Documenting Farmer-Herder Livelihoods, Challenges and Adaptations in the Center-South Region of Burkina Faso Public Deposited

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  • February 10, 2020
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
  • This dissertation treats different, but related subjects, in three distinct papers. Findings result from interviews, focus groups, participatory community mapping and GPS data collected intermittently over a period of 20 months in the Sondré-Est Pastoral Zone area in the Center-South Region of Burkina Faso. The first paper examines the nature of farmer-herder conflicts and where they occur. Following the major droughts of the 1970s in Burkina Faso, the government resettled herders and farmers from northern drylands in more fertile areas in the southern river valleys of the country. Local chiefs – ruling over agricultural communities – conceded land to migrants. This study integrates spatial analysis with narratives to contextualize contemporary land use tensions between resettled herders and resettled and autochthonous farmers. It found that conflicts occur in very particular places along the border where key resources such as water are located. This offers an important methodological contribution to political ecology. While most studies on herder-farmer relations have focused on conflicts, the second paper explores the nature of farmer-herder cooperation as both groups converge toward agro-pastoralism. Sondré-Est is ideal for this study as it has ethnically distinct herders and farmers who inhabit the same area. They are adapting to similar climatic stresses in very different ways. People from both groups exchange resources and technical knowledge. This study allows for comparisons within and between farmer and herder groups, which is rare in climate adaptation research. The third paper delves deeper into within-group comparisons. This paper looks more precisely at gender differences in land use management. It shows the contrast between women’s increased leadership in household decision-making as an adaptation to social and ecological changes and their persistent under-representation in community management committees. This paper highlights that the existence of quotas and parity policies coming from international donors does not guarantee the equal access of men and women to decision-making processes regarding land resources management. It argues that the exclusion of women from community land management results from the divide between local values and top-down state policies aiming for gender parity. This study questions the State’s ability to regulate its constituents at the local level.
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  • In Copyright
  • West, Colin
  • Crane, Todd
  • Leslie, Paul
  • Price, Charles
  • Burrill, Emily
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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