indigenous knowledge of technology recipients.   </p> <p>When HIV/AIDS robs a woman of her husband, does the widowed mother, now alone to take care of her seven children, have anything to contribute to her plight? Does the fact that she owns only one acre of land in Kenya’s arid and semi arid lands  make her a mere recipient of development interventions? Could her experiences with the myriad of challenges provide a solution to her problems?? </p> <h3><em>“The mainstream drivers of agricultural R&amp;D often fail to incorporate home-grown ideas and innovations into their interventions.”</em></h3> <p>Sadly, the mainstream drivers of agricultural R&amp;D often fail to incorporate home-grown ideas and innovations into their interventions. Forced by years of limited success, development players are now searching for how best to tap farmers’ indigenous knowledge and innovations. </p> <p>A case in point is a project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by Africa Harvest. The Food Security and Ecosystem Management for Sustainable Livelihoods in Arid and Semi Arid Lands of Kenya (FOSEMS) Project, demonstrates how to unlock value by tapping indigenous ideas and innovations. </p> <p>The project takes an integrated approach to food security, ecosystem management and sustainable livelihoods using five components: traditional food crops, horticultural crops, soil fertility management, water (conservation, harvesting and management) and short-cycle livestock. </p> <p>The project location represents the poorest of the poor in the harsh arid and semi-arid environment of Makueni District and Central Kitui of the Eastern Province of Kenya. The communities depend on agriculture or agro-pastoralism for their livelihoods; they include subsistence farmers, traditional crop processors, livestock farmers, HIV/AIDS affected households, unemployed rural people and farm produce dealers.   </p> <h3><em>“While not applying advanced systems of agricultural production, they managed to increase their incomes by making small improvements with few resources.”</em></h3> <p>At project inception, we were very conscious that among target resource-poor farmers, there existed indigenous knowledge and innovation. We were therefore on the lookout for farmers doing novel things to mitigate the challenges they faced.  </p> <p>Our staff (a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, sociologists, economists and field workers) joined hands with local communities and other stakeholders and pursued an approach we call farmer-first-and-last (FFL) and it has proven more effective than the often used alternative, the technology transfer (TT) model.  </p> <p>We started with a systematic process of understanding the conditions of farmers, and in consultation with famer leaders developed home-grown adaptable solutions to resolve the challenges people faced. . </p> <h3><em>“Farmers are innovators who generate agricultural practices which are very well adapted to the prevailing conditions.”</em></h3> <p>These included unfavourable soil conditions, erratic rainfall patterns, low literacy levels, unstable market prices of inputs and final produce, and limited access to insurance and credit markets. While, some do own the land on which they farm, they lack productive assets acceptable as collateral. Research generally agrees that these farmers will be disproportionately affected by climatic changes and that trade reforms are not sufficient to reduce poverty among them.  </p> <p>These farmers are experimenters and innovators who generate their own agricultural practices which are very well adapted to the prevailing agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions. While not applying advanced systems of agricultural production, they managed to increase their incomes by making small improvements with few resources, expanding their resource base by building upon local knowledge. </p> <p>Some of the farmer “innovations” included growing of dry land cereals and legumes and also keeping short-cycle livestock to address food deficiency in local diets and income generation from marketing the surplus in the nearby shopping centres. </p> <p>Farmers proposed the upgrading of their indigenous goats and chickens to improve their breeds for milk and egg production. Their explanation was that goats and chickens were more resilient to drought and climatic changes; their meat and eggs are a source of protein to improve human diet; goat droppings boost the fertility of gardens; and their sale provides much needed income for school fees, medical costs and farm inputs. </p> <h3><em>“It’s impossible to achieve success alone.”</em></h3> <p>Farmers received an improved variety of chicks which resulted in increased egg production. One of the indigenous innovations was the farmers decision to assign one of the mother hens to tend to the chicks of several mother hens; this released others hens used in brooding to resume egg production at the earliest opportunity. </p> <p>During the baseline survey, women farmers identified water for domestic use as the highest priority and suggested sand dams could retain water throughout the year. Three  sand dams across Muini River in Mulala, Kamunyii in Wote both in Makueni County and Yethi River in Kitui were constructed and completed. </p> <p>The community shares and manages this resource to ensure equity and sustainability.  Innovative funding mechanisms would probably attract the private sector to play a greater role in the search for greater engineering innovation in building dams and providing domestic water.  </p> <p>A key lesson was that farmers must be involved in the search for solutions to their problems. Our farmers’ idea of planting sorghum, which is a naturally drought-resistant grain crop allowed them to use a traditional innovation taking advantage of the minimal precipitation that occurs during the short rain season, thereby affording them a second harvest. </p> <p>It’s impossible to achieve success alone. With help from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Home Economics Department, farmers became more innovative in making new recipes of tasty meals from sorghum grains. Younger farmers fed their surplus sorghum grain to the improved chickens and then sold eggs instead. The sorghum residue was also used as manure to fertilise the soil and as a fodder bank for consumption by livestock during the dry season.</p> <h3><em>“Tapping into the creativity and perseverance of poor farmers should be an integral aspect of project design, not an after-thought.”