Chapter 2.3 – Trust Building and Mobile Pastoralism in Africa

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By Alan Channer, Steering Group, Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace.


Approximately 50% of Africa’s surface area consists of grassland. Mobile pastoralism—the movement of livestock according to the seasonal availability of pasture—is a traditional and widespread form of livelihood in semiarid regions. Mobile pastoralism has been neglected by policy makers, and mistrust is rife between pastoralist communities and governments, between pastoralists and sedentary farmers, and between different pastoralist groups. Increasing population pressures and climate change have led to widespread degradation of grasslands, particularly in already-dry areas. Conflict over access to grazing and water has increased, and insecurity has further hampered development. This section of the chapter offers examples from Darfur in Sudan and Kaduna State in Nigeria to illustrate why conflict mitigation and land restoration need to be implemented concurrently to ensure the sustainable management of grassland in these areas. An example from Baringo County in Kenya illustrates some success with this integrated approach.

Download full chapter on ScienceDirect.

The author thanks Meera Shah for significant contributions to this chapter from her postgraduate research on pastoralism in Kenya.

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About the Authors:

Dr Alan Channer

Dr. Alan Channer is a Media and Peace-building Consultant, and the Director of For the Love of Tomorrow Films

Most notable of Alan Channer’s documentaries is The Imam and the Pastor (2006) – which was launched at UN Headquarters, screened at the World Bank and in the House of Commons, broadcast on Al-Jazeera Arabic and from Sweden to Somalia and won first prize at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival. Its sequel, An African Answer, was described by Kofi Annan as “a very important film”.

Dr. Channer has worked with the UN and civil society networks in Chad on mediation, and recently directed a United States Institute of Peace project in Kenya,

He wrote the chapter ‘Trust-building and mobile pastoralism in Africa’, for the book Restoring land: reclaiming landscapes for a sustainable future (Elsevier 2015).

Dr Channer was born in London in 1964, the son of cameraman and producer David Channer. He studied at Reading University, UK and the International Centre for development-oriented Agriculture in Wageningen, The Netherlands. After a phase of research in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tuvalu and China, Alan joined his father on a film project to foster healing and social renewal in post-war Cambodia. The father and son team received an award from the Cambodian government and a commendation from King Norodom Sihanouk for this work.

Alan was a featured speaker at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

He is based in Kenya, with his French wife and two children.


Meera Shah

Meera is a member of the Executive Committee of Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace. In this capacity she assisted with the delivery of the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Meera recently helped to organise the North Rift Dialogue on Land and Security, in Baringo, Kenya and is currently leading the delivery of CDLS 2016.

Meera has a Masters in Environment and Development from University of Edinburgh, UK. Her dissertation focused on the impact of oil and groundwater discoveries in Turkana, Kenya, on pastoralists within the region.

Prior to her postgraduate studies, Meera was the Corporate Relations Manager at Save the Rhino International; Office Manager at E3G – Third Generation Environmentalism, a climate policy think tank, where she supported E3G’s exponential growth from 2008-2012; and a Researcher and Team Administrator at AccountAbility, a corporate social responsibility think tank.

Between roles, Meera has completed several internships at think tanks and conservation organisations including Environmental Law Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, Chatham House and Global Call for Climate Action. Meera grew up in Kenya and moved to the UK for further studies.

She holds a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Warwick.

Connect with Meera Shah: @M33RA5HAH

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