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How does early response affect households in pastoralist areas?

LEGS Briefing Paper

This Briefing Paper takes a different perspective on assessing the value of early response, and focuses on the impacts of livestock projects on poorer households in pastoralist areas. These households often have relatively few animals, and during normal (non-drought) years can struggle to increase their herds due to the need to sell some animals to meet basic domestic needs such as food, healthcare, livestock services and school fees, and because of animal losses due to disease or other causes. Furthermore, household economic growth to a distinctly better financial position, with more animals, is not linear but occurs as notable “step ups” from one level of wealth to another4 . For these reasons, poor households are often caught in a poverty trap, in which small increases in financial assets are transient, and never enough to reach a higher level of financial security. The impacts of drought are particularly important for these households, because drought can cause high livestock mortality and this makes it even more difficult for households to secure and build livestock assets. Therefore, the paper considers how early response affects the livestock of poorer households in pastoralist areas during drought, and then after drought, how the impacts of early response relate to herd growth and recovery.