</em></h3> <p>You cannot underestimate the importance of building local capacity—nor the time it takes. A major contribution of Africa Harvest in the project was training, capacity building, skills transfer, especially in good agronomic practices, and information dissemination to farmers along the whole value chain. </p> <p>The disadvantaged in society could be key drivers of development. Africa Harvest tapped into persons living with HIV/AIDS, youth, widows, orphans and men and women undergoing alcohol abuse rehabilitation. Appreciating and working with the disadvantaged helped to demonstrate in the fastest way that our interventions worked. This attracted other community members. The project also provides conclusive evidence that local knowledge can be built upon to successively stimulate and upscale processes of innovation, with one new idea spawning the next. </p> <p>The integrated-approach to development can positively impact many aspects of community life. Tapping into the creativity and perseverance of African’s resource-poor farmers should be an integral aspect of project design, not an after-thought.</p> <p>Development partners could also emulate the example of IFAD by allowing some flexibility in project implementation while achieving project targets, encouraging farmers’ innovations and allowing project promoters to focus on solving the problems facing the farmers, while still focusing on food security, income generation and sustainability.</p> <h3><em>“Most innovators lack confidence and the means to make their ideas more widely known.”   </em></h3> <p>For R&amp;D organizations, the key lessons are that farmers and scientists are partners in development. For the FOSEM project, the two groups worked together to come up with a legume for nutrition and soil fertility: high-yielding dual-purpose cowpea from certified seeds whose tender leaves serve as a vegetable for human consumption, while the mature leaves form an important ingredient in chicken feed and the seeds provide a rich source of protein. Cowpea fixes atmospheric nitrogen and enhances soil fertility. Its residue is also used to feed goats and provide manure for the soil. </p> <p>Overall, such micro-innovations bring improvements that tend to be low-cost, and because they primarily make use of local resources. These innovations are often overlooked by mainstream developers of agricultural technology.  These innovations have good potential for dissemination and sustainability. Sadly, most of the innovators lack confidence and the means to make their ideas more widely known.     </p> <p>Download: <strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/new-ideas-indigenous-knowledge-wambugu-dec2012.pdf" target="_blank">Frame new ideas within indigenous knowledge</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Day 8: Frame new ideas within indigenous knowledge</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/12-12-19-jour-8-integrer-de-nouvelles-idees-la-connaissance-traditionnelles" title="Jour 8: Formuler des nouvelles idées avec les connaissances autochtones" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/12-12-19-dia-8-encuadrar-nuevas-ideas-en-el-marco-del-conocimiento-indigena" title="Día 8: Encuadrar nuevas ideas en el marco del conocimiento indígena" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Tue, 18 Dec 2012 23:01:00 +0000 Dr. Florence Wambugu 10162 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-12-19-day-8-frame-new-ideas-within-indigenous-knowledge#comments West Bank: Families face forced eviction in “Fire Zone 918” http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-09-24-west-bank-families-face-forced-eviction-fire-zone-918 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>For Yasser, who lives in Al Fakheet with his mother, Fatmeh, his wife, Hajah, and their 7 children, life has become more difficult as he worries constantly that his family will soon have nowhere to go.</strong></p> <p>Deep in the Hebron Hills, the village of Al Fakheet is one of eight Palestinian villages where families are facing forced eviction because the government of Israel has declared the area a military zone, referred to as “<strong><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/world/middleeast/israel-seeks-army-use-of-west-bank-area.html" rel="nofollow">Fire Zone 918</a></strong>.”</p> Hajah washes kitchen utensils with her children Yasmeen, 2 and Ba’araa, 9. Photo: David Levene <p>Located in <strong><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administrative_divisions_of_the_Oslo_Accords" rel="nofollow">Area C of the West Bank</a></strong>, where the government of Israel maintains full military and civil control, people in Al Fakheet and other villages within “Fire Zone 918” are already living in substandard conditions – they are not allowed to build permanent structures, including homes, schools, health clinics, or roads without Israeli issued permits, which are <strong><a href="12-08-29-3-facts-israeli-settlements-impact-palestinians-jordan-valley#building-permits" rel="nofollow">hard to obtain</a></strong>.</p> <p>The forced eviction from “Fire Zone 918” would leave 1,000 people homeless.</p> Hajah herds her sheep. Photo: David Levene <p>Oxfam is working to help families in Al Fakheet make a decent living raising sheep and goats, but the eviction orders mean it will be difficult for people to move beyond poverty as they lose access to the land, which they need to earn income from raising livestock. In recent months, aid agencies like Oxfam have been denied vehicular access to “Fire Zone 918,” making it more difficult to support the people living there.</p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/12-08-29-3-facts-israeli-settlements-impact-palestinians-jordan-valley">3 facts about Israeli settlements</a> and their impact on Palestinians in the Jordan Valley</strong></p> <p><strong>Photo gallery: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/gaza/palestinian-communities-coping-jordan-valley-photos" rel="nofollow">How Palestinian communities are coping in the Jordan Valley</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>West Bank: Families face forced eviction in “Fire Zone 918”</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/12-09-25-cisjordanie-familles-palestiniennes-menacees-expulsion-zone-tir-918" title="En Cisjordanie, des familles palestiniennes menacées d&#039;expulsion de la « zone de tir 918 »" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/cisjordania-familias-palestinas-enfrentan-ordenes-de-expulsion-de-la-zona-de-fuego" title="Cisjordania: Familias palestinas enfrentan órdenes de expulsión de la &quot;Zona de Fuego 918”" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Mon, 24 Sep 2012 12:05:24 +0000 Willow Heske 9960 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-09-24-west-bank-families-face-forced-eviction-fire-zone-918#comments Helping pastoralists cope with a changing way of life in Kenya http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-07-10-helping-pastoralists-cope-changing-way-life-kenya <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>One year since the launch of Oxfam’s appeal for the <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/east-africa-food-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>food crisis in the Horn of Africa</strong></a>, Polycarp Otieno returns to Wajir in northeastern Kenya, to see how Oxfam’s response is helping communities to recover. </em></p> <p><strong>For many years, Abdillahi Jilaow depended on his livestock to provide for his seven children. Like generations before him, people in Wajir adapted to a harsh environment by following a pastoralist lifestyle. But as droughts become increasingly frequent, and pastoralist communities suffer from neglect and a lack of development, more and more are being forced into towns and alternative ways of making a living.