Role of Socio-Demographic and Livelihood Strategy Diversification on Pastoralists’ Household Stability in Mandera County, Kenya
Abdullahi, Omar Maalim
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Pastoralism is an important source of livelihood for many people across the world. In addition, pastoralism makes a significant contribution to Gross domestic product (GDP)in Kenya. Sixty percent of the national herd is being held by pastoralists who produce about 10 percent of Gross domestic product. Over the years pastoralism has been the main source of income for many residents of Northern Kenya; nonetheless, frequent natural and man-made disasters, restrictive policies and unfavorable economic environment have discouraged this traditional way of life. The people of northern Kenya including those in Mandera West-Sub-county have adopted non-pastoralism activities in order to earn a living. This study therefore sought to investigate the role of livelihood diversification strategies on household stability among pastoralist in Mandera West-Sub-County. The objectives of the study were to; determine socio-demographic characteristics of pastoralist’s households, establish different types of livelihood diversification strategies adopted by pastoralist households, establish household assets of pastoralist’s households, establish the challenges that influence choice of non-traditional livelihood diversifications strategies of pastoralists’ households and establish the relationship between household diversification strategies and household stability in Mandera West-Sub County. A community based cross-sectional analytical study design was used with a sample size of 154 households. Simple random sampling was used to select households. A research questionnaire, Key informant interview schedule and focus group discussion schedule were used to collect both qualitative and quantitative data from all the study participants. Quantitative data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21. Content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data based on thematic areas. Chi-Square statistical test was used to establish the association between categorical variables. Descriptive statistics was done using frequencies. Presentation of data was done through bar charts, pie charts and frequency tables. Results indicate that there was a significant relationship between socio-demographic characteristics (p<0.05), household assets diversification strategies (p = 0.001), challenges influencing choice of livelihood diversification strategies (p = 0.031), adoption of diversification strategies by pastoralists (p =0.008) and household stability among pastoralists in Mandera West Sub-County. Education was found to have a positive influence on livelihood diversification strategies adopted by households. More than 80% of the households adopted non-traditional activities. Household assets influenced the choice of livelihood diversification strategies though there still disparity in income earning across gender in the study area. Droughts, famine, lack of water were identified as the major challenges to adoption of livelihood diversification strategies. Drought mitigation strategies should be initiated in the study area to reduce threats to household livelihoods in the study area. Its envisaged that these findings will help stakeholders such as the National Management Drought Authority, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Faith-based Organizations to understand livelihood strategies diversification of pastoralist households and also assist the pastoralist households to adopt livelihood diversification strategies that are sustainable.