Adaptation Measures to Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Variability among Pastoralists in Kajiado, Kenya

Climate change and variability has direct and indirect effects on pastoralism through its effect on natural resources including water and pastures that support livestock production in pastoral areas.

This study was conducted in Kajiado County where pastoralism is the main source of livelihood.

The objective was to identify challenges facing pastoralism and adaptation measures applied by

Maasai pastoralists to mitigate impacts of adverse climate events including flooding and drought. A

cross-sectional study design was used and primary data collected through focus group discussions(F

GDs), key informant interviews (KIIs) and expert opinion interviews (EOIs). A total of 10 FGDs

(114 respondents within 10 wards, out of which 81 were men and 33 women), 25 KIIs (6 opinion

leaders, 5 village elders, 6 chiefs, 6 government staff and 2 non governmental organisation) and 12

EOIs (1 Department of Meteorological Services, 1 National Drought Management Authority

(NDMA), 2 Department of Agriculture and 8 Departments of Veterinary Services and Livestock

Production) were conducted during the data collection period.The findings showed that drought

and flooding were the main climate related challenges that were often experienced by the

pastoralists. The adaptation measure which were frequently implemented by pastoralist during

flooding was livestock vaccination and mass treatment of sick livestock (Z>1.96) while the most

frequently implemented adaptation measures during drought periods included migration with

livestock to search for water and pasture (Z=1.51) and livestock vaccination and treatment of

sick livestock (Z=1.08). Other climate variability related-challenges included increased incidences of

livestock diseases, increased livestock deaths, increased cases of community conflicts,

unavailability of veterinary vaccines and medicines, high cost of livestock vaccines and drugs and

inadequate number of technical staff within the county.The study has shown that climate variability

has significant impact on sources of livelihood for pastoralists who in turn are implementing several adaptation measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and variability.

The study recommends formulation and implementation of appropriate plans and policies that are focussed

on supporting resilience of the vulnerable pastoral communities and that could further assist infighting the negative impacts of climate change and variability.


Jacktone Achola Yala, Joshua Orungo Onono, William Okelo Ogara, Gilbert Ongisa Ouma and

Sam Oyieke Okuthe


Pastoralism, livestock production; climate change and variability; climate change impacts;

adaptation strategies