Promoting Peaceful Pastoralism: Preventing and resolving violence linked to cross-border transhumance and environmental change in Africa

Promoting Peaceful Pastoralism is an XCEPT, Conciliation resources funded project which examines changes to cross-border pastoral movements on the  Uganda/Kenya border, in particular, as a result of environmental change and their implications for peace and security, and uses research findings to develop strategies for preventing and resolving violent conflicts.

Pastoral mobility and the seasonal or permanent migrations of herders and livestock are established features of rural society and economies in the regions straddling the Uganda-Kenya border. However, significant changes are occurring in the patterns and organisation of mobile pastoralism, in response to ecological and climatic shifts and due to political, economic, and security issues.

Whilst transhumance pastoralism can occur in an ordered way that reinforces exchange relations between pastoralists and agriculturalists and boosts rural economic activity, there are many examples where political, social and economic circumstances have created tensions, conflicts that impact on and involve pastoralists. These conflict incidents are often linked into, and exacerbated by, regional security implications and the presence of trans-national armed groups. Pastoralists, farming communities, authorities and security forces alike are adapting their strategies and livelihoods in the face of these changes, but often at cross-purposes, exacerbating episodes of violent conflict.

The research promotes an understanding of and relationships between pastoralists crossing the Kenya-Uganda border and the state institutions that affect/provide their security. The project invites pastoralists to lead the research, supporting them with a systematic methodology, an approach already road-tested in Karamoja in a 1.5-year Irish Aid study in 2013 and in Turkana in a four-year action research process with elders 2014-2019.

Project details

start date
1 May 2022
end date
31 March 2024
£125 000


Supported by

About this project

Kenya Uganda


Recent work


The Lion, The Leopard, The Hyena and The Fox

This second report from the XCEPT action research project, Promoting Peaceful Pastoralism, outlines what the pastoralist researchers on the Uganda/Kenya border have learned since the first report was published in October 2023. As with the first report, it presents the pastoralist communities’...

2 May 2024


Community Solutions to Insecurity Along the Uganda–Kenya Border

IDS Policy Briefing 214

In the Karamoja and Turkana border regions of Uganda and Kenya, there is widespread violence including armed robbery, rape, and human rights abuses, yet community complaints about failures of governance remain largely unaddressed. This Policy Briefing highlights how different insecurities...

19 December 2023


Let’s get back to the drawing board on insecurity in Karamoja

Save for a recent event, the last time there was a mass burial in Karamoja was in 1972, when the Ugandan government of President Idi Amin killed protesters against his culture policies in present Napak district. These traumatic experiences were relived three weeks ago, when the district local...

18 January 2023