Blog The East Africa Pastoralist Expo: A User-Centered Rangeland Water Source Monitoring & Early Warning System in Pastoral Areas of Ethiopia

Authors: Sintayehu Alemayehu, Edited by Joseline Kiogora

In the heart of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia an event of significant importance for East Africa's pastoral communities took place recently. The East Africa Pastoralist Expo, under the theme "Pastoralist: The East African Mosaic," was a vibrant gathering organized by the Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). This expo was a convergence of ideas, innovations and crucial discussions about the future of pastoralism in the region.

One of the highlights of this event was the participation of CGIAR, represented by the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT . Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Alliance and CIAT is actively involved in a project that monitors livestock water sources in Ethiopia's pastoral areas. This project is both innovative and transformative, aiming to enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the face of climate change.

The Alliance is at the forefront of this change, showcasing innovative decision-support tools and other technologies. These advancements include the development of a User-Centered Rangeland Water and Forecasting System, alongside a Climate Prediction and Early Warning System. These tools are not just technological marvels but lifelines for communities grappling with the realities of climate change.

The timing of the expo aligns perfectly with the upcoming launch of these revolutionary platforms, creating an ideal opportunity. The event welcomed an array of distinguished guests, including federal and regional representatives and various non-governmental organizations. Their presence underlines the significance and potential impact of this project on the pastoral communities.

Notable figures have voiced their support and recognition of the project's importance. H.E. Engineer Aisha Mohammed, Minister, Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands emphasized the system's crucial role in pastoral areas and the potential for her ministry to leverage it for ongoing and future interventions. This sentiment of strong partnership and integration into ongoing projects is a testament to the system's relevance and utility. 

Dr. Feto Esimo, Director General of EIAR, expresses pride in the timely progress of our project, addressing recurrent challenges faced by pastoral communities in Ethiopia and the broader region.

Looking ahead, the official launch of the User-Centered Rangeland Water and Forecasting System, and the Climate Prediction and Early Warning System, is scheduled for February 6th. This national-level workshop promises to be a milestone event, with high-level officials and stakeholders in attendance, marking a new chapter in the quest to empower and protect East Africa's pastoral communities.