Haramaya University hosted an International Conference on Enhancing Pastoralists Livelihood and Resilience

 

Haramaya University (PRIME) Pastoralist Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion Project hosted an International Conference on Enhancing Pastoralists Livelihood and Resilience through Market Expansion from March 17-18, 2017 at the University’s Resource Centre.

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Dr. Richard Wentzell, Dean of College of Law and Program Manager of HU-PRIME, welcomed the conference participants and expressed his sincere wish for fruitful conference deliberation.

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President of Haramaya University (HU), Prof. Chemeda Fininsa, in his opening speech, stated that it is an honor and privilege for HU to host this conference. The conference is the first of its kind in the history of the HU-PRIME to be hosted by a collaboration of several partners and stakeholders from various intuitions in Ethiopia and abroad.

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Prof. Chemeda also mentioned that pastoralist problems need to be addressed with different approaches so as to improve livestock production and productivity, natural resource governance, to provide better livelihood and to improve market for their livestock and livestock products. “In this regard,” he said, “the purposes of this conference are disseminating research findings in the areas of and livestock productivity and health, natural resources and climate change; livelihood diversification and marketing and policy issues for stakeholders.”

On behalf of the Ministry of Federal Pastoral Development Affairs, H.E. State Minister Mr. Kaydaki Gezahegn explained the government’s interest to address the shortcomings and dilemmas that the pastoralist sector and community are faced with. He said, “The government addresses fundamental rights and development agenda of our citizens, specifically concerning the predicament of the pastoralist. Owing to their limited access to socioeconomic development and underserved status over the decades, our government identified 4 regions (Afar, Ethiopian Somali, pastoral areas of Oromiya and SNNPR) to give special support in order to change the livelihood of pastoralist.”

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Mr. Kaydaki has also asked stakeholders to strengthen their efforts of supporting pastoral development endeavors and utilize evidences obtained from research works.

According to Mr. Mulugeta Getu, Project Manager for HU-PRIME Project, the conference aimed ‘to disseminate and share new scientific evidences and innovative development approaches obtained from the field; to enlighten participants and deliberate on the available policy options; also brings together relevant stakeholders to share key lessons and experiences; and network scholars and practitioners who put pastoralist as their primary agenda’.

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More than 150 participants attended the conference including invited guests and representatives from Federal offices, Afar, Somali and Oromia regions’ sectorial offices, national and international guests, representatives from various research institutions and NGOs that operate in pastoral areas and businesses and community representatives from the pastoral community.

The conference featured three core events: presentation of scientific papers, panel discussion on pastoralist policies and development challenges and poster and documentary film viewing on PRIME Project activities.

In the two days, a total of twenty three research papers were presented in four different themes – Livestock Productivity and Livestock Product Marketing; Natural Resource Management and Climate Change; Alternative Livelihood in Pastoral Parts of Ethiopia; and Policy Support and Institutions in Pastoral Areas of Ethiopia.

In addition to the scientific papers presentation, the conference also featured an interactive panel discussion on key policy issues, challenges and prospects; the nexus between development partners, research institutes and government; major challenges of pastoralist development works; marketing & facilitation approaches in development; and natural resources governance and management. Panelists drawn from academia, policy makers and practitioners with rich experiences raised thought-provoking ideas.

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Deliberation were made both on the issues raised by the papers and panel discussions. The events and participants have underlined the importance of consolidating prior knowledge, researches and interventions pertaining to pastoralists, creating a concrete partnership among stakeholders and generating knowledge and innovation specifically aiming at improving the livelihood and resilience of pastoralists.

Dr. Jemal Yousuf, Vice-president for Research Affairs delivered a closing remark where he acknowledged the efforts put by conference organizers and participants and underlined the importance of continuing researches to develop innovative pastoral technologies, and developing the network of professionals on the area.

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