The world should make more use of the skills of Africa's nomadic peoples to help combat the challenges of climate change. Pastoral communities such as the Maasai in Kenya could pass on survival skills; the Maasai have learnt over generations how to sustainably live in arid and semi-arid areas. Skills which the Maasai learned over generations roaming with their livestock across the deserts and savannas could be of huge value in adapting to climate change. Traditional pastoral systems of resource management have always included a strong adaptive element. Pastoralists have long used traditional risk-management systems. These include a range of livestock- and land-management strategies, alongside community support schemes.
Pastoralists’ experiences can offer lessons for governments and other stakeholders wishing to support climate change adaptation activities. But the Maasai and other pastoralists will need to be supported by appropriate and relevant policies. In a report released today, Survival of the Fittest, Oxfam calls for governments and development partners in the region to invest in more sustainable development polices in arid and semi-arid (ASAL) areas, which will ensure pastoralists, cope with the impact of climate change.