Context: Food Insecurity
Start date: 01/01/2015
End date: 31/12/2017
Areas of intervention: Sahel
Activities:

  • Transhumant Information System (TIS)
  • Popularisation of ICTs and awareness raising

8,149 forms collected

Building resilience and adaptation to climate extremes and disasters programme (BRACED)

Publication date: Jan 01, 2015 12:00 AM
Last modication date: Jul 09, 2019 05:18 PM
2015 - 2017
Strengthening the resilience of pastoralists and agropastoralists through securing cross-border livestock mobility, promotion and service provision in the Sahel.

Context

The majority of the Sahelian population relies on livestock and agriculture. Nevertheless, this economic sector is mostly dependent on climatic conditions. In order to alleviate the effects of climate change, pastoralists resort to seasonal movements to enable their flocks to reach areas where they can graze and drink: this practice is known as transhumance.

In the light of escalating population pressures and agricultural clearing, transhumance is increasingly threatened by reduced grazing areas, difficulty in finding water points and conflicts between farmers and pastoralists.

Over time, transhumants have developed their own traditional information system to be informed and to plan their movements. As part of a partnership, the NGO Vétérinaires Sans Frontières-Belgique (VSF-B) and Télécoms Sans Frontières aim to provide better access to information for the rural population - such as health information access to natural resources or market prices - but also to facilitate the penetration of ICT in these rural areas.

Implementation

In early 2015, TSF joined of the Programme for Building Resilience and Adaptation to Extreme Climate Episodes and Disasters (BRACED) set up by a consortium of local organisations and partners led by Acting for Life (AFL). Funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DfID), the main goal is to preserve the diverse activities of pastoralists and agro-pastors (men, women and children) and to secure strategic cross-border trails by providing basic services.

The aim is also to support communities and stakeholders advocating for cross-border livestock mobility, and thus to provide awareness among local and national entities to drive the development of appropriate policies. Within the consortium, TSF has contributed its expertise in mobile technologies by developing an information system dedicated to farmers. The involvement of TSF has focused on two areas:

  • Development of a Transhumant Information System - TIS.
  • Popularisation of ICT and awareness among transhumants.

Transhumant Information System – TIS

The main role of TSF was the establishment of a Transhumant Information System (TIS) which offers a solution to improve and strengthen the traditional information system, without replacing it. Based on these traditional methods, the system aggregates and relays precise information in order to facilitate the decision-making of the beneficiaries (pastures, water points, etc.) but also to serve as an early warning system.

Two major problems were identified before this system could be put in place: illiteracy and lack of mobile data coverage. VSF-B focused on addressing the problem of illiteracy by setting up an Interactive Voice Server (IVR) to collect and disseminate information by voice. This system enabled to rapidly collect simple information and was specifically designed for use by pastoralists.

TSF focused on digital data collection by developing an innovative solution to address the problem of lack of mobile data coverage (ODK2SMS). This tool allowed turning digital forms into SMS, a technology that is much more democratised than mobile data. Therefore SMS can be sent from any areas irrespective of coverage, enabling faster feedback.

The operation of the TIS allows:

  • The collection of information via interactive voice server and ODK form;
  • Centralisation of information and analysis;
  • Dissemination of information on community radios, voice summaries and monthly bulletins.

Data collection is organised around four main points:

  • Market price collection to allow pastoralists and agropastoralists to choose the market where they can sell and buy at best price: reference term of the price of the goat against the price of the bag of millet, price of the cereals and prices of the animals;
  • ollection of the state of pastures to facilitate the planning of transhumance: condition of pastures, water points, rain, bushfires, clearing fields (to avoid conflict with farmers);
  • Collection related to animal health to prevent and avoid areas at risk for animals: contamination of water points, cursed fields, presence of health worker in the area, major outbreak of disease, animal mortality, etc.;
  • Collecting on security problems to warn of the various dangers present on the road: conflicts, robberies, banditry, blocking of corridors of passage.

Popularisation of ICT and raising awareness among transhumants

TSF played a consulting and support role with VSF-B for the popularisation of ICT among transhumants. The aim was to make pastors aware of the optimal use of mobile tools, such as choosing the right package, changing the SIM card in case of transhumance in a neighbouring country, etc.

The project focused on the sustainable provision of basic services that are vital in the event of localised rainfall deficits or acute drought. Emphasis was placed on local ownership of the management of supply and supply systems (food-livestock, veterinary products) by the key actors involved.

Thanks to ICT, action-research activities tested different solutions to improve early warning and information systems, anchored in decentralised communities. These systems provided important information to transhumant households.

Finally, the project encouraged the use of mobile phones for cash transfers, which livestock producers needed to secure financial exchanges (carrying money represents a high risk) and rationalisation of expenses.

Images