Communities engage in participatory rangeland management across East and Southern Africa
The practice of participatory rangeland management (PRM), developed by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock’s lead center, is expanding across East and Southern Africa. It is giving a voice to pastoral and agro-pastoral communities — historically some of the most marginalized people in the world — and including them in land-use decision-making processes.
Introduced and piloted in Ethiopia in 2010, PRM (a process of community-led planning and management of rangelands) was developed as a tool to help secure the rights of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities to rangelands in the absence, at the time, of a formalized land tenure system for pastoral areas in Ethiopia. It was later included in Ethiopia’s Country Programming Paper to End Drought Emergencies, as part of the World Bank-funded Regional Pastoralist Livelihoods Resilience project.
PRM was upscaled significantly by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project, Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement and Market Expansion, to cover more than 1 million hectares. In 2018, PRM was included in an Ethiopian federal government manual on woreda (district) land-use planning.
Studies on PRM have shown that it improves access to resources for local rangelands users — including women— reduces conflicts related to land tenure rights, and contributes to the overall productivity of rangelands.
Drawing lessons from the experience of PRM in Ethiopia, in 2018, the European Union invested 1.5 million euros in the piloting of the PRM project for four areas in Baringo County, Kenya, and in six shared grazing lands in Tanzania, covering around 246,773 hectares of grazing lands and involving over 22,000 pastoralists. The grazing lands in Tanzania were secured through a process of joint village land-use planning and land certification with support from the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project, led by ILRI, the Tanzania Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, and the National Land Use Planning Commission. An estimated 450,000 pastoralists and agro-pastoralists are projected to benefit from the outcomes of the project.
Participatory rangeland management improves access to resources for local rangelands users — including women — and the productivity of rangelands.
By 2020, eight fully functional rangeland management institutions had been established in Kenya and Tanzania, with almost 45% female representation. Under the Livestock CRP, ILRI provided technical support to the Piloting of PRM project and supported policy dialogue in national and regional governments, building on the program’s 2019 government toolkit for county-level spatial planning that provides guidance on land-use planning processes that include pastoralist communities.
In 2020, a new USAID-funded project invested US$24 million to upscale the PRM approach in Afar, Oromia and Somali regions, Ethiopia, through the Resilience in Pastoral Areas project, benefiting 178,000 households, with interventions to be led by CARE Ethiopia between 2020 and 2025.
By 2020, eight fully functional rangeland management institutions had been established in Kenya and Tanzania, with almost 45% female representation.