</strong></p> <p>For Abdillahi, the 2011 drought was different to the many that had come before. He lost virtually all his animals, and for the first time he had to move from his rural home into one of Wajir’s growing towns and trading centres.</p> <p>“I had 30 cows, and 300 goats and sheep,” says Abdillahi. “When I was a pastoralist, life was good. But there were many challenges, and I was often worried when it didn’t rain and I had to move from place to place in search of pasture and water. During (last year’s) drought I lost all my cows and 270 of the goats and sheep. I could no longer stay in the bush, so I moved to Dambas.”</p> <h3>A sundries start-up pays for education</h3> <p>The ECHO-funded “La Nina” program, which in Wajir is run by Oxfam and WASDA, aims to support people like Abdillahi, who have been forced to drop out of pastoralism and have no alternative sources of livelihoods. Abdillahi was soon enrolled in a program to receive cash relief.</p> <p><strong>“I took 9,000 Kenyan shillings ($107) and used it to start this business,”</strong> he says, pointing to a small shop with a wooden table overflowing with various brands of juice, milk, sodas, batteries, detergents and even hair-dye. His business is clearly thriving.</p> <p>“After deducting my expenses I get a profit of about 2,000 shillings ($24) every month,” he explains. “I plow back some of the profits and save some of the rest. Right now I have 6,000 shillings ($72) in savings!” Abdillahi says he uses part of the profits to buy household essentials like food, and has also bought himself three new goats. The rest of the money is spent on paying school fees to educate his children.</p> <h3>Tailoring to the Dambas market</h3> Guray Hussein Muhamed in her Tailor's shop. Photo: Polycarp Otieno/Oxfam <p><strong>Just down the road from Abdillahi’s shop, mother-of-three Guray Hussein Muhamed is helping a customer try on a new dress.</strong> Her tailoring shop – selling new dresses and school uniforms, and repairing torn ones – is another one in the Dambas market that was set up with cash from the La Nina project.</p> <p>“Previously my family and I lived a pastoralist life,” she says. “During the drought I lost 32 of my 35 cows. I had to sell another two to pay my children’s secondary school fees. I moved to Dambas and noticed there was nobody offering tailoring services, so when I received the first few payments I bought a sewing machine and materials to sell.”</p> <p><strong>“I’m not an expert at sewing, but my daughter is</strong>. I let her do the sewing and I concentrate on selling. She manages the shop while I travel to buy materials in Wajir town. I make 4-5,000 shillings ($48-60) profit every month and this has helped me take better care of my children. Our food, clothing and money for the education all come from this shop.”</p> <p><strong>Abdillahi and Guray are just two of the 8,000 people in 61 locations across Wajir</strong> who have received cash since late last year as part of the ECHO La Nina project. But without more support for pastoralist communities, increasing numbers of people are likely to follow them into towns.</p> <p>“If the cash relief hadn’t come, life would have been very difficult,” says Abdillahi. “Although I always trust God to provide for me, it would have been very tough since I only had a few goats left.”</p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="/en/blogs/12-07-05-one-year-horn-africa-food-crisis-much-progress-and-many-lessons" rel="nofollow">One year on from the Horn of Africa food crisis, much progress and many lessons</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/food-crisis-horn-africa" rel="nofollow">Food crisis in the Horn of Africa: Progress report, July 2011 – July 2012</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/eastafrica/oxfam-responds-kenya-food-crisis" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's response in Kenya and photos from Wajir</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/east-africa-food-crisis" rel="nofollow">East Africa food crisis</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Helping pastoralists cope with a changing way of life in Kenya</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/12-07-23-aider-pasteurs-adapter-evolution-mode-vie" title="Afrique de l&#039;Est : une aide pour les communautés pastorales contraintes de changer de vie" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/12-07-23-kenia-ayudando-las-comunidades-pastoralistas-adaptarse-una-nuevo-estilo-de-vida" title="Crisis alimentaria en Kenia: comunidades de pastores se adaptan a una nueva vida" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Mon, 23 Jul 2012 14:56:08 +0000 Polycarp Otieno Onyango 9917 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-07-10-helping-pastoralists-cope-changing-way-life-kenya#comments Crisis alimentaria en Kenia: comunidades de pastores se adaptan a una nueva vida http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/9919 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Un año después del inicio del llamado a la ayuda de Oxfam para enfrentar la crisis alimentaria en el Cuerno de África, Polycarp Otieno vuelve a Wajir, al noreste de Kenia, para ver cómo la respuesta de Oxfam está ayudando a las comunidades <em>. </em></p> <p>Durante muchos años, Abdillahi Jilaow ha dependido de su ganado para alimentar a sus siete hijos e hijas. Como sus generaciones anteriores, la gente de Wajir ha sabido adaptarse a un entorno duro, con un estilo de vida basado en el pastoreo. Pero las sequías son cada vez más frecuentes. Esto sumado al abandono y la falta de desarrollo de estas comunidades, hace que cada vez más personas se ven obligadas a migrar a las ciudades y buscar nuevas formas de ganarse la vida.</p> <p><strong>Para Abdillahi, la sequía de 2011 fue diferente a las muchas que había sufrido antes. Perdió prácticamente todos sus animales</strong>, y por primera vez tuvo que mudarse desde su hogar en el campo a una de las crecientes ciudades y centros de comercio de Wajir. </p> <p>“Tenía 30 vacas y 300 cabras y ovejas”, nos cuenta Abdillahi. “Cuando era pastor, la vida me iba bien. Pero tenía muchas dificultades y a veces me preocupaba la falta de lluvia y tenía que moverme de un sitio a otro en busca de agua y pasto. Durante la sequía (del año pasado) perdí todas mis vacas y 270 de las cabras y ovejas. Ya no podía seguir en el campo, así que me mudé a Dambas.” </p> <h3>Una pequeña tienda paga la educación</h3> <p><strong>El programa “La Nina”, con fondos ECHO, gestionado en Wajir por Oxfam y WASDA, intenta ayudar a gente como Abdillahi</strong>, que se han visto obligados a abandonar el pastoreo y no tienen alternativas con las que ganarse la vida. Abdillahi pudo participar enseguida en un programa para recibir ayuda monetaria.