Participatory Conflict Analysis: The Case of Pastoralist Groups in South Eastern Ethiopia

Daniel Temesgen Gelan


Pastoral resource management is based on a complex set of temporary or semi-permanent claims on pasture, water and other resources, as well as on the underlying principles of flexibility and reciprocity. The resource bases of pastoralists-land-is therefore not a fixed individually owned capital, but rather a flexible asset with specific uses and access mechanisms. The pastoral resource use pattern is characterized by risk-spreading and flexible mechanisms. A participatory analysis of pastoral resources management issues thus enables to have a deeper understanding of the issues and search for an alternative and effective ways of pastoral resources management that will contribute to peace and development of pastoral neighborhoods. Therefore, this study is intended to identify the mechanisms and issues of key pastoral resources management among the southern and southeastern pastoral groups. This study was undertaken in southern and southeastern pastoral areas of Borena and Liben zone particularly in Negelle, Moyale, Yabello, Arero and Filtu Woredas. Primary data was collected through focus group discussion and key informant interview. The analysis involved historical narratives focusing on the history and dynamics of pastoral resource management through time, with the aim of identifying causes, effects and dynamics of the pastoral resource management and how these vary among different groups. Restore or ensure access to resources is critical to the livelihoods of pastoralists as well as to their neighboring communities: Resource access rights – to pastures, migratory corridors and water - are often interlinked and are vital to pastoral survival. In a conflicts sensitive manner, restore those ‘common resource pools’ drawn upon by communities in times of scarcity or disaster. Strategies for adapting to drought – the main environmental threat to pastoralists-are numerous. Strengthen the institutional ability to respond to environmental stresses. Relevant approaches for crisis response include contingency funds and planning; emergency water, medical and food supplies and their distribution networks; and effective transportation and communication networks. Market-based solutions are also relevant to tackle emergency situations.  It has been found that one important element is building upon ‘local knowledge’ while strengthening formal recognition of pastoral communities’ traditional resource use and access rights. Foster regional approaches and harmonization of treatment across borders. The migratory nature of pastoralism collides with international borders, as rangelands are often frontier lands and herd movements and trade often cross geo-political demarcations.

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