The main purpose of this Cross Border Study is to provide a mapping and analysis exercise of four cross border areas linking Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea. The field research took place during July and August 2016, and involved eight researchers in four cluster areas:
Cluster 1: Southwest Ethiopia-Northwest Kenya
Cluster 2: Kenya-Somalia-Ethiopia
Cluster 3: Western Ethiopia-East Sudan
Cluster 4: Eastern Sudan-Northwest Ethiopia-Eritrea
The researchers collected the majority of the primary information on their respective clusters through semi-structured interviews and discussions with key informants and stakeholders. This was complemented with a review of documents collected from the field and researched online. The key research themes centred around migration and instability, as well geographic and demographic information, socioeconomic and political context, infrastructure and other key resources, sources of vulnerability, and existing interventions in the area.
Cross border areas are, by their nature, challenging contexts in which to work, and the researchers faced a number of obstacles in carrying out their work. Most notable amongst these were issues of security and access, as well as difficulties around getting some authorisations on time. The relatively short timeframe allocated to this project also presented a major challenge.
Common across all four border areas is low population density and limited infrastructure capacity, both typical of peripheral border areas. Water, livestock and land for farming and grazing are the main natural resources identified in the cross border clusters. Resource scarcity is widespread and caused by a combination of man-made (state-ponsored development projects) and natural (climate change and droughts) pressures. Most of the vulnerabilities identified in the study are also associated with resource scarcity. Livelihoods across the study area tend to be un-diversified and reliant on scarce natural resources, and are therefore vulnerable to shocks and pressures. These vulnerabilities could be alleviated through better sharing of resources both across and within borders, and between local communities and commercial entities, as well as by initiating targeted interventions to build resilience, strengthen local infrastructure and improve access to basic services.