Contextualising emergency responses to famine among Turkana pastoralists in Kenya

Brock Bersaglio, John Devlin, Nonita Yap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The pastoralism of the Turkana has persisted in the challenging environment of northwestern Kenya for some 200 years. Yet many pastoralists find that they increasingly rely on food relief during droughts and famines. This article contextualises emergency responses to famine among Turkana pastoralists by considering their encounters with colonialism, development, and humanitarian interventions. It uses key informant interviews, participant observation, and content analysis, to analyse the benefits and challenges of a small-scale food relief programme. The article argues that such programmes can weaken the viability of pastoralism, and concludes with considerations for future policy and programming.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-702
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopment in Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2015


  • Aid-Aid effectiveness
  • Development policies
  • civil society-NGOs
  • Environment (built and natural)-Agriculture
  • food security
  • labour and livelihoods
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


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