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Pastoralists' perspective on vulnerability and response to resilience enhancing project
After the catastrophic 2010-12 East Africa Drought, both governments of East African countries and international development agencies campaigned to enhance resilience of local communities in natural disasters. In Kenya, efforts have been made to provide drought early warning information, develop new water resources, and advocate livelihood diversification and livestock selling. Based on a case study of the Rendille of northern Kenya, this paper examines how pastoralists view the concept of vulnerability emphasized by recent development projects, and discusses whether their capabilities to cope with natural disasters have been improved by resilience enhancing practice. Results from fieldwork show that vulnerability to natural disasters is viewed differently at community, household and individual levels due to different socio-economic situation and adapting strategies. Pastoralists do pay attention to drought early warning information, but refer more to their own knowledge and experiences during decision making on drought preparedness and response. In contrast, new water resources are used effectively and are involved in pastoralists' adaptation and mitigation strategies. Pastoralists highlight that water resources such as sand dams and pumped-wells established in rangeland have increased livestock mobility and as a result improved their ability in response to drought. Meanwhile, livelihood diversification remains as a big challenge for people settling in permanent villages apart from pastoral activities. These findings suggest that the real needs of pastoralists can be understand through examining the dynamics of vulnerability, and their capabilities can be improved if implementations of resilience projects are assessed and adjusted continually in accordance with the dynamics of vulnerability.