Moving in and out of poverty: a case of the Somali and Turkana of northern Kenya
Watete, Patrick W
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There has been a tendency for pastoral households of northern Kenya to fall into and remain permanently trapped in poverty, while a few households have managed to escape poverty under certain circumstances. This study looks at how poverty levels among households in pastoral Counties of Turkana and Mandera have changed over the last twenty years. A combination of multi-stage and purposeful sampling techniques was used to sample 310 and 354 households in Mandera and Turkana Counties respectively. The household questionnaire collected data on household assets, income and expenditure. The 'stages of progress' method was used to categorise the sample households into various wealth strata, and also establish how households' wealth status changed between 1993 and 2013. The study established that 71 per cent and 58 per cent of the households in Turkana and Mandera respectively could be classified as poor in 2013. Loss of livestock through drought, diseases and raids was the main reason for increased pastoral poverty. Pastoral households escaped poverty through diversification, receipt of remittances and employment. Agro-pastoral households were relatively better off compared to both pastoral and off-farm households. Drought management could be the main intervention to prevent pastoral households from falling into poverty, whereas diversification and education are the most important strategies that may help pull these pastoral households out of poverty.
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