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Shepherd's eye in the sky: the potential for AfriScout digital grazing maps to improve pastoralists' grazing and migration decisions

This brief introduces AfriScout, a digital app that shows potential for mitigating some of the challenges pastoralists face by providing them with information to make more informed decisions.

Publisher SPARC
By Sophie TurnbullConnor Harrison
Promoting innovative solutions Africa Ethiopia Kenya

This technical brief introduces AfriScout, a digital application that provides pastoralists with near real-time visual data on rangeland conditions using satellite imagery and mobile technology. The application shows great potential for mitigating some of the challenges pastoralists face by providing them with information critical to enhancing their ability to make more informed decisions. 

The brief also provides some key findings from a baseline survey, the results of which illustrate how AfriScout could improve activities crucial to successful pastoralism. These include enabling pastoralists to make better decisions about herd management, rangeland conditions and strategic migration.

Before fully implementing AfriScout, SPARC partners Causal Design and AfriScout carried out a baseline survey of a sample of households in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The data from the survey provided insights on the scope of key risk factors pastoralists in these areas face. They include herd size and condition, migration patterns, conflict, and access to information sources leveraged to inform decisions. 

Though it is too early to draw concrete conclusions about the application’s effectiveness, baseline data from a sub-sample of pastoralists who have already used AfriScout suggest its potential to create positive outcomes and improve decision-making for greater success. The results of the survey also illustrate that pastoralists have positively received AfriScout and consider it reliable and easy to access. Other findings also indicate the potential utility and relevance of the application as a timely source of reliable, climate-based information to improve pastoralists’ migration and rangeland management decisions.



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