A Climate Resilient Model for Maasai Steppe Pastoralists in Tanzania


masaaiThe livelihoods of pastoralists in dryland areas depends entirely on the availability of fragile ecosystem services. In the Maasai Steppe, there is clear evidence that climate change has already dramatically affected the ecosystem. This is supported by data showing a marked decrease in rainfall over the last 20 years, which has coincided with a deterioration of the living conditions of pastoralists and high vulnerability of livestock herds. Northern Tanzania continues to experience unpredictable weather patterns with serious drought in 2016–2017, followed by severe flooding in 2018 and drought again in 2019.


Main issues

  • Intense grazing and a decrease in suitable pastures
  • Declining water points for humans and livestock
  • Increased population within pastoral societies
  • Poor information on the impact of climate change

ECOBOMA has introduced 16 technologies and innovations for different sectors – targeting water, rangeland management, livestock, crop cultivation, energy and education.

Four rehabilitated earth dams have been finalized. The water storage availability has increased by 47,000 m3. In a good rainfall year the total rain harvested is at least 81,000 m3. Communities are engaged in water management through newly established technical committees. Quality assessments and the ecological monitoring of the rangelands has been conducted with a view to increasing resilience by reducing the vulnerability of the target pastoralist systems.

A group of women and youth have been trained to become leather artisans. The group processes leather and sells handmade leather products. Capacities of local government has been strengthened to cope with the impacts of climate change, and community members and citizens have increased their knowledge and awareness thanks to specific campaigns. A climate change centre of knowledge has been set up and is now managed by the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) to raise awareness and harness discussions about how Tanzania can adapt to the impact of climate change.

Pastoralists are seeking other ways to earn a living as land for livestock grazing becomes more scarce

Expected Results

  • Access to ecosystem services protected and improved
  • Economic assets of pastoralist communi-ties developed
  • Local government capacity to cope with Climate Change increased
  • Knowledge about climate-related vulner-abilities and impacts of Climate Change adaptation solutions increased


  • Four earth dams have been rehabilitated and their volume increased by 47,000 m3. Local communities were trained on im-proved water management.
  • Community-driven data collection to meas-ure rangeland’s health and promote good rangeland management, production of eco-logical vulnerability maps for communities.
  • Installation of three meteorological sta-tions for installation in the project area
  • Establishment of around 200 ha of commu-nity forests
  • Training of 30 Village Game Scouts who patrol over 23,000 Ha, coordinated by the village government and in partnership with the District Game Officers.
  • 40,000 indigenous trees (e.g. Commiphora sp. and Euphorbia tirucalli) planted to fence and protect 110 bomas and four dams from wind, animal intrusion, and soil erosion.
  • Scientific networks established with inter-national and national experts to share the ECOBOMA approach to rangeland’s con-servation.
  • Construction of 20 biogas digesters to pro-duce cooking gas, reducing dramatically the domestic use of firewood, a time consuming and environmentally damaging practice.
  • 119 households have daylight thanks to ‘li-tre of light’ solar bottles installed
  • Skills development and creation of arti-sanal cooperatives of women and young men to tan leather (15 people) and cure/dry meat (168 people). In two years, the leather group sold leather products with a turnover of €11,000.00.
  • Introduction and adoption of smart agri-culture techniques for 60 households
  • Set up of two land use planning units (36 officers in total) in Arusha and Meru DC
  • Facilitation of the incorporation of climate change adaptation interventions in dis-tricts’ planning and budgets
  • Involvement and capacitation of 150 Local Government Authorities at all levels
  • Facilitation of five comprehensive village by-law packages for rangeland management and registration of two new Community Owned Water and Sanitation Organisations.
  • 25 exchange visits, technical workshops and dissemination events organised in-volving Local Government Authorities, universities, journalists, students, teachers and the general public for a total of more than 135,000 individuals exposed to cli-mate change knowledge
  • Capacity building for 13 livestock service providers (para veterinarians) and 45 skinners
  • 4,600 pupils increased their knowledge on climate change and risk management
  • 85 knowledge products designed en-suring high visibility to GCCA Tanzania stakeholders