Departmental Bulletin Paper Articulation between the Material Culture of East African Pastoralists and Non-Food Items of Humanitarian Assistance

KONAKA, Shinya

53pp.53 - 67 , 2017-03 , The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
This article explores the articulation sphere of the material culture of East African pastoralists and the non-food items of their humanitarian assistance. The non-food items of humanitarian assistance have never been considered from the viewpoint of the present material culture of pastoralists. To explore this gap, exhaustive commodity surveys were conducted among pastoral internally displaced persons (IDPs). Analysis of the survey data revealed the following points. 1) Clothing was the most important commodity for pastoral IDPs in the process of recovering household commodities. This finding suggests that redefining the meaning of the items distributed through humanitarian assistance is required. 2) Analysis of the survey data found that the proportion of purchased commodities had markedly increased, whereas that of gifted commodities had decreased, suggesting that humanitarian assistance to pastoral IDPs should be focused outside the stereotypical images of the dependency syndrome. 3) Female ties predominated in relationships between local donors and pastoral IDPs, implying that the role of female ties should be assessed as a potential safety net. 4) The pastoral IDPs used the distributed items from humanitarian agencies to meet their needs in various ways, suggesting that humanitarian assistance items are useful to the pastoralists both for their original purposes and for other purposes.

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