By Ricki Watkins, LCC CRSP
- A 15-year drought has led Ethiopian pastoralists to develop adaptation strategies.
- Melaku Berhe, a LCC CRSP Graduate Fellow is recording pastoralist adaptation strategies through villager interviews and surveys.
The 15-year drought has severly affected the Afar Regional State of northern Ethiopia forced pastoralists and agro-pastoralists to develop clever climate-change adaptation strategies. These strategies, which are responsible for saving the pastoralists’ way of life, have caught the interest of LCC CRSP Gradute Fellow Melaku Berhe, who is gathering information on drought mitigation in the nine villages.
Berhe and two recently trained enumerators met with a total of 42 key informants; these informants were key representatives of each village from the farmers association, youth association, women’s association, religious leaders, clan leaders, development agents and village leaders.
Over a period of 10 days in August 2012, the team was able to gather important information on drought adaptation strategies by way of informant interviews. The interviews and surveys focused on finding out information on how farmers respond to climate change, the type of water harvesting methods in use, the mobility patterns of pastoral farmers during drought, the practice of agro-forestry in agro-pastoral areas and the role of clan leaders in climate-change mitigation.
Informants were asked questions such as, “Describe any adaptation strategies or measures employed to deal with climate change, either traditional practices or recent innovations” and “Have you noticed any change in your yield due to your adaptation methods in response to climate change? How?”
In September 2012, the team interviewed tribe leaders to gather information on the role of the leaders in resolving conflict, specifically in relation to pasture-related disputes between villages. In response, the clan leaders said their roles were widely accepted in resolving issues such as development mobilization, coping with drought, and management of water and pasture.
The research gathered from these trips has given Berhe valuable information necessary to complete his research work; more qualitative information is needed, however.