New decision tools to target restocking efforts
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|The Development of Decision-Support Tools for Restocking Programs|
Decision-support tools are now available to help NGOs, donors and governments identify which households and communities would benefit most from restocking efforts. Restocking projects can greatly improve the food and livelihood security of vulnerable farmers and pastoralists. However, the impact they have on poverty is often low because they are badly targeted. By learning lessons from past projects, the new support tools could help to avoid this in the future. The tools are now being used by a wide range of practitioners, working with many different kinds of stakeholders around the world – ranging from pastoralists in Mongolia and refugees in Bosnia, to smallholders in South Asia suffering as a result of avian influenza.
Project Ref: LPP22:
Livestock Production Programme
Relevant Research Projects:
Cluster: Project R7402 was undertaken as part of a cluster of outputs focusing on the creation of decision support tools, particularly in relation to pastoralist and transhumant populations. The project was active from 1999-2001.
Premise of Research: Restocking projects directly improve the food and livelihood security of vulnerable farmers and pastoralists. Historically, however, the literature on restocking has been largely uncritical and with little information available to guide agencies about the potential issues and constraints of programmes. Previous research  has demonstrated the impact of projects on poverty reduction is low, due to the poor targeting of beneficiaries and communities (Heffernan, 1997). However, there were exceptions and for a minority of households, the study found that restocking had a major impact on poverty levels. And among these households the distinguishing factor appeared to be high levels of motivation for livestock keeping.
Conversely, on the project level, it became clear that lessons learned from restocking projects were often lost with the individuals and organisations involved and not available to the wider community. Therefore, by creating decision support tools, the study enabled NGOs, donors and governments to determine those households and communities who would most benefit from restocking. And thereby, accrue the greatest impacts on poverty. Equally, the tools would improve the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of programmes.
In response to these issues, R7402 was underpinned by the following core questions:
To answer the above questions, R7402 explored restocking projects in Kenya, Bolivia and India and further reviewed the documents of over 85 projects as part of the best practice review. Outputs included a handbook of best practice, a thesis on motivational assessment, a report on motivation among destitute pastoralists (utilising tools from socio-psychology and linguistics) in addition to a variety of decision-support tools to aid practitioners in the field. Therefore, the outputs ranged from testing new theories, to exploring new methodological approaches to the creation of practical tools to aid project design, implementation and evaluation.
At the time of the project, motivation or indeed, underlying attitudes and values, was not a factor that had traditionally been explored by development projects and programmes in relation to their clients. Equally, tools from socio-psychology and linguistics had rarely been applied in a development context. In this manner, the study informed a large number of research projects both in the UK and overseas in the application of socio-psychological methodologies and the importance of motivation to development.
The output is focused on one aspect of livestock aid: restocking. However, in totality, the outputs comprise a holistic methodology for assessing and subsequently improving the poverty impacts of development interventions at the individual, community and project level. For example, the tools devised to assess motivational factors for livestock keeping may be adapted to the uptake of other technologies. Indeed, the study found that the role of motivation is perhaps the most critical but largely ignored factor in relation to understanding why certain technologies are adopted and other are not. Equally, the twofold approach to best practice, in which particular methods are devised to address specific issues, may be helpful in other sectors and or in relation to other forms of aid.
Further, as restocking is re-emerging as the intervention of choice post-disaster, the outputs are relevant to the wider global community of humanitarian aid workers.
While mainly aimed at pastoralists, the findings also are relevant to restocking as micro-credit among subsistence farmers. Equally, the outputs demonstrate the complexities of aid to households who move between production systems (i.e. from pastoralist to peri-urban) and both the external drivers and internal factors involved.
Restocking projects and programmes have been implemented across the globe among nearly all livestock production systems. Therefore, while the project outputs focused on projects in Kenya, Bolivia and India, the outputs have a much wider applicability to global livestock systems.
