Satellite Assisted Pastoral Resource Management: A Public-Private Partnership

Peter Debaere and Maggie Morse ,

Public-Private Partnerships That Are Changing the World

The Darden School of Business’ Institute for Business in Society partners with Concordia and the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships to present the annual P3 Impact Award, which recognizes leading public-private partnerships that improve communities around the world. This year’s award will be presented at the Concordia Summit 19–20 September 2016. The five finalists will be highlighted on Darden Ideas to Action on Fridays leading up to the event.

The Partnership: Satellite Assisted Pastoral Resource Management (SAPARM)

The Partners:

  • Project Concern International (PCI)
  • Government of Ethiopia, Disaster Prevention & Food Security Coordination Office
  • Government of Tanzania, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development
  • University of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development
  • World Food Programme
  • USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures

The Social Challenge: Climate Change

There are more than 225 million pastoralists in Africa who depend on their livestock as a source of economic, social and physical well-being. To find access to water and grazing grounds, the herders traditionally migrate based on indigenous knowledge, scouts, weather indicators or by sharing information in their seminomadic communities. Unfortunately, these methods have proven unreliable in the face of drought and climate change. Inaccurate information and long journeys with little food and water cause livestock to die, threatening the pastoralists’ income and communities’ food supply.

The Idea and the Action: PCI and its partners launched SAPARM, a program that uses satellite technology able to recognize photosynthetic activity to create customized local grazing maps. The maps are developed together with communities to provide real-time, accurate information on grazing locations to pastoralists.

The Impact: The combination of using satellite technology and working with community networks and governments empowers pastoralists with the efficiency, control and precision to make more informed migration decisions. Evaluation of the first stage found that almost 80 percent of pastoralists used the map for migration decision-making, resulting in a 48 percent reduction in livestock loss. In the future, the partnership plans to utilize smartphone technology to scale SAPARM and deliver maps directly to individual pastoralists.

The Faculty Insight: Through the use of satellites, a wealth of globally gridded meteorological information can be accessed, and many new datasets are coming online. Satellite information is also advancing water and climate studies, facilitating analysis of the interaction between a changing environment and socio-economic conditions on a global scale.

Adapting to water scarcity and climate change is especially challenging for the millions in Africa who are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. SAPARM demonstrates that this valuable satellite information can be of use beyond small circles of researchers and disaster responders. When translated into customized local maps, it provides invaluable information on grazing conditions and locations.

It is where innovative research meets practical applications that a tangible difference can be made.

About the Faculty

Peter Debaere

Debaere is a leading international economist, with a focus on international trade, multinationals and trade policy. His work addresses fundamental questions about the extent to which trade theories can explain actual international trade patterns. He has also examines the specific impact of trade policies on trade flows and international prices,... Learn More

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