Empowering Pastoral Communities: the CGIAR Research Initiative on Livestock and Climate and ILRI’s HEARD Hosts Dissemination Workshop on Livestock Routes in Miyo, Moyale, and Filtu Districts

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In a significant stride towards sustainable development in pastoral areas, the CGIAR Research Initiative on Livestock and Climate and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)’s Health of Ethiopian Animals for Rural Development (HEARD) project, in collaboration with various partners, successfully concluded a participatory livestock route mapping initiative in the districts of Miyo, Moyale, and Filtu, spanning the Oromia and Somali regions. The culmination of these efforts was marked by a Dissemination Workshop held on 23 October, in Hawassa town. The workshop aimed to communicate the outcomes of the mapping activities to end users, including federal governmental offices, universities, research centers, pastoral community elders, developmental partners and professional associations.  

The participatory and validation exercises conducted by ILRI aligned with the Livestock and Climate Initiative’s pastoralism agenda. The objective of this Initiative encompasses a comprehensive understanding, improvement and management of rangeland resources, raising awareness of critical rangeland resources and fostering linkages among government officials, NGOs, research centers and pastoral communities. 

The workshop had specific objectives, including communicating the mapping activity process and outputs to end users, discussing the utilization of mapping outputs for pastoral community development agendas, reviewing the conservation status of livestock routes and facilities, and handing over printed maps to stakeholders. 

During the workshop, various presentations elaborated on the project’s objectives and activities. Particularly noteworthy was a presentation focusing on livestock routes and associated resources, outlining the steps from initiation to the finished product. A question-and-answer session clarified uncertainties about the mapping process, and a panel discussion ensued to deliberate on the way forward. 

Key points highlighted during the workshop included the need for familiarization events on the livestock route map, the introduction of mobile animal health service provisioning along routes and the necessity for similar mapping exercises in other regions. Recommendations were made to include detailed narratives on route maps, incorporate rangeland units and fodder production sites in mapping exercises, and categorize livestock markets as primary and secondary. 

Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands expressed their interest in using the maps for planning, decision-making and coordination platforms. The participants expressed satisfaction with the mapping process and outputs, committing to support, service and protecting the routes and resources identified in the study areas. 

Theo Knight-Jones, Principal Scientist and Team Leader of Herd Health at ILRI, announced the continuation of such mapping work in upcoming projects, while Solomon Gizaw, project coordinator at ILRI, emphasized ILRI’s role in supporting animal health service provision along the mapped livestock routes.  

As a tangible outcome, eight copies of waterproof paper-based maps were handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders to facilitate informed planning and decision-making. 

Map handover to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Health and Veterinary Public Unit. Photo by D.Birhau/ILRI.
Map handover to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Health and Veterinary Public Unit. Photo by D.Birhau/ILRI.

Reflecting on the lessons learned, the extensive traditional participatory and validation exercises in Ethiopia have not only opened new avenues for sustainable development but have also deepened the understanding and proficiency of individuals involved, illustrating the potential for positive impact on pastoral communities in the years to come. 

To see the outcome of the mapping exercise view the ‘Livestock resources in Miyo, Moyale and Filtu districts of Ethiopia’ map.  

Header image: Participants at the dissemination workshop. Photo by D.Birhau/ILRI. 

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