Rebuilding Pastoralist Livelihoods During and After Conflict

3rd September 2018
Author: William Avis

The impacts of different approaches to protecting and promoting / rebuilding pastoralist livelihoods during and after conflict is mixed, complicated by the evolving nature of conflict (including its different forms), the range of pastoral groups operating across African contexts and the supra national nature of their activities. This rapid review synthesises findings from rigorous academic, practitioner, and policy references published in the past 10 years that discuss approaches to supporting pastoral livelihoods. The lessons that emerge from this rapid literature review suggest that, in order to be successful in unstable environments, development initiatives (including livelihoods support) should be both stabilisation-oriented (providing better access to physical and livelihood security for populations) and conflict-sensitive. State-supported projects that combine development and overcome security measures for the population’s benefit, if designed and implemented in a participatory fashion, can improve pastoralists’ perception of the state as repressive. This is especially the case if these projects improve the access to security and justice, among other services, by populations as well as improve living conditions and offer sustainable income opportunities that are more secure. Overarching the report is an emerging consensus amongst experts that poorly designed pastoral development interventions that do not fully take the drivers of conflict and violence into account can create more instability and exacerbate conflicts. Further to this, not all forms of development of pastoralism will induce stability, and developing pastoralism does not guarantee regional stability i.e. the action of some fringe pastoralists. However, if the objectives of stabilisation and conflict prevention are well integrated into the support of the pastoralist economy, evidence shows that this can contribute to lower levels of insecurity and help foster peace.

Suggested Citation

Avis, W. (2018). Rebuilding pastoralist livelihoods during and after conflict. K4D Helpdesk Report 421. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies


3rd September 2018


Continent: Africa