Challenging the stereotype: pastoralism = poverty
Understanding the complex relationships and causes of poverty in pastoral areas of eastern Africa is a necessary first step toward informed and effective policymaking and project programming. The overview paper “Challenging stereotypes: the multiple dimensions of poverty in pastoral areas of East Africa” (2007) addresses this gap. It has four general objectives: 1) to summarise the different understandings and analyses of poverty in pastoral areas; 2) to highlight newly emergent patterns; 3) to identify the primary pressures driving growth in and the changing nature of poverty in pastoral areas; and 4) to discuss policy and programming implications. The paper suggests that, while there is poverty in pastoral areas, it is mainly associated with sedentary ex-pastoralists rather than with mobile herders. It concludes that what is not needed is another development label (stereotype) that equates pastoralism with poverty, thereby empowering outside interests to continue to attempt to transform rather than strengthen pastoral livelihoods.