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Title:Nomads of the drought: Fulbe and Wodaabe nomads between power and marginalization in the Sahel of Burkina Faso and Niger Republic
Author:Bovin, M.ISNI
Book title:Adaptive strategies in African arid lands
Geographic terms:Burkina Faso
Subjects:social change
Abstract:This paper examines adaptations to drought in the extreme arid lands of the West African Sahel. It identifies problems of survival and life strategies used by a true pastoralist and an agropastoralist group respectively, and relates adaptational variations between these groups to their sociopolitical organization. The FulBe Liptaako live in northern Burkina Faso. They are agropastoralists and belong to a stratified class society that used to make up the Emirate of Liptaako. The WoDaaBe, on the other hand, are a nomadic pastoralist Fulani group, moving between parts of Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad. They have a tribal organization with clans and lineages, and live in camps, not in villages and towns. WoDaaBe represent an adaptation of 'escape' from the influences exerted by emirates or States of the Liptaako type. Both societies are changing due to the developments of recent decades. One important change-producing factor is drought. For the agropastoral FulBe droughts lead to increased settlement in villages and towns, whereas the nomadic WoDaaBe react in the opposite way: by increasing their mobility. But internal changes can also be observed. The class structure of the FulBe Liptaako is changing as the former aristocrats find themselves destitute in an economic sense. For the WoDaaBe drought has resulted generally in drastically reduced herds, but also in changes in the sharing and redistribution mechanisms that are so characteristic of pastoral societies. Bibliogr., notes.