</p> <p>“Pedí 9.000 chelines kenianos (107 USD) y los usé para poner en marcha este negocio”, afirma, señalando una pequeña tienda con una mesa de madera repleta de varias marcas de zumo, leche, refrescos, pilas, detergentes e incluso tinte para el pelo. Su negocio está prosperando.</p> <p>“Consigo unos beneficios después de gastos de unos 2.000 chelines (24 USD) al mes”, explica.<strong> “Reinvierto parte de los beneficios y ahorro parte del resto.</strong> ¡Ahora mismo tengo 6.000 chelines (72 USD) de ahorros!” Abdillahi cuenta que usa parte de los beneficios para comprar productos básicos como comida, y también se ha comprado tres nuevas cabras. El resto del dinero lo emplea en pagar la escuela para educar a sus hijos e hijas.</p> <h3>Cambio de negocio</h3> Guray Hussein Muhamed en su sastrería. Foto: Polycarp Otieno/Oxfam <p>Un poco más abajo, en la misma calle que la tienda de Abdillahi, Guray Hussein Muhamed, madre de dos hijos y una hija ayuda a una clienta a probarse un nuevo vestido. Su sastrería, en la que se dedica a vender prendas nuevas y hacer remiendos, es otro de los negocios del mercado de Dambas fundado con dinero del proyecto La Nina. </p> <p>“Antes mi familia y yo vivíamos del pastoreo”, afirma. “Durante la sequía perdí 32 de mis 35 vacas. Tuve que vender otras dos para pagar la escuela secundaria de mis hijos. Me mudé a Dambas y me di cuenta de que nadie ofrecía un servicio de sastrería, así que cuando recibí los primeros pagos, compré una máquina de coser y materiales que vender.”</p> <p>“No soy una costurera experta, pero mi hija sí. Dejo que ella se encargue de coser y yo me concentro en vender. Ella administra la tienda y yo viajo para comprar materiales en la ciudad de Wajir. Consigo unos beneficios de entre 4.000 y 5.000 chelines (48 y 60 USD) al mes, lo que me ha ayudado a cuidar mejor a mi familia. <strong>Nuestros alimentos, ropas y el dinero para su educación salen de esta tienda</strong>.”</p> <p><strong>Abdillahi y Guray son solo dos de las 8.000 personas de 61 lugares de Wajir que han recibido fondos</strong> desde el año pasado como parte del proyecto La Nina de ECHO. Pero a menos que aumenten las ayudas a las comunidades de pastores, es probable que cada vez más personas se vean obligadas a trasladarse a las ciudades.</p> <p>“Sin la ayuda monetaria, nuestra vida habría sido muy difícil”, afirma Abdillahi. “Aunque siempre confío en que Dios proveerá, habría sido muy duro, ya que solo me quedaban unas pocas cabras.”</p> <h3>Más información</h3> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/es/blogs/12-07-05-crisis-alimentaria-en-el-cuerno-de-africa-un-ano-despues-lecciones-aprendidas">Crisis alimentaria en el Cuerno de África, un año después</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Informe:<a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/policy/crisis-alimentaria-cuerno-africa" rel="nofollow"> Crisis alimentaria en el Cuerno de África: informe avance julio 2011 a julio 2012</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/emergencies/oxfam-responde-la-crisis-alimentaria-de-kenia" rel="nofollow">Oxfam responde a la crisis alimentaria de Kenia</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/emergencies/crisis-alimentaria-cuerno-de-africa" rel="nofollow">Crisis alimentaria en el Cuerno de África</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Crisis alimentaria en Kenia: comunidades de pastores se adaptan a una nueva vida</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_en first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-07-10-helping-pastoralists-cope-changing-way-life-kenya" title="Helping pastoralists cope with a changing way of life in Kenya" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/12-07-23-aider-pasteurs-adapter-evolution-mode-vie" title="Afrique de l&#039;Est : une aide pour les communautés pastorales contraintes de changer de vie" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Mon, 23 Jul 2012 14:03:38 +0000 Polycarp Otieno Onyango 9919 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/9919#comments One year on from the Horn of Africa food crisis, much progress and many lessons http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-07-05-one-year-horn-africa-food-crisis-much-progress-and-many-lessons <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>It is a year now since the world woke up to what has been called the worst food crisis in the 21st century.</strong> The footage of Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya was truly awful, and the conditions people were living in when they arrived at Dollo Ado camp in Ethiopia were quite shocking. The UN categorized parts of Somalia as being in famine – a term used so rarely now that we had started to think it no longer happens. </p> <p>While the situation has improved, Oxfam will continue to work with communities in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, to help reduce chronic vulnerability to drought and food insecurity. From a historical perspective, the world has undoubtedly moved on in our ability to save lives. The numbers of disasters are on the increase. So too is the number of people exposed to them. But the numbers that actually die has gone down.</p> <p>Longer-term aid responses have contributed to this, and Ethiopia and Kenya have both developed safety-net programs designed to deliver longterm help to some of the poorest people in their societies. Only in Somalia has the situation not improved at all, but this is directly attributable to two decades of conflict and political turmoil, poor international policies that have exacerbated the crisis, and curtailed access for the humanitarian community. </p> <p><strong>However, while fewer people are dying</strong>, the numbers of people living in poverty who risk losing their livelihoods in such crises has increased in vulnerable areas such as the Horn of Africa, and much more does need to be done by governments and the international community to address this.</p> <p>Looking back on 2011, and more pertinently to 2010, we admit that we – as the entire international community – were slow to scale up our work. But once the crisis hit the headlines and the funds started to come in, I am pleased with the speed and dedication that Oxfam staff put in to what became a massive response in a highly complex, fluid, and often very insecure environment.</p> <p>Particularly noteworthy were the following:</p> <ul><li><strong>the commitment of Oxfam’s local partners</strong> in all three countries to take on more work;</li> <li><strong>the professionalism of our existing team</strong>s of mainly national staff whose knowledge of contexts and communities gave invaluable insights;</li> <li><strong>and the skills and global expertise</strong> of our specialist advisers who travelled to the region at short notice.</li> </ul><p>Oxfam was well placed to use its existing programs and partnerships as a platform to extend its coverage, without which its response would have been weaker.