Enhancing Pastoralists’ Knowledge of Livestock Health Issues in Tanzania

Posted by | 05.30.2012

Livestock-Climate Change (LCC) CRSP HALI-2 researchers knew that Tanzanian pastoralists were hungry for livestock health education. But what is the best way to deliver that education and what topics should be covered? This was the focus of the researchers’ most recent trip to villages within the Iringa Region of Tanzania.

Livestock is the basis for many pastoralists’ livelihoods in the Tanzania. Climate change, along with other factors, however, is affecting livestock health.  The HALI-2 project seeks to strengthen Tanzanian livestock health, pastoralist nutrition, and livelihoods impacted by a changing climate. Livestock health education is a necessary tool to enhance pastoralists’ knowledge of how to maintain healthy livestock  in changing climates.

On a recent trip, LCC CRSP researchers conducted focus groups with men and women pastoralists from 21 villages to discuss key issues pertaining to livestock health education. Each of the groups were asked to identify important livestock health issues, diseases observed over the past year, the severity of those diseases, topics of interest for education, and methods for education delivery. Disease was identified as one of the top livestock health issues. Many participants asked for more education on disease recognition and treatment. Unexpectedly, many of the pastoralist representatives were also interested in financial and entrepreneurship training. The findings from the focus groups matched previous surveys taken from the same region by HALI2 in May 2011. Specifically, both data sets showed the same spatial pattern in diseases of concern.

The HALI2 project, led by Ian Gardner of the University of California, Davis, aims to strengthen Tanzanian livestock health and pastoral livelihoods. The research will include assessing livestock health services, pathogen diagnosis  and response capacity, as well as the development of a framework  to model adaptation of pastoralist communities to climate change. The project is partnering with Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania.

Content provided by the Livestock-Climate Change CRSP. More information on the project can be found here.