Pastoralists are experts at improvisation

At our launch workshop last May, we invited a number of the participants to comment on the themes of the PASTRES project in short video clips. These complement the ones already shared from the PASTRES team on China, Italy and Kenya, as well as the project overall.

Echi (Christina) Gabbert, from the University of Goettingen in Germany and coordinator of the Lands of the Future network, discusses, in the video below, the way pastoralists are experts at responding to a tough reality, able to improvise and make use of practical knowledge.

She notes that ‘uncertainty’ is not a term that can be directly translated into the languages of East African pastoralists, with whom she has worked. Instead, when talking about situations when you are not sure what tomorrow brings in terms of food, livestock health and so on, pastoralists comment that, “this is our everyday situation”.

Uncertainty relates to a tough lived reality, and ways of responding must make use of everyday practices, capabilities and shared knowledges. Uncertain conditions are normal and are reflected in a particular outlook on life.

Echi argues that the comparative analysis at the heart of the PASTRES project offers a major opportunity to think about uncertainty through the lenses of different pastoralists across regions, and so contribute to the debate about the future of pastoralism.

Image credit: Dr Michele Nori


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