In the context of scattered resources and unpredictable seasonal and inter-annual climate variability, livestock mobility constitutes a basic livelihood strategy. The ability to access secure, equipped livestock corridors allows for the trans-border movement of livestock enabling Sahel pastoralists and agro-pastoralists to manage climate variability, to reach refuge areas during severe droughts, and to ensure access to markets and value chains. Use of livestock corridors is increasingly restricted by agriculture encroachment, limited involvement of local governments, shortage of basic services and inadequate institutional framework.
The project will therefore build resilience among pastoral and agro-pastoral women, men and children (905,000) by securing 1,700 km of strategic trans-border corridors, by providing key services (fodder supplements, animal health) and through adapted mobilization and advocacy tools enabling communities and stakeholders to lobby for livestock mobility at local, national and sub-regional levels (ECOWAS).
Acting for Life is the lead organization for the BRACED ‘Strengthening resilience of 905,000 pastoralists and agro-pastoralists (women, men children), by securing, servicing and promoting trans-border livestock mobility across Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger’ project. Over a period of 36 months the project will build resilience among pastoral and agro-pastoral women, men and children, by securing strategic trans-border corridors, by providing key services and by enabling communities and stakeholders to lobby for livestock mobility and for appropriate policy-making at local, national and ECOWAS levels. The project officially began in January 2015 with a budget of £6 282 148, which is co-financed by the Department for International Development (DFID) at 87%, the European Union at 10% and Acting for Life at 3%.
In the Sahelien context where recurring droughts are the norm and localised droughts are an annual phenomenon, mobility forms a vital strategy to utilise and optimise scattered and unpredictable resources. Since the 1970s, impacts of drought have proved to be cumulative and more severely affect vulnerable households however the timing and magnitude of mobility strategies during the drought have served to determine the size and composition of the surviving herd and, thus, their ability to recover. Post-drought studies have shown unequivocally, that trans-border mobility of livestock remains the keystone to pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods’ resilience to climate variability and extremes. Well-equipped and secure livestock corridors which facilitate these mobile strategies and transborder flows are therefore crucial to the ability of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities to cope with climate extremes, enabling animals to reach vital rural and urban livestock markets.
For the last 5 years, together with key local partners, as a result of funding from the EU and AFD, AFL has implemented a series of interventions to secure cross-border movements between the Sahel and coastal countries for livestock production and marketing. The BRACED project provides the opportunity to enlarge geographical coverage, scale-up implementation through local governments, and expand successful approaches and proven methods as well as highlighting the challenges faced by herders so often left out of the policy discussion.
During the 36 months the project will have three principal outcomes:
- Strategic livestock corridors are mapped, protected and equipped (water points, transit campsites and grazing reserves) and managed equitably and inclusively by users and institutional actors (decentralised authorities, State services). Emphasis will be placed on critical transit routes found along strategic corridors which allow for transborder livestock movement, particularly important during periods of crisis.
- Key services (fodder supplements and animal health) are provided to pastoral and agro-pastoral women and men along the corridors, and innovative services for mobile herders (destocking, communication systems and feasibility of livestock risk insurance schemes) are tested through action research.
- Appropriate lobbying tools demonstrating the economic, social and environmental contributions of transborder livestock mobility in West Africa are developed and disseminated, allowing communities and key stakeholders to advocate and lobby for trans-border livestock mobility at local, national and ECOWAS levels.
The project focuses on two transnational territories which interconnect Mauritania, Mali and Senegal on the one hand and Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso on the other (see map below). These zones capture major seasonal movements of transhumant pastoralists and agro-pastoralists accessing grazing resources and markets, and refuge areas during droughts. These livestock corridors act as both a circulatory system conveying flows of transhumant herders and also trade routes for trekking livestock.
Built on an alliance of 15 project partners, the composition of the alliance draws together diversified experience and intimate knowledge of local contexts across all 5 countries of intervention.
The partners cover three main functions:
- Local partners implement all project outputs in their zones.
- Back-up partners provide technical support to local partners, especially for engaging in formal partnerships with local governments: CISV for RBM-Senegal, LVIA for CRUS-Burkina and TASSAGHT-Mali, VSF-Belgium for ICD-Mali, AREN and GAJEL (Niger), AFL for RECOPA-Burkina, GNAP-Mauritania, ACIDEF-Mali.
- Cross-cutting partners interact with all the members of the alliance on specific activities: RBM-West Africa, VSF-Belgium, ARED and CIRAD.
Through the three intended outcomes, the project will address the issue of resilience to climatic events on both a macro and micro level, from the communities on the ground to international regional policy. The last 30 years have witnessed a general trend towards diversification of household economies, resulting in a wide range of agro-pastoral systems relying on a delicate balance between land and labour allocated for agricultural and for animal productions. The importance of livestock mobility remains a common feature for all these systems, even for the most sedentary ones. Therefore, by securing livestock corridors the project will benefit a large number of pastoral and agro-pastoral households and communities.
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