Some 20 million livestock keepers in the Horn of Africa are threatened by increasingly frequent and severe droughts. Their food and nutrition security, indeed the existence of the pastoral economic system, is under threat. Through the years, pastoralists have developed a range of traditional coping mechanisms to overcome the different livelihood and environmental challenges they face. Seasonal migration to areas where pasture is better and surface water is relatively available remains the most important traditional community-initiated drought response mechanisms. The effectiveness of this mechanism has however been largely constrained by population increase, land-use changes, inter-community conflicts and overall rangeland degradation. Externally initiated humanitarian responses to drought including food aid, water tracking, commercial destocking, and supplementary feeding of livestock is not only untimely but also grossly inadequate. In short, these past approaches to resilience building have aimed at supply-oriented models lacking in sustainability; market mechanisms aimed at building resilience are not yet a common feature. Yet the frequent droughts have eroded the pastoralists’ adaptive capacity (Resilience) to such an extent, that almost every drought season results in a humanitarian crisis. This necessitated the search for effective risk management and resilience-building approaches.
Building upon past work within the region, CTA designed the project CLIMARK to increase incomes and adaptive capacity of pastoral communities in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. CLIMARK’s main objectives were revitalising livestock markets to boost trade and enterprises and facilitate commercial offtake of livestock, improving preparedness to drought disaster through blended weather info system and mitigating risk of livelihood failure through promotion of livestock (weather) insurance. In the second year of the project, a new component aimed at increasing efficiency in livestock trade through optimisation of data was introduced on a pilot basis. In this regard, CTA’s integrated approach to resilience building is a departure from past initiatives in that it is holistic in nature, it is market based and aims to build sustainability.
The project was implemented by multiple partners, who are leaders of the specific themes they represented. ILRI and the insurance companies implemented the livestock insurance component, with ILRI leading on IBLI knowledge and capacity building, leading scaling both within Ethiopia and the IGAD region, while the insurance companies promoted the commercial sales of insurance products through local intermediaries. IIRR led the implementation of the component on boosting trade and revitalising livestock markets; while Amfratech and aWhere designed and implemented the agriweather information services for pastoralists. Kenya livestock marketing council and Amfratech implemented the digital solutions around markets.
While its early to attribute impacts to the project, continuous monitoring of project work and the recent impact studies commissioned by CTA has established that CLIMARK initiatives are beginning to bear impressive outcomes. Through the project’s interventions, both Takaful in Kenya and Oromia in Ethiopia restructured their outreach programmes to enhance commercial sales of IBLI. Additionally, Oromia insurance company introduced a marketing App and a real time sales transaction platform while Takaful insurance piloted a 3-tier agency model that involved training market actors, and development and distributions of promotional materials.
In total, 22,259 households in Kenya and Ethiopia purchased IBLI policy over the CLIMARK project period. This impressive achievement is against a planned target of 10,000 households over the project period.
Another outstanding innovation within CLIMARK is the application web #MyAnga and its accompanying dashboard. MyAnga disseminates weather information in usable format (SMS, Dashboard and Mobile Application) to the pastoralists to enable them better prepare mitigation actions against an oncoming drought. To date, over 570 pastoral mobile users have subscribed and are using the service in 5 languages (Samburu, Gabra, Borana, Rendile, English, Swahili). Over 16,585 SMS have been delivered in Marsabit & Isiolo counties since launch in 2018.
A key moment within CLIMARK’s three-year journey is the IBLI executive workshop hosted by ILRI and CTA. The workshop gave birth to an inter-agency initiative, together with the World bank, FAO, IGAD and seven IGAD countries. The meeting was attended by among others seven minsters and ministerial delegations. The executive workshop successfully convinced the governments and key stakeholder of the need for a regional approach for IBLI scaling. The meeting was a great success, a world bank led IBLI regional programme is under development while Africa Development Bank committed to build resilience of pastoralists and address critical livestock value chain development issues in the Horn of Africa.
Overall, 112,315 livestock farmers reported increasing incomes, while 114,888 pastoralists adopted sustainable practises such as IBLI and agriweather services. The project supported 80 women and youth enterprises, out of which 72 confirmed increased incomes as a result of business success attributed to the trainings and flexible grants received. Over the project period, the markets supported under CLIMARK recorded 12 -17 % increase in livestock prices. The Monitoring & Evaluation table attached provides more impact, outcome, and output data.