</p> <p><strong>Download: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/er-horn-of-africa-2011-2012-progress-report-050712-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">“Food crisis in the Horn of Africa: Progress report July 2011 – July 2012″</a></strong></p> <p>I am also grateful to Oxfam’s supporters. We are in difficult economic times, yet the generosity of individuals, companies, and institutions has been inspiring. This was the largest Africa appeal that Oxfam has ever launched, and one of its most successful in recent years. Without these funds, we simply could not have achieved what we did to save lives, prevent destitution, and sustain livelihoods. This is a long-term crisis for many communities in the Horn of Africa and Oxfam’s work is by no means over, but the commitments of donors meant that we could make that necessary gear-change when it mattered most. So thank you.</p> <p><strong>But doing good emergency work is not enough</strong>. Looking to the future, the humanitarian community should use the lessons learned during this crisis to create real momentum among governments, donors, and partners to do things differently. We need to make sustained investments in medium- and longer-term interventions if we are to break the cycle of food insecurity. We need to move away from standalone, quick-in-and-out emergency responses that keep people alive but do little to protect or improve livelihoods. </p> <p>Fortunately, it seems governments and donors are listening. Furthermore, Oxfam and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are in a unique position to build on the excellent relationships around the IASC Horn of Africa Plan of Action. The plan enhances support to regional and country-led processes that aim to address chronic hunger and malnutrition, build the resilience of vulnerable livelihoods, and ensure the early, appropriate, and effective scale up of assistance in times of acute crisis. </p> <p>We will utilize all of our strengths: our ability to influence and advocate at a high level with governments and regional bodies such as the African Union, and our work with communities, partners, private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to develop a broad range of interventions that will help shape a better future for vulnerable people.</p> <p>Oxfam is totally committed to working together with others – in East Africa, West Africa, and other regions of the world – to end extreme hunger.</p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong>Join <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/grow" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's GROW Campaign to fix the broken food system</a></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/grow" rel="nofollow"><strong></strong></a><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/eastafrica" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam's response to the East Africa Food Crisis</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/12-04-11-hunger-real-economic-crisis">Hunger: the real economic crisis</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>One year on from the Horn of Africa food crisis, much progress and many lessons</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/12-07-05-crisis-alimentaria-en-el-cuerno-de-africa-un-ano-despues-lecciones-aprendidas" title="Crisis alimentaria en el Cuerno de África, un año despúes." class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 09:31:30 +0000 Jeremy Hobbs 9901 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-07-05-one-year-horn-africa-food-crisis-much-progress-and-many-lessons#comments Crisis alimentaria en el Cuerno de África, un año despúes. http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/9902 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Ha pasado ya un año desde que el mundo comenzó  a prestar atención a lo que se ha llamado la peor crisis alimentaria del siglo XXI. Las imágenes del campamento de refugiados de Dadaab en Kenia fueron realmente impactantes y las condiciones en que vivían las personas que llegaban al campamento Dollo Ado en Etiopía, atroces. La ONU declaró partes de Somalia en estado de hambruna; un término tan poco utilizado hoy en día, que habíamos empezado a creer que ya estaba erradicada. </p> <p>Desde una perspectiva histórica, no hay duda de que la humanidad ha avanzado en lo que respecta a nuestra capacidad de salvar vidas. El número de desastres va en aumento, como aumenta también el número de personas expuestas a ellos. </p> <p>Sin embargo, el número de víctimas mortales que provocan los desastres ha disminuido. Este fenómeno ha sido en parte gracias a respuestas de ayuda a más largo plazo, como los programas de protección que se han puesto en marcha en Etiopía y Kenia, destinados a ofrecer soluciones a largo plazo a su población más pobre. Somalia es el único país en el que no ha mejorado la situación, aunque ello se puede atribuir directamente a dos décadas de conflicto e inestabilidad política, a deficientes políticas internacionales que han exacerbado la crisis y a un acceso restringido de la comunidad humanitaria.</p> <p>No obstante, <strong>aunque el número de víctimas haya disminuido, en zonas vulnerables como el Cuerno de África ha aumentado el número de personas que viven en la pobreza y que se encuentran en riesgo de perder sus medios de vida debido a estas crisis.</strong> Tanto los gobiernos como la comunidad internacional deben hacer mucho más por abordar este problema.</p> <p>Si examinamos lo sucedido <strong>en 2011</strong> y más concretamente en 2010, debemos reconocer que <strong>no actuamos con la debida celeridad</strong> a la hora de ampliar los trabajos que estábamos llevando a cabo en la zona, como tampoco lo hizo el resto de la comunidad internacional. Pero en cuanto la crisis saltó a la luz y empezamos a recibir fondos, la rapidez y dedicación demostradas por el personal de Oxfam fueron del todo ejemplares, dando lugar a una respuesta masiva en un entorno sumamente complejo, cambiante y en ocasiones de gran inseguridad. </p> <p><strong>Cabe destacar en concreto el compromiso de nuestros socios locales en los tres países</strong>, que asumieron cargas de trabajo aún mayores; la profesionalidad de nuestros equipos de trabajo, en su mayoría integrados por personal local cuyos conocimientos del contexto y las comunidades fueron de un valor incalculable, y los conocimientos y la experiencia de nuestros especialistas que se desplazaron rápidamente a la región. En Oxfam pudimos utilizar nuestros programas y contactos existentes en la zona como plataforma a partir de la cual ampliar nuestra cobertura, sin los que nuestra respuesta habría sido menos efectiva.</p> <p>Asimismo, <strong>quiero agradecer el inestimable apoyo de los colaboradores y donantes de Oxfam.</strong> Aún en la difícil situación económica que atravesamos, la generosidad demostrada por personas individuales, empresas e instituciones ha sido alentadora. Este ha sido el mayor llamamiento en la historia de Oxfam en África y uno de los que mayor éxito ha cosechado en los últimos años. Sin los fondos recibidos no habríamos sido capaces de alcanzar tan altos resultados por lo que respecta a salvar vidas, evitar la pobreza y mantener los medios de vida.