What’s the future for Africa’s livestock herders as our climate changes, becomes less predictable, heats up? How can scientific research help remote pastoral communities? Among the poorest of the world’s poor, herders supply milk and meat not only for themselves but for large numbers of other poor people. Although their animals produce few of the greenhouse gasses harming the earth, these people will be among those most hurt by the climate changes we expect. Population growth and land degradation are already causing problems over much of the continent’s traditional rangelands. Many herders, having lost all their animals to droughts, are facing the end of their way of life. Research-based approaches for adapting to climate change, however, offer options that can help herding communities sustain at least some aspects of their pastoral livelihoods.
Today's science and development issues are complex, often involving multiple international players, yet demanding local solutions. Increasingly, many acknowledge that such local solutions can best be summed up and communicated by showing local people talking in their own surroundings, especially in a world where few outside the research communities have the time or expertise to assess raw data. In this setting, science and development documentaries fill a vital role.The film department at ILRI (the International Livestock Research Institute) therefore aims to widen understanding of important topics that face pro-poor agricultural research in livestock issues, so removing one stumbling-block to the quick up-take of new technologies among those who could benefit most.