Risk Assessment of the Coping and Adaptation Mechanisms for Pastoralists to Climate Change and Variability: A Case Study of Kongelai Ward, West Pokot County, Kenya


  • Raphael P. Magal
  • Boniface N. Wambua Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 30197 – 00100 GPO. Nairobi




climate change and variability, indigenous knowledge, coping and adaptation mechanisms


The study was undertaken in Kongelai Ward, West Pokot County, because of its vulnerability to changing and erratic rainfall pattern which has adversely affected pastoralism. The research focused on better understanding of climate change and variability on two climatic factors, rainfall and temperature, in order to provide insights on pastoralists’ risk management adaptations at a micro-level. In addition, it investigated the use of Indigenous Knowledge. Pearson chi square test was performed to test the hypothesis on whether there is an association between climate variability and change, and coping and adaptation strategies utilized by the Pokot community. Both primary and secondary data was used. Household questionnaire survey, focus group discussion and key informants interviews were used to collect primary data at household and community levels. Primary data (through questionnaires) was collected from a sample survey of 98 households taken from 5,596 households. multi-stage sampling technique was used, and information obtained was analyzed using inferential and descriptive statistics. Results indicated that, 94% of the farmers use Indigenous knowledge. Coping strategies include: Selling livestock (90%), relief food supply (90%), cash/food-for-work (71%), Slaughter of old and weak livestock (58%), consumption of wild fruits (33%), consumption of bush products, (50%), off-farm employment (30%), and minimization of food for consumption (84%). Diversification of livelihood (92%), Livestock mobility (94%), sending children to school (56%), Strategic livestock feed (35%), Develop water sources (15%),Change in diet consumption (78%),Livestock off-take (25%),Storage of pasture (35%), were identified as some of the most commonly used adaptation strategies. Recommendations include; better planning and target interventions, Awareness creation on environment, alternative income source, support pastoralists adaptation and coping strategies, enhancement of extension services, documentation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge, and enhance pastoralists’ resilience to drought and heat stresses



Akesbejo-Samsons, Y., 2009. Promoting local and indigenous knowledge in enhancing adaptive capacities under extreme events in Nigeria. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 6, No. 41, p. 412014). IOP Publishing.

Alila, P.O. and Atieno, R., 2006, March. Agricultural policy in Kenya: Issues and processes. In A paper for the future agricultures consortium workshop, institute of development studies (pp. 20-22).

Becker, C.M., 2001. World Bank. 2000. Entering the 21st Century:: World Development Report 1999/2000. New York: Oxford University Press for the World Bank. 11I am grateful to Richard Arnott and Andrew Morrison for valuable comments on an earlier draft of this review. Factual errors and misinterpretations, however, remain my own. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 31(6), pp.757-764.

Berkes, F. and Jolly, D., 2002. Adapting to climate change: social-ecological resilience in a Canadian western Arctic community. Conservation ecology, 5(2), p.18.

Gachathi, F.N. and Eriksen, S., 2011. Gums and resins: The potential for supporting sustainable adaptation in Kenya's drylands. Climate and Development, 3(1), pp.59-70.

Galvin, K.A., Thornton, P.K., Boone, R.B. and Sunderland, J., 2004. Climate variability and impacts on East African livestock herders: the Maasai of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. African Journal of Range and Forage Science, 21(3), pp.183-189.

Khisa, G.V., S.B.Oteng’i, S.M. Mikalitsa.2014.Effect of Climate Change on Small Scale Agricultural Production and Food Security in Kitui District, Kenya. The Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences.1(1):34-44

Krätli, S., Huelsebusch, C., Brooks, S. and Kaufmann, B., 2013. Pastoralism: A critical asset for food security under global climate change. Animal Frontiers, 3(1), pp.42-50.

Luseno, W.K., McPeak, J.G., Barrett, C.B., Little, P.D. and Gebru, G., 2003. Assessing the value of climate forecast information for pastoralists: Evidence from Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya. World Development, 31(9), pp.1477-1494.

Mugenda, O.M., 1999. Research methods: Quantitative and qualitative approaches. African Centre for Technology Studies.

Mwaûra, C. and Schmeidl, S. eds., 2002. Early warning and conflict management in the Horn of Africa. The Red Sea Press.

Mwenda, A. and Kibutu, T.N., 2012. Implications of the New Constitution on Environmental Management in Kenya. Law Env't & Dev. J., 8, p.76.

Nakashima, D. and Roué, M., 2002. Indigenous knowledge, peoples and sustainable practice. Encyclopedia of global environmental change, 5, pp.314-324.

Oba, G., 2001. The effect of multiple droughts on cattle in Obbu, Northern Kenya. Journal of Arid Environments, 49(2), pp.375-3

Ogalleh, S.A., Vogl, C.R., Eitzinger, J. and Hauser, M., 2012. Local perceptions and responses to climate change and variability: the case of Laikipia district, Kenya. Sustainability, 4(12), pp.3302-3325.

