Livelihoods, Power, and Choice

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Livelihoods in Darfur are intimately linked to the conflict, none more so than the livelihoods of the camel herding nomads known as the Northern Rizaygat. Their notoriety as part of the Janjaweed militia has obscured from view how their lives and livelihoods have been affected by conflict.

Based on fieldwork in rural Darfur, this report uses a livelihoods lens to illustrate the processes that have contributed to the vulnerability of the Darfuri nomads who have much in common with pastoralists globally. Severe pressures on pastoralist livelihoods have contributed to ‘maladaptive’ livelihood strategies that are often linked to violence and conflict, and undermine the livelihoods of both victims and perpetrators.

They have suffered relative exclusion and vilification by the international community, including by humanitarians, international peace processes and international advocacy. Apart from their politicized image, other reasons for their exclusion are because they are widely perceived by the international community as less vulnerable, and also because they are hard-to-reach, living in scattered rural communities and alienated by their treatment internationally.

This briefing paper, which draws on the full report, challenges the widely held misperceptions about their vulnerability and presents a detailed series of recommendations. Lessons learned from this very specific case from Darfur are critical for a lasting peace and have much wider regional and international policy implications.







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This primer on pastoralism in Africa provides basic information on the core aspects of pastoralism as a livelihood and production system.

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Cette brève introduction au pastoralisme en Afrique donne des informations élémentaires sur les principaux aspects du pastoralisme en tant que moyen d’existence et système de production.

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This briefing describes the key elements and issues associated with conflict in pastoralist areas across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Ce document d’information décrit les éléments clés et les enjeux associés aux conflits dans les zones pastorales d’Afrique subsaharienne.

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This briefing paper summarizes some of the nuances that exist and the shifts that are occurring within gender dynamics in pastoralist livelihood systems in Africa.

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Cette note d’information résume certaines des nuances qui existent et les changements qui se produisent actuellement dans la dynamique du genre dans les systèmes de subsistance pastoraux en Afrique.

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