At present, there are two broad areas in which value can be added to existing outputs:
The outputs of the study could be clustered with projects relating to decision-support tools, policy and practice. In relation to the RNRRS portfolio, project outputs could be aligned with the following:
How the outputs were validated:
Validation of the outputs was undertaken by the project team in conjunction with research partners. Activities were divided into three areas:
Findings from the factor analysis were as follows. In Kenya, a single factor accounted for 16% of total variance in the dataset, which was marked by high loadings on social psychological variables as well as livelihood and income variables. As such, the study demonstrated that social psychological variables of participants were related to livestock keeping behaviour. For example, urban, non-livestock related aspirations were related to a negative or uncertain attitude toward pastoralism. Values towards education and livestock keeping were also linked. For example, participants who lacked motivation toward livestock keeping generally desired all of their children to be in school. These individuals also tended to be more predisposed toward other activities and generally had higher income levels.
In Bolivia, the factor analysis also demonstrated that social psychological factors were related to livelihood strategies. Dairy production appeared to account for a lot of variation among the participating households. Indeed, those producing and selling milk were associated with urban self-aspirations and the desire for their children to seek work in the city. Thus, livestock were viewed as a stepping stone to a more financially secure urban life.
In India, the factor analysis revealed a positive association between male-headed households, cattle and buffalo ownership and employment. Debt accrued from livestock ownership was a factor that had a negative influence upon motivation for livestock keeping in India, which was not an issue in the other countries.
In this manner, the study demonstrated that motivation for livestock keeping should be a key criterion for targeting in restocking.
Where the Outputs were Validated:
The decision-support tools were validated across the range of clients, actors, production systems and geographies.
For example, in Kenya, study participants had been made destitute by both droughts and raids and survived mainly on non-livestock activities. Cultural groups include: Samburu, Turkana, Pokot, Tugen and Somali pastoralists. Female-headed households also comprised a large portion of the study set. Projects ranged from small-scale Church-based interventions to large-donor funded projects.
Conversely, in Bolivia, the study took place in the lowlands. Two of the study areas were in ‘colonisation’ zones i.e. Yapacani and San Julian established after the collapse of the mining industry in the 1980’s. Over 50% of the study participants had moved from the Altiplano and settled in their present location during the last 10 years due to the subsidised land offered by the Department. Thus, projects involved ranged from NGO initiated to those sponsored by the government.
Finally, in India, the study group in Rajasthan was comprised of women’s groups supported by an international NGO. Conversely, in Tamil Nadu, households had been the subject of a government settlement scheme and had been forced out of their traditional livelihood as nomadic entertainers or (‘Adhiyars’). In Orissa, households had been restocked after the Super-Cyclone of 1999.
Thus, across the study zone, projects varied in design, number of animals given and targeting strategy. At the household level, the drivers of restocking varied from droughts and raids (Kenya) to induced resettlement (Bolivia) and largely forced resettlement (India).
Output Validation: When and Where
Who are the Users?
The outputs of the study have been requested from practitioners working with communities ranging from pastoralists in Mongolia to Bosnian refugees to smallholder households in South Asia impacted by Avian Influenza. The project has also informed donor thinking and prompted a critical review of IFAD’s restocking project utilising the criteria listed above (see Ihttp://www.ifad.org/lrkm/theme/input/ifad/ifad_2.htm). Project findings have also been presented at USDA, OFDA and FAO.
Further, at present, a web-based survey has been sent to over 80 practitioners and policy makers involved in restocking and pastoral development. Preliminary findings from survey indicate a positive attitude toward restocking with caveats regarding targeting and understanding community level dynamics. Hence, it appears that there has been uptake the general recommendations offered in the best practice manual.
Where the Outputs have been Used:
The outputs of the study have informed both the wider discourse on pastoral drought mitigation strategies. The methodological outputs have also informed a number of DEFRA-funded studies.
