The New-Model Nomad

Pastoralism has the potential to help overcome food insecurity – particularly in countries like Somalia, where more than 50% of the population are nomadic herders. But pastoralists need a support system to improve their access to capital and markets, as well as to bolster human-resource development and capacity-building.

MOGADISHU – One of my earliest childhood memories is of swimming in a small gully near my grandmother’s home in Yaaq Bari Wayne, a dusty collection of tin-roofed adobe buildings huddled together in the plains of southern Somalia’s Bay region. After the Gu rains, the gully became a deep triangular cleft cut into the ground, filled with muddy water. Children gathered like ants to spilled sugar, jumping off ledges and diving into its murky depths with screams and whoops of excitement.

Many were children of nomadic herders, who moved south in May and June in search of better pastures. When they arrived, brown domes made of crisscrossed branches and layers of multicolored mats would appear like crowds of dappled beetles on the outskirts of town.

For me, the nomad was a romantic figure, akin to the American cowboy of the Wild West. In the world’s harshest environment, they trekked hundreds of kilometers, surviving on camel milk and dried meat, with all of their possessions strapped to a camel’s back.

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