Pastoralists

Pastoralists

The important task of cattle herding is traditionally carried out by the Youth

Nomadic pastoralists are often a highly vulnerable group of people due to their marginalisation from main stream society, lack of education and often distinct culture and languages that differ from the majority of society. In Tanzania IDC encountered the Barbaig pastoralist group, that belongs to the Datoga tribe. The Barbaig (around  90 000 people in Tanzania today) have been wandering the plains of East Africa for the past 3000 years and largely maintained their nomadic lifestyle, always in pursuit of grazing fields and water for their cattle. Due to the lack of boarding schools few have received formal education and thus have little knowledge of Swahili, the country’s lingua franca. This is turn marginalises them from mainstream Tanzanian society and impedes access to basic public services such as education health and veterinary services.

The Resettlement Action Plan was carried out in conjunction with the Tanzanian Government, which did not recognise the Barbaig as a group eligible for compensation, even though some pastoralists were only semi-nomadic and have been wandering within the site between the various dams since the former ranch closure in 1994. Deriving from Nyerere’s ideology Tanzania does not recognize the definition of ‘indigenous’ in its usual sense, but maintains that all Tanzanians are ‘indigenous’ and thus there is no special treatment for nomadic tribes. The original Government intention was to evict them from the site and send them to another area. However, it was confirmed that the new area did not have sufficient access to water year round and that even the farmers had serious drought issues. Alternative multi-pronged solutions had to be sought for the pastoralist families and their 10,000 cattle that use the dams permanently or on a regular basis during the dry season.

Barbaig during a consultation meeting in Makurunge, Tanzania 2012

IDC developed the case that the Barbaig were ‘vulnerable’, on the basis of the lack of Swahili ,which prevents them from accessing essential services. As Tanzania does accept that some people are vulnerable and special provisions can be made, this argument was accepted.

Initially, IDC worked with the Project and the Government to stop eviction from the Project site until full consultations could be undertaken to understand their needs and constraints. To effect these consultations IDC recruited an educated Barbaig from Hanang to initiate consultation with the pastoralist groups in the area, IDC established ways of providing alterantive forms of compensation and assistance. The most important concerns of the Barbaig centered around land, water, education, access to veterinary medicines and human health issues.

IDC employed four additional Barbaig interns as members of the RAP team from a wide range of disciplines who could double up as both as trainers and Barbaig support and who also train the subsistance farmers, charcoal producers and other PAPs.

As a result of a series of consultations the following interventions were specifically designed for the pastoralists:

  • Agreement to allow 17 Barabaig pastoralist families and their 2000 cattle to remain in the project site in a designated area with access to two dams.
  • Assistance to register in local communities;
  • Assistance to form an NGO to support access to services
  • Assistance to form a co-operative to improve livestock and gain access to 5000 HA alternative land;
  • Basic literacy, numeracy and entrepreneurial skills training provided twice a week;
  • Assistance to access veterinary services from the local Agricultural Department
  • Assistance to access education with boarding facilities with a commitment by the pastoralists to provide some financial support to enable this to happen in a timely fashion;
  • Technical Assistance offered by the Project to de-silt two dams, one in the project site and one in an adjacent community which have agreed to allow the Barbaig pastoralist to move into their grazing lands;
  • Technical Assistance offered by the Project to mend or develop cattle-dips and a commitment to provide some financial support to enable this to happen;
  • Technical Assistance to create ditches to separate the Project site from the Pastoralists’ grazing space specifically engineered to optimise water management;
  • Assistance with legal services to purchase land
  • Assistance in improved health and living in the boma (traditional homestead)
  • Health screening by the Ifakara Health institute

 The assistance to register in surrounding villages came mainly in form of facilitation and translation services. 14 Families are now registered in a village community, which gives them access to social services, IDC’s inclusive participatory approach safeguarded, that potential conflicts with resident farmers and also potential conflicts with the Masaai tribe was avoided.

The success with this approach achieved a cost-effective solution for a potentially difficult situation for the Project Proponent. It satisfied the AFdB guidelines, that funded the Project and benefitted the pastoralist community in the Pwani region immensely.

A young Barbaig mother at her boma