Social differentiation and adaptive capacity to climate change among a pastoral and agro-pastoral community in the Northern Rift of Kenya

Social differentiation and adaptive capacity to climate change among a pastoral and agro-pastoral community in the Northern Rift of Kenya

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Over the past decade, climate change has brought significant challenges to pastoral communities living in communal drylands of Kenya as they highly depend on the natural ecosystem to support livestock, their main source of livelihood. These communities describe their climatic challenges as comprised of prolonged and severe droughts, long periods of dry and hot days, reduced rainfall amount and unreliable rainfall patterns. The consequences of these frequent and extreme climatic conditions as explained by community members are: reduced availability of pasture and water, and high livestock mortality rate. The situation threatens the existence of pastoralism and the livestock industry whose traditional means of coping with climate variability has been to move from one place to another. Moreover, the livestock industry significant contribution to the country’s economy and food security is put at risk. Traditionally, pastoralism and subsistence rain-fed farming have been an integral part of these communities livelihood. They are aware of the environmental challenges, facing them and are engaging in adaptation practices using locally available but diminishing resources.