Africa should lead its own development
SOS Sahel UK believes that improvements for those living in the Sahel will only come about when they are in a position to demand more from others – from governments, donors, development agencies and their own leaders – and to hold them to account. To this end we believe in creating platforms from which our Southern partners can speak out.
Dryland areas must be targeted for investment
Drylands, where the practice of livestock-keeping predominates, have suffered historical neglect; however, investment in pastoralist areas carries enormous positive gains for national development. The 60 million or so nomadic pastoralists who inhabit drylands across West to East Africa continue to endure discrimination to this day. They lag far behind their settled compatriots in terms of health, education and political representation. This inequality in basic human rights must be challenged; especially since it threatens the achievement of the UN's Millennium Development Goals and may have implications for global security.
Pastoralism is a productive and appropriate system for drylands
Herding animals over rangeland is one of the most viable and productive use of drylands and should be supported and encouraged. With the supply of natural resources becoming increasingly variable due to climate change, the case for supporting such an adaptive and ecologically sound livelihood system is overwhelming. Pastoralism already makes a significant contribution to the gross domestic product of many Sahelian countries (around 10% in Kenya) and provides a livelihood for tens of millions of people who live there.
Pastoralists must gain a voice in policy circles
Rarely have pastoralists succeeded in articulating a vision of the future they want to see on their own terms, and in a manner to which policy-makers can respond. By strengthening their capacity to influence policy decisions, pastoralists can ensure appropriate dryland development that meets their needs. SOS Sahel UK's overarching goal is to bring the ideas, experiences, and priorities of dryland people ‘centre stage', ensuring that the realities of Africa's drylands and the Sahel in particular, inform policy-making and are prioritised in Africa and at the global level.