Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program


University of California at Davis

Publication Date



The Waso Borana have lived for over a century in northern Kenya. In the last few decades, however, their ability to maintain their traditions has been severely challenged. Here we report survey results from 540 households in Isiolo District, stratified among three groups differing in terms of lifestyle: sedentary, semi-sedentary, and mobile. In some cases these groups vary with respect to important perceived risks, causes of natural-resource related conflict, and possible solutions to conflict. For example, sedentary respondents often noted concerns over land tenure problems, human diseases, and political incitement. Mobile respondents, in contrast, often noted primary concerns over drought, shortages of human food, and inappropriate water developments. Semi-sedentary households could reportedly evade some risks and conflicts better than the other groups by using short, opportunistic movements of people or livestock. Despite variation among groups in their perceptions of problems, it was generally agreed that control of weapons proliferation, promotion of appropriate resource-use policies, control over political incitement, and (in some cases) reduction of livestock numbers are important partial solutions. In conclusion, we feel that government has failed the Waso Boran in several respects. These include failures to provide external livelihood options to reduce local population pressure, a safe and secure production environment, and an appropriate and enforceable land use policy for the area. International coordination is also needed to address local problems that originate outside of Kenya.