Strengthening Voices: How pastoralist communities and local government are shaping strategies for adaptive environmental management and poverty reduction in Tanzania’s drylands
Across Tanzania, climate change is being felt in the changing patterns and intensity of rainfall, and in the growing unpredictability of the seasons. The drylands are being increasingly affected, and there is an urgent need to strengthen institutional capacity and good governance for drylands planning.
Pastoralism provides over 90% of the meat and milk products consumed nationally in Tanzania. The pastoralist production system successfully exploits and adapts to the disequilibrium in the dryland ecosystems, but pastoralist voices are frequently excluded from the decision-making and management of dryland resources. The marginalisation of pastoralists is resulting in falling production levels.
Since 2007, IIED, the Kimmage Development Studies Centre and the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum have been undertaking a project with their partners with the specific goal of generating more informed and equitable discussion and debate on pastoralism. Using local government reform processes, the ‘Strengthening Voices’ project works at the community, local government and national levels - addressing the lack of knowledge and power imbalances within all three.
The central pillar of the project is a training course on the economic and ecological processes at the heart of pastoral systems — clarifying the rationale that underpins livelihood strategies. National politicians, local district officials and community participants have all benefited from the training.
At the end of its 1st three-year phase good progress has been made in designing and implementing tools and approaches that promote citizen access to decision-making. With their new evidence, training and advocacy skills, people are now better able to inform policy of the economic and environmental benefits of dryland livelihood systems.
This booklet and accompanying DVD explain the background to the project, its achievements, and how it plans to build on its successes to roll out the project to other districts in Tanzania, and elsewhere in East Africa.