Olukoye, G.A., Wakhungu, J.W., Wamicha, W.N., Kinyamario, J.J. and Mwanje, I., 2007. Livestock versus Wildlife Ranching in Kenyan Rangelands: A Case Study of Laikipia District Ranches. Kenya Veterinarian, 27(1), pp.24-30.

Olukoye, G.A., Wakhungu, J.W., Wamicha, W.N., Kinyamario, J.J. and Mwanje, I., 2007. Livestock versus Wildlife Ranching in Kenyan Rangelands: A Case Study of Laikipia District Ranches. Kenya Veterinarian, 27(1), pp.24-30.

Oluoko-Odingo, A.A., 2009. Determinants of poverty: lessons from Kenya. GeoJournal, 74(4), pp.311-331.Printers.

Oluoko-Odingo, A.A., 2011. Vulnerability and adaptation to food insecurity and poverty in Kenya. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 101(1), pp.1-20.

Omolo, N.A., 2010. Gender and climate change-induced conflict in pastoral communities: Case study of Turkana in northwestern Kenya. African Journal on Conflict Resolution, 10(2).

Opiyo, F.E., Wasonga, O.V. and Nyangito, M.M., 2014. Measuring household vulnerability to climate-induced stresses in pastoral rangelands of Kenya: Implications for resilience programming. Pastoralism, 4(1), pp.1-15.

Orindi, V.A., Nyong, A. and Herrero, M., 2007. Pastoral livelihood adaptation to drought and institutional interventions in Kenya. Human Development Report Office, Occasional Paper, 54

Parry, M.L., Canziani, O.F., Palutikof, J.P., Van der Linden, P.J. and Hanson, C.E., 2007. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, 2007. Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

Pohl, C., Rist, S., Zimmermann, A., Fry, P., Gurung, G.S., Schneider, F., Speranza, C.I., Kiteme, B., Boillat, S., Serrano, E. and Hadorn, G.H., 2010. Researchers' roles in knowledge co-production: experience from sustainability research in Kenya, Switzerland, Bolivia and Nepal. Science and Public Policy, 37(4), pp.267-281.

Richard, K.T.K., Onyango, N.O.C., Mbuvi, J.P. and Kironchi, G., 2012. Climate Change and Variability: Farmers' Perception, Experience and Adaptation Strategies in Makueni County, Kenya. Asian Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development, 2(3), p.411.

Riedlinger, D., 1999. Climate change and the Inuvialuit of Banks Island, NWT: using traditional environmental knowledge to complement western science. Arctic, 52(4), pp.430-432.

Roncoli, M.C., Ingram, K.T., Jost, C.C., Kirshen, P.H. and Yaka, P., 2002, November. Farmers’ behavioral responses to seasonal rainfall forecasts in the Sahel-Sudan. In 17th Symposium of the international farming systems association.

Ruto, S.J., Ongwenyi, Z.N. and Mugo, J.K., 2010. Educational marginalisation in northern Kenya. Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report.

Sánchez-Carnero, N., Rodríguez-Pérez, D., Couñago, E., Le Barzik, F. and Freire, J., 2016. Species distribution models and local ecological knowledge in marine protected areas: The case of Os Miñarzos (Spain). Ocean & Coastal Management, 124, pp.66-

Speranza, C.I., Kiteme, B. and Wiesmann, U., 2008. Droughts and famines: the underlying factors and the causal links among agro-pastoral households in semi-arid Makueni district, Kenya. Global Environmental Change, 18(1), pp.220-233.

Stone, D., Auffhammer, M., Carey, M., Hansen, G., Huggel, C., Cramer, W., Lobell, D., Molau, U., Solow, A., Tibig, L. and Yohe, G., 2013. The challenge to detect and attribute effects of climate change on human and natural systems. Climatic Change, 121(2), pp.381-395.

Thorpe, N.L., 2000. Contributions of Inuit ecological knowledge to understanding the impacts of climate change on the Bathurst caribou herd in the Kitikmeot region, Nunavut. Simon Fraser University.

UNDP (2007) 'Human Development Report 2007/2008:Fighting Climate Change;Human Solidarity in a Divided World.', , (), pp. [Online]. Available at: http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hrdr 2007/2008 (Accessed: January 2013).

Van Asselt, H., Gupta, J. and Biermann, F., 2005. Advancing the climate agenda: exploiting material and institutional linkages to develop a menu of policy options. Review of European Community & International Environmental Law, 14(3), pp.255-264

Ziervogel, G. and Downing, T.E., 2004. Stakeholder networks: improving seasonal climate forecasts. Climatic Change, 65(1-2), pp.73-101




How to Cite

Magal, R. P., & Wambua, B. N. (2017). Risk Assessment of the Coping and Adaptation Mechanisms for Pastoralists to Climate Change and Variability: A Case Study of Kongelai Ward, West Pokot County, Kenya. Asian Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.24203/ajafs.v5i2.4732