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Product title :

Communication for the development of pastoralism

Author(s) : M.A. Seid, L.W. Yoseph, U.W. Befekadu, A. Muhammed & Z. Fikre

Summary :

Communication is vital for the socio-economic and cultural development of pastoralists. If used constructively, communication can help to create a favourable environment for change and modernisation. This paper tries to uncover trends in communication as part of pastoral development, emphasising both indigenous and current methods of communication and prevailing constraints. This study reveals that pastoral development interventions in the past have often failed to achieve their goals, due to the centralised, ‘top-down’ approaches adopted and to reliance on external strategies and channels which ignored the indigenous knowledge and communications systems of pastoralists. Pastoralists have their own well-established communications systems for sharing information on climatic conditions and ecology, as well as economic, social and political issues. Modern communication technologies, especially radio and mobile telephones, are increasingly being used by pastoralists to access current regional information. However, pastoral development in the communications area is currently constrained by the failure of various development agencies and stakeholders to use participatory approaches, and by poor infrastructure and weak capacity. The authors therefore call for the adoption of more participatory and integrated approaches towards communication, the expansion of infrastructure and building of capacity.


Africa – Communication – Development – Ethiopia – Indigenous communication – Modern communication – Pastoralism.

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