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Climate Change

Published in Climate Change

Drops from God

The word Enkai (also spelled Engai) in Maa, the language spoken by the Maasai pastoralists of northern Tanzania and southern Kenya, means both God and rainfall. Rejuvenation and a jovial mood become obvious in the villages and among all members of pastoralist and hunter-gatherer (P & HG) communities whenever the long-awaited drops of “Enkai” (rainfall) finally hit the ground.

Why is this so? The answer is simple: P & HG communities depend solely on the natural environment for their livelihood.

Across the generations, P & HG communities have made use of the seasonal rainfall and adjusted their lives accordingly. Customary rules of resource management have concurrently been developed and implemented. The Maasai “bank of grass preserved for the dry season”, or Alailili, is an example of such customary practice. What effect has climate change had on indigenous livelihoods and these customary practices?

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