Niger: Pastoral livelihoods and climate change adaptation

Pastoralists live in an uncertain environment and have developed diverse strategies, institutions and networks to turn this unpredictability and risk to their advantage. Breeding livestock to feed selectively on the most nutritious plants, and moving livestock to those areas where the most nutritious pastures can be found are two crucial strategies. Yet despite their proven value, these strategies are still poorly understood and badly integrated in policy design. IIED undertook two pieces collaborative of research in Niger to address this.

Strategies used by six pastoral communities in Niger

Pastoralists in Niger (Photo: Stephen Anderson)Field research by IIED with support from the Secrétariat Permanent du Code Rural, Niger documented how six different pastoral communities in eastern Niger adapted to climate change. The work showed the strategies pastoralists used to respond to climate change, which of these were successful, and why.

The research analysed whether and how Niger’s policy environment helped build the resilience of local communities to climate change, and how much gender, ethnicity and where people live affected communities’ capacities to adapt.


Climate change and pastoralists: investing in people to respond to adversity discusses how, despite their adaptation to climatic fluctuations, pastoralists face new challenges from global climate change. Written by Ced Hesse and Lorenzo Cotula, this opinion article proposed local, national and international action to prevent destitution and help pastoral groups respond to the changing environment.

A French-lanuage IIED report, Recherche sur les stratégies d'adaptation des groupes pasteurs de la région de Diffa, Niger orientalexamined how pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in eastern Niger adapt to climatic, political and economic change. It was written by Steve Anderson and Marie Monimart.

Herding Chaos: film on the Wodaabe herders of Niger

IIED commissioned Saverio Krätli to produce a film documenting how Wodaabe herders in Niger exploit environmental unpredictability for their economic advantage.

The film presented the lives of two families and explored the rationale underpinning their mobility patterns, how carefully built teams of cattle selectively harvested sporadic nutrient resources on the range, and how this proactively and systematically created economic value, rather than offering mere survival.

See the trailer: 'Herding Chaos' by Saverio Krätli.

Further videos in this series, including French versions, are available

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