Access to water & pastoralist livelihoods
Water development in pastoral drylands of Africa has always been a priority for humanitarian and development agencies and for governments. However, experts have raised increasing concerns about its numerous adverse effects. In 2006 FAO’s Livelihood Support Programme reviewed the lessons learned in implementing pastoral and hydraulic projects in parts of eastern Africa: the Haud in Ethiopia where underground cemented cisterns (berkado) are expanding quickly, in northeastern Kenya where boreholes are multiplying, and in the riverside area of Southern Somalia where pastoralists seek access to rehabilitated irrigation canals. The study found that, in the absence of clear national policies for development of the drylands in eastern Africa, unplanned water development represents a threat for pastoralism, even if the process of sedentarisation around new permanent water sources offers to a minority of the population complementary or/and alternative livelihoods with the development of agriculture and access to education. Water development is often focused on water supply and quantity to the expense of water quality. The planning of new permanent water infrastructures has been erratic and not integrated, and effective participation of the local communities in the managing and maintaining these investments has been absent or insufficient. Where water-users associations were created and trained, these faced serious challenges. See “Access to water, pastoral resource management and pastoralists’ livelihoods: lessons learned from water development in selected areas of eastern Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia)” .