Buchu Boru is a herder who has to walk tens of kilometres to find pasture for his livestock without being assured that he would even find any. The 60-year-old has most times had to walk all the way across the Ethiopian border after hearing rumors of Greenland and would still be disappointed at the outcome of his toil.
Although, as he prepares for the rains, he is optimistic that there would be a different result with the new mobile phone application which uses satellite imaging to identify and show famers where there are grass and watering holes for their livestock.
The app, Afriscout reduces the uncertainty that most of these herders have to face when they travel to unknown locations with their herds. This way, the herders do not need to travel much and can better protect their income and most especially their families
Developed by Project Concern International (PCI), a California-based development organization, the app was launched in Boru’s community and has about 3,000 users in Kenya, although there are plans for an increase as soon as the PCI concludes mapping the Samburu County.
While the app provides users with information on where they can find grass and water for their herd, herders can also add information on livestock disease, predators and conflicts around to the app. This creates a virtual herding community and each person can help keep the other informed and safe.
Acting representative of PCI in Kenya noted that the app is currently being used in Tanzania and Ethiopia and added that the PCI had plans of deploying it to Niger.
Andrew Mude from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in a statement said that the app would go much farther in helping the herders if more information like up to date market prices can be accessed via it.