What we do...

In 2008, SOS Sahel UK and IIED worked together on a one-year programme (funded by the Howard G Buffett Foundation) to contribute to poverty reduction, peace and long-term sustainable ecological and economic development of African dryland areas in a context of climate change. Specifically, we aimed to improve pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods by securing Pastoral Livelihoods at local, national and regional levels in East and West Africa. Mobility is crucial for livelihoods, trade, and coping with climate change. Our successful pilot project drew together the lessons learned from various efforts across the Sahel to enable herders to move with their animals. The project also laid the foundations for a longer-term 10 year programme of work across the Sahel region.
For a summary of the programme, click here.


Our pilot project focused on Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somaliland, representing a range of contexts across the broad Sahelian belt. Our activities included:

  • Identifying who is working on which aspects of Pastoral Livelihoods in West and East Africa, and summarising the key lessons of good practice from this experience.
  • Analysing existing and emerging trends in Pastoral Livelihoods in selected countries, in an overall context of climate change, growing demand for livestock products, the promotion of modernisation agendas as a pathway out of poverty, and increasing external interest in pastoral areas (driven by oil, counterterrorism, tourism and development of biofuels).
  • Reviewing policy and legislation at different levels (continental, regional, and national) and bringing together the main factors that support, or mitigate against, Pastoral Livelihoods.
  • Designing, testing and evaluating a methodology that enables pastoral groups to articulate their views on the future role and significance of mobility within their livelihood system.
  • Building consensus among a small group of strategically placed organisations and individuals on how best to collectively address the challenges in securing Pastoral Livelihoods and to take this work further.
  • Publishing the results of this programme.


The Pastoral Livelihoods project concluded with a 4-day regional meeting in Addis Ababa in November 2008. Around 40 representatives of research organisations, NGOs, pastoral associations and donors shared experiences and participated in lively discussions around the future of Pastoral Livelihoods (you can download the workshop report here [41 pp, 906KB]).

Shanabla nomads on the move, Sudan
Boran elder Partners
  • Howard G Buffett Foundation
  • International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED) - NGO
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