West Golis pastoral livelihood baseline report | Technical Series Report No VI. 68, May 31, 2016
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
In November 2014, the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) conducted a baseline assessment in the West-Golis Pastoral livelihood zone. The purpose of the study was to assess the main sources of food and income of West Golis pastoral and to measure the extent, depth, and the underlying causes of vulnerability to livelihoods and food insecurity in this livelihood zone. Another objective of the study was to customize early warning indicators to be monitored for both food and livelihood security of the livelihood Zone.
Livelihood Zone Description: The West Golis Pastoral zone covers the highlands of the Golis mountain range and stretches from the international border in western Awdal region, into Woqooyi Galbeed region and northern Togdheer region. The zone also includes a small section in the west of Sanaag region (the district of Ceel Afweyn). The general elevation along the crest of these mountains averages 1800 meters above sea level, with shallow plateau valleys. The ecology of the zone is semi-desert and the basis of the economy is pastoralism. The total estimated population for the livelihood zone is 335,989 (UNFPA 2014).
Wealth Break down: Households in West Golis Pastoral livelihood zone are categorized into: Poor (30%), Middle (50%) and Better-off (20%). The clear determinant of wealth in this livelihood zone is the ownership of livestock mainly Camels, goats and sheep in order of importance and preference. The Poor households are defined as those who have up to 5 camels and between 40 and 60 shoats (mixed herds of sheep and goats, although goats are the dominant species). The Middle households are those who own nearly 12 camels, 125 sheep and goats while the Better-off households own significantly larger herds of about 28 camels and 200 sheep and goats. Household size and number of wives vary across the wealth groups with the Middle and the Better-off wealth groups more likely to be polygamous, which explains the larger household sizes (Poor: 6 members, middle: 8 and the Better off: 11 members).
Livelihood Assets: Livestock and livestock products sales provide the largest economic sources for all wealth groups of West Golis Pastoral, despite the variations in livestock holdings across the different wealth groups. The vegetation cover is dominated by grasses, shrubs and forest trees. The acacia trees are the most important for livestock feed especially during the dry seasons. Forest resources also permit the production of charcoal, which is sold by poor households. The main water sources in the zone are shallow wells in the valleys, ballis (water catchment areas on the slopes of the mountains), springs and small seasonal streams. Majority of the West Golis pastoral households (Poor and Middle) are monogamous with a household size of about 5 -7 and 7 - 8 members, respectively while the Better-off which represents a smaller portion of the population are polygamous with a household size of about 10 -12 dependents.
Pastoral households in West-Golis livelihood zone have access to two educational systems: the traditional Koranic school system and the modern educational (non-Koranic) system. Almost all pastoralists access Koranic education. Formal primary to secondary education is limited to large settlements and urban towns.
The food security situation in West Golis pastoral was classified as stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the reference year, while nutrition status was categorized as serious with a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of about 15%. Although road transport is poor, communication networks have improved and mobile phones are widely used in the area. These services are carried out by local private enterprises such as Golis, National link and Somtel.
The Poor households have a relatively strong access to the traditional social support such as Irmansi (sharing milk) and cash gifts provided by the Middle and the Better-off groups. Both men and women have access to gifts in kind and cash and even credit opportunities from traders some of whom are close clan relations. Usually livestock migration routes are contained within the region, towards the Guban coastal area and the Hawd plateau pasture lands. However environmental degradation is an endemic problem contributing to the loss of pastures due to changing climatic conditions and lack of proper land and water resource management systems.
West Golis pastoral livelihood zone receives bi-modal rainfall i.e. the gu rains (April-June) and Deyr rains (October-December), separated by two dry seasons namely, Jilaal which is characterized by high temperatures (January-March), and Hagaa (July – September). It’s important to note that there are variations in terms of rainfall patterns across the livelihood zone between the Eastern and Western parts of the zone. The Golis areas of Togdheer mainly receives Gu and Deyr rains, while the Golis areas of Woqooyi Galbeed and Awdal regions receive gu rains (April –June), karan rains (late Executive SummaryWest-Golis Pastoral Livelihood Baseline Report Issued May 31, 2016 July –August) and only minor deyr rains (Oct-Nov). The Golis in Borama, facing the Guban Pastoral zone, receives xays rains (Dec-Feb). During the wet seasons (Gu and Deyr), and depending on rainfall performance, surface water and pasture availability for livestock production improves, thereby increasing livestock reproduction and productivity.
The opportunities for livestock migration (seasons of inadequate rains) is guided by availability of pasture and water and insecurity (clan alliances and conflicts). Livestock sales, especially those for export markets, peak during the Eid and Hajj season when demand increases (the timing of which differs each year), while local sales peak during and just after the rains when livestock body conditions have improved. Animal sales also occur during the dry seasons and the pastoral lean season when cash income is needed.
Milk production increases during the rainy seasons when most mating and birthing takes place. Normally camel milk prices increase during Hagaa and remain high throughout the short rainy season due to limited supply of goat and sheep milk in the markets. Milk prices decrease when there is a concentration of livestock at watering points and when production increases during the rainy season.
Food prices often increase towards the end of the monsoon season (August) when rough navigation conditions reduce shipping activities and limit food imports, especially the staple cereals. The major pastoral lean season falls between the months of February and March at the end of the harsh Jilaal season. A secondary less intense lean season usually occurs between September and October, until the first deyr rains.
The sustainable livelihoods approach seeks to get a deep understanding of people’s assets and their capacity to convert a range of assets (with the help of positive influences of other sustainable livelihood elements) to achieve favourable livelihood outcomes. In West Golis pastoral livelihoods, livestock and livestock products sales provide the largest economic sources for all wealth groups although there are visible variations in terms of livestock holdings across the three wealth groups.
The vegetation cover is dominated by grasses, shrubs and forest trees. The acacia trees are the most important for livestock feed especially during the dry seasons. The main water sources in the zone are shallow wells in the valleys, dams (water catchment areas on the slopes of the mountains), springs and small seasonal streams. Livestock migration routes are contained within the region, towards the Guban coastal area and the Hawd plateau pasture lands mostly during bad seasons. However the environmental degradation is an endemic problem contributing to the loss of pastures due to changing climatic conditions and lack of proper land and water resource management systems.