Supporting livestock-keeping peoples
In facilitating the management of natural resources by multiple stakeholder groups, ETC EcoCulture promotes participation of livestock-keepers, especially the more mobile pastoral and agropastoral groups. We support the functioning of systems that integrate crops, animals, natural resources and non-agricultural income-generating strategies, involving different groups of resource users. Our view of integrated systems thus transcends the conventional mixed-farm model.
In “non-equilibrium” dryland environments, we seek to reinforce the local coping strategies. This involves negotiation, exchange and agreements between different groups of specialists, such as herders, hunters and crop farmers, the development of local institutions pertaining to livestock-keeping and natural resource management, linking indigenous and modern information and communication processes, and advocacy by and for marginalised livestock-keeping peoples.
We promote synergy and strategic cooperation between rural communities and local research and extension efforts, based on the implicit forms of logic behind the different livestock systems. We take a participatory approach to planning, monitoring and evaluating projects involving pastoral and other livestock-keeping peoples, including the development of community-based services. We give special attention to enhancing the participation of women and other vulnerable groups, in efforts to alleviate poverty, and to stimulate equitable and sustainable development in the drylands. ETC has particular expertise in enhancing indigenous systems of dairy production and marketing – an activity that is most often, in traditional pastoral systems, in the control of women.
ETC staff members have published numerous books and chapters on pastoral- and livestock-systems development, such as Planning with Pastoralists, Forage Husbandry (both also available in French), Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation with Pastoralists, Dairying by Settled Fulani Agropastoralists, and “Living with livestock in town”.
Examples of work of ETC EcoCulture in this field include collaboration in the Pastoral Community Development Project in Ethiopia, evaluation of the work of the Somali NGO Hope for the Horn, synthesis of Swiss livestock development activities in India, and participatory evaluation with Beja pastoralists in Sudan. We collaborate with other ETC units to be able to cover a wider range of livestock development issues.