</p> <p><strong>Para muchas comunidades del Cuerno de África la crisis que están padeciendo es de largo alcance y desde Oxfam nos queda mucho trabajo por hacer.</strong> No obstante, el compromiso de nuestros donantes hizo posible que ampliáramos nuestras actuaciones cuando más se necesitaba. Por ello, quiero darles las gracias.</p> <p>Sin embargo, una buena labor de emergencia no es suficiente. De cara al futuro, la comunidad humanitaria debe utilizar lo aprendido durante esta crisis para generar un verdadero impulso entre gobiernos, donantes y socios, que cambie la manera de hacer las cosas. Debemos invertir en actuaciones sostenidas a medio y largo plazo para acabar con el ciclo de inseguridad alimentaria. </p> <p><strong>Debemos dejar a un lado las respuestas de emergencia aisladas y precipitadas que salvan vidas pero que apenas sirven para proteger o mejorar los medios de vida.</strong> Afortunadamente, parece que gobiernos y donantes nos están escuchando.</p> <p>Otro aspecto positivo es la buena posición en que nos encontramos Oxfam y el Programa Mundial de Alimentos de las Naciones Unidas (PMA) para aprovechar las excelentes relaciones en torno al Plan de Acción para el Cuerno de África del Comité Permanente entre Organismos (IASC). Este plan potencia el apoyo a los procesos regionales y estatales enfocados a paliar el hambre y la desnutrición crónicas, fortalecer los medios de vida vulnerables y garantizar un aumento rápido, adecuado y efectivo de la ayuda en casos de crisis aguda.</p> <p>Utilizaremos todos nuestros puntos fuertes, como son nuestra capacidad de influir y realizar incidencia política al más alto nivel ante gobiernos y organismos regionales, tales como la Unión Africana, y trabajaremos con comunidades, socios, sector privado y rganizaciones no gubernamentales (ONG), para poner en marcha toda una serie de actuaciones que ayudarán a forjar un futuro mejor para las personas vulnerables. En Oxfam nos comprometemos a trabajar en alianzas en África oriental y occidental así como en otras regiones del mundo, a fin de poder erradicar el hambre extrema.</p> <h3>Más información</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/crece" rel="nofollow">Únete a CRECE</a>, la campaña de Oxfam que busca arreglar el sistema alimentario mundial<a href="http://www.oxfam.org/grow" rel="nofollow"></a></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/grow" rel="nofollow"><strong></strong></a><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/emergencies/crisis-alimentaria-cuerno-de-africa" rel="nofollow"><strong>La respuesta de Oxfam ante la crisis alimentaria en el Cuerno de África</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/es/blog/12-04-11-hambre-autentica-crisis-economica">El hambre: La auténtica crisis económica</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Crisis alimentaria en el Cuerno de África, un año despúes.</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_en first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-07-05-one-year-horn-africa-food-crisis-much-progress-and-many-lessons" title="One year on from the Horn of Africa food crisis, much progress and many lessons" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> </ul> Wed, 04 Jul 2012 13:03:05 +0000 Jeremy Hobbs 9902 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/9902#comments Crossing borders: Pastoralists cope with drought between Ethiopia and Somaliland http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-10-18-crossing-borders-pastoralists-cope-drought-between-ethiopia-somaliland <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>On the frontiers of Ethiopia and Somaliland, Oxfam, with funding from ECHO, is helping pastoralists move across borders to cope with future droughts. Caroline Berger reports.</em></p> <p>Abdullahi sits chewing qat, a mildly narcotic plant, under the shade of the acacia tree where he was born, and surveys his ancestral lands on the borders of Ethiopia and Somaliland. For centuries, Abdullahi and his grandfathers have followed the pastoralist way of life, moving their herds from one place to another in search of fresh pasture.</p> <p>“I remember when I was a child the grass was up to my chest”, he smiles, “it was a time of prosperity in our village”.</p> <p>Twenty years later recurrent droughts have rendered the land which Abdullahi remembered, a more arid and inhospitable landscape. His abundant pasture has been replaced by a sporadic green oasis, which has sprouted after this season’s rain. But for roaming pastoralists, like Abdullahi, there is nowhere to move as traditional grazing patterns have become threatened by changing agricultural practices, and increased competition for grazing land. Today, criss crossed patterns splice the landscape into hundreds of farming settlements marked by makeshift fences tied together with acacia sticks.</p> <p><strong>“All the land has been taken</strong>”, says Abdullahi, as he looks forlornly in the distance. “There is nowhere for my animals to roam”.</p> <p>Abdullahi only owns a meager 150 square meters plot compared to the 10 square kilometers of land owned by some of his neighbors. Since independence in 1990, around 90% of land in the west of Somaliland has become privately enclosed as more pastoralists move away from a traditional nomadic lifestyle and towards fixed agricultural holdings. But for people like Mohammed Digale Ahmed, 50, the change to farming is difficult. “I don’t have the tools to irrigate my land and other areas are more fertile”.</p> <p>Here in Somaliland, where more than two thirds of people depend on the land for a living, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastoralism" rel="nofollow"><strong>traditional pastoralist lifestyle</strong></a> is under threat. Abdullahi says sadly, “the pastoralist way of life is deteriorating every year”. The effect of changing agricultural practices is already apparent and many people have been forced to move to the cities. In Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, a new makeshift camp has sprung up to house the new influx of pastoralists displaced by drought.</p> <p><strong>Traditionally, pastoralist families roamed freely</strong> without heed to national borders which were created without regard to the indigenous population. This nomadic lifestyle increased their resilience to drought as their cattle could graze over a much wider area seeking out more fertile pastures. Whilst this existence is endangered by the increasing enclosure of the land, there are still opportunities to prosper as families can move across to Ethiopia, where the enclosure of the land is less advanced. Oxfam, together with their local partner, Havoyocco, have developed a unique cross border program to help the communities which straddle the border.</p> <p>Khadilja, a grandmother who has lived in a pastoralist community for the whole of her 70 years, worries about the increasing enclosure of the land. She tells me that “every place is a farm”, but adds that she still can find pasture for her cattle in Ethiopia. Other villagers tell the same story.