Assessment of the Impact of Resource use Conflicts on Community Livelihoods within the Tana DeltaSub County Kenya
Omar, Said Abdulahi
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Most conflicts in the African continent have been connected with natural resources. Resource-based violent conflicts have direct, immediate and devastating impacts, with social, psychological, economic and ecological dimensions. Most conflicts in Kenya occur in the North Rift and North Eastern regions, with majority of those affected being pastoralists. These conflicts are mainly a consequence of cattle raiding, land use, water, pasture and grazing rights. Owing to the perennial resource use conflicts in the Tana Delta, an assessment of how the conflicts impact local communities‟ livelihoods is important in abating the conflicts and mitigating the impacts. The objectives of this study were to: 1) identify types and drivers of resource-based conflictsin the Tana Delta 2) examine the institutional arrangements for resource management and their influence resource-based conflicts in Tana Delta and 3) establish the effect of resource-based conflicts on local communities livelihood strategies. Using a cross-sectional survey research design, data was collected using household questionnaires, interview schedules, focus group discussions and simple field observations. Our observations indicate that there were diverse types of conflicts in the Tana Delta, the most prominent and significant being the biodiversity resource-based type.The study also established the existence of diverse drivers for resource-based conflicts in the area.The scarcity of resources were the significant drivers and stimulants of the resource-based conflicts.The study also confirmed the existence of a wide range of institutions for managing resources in Tana Delta. However, the institutions responsible for management of resources had no influence on resource-based conflicts. These organizations had common policies relationships towards resource management but did not share traditional recognitions and resource values with each other. The study revealed that resource-based conflicts had significant impacts on the livelihood strategies of communities in the Tana Delta. Active engagement of communities in conflict resolution strategies, and the use of community institutions in resolving resource-based conflicts were recommended. Harmonization of local community group‟s relations, creating awareness on policies governing natural resource management, and initiating economic interventions to mitigate resource-based conflicts were also recommended. The findings of the study could be used to formulate policies for promoting livelihood strategies and enhancing the resolution of resource use conflicts in the Tana Delta.