From herding to farming under adaptation interventions in southern Kenya: A critical perspective

R. Weesie, A.K. García

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2018 by the authors.Improving water supply for irrigable farming and livestock purposes in communities in Africa is an increasingly popular approach for community-based adaptation interventions. A widespread intervention is the construction of agro-pastoral dams and irrigation schemes in traditionally pastoral communities that face a drying climate. Taking the Maji Moto Maasai community in southern Kenya as a case study, this article demonstrates that water access inequality can lead to a breakdown of pre-existing social capital and former pastoral cooperative structures within a community. When such interventions trigger new water uses, such as farming in former pastoral landscapes, there are no traditional customary institutional structures in place to manage the new water resource. The resulting easily corruptible local water management institutions are a main consolidator of water access inequalities for intervention beneficiaries, where socio-economic standing often determines benefits from interventions. Ultimately, technological adaptation interventions such as agro-pastoral dams may result in tensions and a high fragmentation of adaptive capacity within target communities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4386
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


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