Livelihoods-based Programming and Impact Assessment in Pastoral Areas of the Horn of Africa

Our coordination, technical support, and impact assessment work between 2009 and 2011 is provided under two programs covering parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Both programs involve international and local NGOs working with various local government and private sector partners. The positioning of these programs in drought-prone areas means that the programs cover both development and relief interventions, and therefore, central to our support is the promotion of livelihoods-based approaches in which drought is expected. We work with NGOs to enhance their capacity to link relief and development programs and plans under livelihoods frameworks.

Tufts/FIC has a long history of coordinating large-scale programs in pastoral areas of the Horn of Africa, dating back to 1996. We lead coordination efforts, provide direct technical support to implementing agencies, and work with agencies to assess impact and refine future programming. Lessons learned are applied locally, but are also fed into the policy processes at national and regional levels, which are described under our program Understanding the Future of Pastoralism in Africa, and into LEGS.

The longer-term development interventions include activities related to livestock marketing, veterinary services, natural resource and water management, human health care, human nutrition, organizational development, and savings and credit schemes. The relief interventions include commercial destocking, slaughter destocking, livestock feed supplementation, and emergency veterinary care and restocking. In Ethiopia and Kenya, we also work with local government and NGO partners to integrate these activities into emerging government safety net programs in pastoral areas.

This project is funded by USAID/Ethiopia.

Activities under this project focus on technical coordination and impact assessment of NGOs under two USAID-funded programs: the Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative (PLI) in Ethiopia and the regional Pastoral Areas Coordination, Analysis, and Policy Support (PACAPS) program working at field level in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The latter ended in March 2010.

In PLI, we work with Afar, Oromiya, and Somali regional governments to facilitate quarterly regional coordination meetings with government and NGO participants, at which real-time information and experiences of pastoralist livelihoods programming were shared and advice was offered. The main NGOs involved were Save the Children US, Save the Children UK, CARE, Mercy Corps, and IRC. At the federal level in the PLI program, we provide the secretariat support to the PLI Steering Committee led by the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD), with participants from the Ministry of Federal Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, regional governments, USAID, and the World Bank. The other main activity during 2009-10 was the translation of the MoARD National Guidelines for Livestock Relief Interventions in Pastoralist Areas of Ethiopia into three local languages. These guidelines arose through a national Livestock Policy Forum convened by the MoARD and backstopped by the Center, involving more than 60 representatives from government, NGOs, academic and research institutes, private sector, professional associations, and donors. Evidence was collected under the forum using participatory impact assessments. In 2009-10, these impact assessments focused on livestock marketing projects, savings and credit groups, and small-scale irrigation.

In PACAPS, we provide technical support to NGOs via multi-agency working groups. This support focuses on livestock marketing, natural resource management, and veterinary services. We worked with Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Suisse to conduct an impact assessment of privatized community-based animal health services in northeast Kenya.

In addition to the two formal programs outlined above, through our office in Addis Ababa we continued to provide ad hoc research and technical support to NGOs working in pastoralist areas of Ethiopia, including FARM Africa, Oxfam US, and local NGOs.

Impact Assessments and Reviews

  1. Review of Pastoral Rangeland Enclosures in Ethiopia. By Alison Napier and Dr. Solomon Desta
  2. Rapid Review of the Cash-for-Work and Natural Resource Management Components of the RAIN Project. By Andy Catley and Alison Napier.
  3. Impact Assessment of Small-Scale Pump Irrigation in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. PLI Policy Project, September 2010
  4. Livelihoods-based Drought Response in Ethiopia: Impact Assessment of Livestock Feed Supplementation. By Gezu Bekele and Tsehay Abera, August 2008.
  5. Impact Assessments of Livelihoods-based Drought Interventions in Moyale and Dire Woredas. March 2007.
  6. Impact of drought-related livestock vaccination in pastoralist areas of Ethiopia. By A. Catley, D. Abebe, B. Admassu, G. Bekele, B. Abera, G. Eshete, T. Rufael, and T. Haile, Published in Disasters 33/4. (For reprints, email the lead author:
  7. Livelihoods impact and benefit-cost estimation of a commercial de-stocking relief intervention in Moyale district, southern Ethiopia. By D. Abebe, D, A. Cullis, A. Catley, Y. Aklilu, G. Mekonnen, and Y. Ghebrechirstos. June 2008. Published in Disasters 32/2. (For reprints, email the lead author:, see our guide to Participatory Impact Assessment.
  8. Money to Burn? Comparing the Costs and Benefits of Drought Responses in Pastoralist Areas of Ethiopia. By Andy Catley and Adrian Cullis, 2012. Published in Journal for Humanitarian Studies.
  9. Livestock Mortality in Pastoralist Herds in Ethiopia during Drought and Implications for Livelihoods-based Humanitarian Response By Catley, A., Admassu, B., Bekele, G., and Abebe, D. (2013). Published in Disasters, in press. Contact the lead author:


The work involves collaboration with government partners:

  • Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Afar Region Pastoralist, Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau
  • Oromiya Pastoral Areas Development Commission
  • Somali Region Livestock, Crop and Natural Resources Development Bureau

and NGO partners:

  • Save the Children US
  • Save the Children UK
  • CARE International
  • Mercy Corps
  • International Rescue Committee