Alternative livelihoods in northern Kenya: effects on health & nutrition

With increasing destitution and political instability, former pastoralists have settled in rural, urban and peri-urban settings to seek alternative livelihoods based on various strategies, including selling livestock and their products, cropping, wage labour, entrepreneurial activities and transportation. Women play a key role in petty trade. The paper Seeking alternative livelihoods in northern Kenya: costs and benefits in health and nutrition (2012, 21pp)¬†looks at experiences of recently settled Rendille and Ariaal/Samburu communities in Marsabit District in northern Kenya, especially the effects of settled life on diet and nutrition. Sedentarisation and alternative livelihoods lead to greater food security, improved healthcare and better access to formal education, but also to increased malnutrition and morbidity among the children. It is recommended that support agencies pursue ways to introduce and maintain dairy animals in the settled communities so that the transition to settlement has less negative effects on child health. See also the PPT presentation. This original paper was presented at the 2011 conference on “The Future of Pastoralism in Africa” held in Addis Ababa and was also published in the book Pastoralism and development in Africa: dynamic change at the margins.

Posted on 14 August 2015 in Pastoralism & Gender, Pastoralist Livelihoods & Nutrition