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The Triple L initiative in West Pokot Kenya, brings academia, the civil society and local grassroots together to assess the needs of future land management research

Published on February 12, 2017 | Author: Linus Karlsson
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At the end of 2016, the Triple L initiative arranged a workshop in Kenya about the development of the agro-pastoral landscape in the county West Pokot. The workshop assembled stakeholders from Swedish and Kenyan universities, non-governmental organisations, county officials and agricultural extension workers. The objective was to address future development scenarios of the drylands in West Pokot and identify gaps in knowledge and needs of future research and policy development. The full outcomes of the workshop can be found on the Triple L website.
Drylands are widespread throughout sub-Saharan Africa where millions of people depend on agro-pastoral and pastoral strategies for their livelihoods. In West Pokot, the drylands were traditionally used by pastoral communities and historically suffered from land degradation due to over-grazing. The consequences were recurrent famines, low productivity and land conflicts. In the 80s the Swedish organisation Vi Agroforestry introduced agroforestry and enclosures in the area to turn around the unsustainable development. The land management gradually shifted from pastoralism to agro-pastoralism with communal and private enclosures. During the past thirty years the area has seen a significant socio-economic development along with increasing vegetation cover.
The Triple L initiative was established to assess the transformation in West Pokot and identify driving forces and sustainable outcomes through interdisciplinary research. Since degrading drylands are widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and affect millions of people, the implications of Triple L research could have significant impacts.
The Triple L workshop identified climate change, population growth and economic development as the main drivers for future development in West Pokot. From these drivers, four storylines were produced with the extensive experience and knowledge of the workshop participants. For each of these storylines, the need of further research and policy development was identified to ensure a sustainable development. One storyline predicted that more erratic rainfall and prolonged draughts could force parts of the rural population to migrate to urban areas for work. This would affect the demographic composition in West Pokot and increase the burden for women staying behind and managing the households. To ensure a sustainable development in this scenario, more knowledge is necessary on draught management and resilience as well as on how to empower women in vulnerable situations.
The findings from the workshop will feed into the Triple L initiative and ensure that its research continues being relevant. Agroforestry Network believes that initiatives like this are essential to address future challenges in land management. Agroforestry Network brings together stakeholders from organisations in development and environment with academia. By doing this, research becomes relevant and based on actual needs. But development organisations also gain since partnering with academia could improve their monitoring and evaluation frameworks as well as feeding scientific conclusions into their programmes.
Photo credit: Eric Röhss, from “Röhss, E., G. Nyberg and P. Knutsson. (2017). Scenarios for dryland development in West Pokot, Kenya – exploring research and policy needs. Triple-L”