An internet search revealed that the study has informed more than 40 publications on restocking praxis to date including:
Scale of Current Use:
The scale of current use has not been estimated. Nevertheless, there has been wide interest in the restocking book and requests for the book are received on a weekly basis by the study team.
Policy and Institutional Structures, and Key Components for Success:
Three reasons can be attributed to the adoption of the outputs:
Lessons Learned and Uptake Pathways
Promotion of Outputs:
ITDG Book Sales and Distribution:
Presentations: USDA, FAO on restocking
Potential Barriers Preventing Adoption of Outputs:
Barrier 1: The Present Popularity of Projects
While ostensibly the popularity of restocking is driving interest in the project outputs, there is a negative aspect to this renewed interest. Indeed, at present, there has been a rapid growth in ‘charitable giving’ sector that enables members of the public to choose the specific intervention that their donation will support. And this ‘on-demand’ approach to charity has driven an increase in restocking. Indeed, members of the public can now chose to ‘give a goat for Christmas’ as campaigns by CAFOD and Oxfam proclaim while other organisations offer a range of restocking options i.e. a goat to a poor household in Africa to a dairy cow for a family in South America. Hence, at the NGO level the number of projects has increased dramatically. However, the outcome of this success is the involvement of many of organisations new to livestock aid/restocking who may view projects as a means to generate revenue with little interest in the long-term sustainability.
Barrier 2: The Need for Rapid Action Post-Disaster
After disaster there is generally great pressure on aid agencies to rapidly initiate projects. Historically, these pressures have forced quick, rather than considered action, with poorly designed restocking projects and programs as a result. Equally problematic, there is a high turnover rate of field practitioners, particularly in the emergency sector. Therefore, institutional memories for projects and programmes are often low.
Barrier 3: The Pro-Production Paradigm of Livestock Development
The pro-production livestock development paradigm, in which poverty alleviation and enhanced livestock production are viewed synonymously, leaves little scope to explore the value and role of domestic AnGR in production systems. As such, there is a critical need to enhance awareness of the issue among development practitioners. Issues of bio-diversity for both domestic animals and plants remain very much on the margins of development praxis. Therefore, tools are required in a post-disaster situation to enable practitioners to quickly determine the potential impact on AnGR and the trade-offs in introducing new species and/or breeds.
How to Overcome Barriers to Adoption of Outputs:.
Barrier 1 and 2: Enhancing Understanding the Complexities of Restocking Projects
There is an urgent need to better explicate the complexities of restocking for those actors and agents new to restocking. As such, additional training, workshops and web-based learning and dissemination mechanisms to reach a wider audience of practitioners both North and South are required. Indeed, the project team is presently exploring the creation of a web-based tool that directly responds to restocking design and implementation issues. Equally, greater involvement of the media i.e. TV, radio and the web are required in order to enhance public understanding of the potential implications of poorly designed projects and programmes.
A further area requiring better explication regards compensation schemes post-disaster and the role of restocking particularly in relation to the current HPAI pan-zootic.
Barrier 3: The Pro-Production Paradigm of Livestock Development
Further exploration of the impact of restocking on AnGR is needed. ITDG publishing has expressed interest in a second edition of the restocking manual which further explores the key issues raised above in addition to those related to AnGR.
In relation to the aforementioned actors, adoption of research outputs relies heavily on awareness raising and engagement.
Key lessons learned by the project team are as follows:
Thus, in order for the poor to reap the benefits of restocking, policy makers and practitioners need to design and deliver effective and sustainable projects. The study outputs have been dedicated to meeting this need.
Impacts On Poverty
Poverty Impact Studies:
The literature on the impacts of restocking presently focuses on the following three areas:
a. Impacts on Poverty
The early literature on restocking was often positive , nevertheless, little evidence was offered in relation to impacts (Heffernan, 1997; 2000). With the advent of the sustainable livelihood framework, restocking fit well into notions of supporting a livelihood asset with further benefits to the social and human capital of the households involved. However, both the formal and informal discourse on the topic was largely in opposition to the reality on the ground. Anecdotal evidence suggested that projects were often manipulated by elites with corruption rife. Restocked animals were often sold or consumed with little long term impact on the households involved.
