Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program


University of California at Davis

Publication Date



Since 2000 the PARIMA project has implemented pilot risk-management activities among poverty-stricken, semi-settled pastoralists in southern Ethiopia. The goal has been to improve human welfare via collective action and capacity building. Outcomes include progress in income generation, asset conservation, and livelihood diversification. The approach has been unique to southern Ethiopia in that a bottom-up, participatory perspective has dominated. It has focused on the priorities and felt needs of local people rather than top-down development of livestock or agricultural technology. Fifty-nine collective-action groups were created. Dominated by women, they have included over 2,300 members and most groups have been recently merged to form cooperatives. Not one group has failed and many group members have emerged as key leaders of large cooperatives that include a wider variety of recruits. Creating sustainable impacts via collective action and capacity building requires time, patience, and skill—it is not a quick fix. The process of taking raw, illiterate volunteers and transforming them into functional and sustainable groups took two to three years on average. Ten lessons for success are forwarded as guidelines for pastoral development under similar circumstances.