Role of Social Risk Management Strategies in Reducing Vulnerabilities of Pastoral Nomadic Households after Subdivision of Group Ranches in Kajiado County, Kenya
Ngatti, Anastasia Mghoi
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The study aimed to gain an understanding of the Social Risk Management Strategies (SRMS) applied by pastoral households in sub-divided group ranches so as to support their resilience to extreme events and to support the development of these communities. The study was undertaken in Nkukuon, Sholinke and Olooloitikosh villages of Oloosirkon Division – which are areas where pastoral-nomadic households from the former Ololoitikosh Group ranch can be found. The main study objectives were to: (i) identify and analyse the SRMS that were established or adjusted to support pastoral-nomadic households in Oloosirkon Division; (ii) establish the effect of SRMS on pastoral recovery strategies and subsequent maintenance of pastoral-nomadism as a livelihood stream; and (iii) suggest measures that can be undertaken at community and policy level to facilitate sustainable SRMS in favor of pastoral-nomadism. The social exchange theory was considered to explain (i) whether pastoralists would set up new relationship based on new social systems to reduce vulnerabilities, especially after the loss of socially protected common grazing grounds under the group ranch system; (ii) whether the households would retain and build these relationships after seeing their value to reducing vulnerabilities on their livelihoods. The study used a descriptive case study research design and used household surveys, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and field observations as data collection methodologies in pastoral nomadic households in a segment of the former Ololoitikosh Group Ranch. The Kenyatta University Graduate School, the Kenyatta University Ethical Review Committee (KUERC), and the National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NACOSTI), all gave their approvals and permits prior to the field investigations. The study used descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze the data, and the chi square test of independence was used to determine whether the null hypothesis should be accepted or rejected. The study found that the top four socioeconomic challenges faced by pastoral-nomadic households are inadequate food, inadequate grazing resources, inadequate water supply and health challenges. It also found that the main mechanisms applied to manage these challenges that were driven by the community’s social network / social capital were establishment of Self-Help Groups (SHGs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Co-operative Societies. The findings show that the role of traditional social risk management strategies applied by pastoralists such as communal protection of dry season grazing grounds and reciprocity have evolved from maintenance of stock as the main objective, to one that (i) applies a multiple approach of ensuring the ability to meet the ongoing household’s basic socio-economic needs that rely on a cash based economy; while (ii) ensuring the ability to purchase new stock and / or the ability to maintain existing stock thus ensuring the survival of livestock keeping as a livelihood stream. The results of the study Chi square test findings also led to the acceptance of the study’s null hypotheses namely (i) increased vulnerability to extreme events causes pastoral-nomadic households to participate in SRMS; and (ii) households that survive extreme events after participating in co-operative social risk management strategies are more likely to maintain their membership in such groups. However, the study also found that these SRMS are not without challenges and recommendations were made on: (i) development of financial literacy and business development skills training programs; (ii) improvement of group access to financial services; (iii) formalization of SHGs, CBOs and Co-operatives (iv)land-use planning; and (v) responsive training for land-use planning professionals.