Issue paper for USAID and Institute for Development Anthropology
Little, P. D.
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This paper highlights the indicators which can be used to inform policy makers about development options. It found that management units for development intervention should be small scale and based on existing systems, and that systems could experience heavy stress without resulting in long term degradation. Assumptions such as the inherently destructive nature of pastoralism are rejected in the face of the fact that very little is known about African range management. The study starts with reliability of rainfall and environment on the basis that this influences other factors, such as mobility and diversification of the local economy; mobility in turn affects other development interventions, for example veterinary, institutional and marketing services. Other factors include the degree of dependence on pastoral products, the limitations of grazing ability, diversification of the regional and household economy and institutional capacity. The paper reviews the criticism that development projects have rarely been based on sound ecological and socio-economic understandings of the pastoral system. Thus a project objective may be described as aiming to retard degradation and improving livestock management practices; this requires not a general prescription, but knowledge of the variables of the region, the present grazing patterns and seasonal movements. It is important also to highlight where the stated objectives conflict with the well-being of the herder. Considerable improvement may be achieved on both of these counts by increasing local participation in all stages of the project, and making monitoring integral to the operation. On account of this, pastoral projects must often be experimental in nature. Problems are faced when priorities identified by donor agencies are politically abhorrent to the host government, and pressure may be brought to bear to at least achieve something, even if it is not in inline with donor philosophy. - Blench and Marriage Annotated Bibliography