Urban pastoralism is a less discussed topic due to its rarity in cities and towns because of the lack of enough space to support such a livelihood.
Following a visit to Zebra Manyatta in Utawala, Nairobi metropolitan area, several issues were uncovered that pastoralists in the area encounter resulting from environmental degradation due to human pressure.
Enviro Wild interviewed Monica Yator, who is the program officer at Pastoralist Development Network of Kenya (PDNK) and Caro Nashipai, a young lady from the community.
The interviewer was Caroline Kibii, an environmentalist and consultant for Enviro Wild
The key issues highlighted were;
- Climate change has forced the pastoralists to reduce the number of livestock they keep; however, they still prefer the traditional breeds such as the Zebu because they are resilient to drought and can travel a long distance in search of pasture and water.
- Water pollution is a major problem resulting from poor waste disposal. Contaminated water affects milk production and nutritional value. Milk is a source of income and food to many; reduction means no school fees to man, and acquisition of daily basic needs becomes a challenge.
- The mushrooming houses within the Zebra area have gradually reduced the size of grazing land forcing the pastoralists to walk their goats and sheep up to over 4kms away while seeking permission to graze the cows inside the airport fields that is about 7km away from their home. The nature of grass close to their homes is unsustainable for the cows.
- During dry seasons, the river close by dries up, forcing the women to travel long distances to fetch water for domestic use. Similarly, the livestock have to go far in search of water
- Pasture and water is a significant challenge for the urban pastoralists in Utawala.
- Forced migration is also a problem the community regularly faces because the people have no ownership rights to the land they occupies.
Watch the video below for full details