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On the margin: Kenya’s pastoralists

On the margin: Kenya’s pastoralists

From displacement to solutions, a conceptual study on the internal displacement of pastoralists

Pastoralism is a global phenomenon. In Africa, where 66 per cent of is used for pastoral production, it is recognised as part of the continent’s cultural heritage. More than just a means of production, it is a way of life intrinsically linked to the identity of the individuals and communities that practise it. Given their traditionally nomadic lifestyle, the fact that pastoralists can become internally displaced is often overlooked. Some even question whether it can happen at all.

This study focuses on northern Kenya. It argues that their internal displacement is a reality that has to be understood within a broader discourse about mobility, and creates a conceptual understanding of the phenomenon by examining its multi-causality. In doing so, it also discusses processes and options for improving protection and assistance for those affected. Pastoralists’ internal displacement is presented as a process of impoverishment and decreasing resilience, which leads to the disenfranchisement of rights, marginalisation and neglect. As such, it is as much a human rights as a humanitarian and development concern that requires a holistic approach.