The annual ICT4D Conferences have proven to be an invaluable opportunity for NGOs, private sector organizations, universities, governmental agencies and foundations to share their experience in using ICT to increase the impact of development programs and to learn from each other.  In 2016, 715 individuals from 76 countries and 301 private sector and public sector and civil society explored the ways to harness the full power of digital solutions to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.  Our thanks to Accenture, Catholic Relief Services, Esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iMerit Technology Services, Inmarsat, IS Solutions, Making All Voices Count, Mercy Corps, Microsoft, NetHope, Oxfam, Pandexio, Qualcom Wireless Reach, RTI International, SimbaNet and World Vision for making that possible.

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Wednesday, May 18 • 13:50 - 14:55
How Technology Can Improve the Resilience of Pastoral People LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

The world of technology is revolutionizing how we can improve natural resource management and provide services to pastoral people. Pastoral people are often landless, have limited education, and members of marginal cultural groups. Services that improve resilience to these people are necessary to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods. The web, camera phones, and gps can provide information to inform our decision making on program implementation and services for beneficiaries in ways that were not done before. The three technologies that I would like to discuss are assessing ground vegetation cover with a camera phone, providing improved livestock management and services with GPS collars, and reporting animal diseases through EMPRESi. The major difficulties that pastoralists face are; insufficient forage (often a result of overgrazing), diseases and limited veterinary services, and access to water. All three of these factors can be addressed through the use of new technology.
GPS Collars:
A handful of GPS collars on a few herds in the state of Rajasthan, India was able to inform government policy on where wells should be located to reduce overgrazing, where veterinary services should be located, and what forages pastoral people were most dependent on by livestock type. Conflict between agriculturalists and pastoralists exist in many parts of the world and pastoral people are increasingly blamed for destruction in nationally protected areas in India and in many parts of the world. Coupling gps data on where animals stop to graze with well locations and classified imagery tells us what animals are eating, where they are drinking, and what areas can be better utilized for sustainable management. The information that was collected showed that the pastoralists were most dependent on crop stubble and that they were providing services to farmers to clear their fields. It also showed that they were not utilizing forage in nationally protected areas. The government can easily identify where wills should be located to reduce overgrazing on key migratory routes to market and where veterinary services should be located. Further project interventions on improving forage quality can also be better targeted in terms of location and what types of improved forages would have the greatest benefit. Security is also a concern and security checkpoints can be established. Household surveys were also informative on profiling what types of people are most likely to take such long migrations. A governmental and stakeholder meeting was held to inform policy and the Raika where made aware of where veterinary services exist along their migratory route. When 40% of livestock are lost on treacherous migratory routes such information can be key in improving resilience of pastoral people.

Camera Phones:
Pictures from camera phones matched with image recognition software can inform us of forage quality. Forage "greenness" can be determined from satellite imagery and with field data can provide forage predictions for 30, 60, and 90 days. Forage prediction maps are provided to pastoralists in a few developing countries. Forage "greenness" also informs livestock insurance schemes being developed by ILRI for pastoralists in Western Kenya. While such information is incredibly useful for helping pastoralists make decisions in the absence of any information, "greenness" does not always equal food for livestock. There are many "green" plants that livestock simply cannot eat, for example, many types of trees, and invasive plants. Satellite imagery also has difficulty picking up vegetation that is close to the ground.
Simple camera phones can take pictures of the vegetation on the ground that can be used to make improved forage maps using a software called VegMeasure. Our research team aims to make this into a mobile app with digital recognition software to create real-time maps on forage quality and availability to provide better information to pastoralists. Pictures from camera phones can be used to perform forage assessments that can inform how many grazing permits to allocate in communal rangelands and public parks. Such information assists in sustainably managing pastures while the climate around us becomes more variable, making the need for improved and real-time information more of a necessity for sustainable management.
EMPRESi is an initiation from the Food and Agriculture Organization at the United Nations where animal diseases are reported and mapped on a publically available map. This information helps mobilize international actors to provide needed disease prevention services and can help governments decide where services are most needed, it also helps national governments respond quickly to the control and spread of disease. A mobile app was developed and piloted in Uganda for government workers. Many pastoralists decide their migratory paths based on the absence of disease and such information can help pastoralists prevent further animal losses. Animals often serve not only as a revenue source but as a mobile bank account, as a result animal losses from disease can have a detrimental effect on pastoral people. Using technology to help promptly respond to animal diseases before they spread further and significantly affect pastoral resilience.

avatar for Dr. Kathryn Clifton

Dr. Kathryn Clifton

Post Doctoral Fellow in Landscape Ecology, International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas
Kathryn is interested in how research can be integrated into development projects to provide improved services, decision making, innovation, and out scaling of proven approaches. Kathryn is a researcher for the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas in Amman... Read More →

Wednesday May 18, 2016 13:50 - 14:55 EAT
Ivory - Partition 1