Traditional pastoralist systems in the Sahel are under threat due to climate change, instability, and large-scale development projects. Transboundary animal diseases, shared rangelands and water resources, cross-border trade, market information, and pastoral risks (which include droughts and conflicts) cut across national borders and have regional dimensions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on pastoralism. Border closures have disrupted the return of transhumant animals to their territories of origin and presented risks to animal health, given the high concentration of livestock at border crossings. The risk of conflicts has also increased between farmers ready to plant and herders unable to move. Restrictions on mobility have led to sharp increases in livestock prices in the cities, and pastoralists' livelihoods have been undermined by markets closures. The partners of the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project (PRAPS) are developing targeted responses to these pandemic-related challenges.
PRAPS is working to preserve pastoral systems that provide livelihoods of more than 20 million people in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. It focuses on improving natural resource management and animal health, mitigating conflicts, facilitating access to markets, and ensuring crisis preparedness and response.
Building on these countries’ regional, collective action, PRAPS is delivering a set of public goods that address pastoralism challenges and opportunities. Products include national strategic plans developed and implemented for selected diseases (including vaccination campaigns and epidemio-surveillance), multi-actor management plans for natural resources, and critical infrastructure constructed or rehabilitated for animal health management, water points, marking of transhumance corridors, livestock markets, slaughterhouses, and feed storage.
The project is also providing support to key stakeholders, from central authorities to rural communities. This includes analysis, advice, training, and forums to share experiences. PRAPS has developed and implemented new tools and approaches, including setting up and strengthening local management committees and promoting sustainable management practices, technologies, and innovations among pastoral communities.
More than 2.2 million people in the Sahel benefit directly from PRAPS. Between 2015–2020, the results achieved are significant:
- The region has seen an improvement of animal health thanks to the construction and rehabilitation of 295 vaccination parks (with a target of 298 parks by project end in December 2021) where more than 211 million animals have already been vaccinated, the construction of 66 veterinary units, and the training of 51 young veterinarians.
- The PRAPS is helping manage scarce natural resources, thus improving the living and working conditions of herders and their families. Works include the construction and rehabilitation of 181 water points along the transhumance routes (with a target of 385 water points), the development and implementation of sustainable landscape management plans covering more than 5 million hectares of pastoral areas, and the marking out of more than 1,400 kilometers of transhumance corridors.
- To improve beneficiaries’ access to markets, PRAPS has built and rehabilitated 66 livestock markets (with a target of 84 markets) as well as 12 slaughterhouses. A centralized information system for livestock data collection has been developed and is now operational in five of six countries. These activities contribute to supporting access to markets and improve commercial activities and incomes for pastoralists and agro-pastoralists.
- The project has developed early warning systems and trained experts on crisis prevention. They have engaged communities and transhumant herders in ongoing peaceful dialogues that are helping mitigate pastoral crises in the region. It has also supported the diversification of economic activities for more than 20,700 people, of whom 88 percent are women (with a target of 21,450 people, 50 percent women).
Bank Group Contribution
During the period 2015–2021, the International Development Association (IDA) is providing a total of $248 million in loans and credits to the participating PRAPS countries and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) to improve access to essential productive assets, services, and markets for pastoralists and agro-pastoralists.
There is clear evidence of ownership and commitment to the project at the regional level, on the part of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ) and CILSS, and at the national level within each participating country.
There is also an excellent partnership with donors, particularly the French Development Agency, the European Union, the African Development Bank, the Swiss Cooperation, the Belgian Cooperation, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR), among others. This includes finding complementarities among interventions and establishing harmonized implementation approaches.
Additional financing of $335 million from IDA is under preparation (FY21 delivery). It aims to consolidate achievements, scale up the project, and further strengthen the resilience of millions of pastoral families in the Sahel in a sustainable manner.
Isma SARR, 75 ans, éleveur à Gouloum Thiarène, Senegal: « Le PRAPS m’a appris en moins de deux ans, bien plus que tous les autres projets en 40 ans. En deux ans, les résultats sont visibles sur toute ma chaîne d’élevage. J’ai pu augmenter tous mes rendements ! J’ai enregistré plus de naissance, j’ai produit plus de lait, j’ai pu réformer plus d’animaux ! » Isma SARR, 75 years old, herder in Gouloum Thiarène, Senegal: “PRAPS taught me more in under two years, than all the other projects over 40 years. In two years, the results are visible all along my breeding chain. I have been able to increase my yields, register more births, produce more milk, and sell more animals for slaughter.”
Mariéta BA, 45 ans, village de Bounama Yelour, Sénégal : « Depuis que j’ai commencé à vacciner, les mortalités ont baissé de 20 animaux environ par an, à deux ou trois. C’est un gros bénéfice. J’encourage tous les éleveurs à faire vacciner leurs bêtes avant le départ pour la transhumance. Ainsi, on protège nos animaux en zone de départ et on protège les animaux des zones d’accueil ». Mariéta BA, 45 years old, village of Bounama Yelour, Senegal: “Since I started vaccinating, mortality has dropped from about 20 animals per year to two or three. That’s a huge gain. I encourage all breeders to vaccinate their animals before starting their seasonal migration. This way, we protect our animals at the departure point and we protect animals everywhere we stop.”
Mahamat Zène, éleveur transhumant, Tchad : «Avant pour vacciner, il fallait mettre les bêtes dans un enclos de fortune qui résistait peu. Pour mes 160 têtes de bovidés, je passais deux à trois jours. Aujourd’hui en une matinée, j’ai fini de vacciner tous mes bovins et je poursuis mon chemin ». Mahamat Zène, transhumant herder, Chad: “Before, in order to vaccinate, the animals had to be put in a makeshift enclosure that did not hold up. For my 160 heads of cattle, it took me two to three days. Today, I finished vaccinating all my cattle in one morning, and I continue on my way."
Madjibe DANGAR, Titulaire du Master Professionnel en Pastoralisme (développé par le PRAPS) : « En tant que jeune femme j’ai vécu la première promotion avec beaucoup d’enthousiasme. Nous avons bénéficié de cette formation par l’entremise de nos différents pays membres du PRAPS (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger, Sénégal et Tchad) disposés à aider les institutions qui œuvrent dans ce domaine avec abnégation. Ce Master m’a offert un outil pour la lutte contre la pauvreté et l’insécurité alimentaire au Sahel. Ce combat sera mené au quotidien. Nous pourrons davantage saisir les opportunités dans le cadre de la mise en œuvre des politiques publiques pour le développement du pastoralisme au Sahel”. Madjibe DANGAR, Graduate, Professional Master’s Degree in Pastoralism (developed by PRAPS): "As a young woman, I am honored to be among the first graduates to receive this degree. We have benefited from this training through our various PRAPS member countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Chad) that willingly support institutions working in this area. This degree gave me a tool for the fight against poverty and food insecurity in the Sahel. This fight will be fought on a daily basis. We will be able to seize more opportunities within the framework of the implementation of public policies for the development of pastoralism in the Sahel.”