Navigating drought: The app saving Kenya’s herders

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In drought-stricken Kenya, life for all residents and particularly the herding community, has been nothing less than devastating. Erratic weather patterns and the increasing effects of climate change have led to a lack of vegetation and water resources jeopardising the survival of livestock and the pastoralist way of life.

“Last drought, when I migrated near Tanzania, I lost roughly 15 beasts. It’s a big impact, I felt it, it was really bad. When it comes to us, I cannot control it. I have to bear,” says Joshua Ntaserua, a Maasai herder who has experienced the changes in weather patterns first-hand.

Though it may seem a small price to pay amidst the ongoing two-year drought, cattle are very important to the Maasai, with significant monetary and practical value in each individual specimen. 

However, as the onslaught of unpredictable weather continues, some Maasai herders, including Ntaserua, have turned to a hi-tech solution to help them adapt to the current environment.

The brainchild of an NGO aiming to help herders with drought, an app that helps locate greener pastures has been introduced to the herding communities suffering the worst effects.

Downloadable onto a smartphone, the app has helped some herders halve the mortality rates of their livestock by locating the closest areas of good pasture land for the cattle to travel towards.

But how exactly does the app work and is this a real solution for Kenya’s herders?

earthrise travels to Kenya to see how pastoralists in the south are using this satellite mapping technology to make informed migration decisions.

For the Maasai, cattle are an invaluable resource, whether they are sold at the market or if they are kept as a food source for the family [Maria Jan/Al Jazeera]

Source: Al Jazeera

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