Climate change poses serious challenges to the already precarious livelihoods of pastoral communities in East Africa. Now, climate-related resource scarcities are increasing the likelihood of violent conflict. Women are often most vulnerable to such violence. Understanding the drivers of this environmental conflict and the ways pastoral communities cope with environmental change is critical to the long-term security and sustainability of these communities.
To fill these knowledge gaps, researchers examined climate-related conflicts among pastoralists in the Turkana district of northwestern Kenya. In Turkana, recurrent droughts have exacerbated poverty and threaten the viability of pastoralism. Faced with dwindling resources, many turn to livestock raiding, which often escalates to violence. This has forced pastoralists to limit their mobility, with important implications for livestock health and soil quality. Communities have also diversified their livelihood activities. Yet, major constraints stand in the way of effective adaptation, especially for women.