Expo Great Opportunity To Share Experiences from Pastoralists in Other countries: Pastoralists

Addis Ababa: East Africa Pastoralist Expo is a great opportunity to network and learn from what other countries in the region are doing to enhance and improve the livelihood of the pastoral communities, pastoralists who participated at expo said. The East Africa Pastoralist Expo which brought together more than 1,200 pastoralists from the region kicked off at the Millennium Hall yesterday. Pastoralists and representatives from various East African countries, including Ethiopia, are participating in the Expo. The Expo brought together stakeholders to engage in meaningful discussion and propose actionable strategies to enhance resilience and sustainable development in pastoral areas. Benard Ogutu, a pastoralist from Kenya told ENA that the expo was a very good learning opportunity especially for pastoralists in our region. 'It has given us an opportunity to even interact and learn from the countries what they are basically doing to improve the life of the pastoralists because we know that over time the p astoralists have been facing a lot of challenges in terms of drought, challenges of nutrition, and disease,' he elaborated. Noting there are some other pastoral communities who are able to pass through the drought, he said 'this is also an opportunity where we come together and learn and maybe see opportunities where we can also promote our livestock.' Moreover, he reiterated that it needs cooperation and working together among the pastoral communities in the region to resolve the challenges facing them in a sustainable manner. Stressing the importance of promoting trade among the countries of the region, such an expo is giving us an opportunity to explore new markets so that 'we don't only rely on our local markets that we have within our country,' he said. On the other hand, Ogutu underlined that the countries in the region should remove some of the barriers and improve legislation so that it doesn't become very difficult for animals to cross from one place to another to promote trade among countries. Another pastoralist from Uganda, Christine Akot said we were invited by IGAD to attend this East Africa Pastoralist Expo. 'We as pastoralists have challenges that we face. We don't have good water, we don't even have good pasture and then our animals have poor quality. When we come here, we are able to share our challenges that we face as pastoralists and request the government to listen to the challenges that the pastoralists are facing,' she elaborated. As pastoralists, we don't have any other alternative livelihood that we can depend on, 'she said, adding 'we depend on the animals and that is our livelihood. If they (authorities) listen to our challenges, it will be good for them to find or discuss the solutions to those problems together.' In this expo, we are able to share the challenges and the solutions will come out from ourselves. Because if we don't have good water, then IGAD is able to get for us dams, which can share together, she stated. Momina Darer, who came from Somali regional state, said this expo has created a favorable environment for pastoral communities with a common identity to meet in one place and share experiences. The expo will provide a platform to depict and promote our rich resources with other pastoral communities in the region, she added. 'The people at the border of Oromia and Somalia as well as in the border of Kenya are working together. The pastoral communities are moving across the borders of the countries where they live, watering the cattle from the same river, grazing together in the same pasture, and living together. We are glad to come here and see the others.' Ethiopian News Agency