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Diverse Views of the Causes of Environmental Migration Among Pastoralists in Northern Niger

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Snorek, J. L.
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7239
Sector: Grazing
Region: Africa
Subject(s): pastoralism
Abstract: "Over the course of the last forty years, many Tuareg and WoDaaBe Fulani pastoralists in the Azawak Valley region near Abalak, Niger are pursuing a sedentary lifestyle in direct contradiction to the cultural values and adaptation mechanisms (e.g. mobility) of pastoralism. The result suggests a failure of Niger’s pastoral system. This study examines the factors contributing to the migration from rural areas to urban centers, focusing particularly on environmentally related factors. Thus, this master’s thesis responds to the question: What are the environmental factors that have contributed to the migration of pastoralists to cities and towns in the Azawak valley of Niger? By analyzing the life histories of former nomads, this study will illustrate the linkages between slow-onset environmental degradation and the process of migration to towns from the pastoral zone (specifically the Azawak valley) of Niger. Research was undertaken over a period of 6 weeks from May to June 2010 in Abalak and Niamey, Niger with the participation of 15 households of former pastoralists in Niamey and Abalak and numerous experts in regional centers Tahoua and Niamey. Research methods involved a questionnaire, informal interviews, and participant observation. The questionnaire, derived from the Environmental Change and Forced Migration Scenarios [EACH-FOR] Project framework, captured case histories related to both personal livelihoods and motivations for settlement in towns. Case histories were collected from 11 men and 4 women aged 18 to 64 years old who have recently migrated to town (within the past 10 years). Interviews with non-migrants and experts provided comparison and triangulation for the study. From this study, one concludes that individuals who settled during the 2004-05 drought match the profile of an environmental migrant."

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