wp3e91e604 05 06Livestock production is the major economic activity in Northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia. Despite the important roles played by livestock in Northern Kenya pastoralists and their animals face so many problems, which undermine their livelihood and wealth creation. Some of these problems include droughts, human conflicts, and raids. Livestock mobility is the most important strategy that pastoral communities utilize to cope with devastating effects of drought. Pastoralists along the Kenyan - Ethiopian border move long distances across and along the borders in search of better pastures for their animals during the drought season. Pastoralist routine movements along and across/along the border have both positive and negative effects on both humans and livestock.

Positive effects include exchanging ideas on disease control, resource and access to better livestock markets, while negative effects include livestock disease transmissions, range degradation and tribal conflicts.

Cross border conflicts between the pastoral communities have been attributed to many factors which include:

- Inadequate policies guiding the utilization of the natural resources across and along the borders.

- Diminishing role of traditional governance systems and competition over control and access to natural resources such as pasture, water and land issues,

- Political incitements by the leaders of warring communities

These traditional conflicts have become increasingly destructive and less manageable due to the use of semi-automatic weapons. The prevalence of insecurity in the area has spawned the gun culture in a bid for pastoralists to protect themselves and their livestock from aggressors. Armed violence not only kills, but also causes fear, migration and disrupted livelihoods. How the use of semi-automatic weapons has made the impact of conflicts to be more severe than it used to be before, when pastoralists used to use spears and arrows. Cross border conflict is destructive to peoples social and economic wellbeing and as such attracts considerable attention. Ethnic conflict over pastoral resources have, in some cases, had spillover effects on neighboring countries since often the same ethnic group lives in more than one country. Cross-border livestock and commodity trading can be profitable in spite of security concerns. Estimates shows that more than 26% of livestock in the Kenya meat markets originated in Ethiopia

In view of these problems, CIFA in collaboration with IGAD/CEWARN/USAID initiated a programme to strengthen cross-border peace building of the communities both in Kenya and Ethiopia through support for improvement of livestock market infrastructure.