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Research Paper | Social Science | Kenya | Volume 5 Issue 11, November 2016
Turkana People's Resilience to Drought and Famine in Kenya: A Study of Social Networks as an Insurance System
Abstract: This paper draws on the experience of Turkana pastoralists living in the Turkana District in the arid zone of north-western Kenya, an area with a long history of drought and famine. Special attention is focused on understanding the types of social networks which were activated by the Turkana people during the 2005-2006 drought and famine which hence, over time have shaped the adaptation of the Turkana peoples livelihood strategies. Information from documentary review, observation and informal interviews, key informant interviews, case histories and mapping have been analyzed. Qualitative and quantitative data used. The major findings are that Turkana people possess a repertoire of adaptive strategies which stand out in relief and draw on social networks as an insurance system. The dominant modes of networks identified during the 2005-2006 drought and famine consisted of trading, reciprocity, splitting families and the search for allies. For example, families were split with some members sent away to relatives, friends, and school in order to ease the consumption pressure on available household food resources. The process thus helped to slough off population from the pastoral sector. The allies sought out included traders, kinsmen, affine, bond friends, neighbours and school The paper argues that Turkana peoples networking behaviour is an attempt to create or strengthen social ties that can be used to mitigate environmentally stressful periods of time such as drought. These networks form pathways that determine access and rights to livelihood resources or capital (natural, economic, physical, human and social), and are critical to the maintenance of different livelihood strategies and achievement of sustainable livelihoods.
Keywords: Drought, famine, Pastoral, Social networks
Edition: Volume 5 Issue 11, November 2016,
Pages: 1362 - 1370
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