During the mid to late 1990s, the first evidence regarding the actual, rather than the perceived impacts, of restocking began to emerge. It was clear that projects suffered a number of problems that marred livelihood gains. Indeed, targeting was a key area of difficulty as was timing regarding the sourcing and distributing of stock. A cost-benefit analysis further revealed the low sustainability of projects (Heffernan, 2000). To date, a number of studies relating to poverty impacts have been undertaken:
b. Impacts on Motivation
As detailed above, motivation for livestock keeping has been found to be a key factor to the success of restocking. The following documents offer evidence regarding these impacts:
c. Impacts on AnGR
Within the literature, the affects of restocking on AnGR, is beginning to emerge. Heffernan (2006) in a model details the impact of restocked herds on indigenous breeds over time. The author found that the long-term impacts on AnGR will be ultimately determined by the breeding strategies of farmers and the attitudes and perceptions toward local breeds. The model, utilising a hypothetical restocking project, illustrated that with heavy selection, after 3 generations 34.5% of animals at the community level will share genetic material with the initial restocked herd. Conversely, with random sire selection, the figure drops to below 20%. Thus, restocking can quickly have a large and irreversible impact on AnGR at the community level.
How the Poor have Benefited (including gender and other poverty groups):
Clearly effective restocking supports livelihoods and can directly aid poverty alleviation. Nevertheless, a key constraint impacting the long-term livelihood benefits of projects and programmes relates to sustainability. In poorly designed projects, the duration of impacts was often very short. Livestock were rapidly sold or eaten thereby many households saw little more than an immediate, short-term rise in income levels. Thus, although projects were designed to meet development aims and objectives, many unintentionally acted as a mechanism for short-term relief.
While an assessment of livelihood impacts ex-post, after the dissemination of best practice and decision support tools was not part of the original project, this is an area in which action research could be undertaken. Without such a study, general assessments of livelihood impacts could be derived utilising data on the socio-economic impact of livestock keeping on the poor.
Nevertheless, there are some assumptions that may be made in relation to gender impacts. Restocking is not a gender neutral intervention. Women in the South are largely charged with livestock caretaking. Many female-headed households participated in the study and interestingly, more women than men viewed restocking as a way out of poverty. Women also viewed livestock as a means of enabling their children to attend school. However, women also face the largest labour constraints in relation to restocked herds. Thus, while restocking this population holds the most promise for supporting vulnerable households, projects must recognise and accommodate the many challenges faced by this group.
Direct and Indirect Environmental Benefits:
The environmental impacts of restocking are often theoretical rather than actual. While in the early literature the overall notion was that restocking enabled destitute herders to return to a pastoral lifestyle, the evidence has demonstrated that this was often not the case. Indeed, by targeting destitute settled households, the environmental impact of many projects was likely to be negative as the motivational assessment has demonstrated that a return to nomadism was not desired.
Appropriate and well-targeted programmes could, however, be beneficial to the environment. In semi-arid areas, pastoralism is the most suitable land use. Therefore, by enabling those households to continue in a preferred lifestyle, restocking can ultimately support sustainable rangeland use. The best practice manual explores environmental impacts and details decision-support tools for practitioners prior to and post restocking. Indeed, environmental screening tools are offered as part of the recommendations for monitoring and evaluation. Hence, the outputs of are environmentally positive.
Adverse Environmental Impacts:
There should be little adverse environmental impacts in appropriate restocking. As mentioned above, inappropriate restocking can potentially add to rangeland degradation.
Coping with the Effects of Climate Change, or Risk from Natural Disasters:
Sustainable restocking projects should enable households to better cope with future adversity. Indeed, well-designed, projects should lift households above the poverty-line and thereby decrease their vulnerability to negative events.
Relevant Research Projects, with links to the