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.