Project Concern International: Satellite Technology to Improve Pastoral Decision Making


Pastoralists in Ethiopia
Pastoralists in Ethiopia

$100,000 | Stage 1: Proof of Concept | Agriculture & Food Security

$1.3M | Stage 2: Testing at Scale | Agriculture & Food Security

Project Concern International | Ethiopia | August 2013


In Africa, over 200 million pastoralists make critical migration decisions each year to find available pasture using a combination of low-tech methods including indigenous knowledge, scouts and oral communication protocols. Up to 44% of Africa’s GDP is derived from pastoralism, yet such methods have become increasingly unreliable due to climate change, leading to large scale herd mortality, eroding both income and food resources. Project Concern International has developed customized digital community grazing maps overlaid with vegetation data derived from NASA satellites.

Under Stage I Development Innovation Ventures grant for SAPARM, traditional grazing grounds were mapped with the community and then digitized and overlaid with NDVI. Through an automation process, these maps were updated every ten days, emailed and disseminated throughout the community based on a simple, agreed upon protocol using existing formal and informal structures.

The endline survey for the one-year pilot demonstrated a 78% usage rate in the SAPARM maps, and a 47% reduction in livestock mortality. The resulting cost per benefit ratio for the pilot was  $47.59, and resulted in a Net Present Value of $5.36 million for the $100,000 investment.  The approach was simple and cost-effective by linking accurate high-tech, freely available satellite data, community participatory mapping and existing government and traditional community systems and communication methods. Leveraging a Stage 2 award of $1.3M, PCI is now scaling this high-impact program in partnership with Google, the World Food Programme, Government of Ethiopia, Notre Dame University to reach a greater proportion of the pastoralist population in Ethiopia.


Last updated: September 24, 2015

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