</p> <p><strong>Oxfam’s cross border project</strong> is helping to sustain the pastoralist way of life, which is increasingly becoming marginalized. With support from Oxfam, many people, like Abdullahi, now have the chance to move to new lands across the border and access scarce resources, like water, particularly in times of drought. Oxfam’s nine newly constructed water catchment areas mean that livestock can access water on both sides of the border, away from fenced off lands.</p> <p>Abdullahi who lost more than half of his animals in last year’s drought, has high hopes for the project. He tells me “Now I can move freely everywhere, and it will help me to cope with future droughts.” Abdullahi will also be able to sell his livestock across the border, which he tells me “will increase my income as I can access new markets. Now I get $30 for one shoat in Hargeisa but this means I can sell my livestock on both sides of the border.” In Somaliland, pastoralists are major contributors to the economy, and therefore supporting livestock trade will contribute to avoiding future food crises in this area.</p> <p><strong>As <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/policy/horn-africa-drought-climate-change-and-future-impacts-food-security" rel="nofollow">droughts become ever more prevalent</a> in East Africa</strong>, and the problems of pastoralism persist, Oxfam’s cross border work will help to support the pastoralist way of life for future generations to come.</p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/eastafrica" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam's humanitarian response to the East Africa food crisis</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Crossing borders: Pastoralists cope with drought between Ethiopia and Somaliland</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blog/11-10-21-crossing-borders-pastoralists-cope-drought-between-ethiopia-and-somaliland" title="Cruzando fronteras: los pastores se enfrentan a la sequía entre Etiopia y Somalilandia" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blog/11-10-21-frontieres-ethiopie-somaliland-bergers-pastoralisme-secheresse" title="Par-delà les frontières : entre Éthiopie et Somaliland, les bergers tentent de faire face à la sécheresse" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Tue, 18 Oct 2011 17:15:28 +0000 Caroline Berger 9611 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-10-18-crossing-borders-pastoralists-cope-drought-between-ethiopia-somaliland#comments People "Facing Death" in many of Niger's villages http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/10-06-23-niger-people-facing-death-many-villages <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Niger is at the center of the current food crisis in West Africa. Oxfam's Caroline Gluck reports from the rural areas around Niamey.</em></p> <p><a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?t=h&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;hq=&amp;ll=14.139239,2.134438&amp;spn=0.099877,0.102654&amp;z=12&amp;source=embed" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">View Larger Map</a> </p><p><strong>Simiri commune, in Ouallam district</strong>, about an hour and a half drive from Niger's capital, Niamey, is by no means one of the worst-affected areas of the country which is currently hit by the <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/west-africa-food-crisis" rel="nofollow">worsening current food crisis</a></strong>. There are areas further north in the district where the situation is said to be very serious.</p> <p>But even in Simiri, things are dire.</p> <p>I meet a group of men sheltering in the shade. "It's a catastrophe," they tell me as I ask them how things have been.</p> <p><strong>More than 80% of Nigeriens live in rural areas like this</strong>, depending on farming and stockbreeding for their livelihoods. It is often said that for most people, livestock are their bank accounts. If times are good they'll buy more animals, which is seen as an investment in the future. But now times are bad.</p> <h3>Starving stock: Harbingers of a hunger catastrophe</h3> <p>Most of the men in Simiri commune, who used to have animals, have been forced to sell them in order to buy food to feed their families.</p> <p>Two men told me that their cows had died within the last 9 days. There was no food or pasture for them and little water; they'd simply collapsed from starvation. Oxfam had distributed animal fodder in the commune, but the men tell me it has all been finished.</p> <p><strong>Father of four, Djibri Daouda, showed me his cow.</strong> "Last year, I had to sell two cows so I could buy food for the family," he said. "This was my last one," he gestured, pointing to a drying carcass in the sandy ground which surrounded by flies. "It died nine days ago."</p> Djibri Daouda and his dead cow. Credit: Caroline Gluck/Oxfam <p>He showed me the family's empty granary. The small harvest of millet was finished many months ago. "Only mice come here now," he said wryly.</p> <p>Apart from the cows, he used to own goats, sheep and several chicken. But his only remaining hen is sick and no longer lays any eggs. The family mainly survives on a diet of wild leaves mixed with cassava flour.</p> <p><strong>"I just pray to God that we can get through these difficult times.</strong> If we can survive this, then maybe we can start to have hope again."</p> <p>These are worrying times. And it's just the beginning of the most critical time in Niger, known as the hunger gap season, with several months to go before the next harvests in September. People have already exhausted most of their coping strategies – selling livestock and family assets.</p> <h3>Surviving on wild leaves</h3> <p>Moussa Kolikoye once owned more than 30 goats, 13 sheep, 9 cows, a donkey and two horses. But over the years, he's had to sell his precious livestock. And his last sheep died late last year.</p> <p>"This year, I have nothing," says the father of eight. "Sometimes, I can earn a little money, but I don't have much strength. I'm so weak from hunger. People here face death, that's all. We can go for 3-4 days without eating properly; just surviving on wild leaves."</p> <p><strong>A short drive away, I stop at the village of Zontondi.</strong> Men are selling firewood they've collected at the roadside – one of the few activities that can earn them any money. Even so, they have to walk by foot for nine kilometres or more to find any wood, leaving early in the morning and returning at night.</p> <p><strong>"These are the worst times I can remember,"</strong> said 50-year old father of twelve, Younoussa Mahmoudou, "far worse than 2005." That was the last time Niger faced a serious food crisis. This year, people say, hunger is more widespread. And they can only pray for help to arrive to get through the next few months.