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Strengthening pastoralists' voice in shaping policies for sustainable poverty reduction in ASAL regions of East Africa

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Document begins: Strengthening pastoralists' voice in shaping policies for sustainable poverty reduction in ASAL regions of East Africa by Ced Hesse and Michael Ochieng Odhiambo Conference on Pastoralism and poverty reduction in East Africa: A policy research conference 27-28 June 2006, Nairobi, Kenya 1 1. Introduction The absence of a representative and effective pastoral civil society movement capable of articulating its members' vision of their development is one of the key factors explaining why policies for pastoral development continue to fail, and poverty and conflict still characterise many pastoral communities in East Africa. Development experience in pastoral regions, particularly since independence, has clearly shown that pastoral people tend to lack the knowledge, political clout and resources with which to fight their own cause, and thus remain vulnerable to other people's interpretation of what is best for them. In particular, policy makers continue to impose on pastoralists what they perceive to be good for them with little or no reference to the communities themselves. That these perceptions are for the most part founded on stereotypes of what pastoralism and pastoral land use is, only serves to compound the problem. An important starting point in improving policy design for the development of ...

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