Drought, conflict, and the related famine and humanitarian crises have been defining characteristics of the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) in East Africa. Millions of people in the region suffer from food insecurity on an ongoing basis, limited by what some describe as ‘poverty traps’, coupled with high levels of underlying vulnerability.
In 2010 when the rains failed, and again in early 2011, over 12 million people were adversely affected. What was a chronic crisis turned into famine, causing tens of thousands of deaths. Linked to this is history of political and social marginalisation in the ASALs across countries in the region, particularly amongst pastoralist communities who have historically been on the fringes of development processes. IDS have been commissioned by DfID to draw from the relevant literature and datasets on poverty, vulnerability, livelihoods and resilience in the ASALs to identify priority, long-term evidence-gaps, and make recommendations on research and data collection approaches and methodologies.