The vulnerability-wealth conundrum in pastoral areas: what role for social protection?
conundrum in pastoral areas:
what role for social protection?
Future Agricultures Consortium/Institute of Development Studies
Diverging pastoralisms in the Horn
• Deepening vulnerability alongside burgeoning livestock trades
• Destitution is widespread in many pastoral areas - poverty seems to
worsen alongside economic growth and intensifying integration
• Vulnerability is a moving target
• To what extent does livestock commercialisation in the region help
reduce poverty? What else is needed to address present high levels of
vulnerability and destitution? Over the longer-term, how can
sustainable transitions out of livestock-keeping be supported?
Emergence of social protection
• Programmes and projects are mushrooming across the region
• Many began as efforts to promote alternatives to perennial food aid
• Social protection is not just safety nets:
• Large scale, predictable safety nets: PSNP, HSNP and SAGE
• Public works programming (public workfare programmes taking root across the
• Unconditional transfers
• Labour programmes – but not yet in pastoral areas?
• Insurance – index-based, largely in response to weather risks
Scope of programming
• Still limited reach in pastoral areas although significant
• PSNP has greatly expanded its coverage in pastoral areas since 2010
• HSNP set to double its coverage as it is subsumed within Kenya’s NSNP
• Djibouti SSN
• NGO push for long-term predictable assistance in Somalia
• Largely funded by development donors… but emphasis on scaling-up
and increasing treasury allocations for social assistance
What are we talking about?
• Diverse livelihoods and livelihood situations
• Social protection for pastoralists vs social protection for pastoral areas
Social protection for pastoralists
• Aim is to protect livestock owning households from falling below a
minimum subsistence level as well as a threshold under which their
continued involvement in livestock-keeping as the basis of their livelihood
• Focus is on delivering critical inputs to sustain herds as well as helping to
• Use of a narrower range of instruments such as livestock insurance
alongside complementary, timely interventions financed through
contingency funds in destocking and restocking, emergency feeding and
watering of livestock, and rangeland reseeding
Social protection for pastoral areas
• Implies the need for a broader, more mixed approach, encompassing
assistance for populations no longer significantly reliant on livestock-
keeping for their livelihood.
• A significant proportion of the population living in pastoral areas is mostly
or permanently sedentary, and involved in a range of work off the range.
• Unconditional transfers, labour programmes, investments in infrastructure
and basic needs
• ‘[t]he development needs of pastoral people are basic human needs, things
that are important whether one is a pastoralist or not’ (Morton and Kerven)
Where is innovation apparent?
• Insurance programming – definitely part of the SP mix but limited
experimentation in pastoral areas and dogged by doubts over its
• Contingency funding and risk financing
• Use of new technologies – smart cards (linked to single registry?),