</p> <h3>Donate now</h3> <p>Please consider helping fund our emergency work in West Africa. These Oxfam affiliates are running direct appeals:</p> <ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.intermonoxfam.org/es/page.asp?id=3766" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Intermón Oxfam</a> (Spain)</strong></li> <li><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org.uk/donate/west-africa-food-crisis/index.php" rel="nofollow">Oxfam GB</a></strong></li> </ul><p>Alternatively, you can also make a donation to the general emergency fund of your nearest <a href="/en/getinvolved/donate" rel="nofollow"><strong>national Oxfam affiliate</strong></a>. Your money will be used to fund our emergency work worldwide, which includes responding in countries such as Niger, Mali and Chad.</p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/west-africa-food-crisis/niger-photos" rel="nofollow">Photo gallery: Food crisis in Niger</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/west-africa-food-crisis" rel="nofollow">West Africa Food Crisis</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>People &quot;Facing Death&quot; in many of Niger&#039;s villages</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blog/10-06-25-niger-population-nombreux-villages-confrontee-mort" title="La population de nombreux villages nigériens &quot;confrontée à la mort&quot;" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blog/10-07-06-la-gente-vive-esperando-la-muerte-en-muchos-pueblos-de-niger" title="La gente vive esperando la muerte en muchos pueblos de Níger" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Wed, 23 Jun 2010 14:19:15 +0000 Caroline Gluck 9135 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/10-06-23-niger-people-facing-death-many-villages#comments On the road to Dakoro: Selling goats and getting grain in Niger http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/10-05-21-road-dakoro-selling-goats-getting-grain-niger <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>In the first of three blogs, Jane Barrett meets the herders selling their animals to buy grain, and Oxfam’s partners working to support them, during the current <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/west-africa-food-crisis" rel="nofollow">West Africa food crisis</a></strong>.</em></p> <p><strong>The dirt road towards Dakoro is a rollercoaster ride.</strong> I meet two people from our partner, AREN in Maradi, the commercial capital of Niger, and we set off north for the pastoral region. Among other things, AREN distribute food and train pastoral groups in Niger. We pass herders with huge herds, mainly of goats or cattle. These, I’m told, are already sold and are being transported to Nigeria, a major buyer of Niger’s animals because they are of good stock and cheap at this time of year, when the herders don’t have enough to feed themselves, let alone their animals.</p> <p><strong>On our left we see a camp of nomadic herders</strong>. I approach carefully, as they tend to be shy. But this young mother of a boy and three girls, one of whom is a tiny baby, is forthright. Zainabu has come south from Amoules, about 80 kilometers north of Dakoro, in search of fodder for their animals (ten camels and six goats). Her husband is in town looking for work. They have had to sell many goats as there is no fodder. She and her family are planning to return to the north, which puzzles me, as there is even less fodder there. Later I’m told that there’s a reserve where herders often secretly take their animals to feed – at the risk of a huge fine.</p> <p><strong>We move on and pass a market</strong>, Sacabal, where Zainabu had sold her animals. The commercial traders, in their aviator sunglasses and slick tracksuits, are a stark contrast to the herders in their long cloaks and swathes of turban. Most of the animals are female – an indication that the herders are desperate to sell their animals, as they otherwise wouldn’t be selling their only reproductive capital. A member of our team, a vet we call “le docteur”, tells me that on a scale of 1 to 4 from weak/sick to strong/healthy, these animals rate a 1, as they are so emaciated.</p> <p><strong>As we drive further north</strong>, the landscape loses all its bush and becomes entirely sand. It’s hard for me to imagine that most years this is covered in fields of wheat and millet.</p> <p>We arrive in Tacha Ibrahim just before sunset, with just enough time to set up camp. As night falls, I’m relieved by the cool breeze after the 44 °C we endured throughout the day, and I’m looking forward to sleeping under the stars.</p> Children at the well in Tascha Ibrahim. Credit: Jane Barret/Oxfam <p><strong>The next day we wake up to the call to prayer.</strong> Today, hundreds of herders from the nearby villages are expected to descend upon Tacha Ibrahim to buy wheat and millet that AREN is selling at subsidized prices.</p> <p>After breakfast we walk to the well, which is a buzz of activity. Some herders have been here since four in the morning to get their turn feeding their animals. Donkeys pull the water up while the women and children scurry to fill their yellow jerry cans.</p> <p><strong>A consensus must be reached among the herders about how to proceed.</strong> A prior survey identified those that were vulnerable and needing these grains at a reduced price. Elders have been chosen to confirm that herders are who they claim to be as they’re called up from the list of those eligible. The herders agree that the sale must happen in a calm and ordered way so that no disrespect is brought upon the village. Some dare to express the hope that more grains might be made available next time, and there’s a broad nod of agreement.</p> <p><strong>The herders wait all day in the sweltering heat</strong> as one-by-one they’re called from the list to pay for their grain. Some particularly vulnerable people, such as a widow and a blind girl, have been chosen to receive the grain for free.</p> <p>At nightfall our partner team finishes up and returns to the camp, where the villagers, full of gratitude, have produced an excellent meal.</p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><strong>View the audio slideshow: <a href="/en/video/20100511-food-crisis-niger" rel="nofollow">Food crisis in Niger</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/west-africa-food-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>More about the food crisis in West Africa</strong></a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>On the road to Dakoro: Selling goats and getting grain in Niger</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blog/10-05-24-route-dakoro-niger-vendre-chevres-acheter-cereales" title="Sur la route de Dakoro: au Niger ils vendent leurs chèvres pour s&#039;acheter des céréales" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blog/10-05-24-camino-dakoro-vender-cabras-comprar-grano-niger" title="Camino a Dakoro: vender cabras y comprar grano en Níger" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Fri, 21 May 2010 10:46:27 +0000 Jane Barrett 9097 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/10-05-21-road-dakoro-selling-goats-getting-grain-niger#comments