Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Marla Solomon


Over the course of the last forty years, many Tuareg and WoDaaBe Fulani pastoralists in the Azawak Valley region near Abalak, Niger are pursuing a sedentary lifestyle in direct contradiction to the cultural values and adaptation mechanisms (e.g. mobility) of pastoralism. The result suggests a failure of Niger’s pastoral system. This study examines the environmental factors related to the migration from rural areas to urban centers, taking into account the social and political factors that shape the environment. Thus, this capstone responds to the question: What are the environmental factors that have contributed to the migration of pastoralists to cities and towns in the Azawak of Niger? By analyzing the life histories of former nomads, this study will illustrate the linkages between slow-onset environmental degradation and the process of migration to towns from the Azawak Valley (pastoral zone) in Niger.

Research was undertaken over a period of 6 weeks from May to June 2010 in Abalak and Niamey, Niger with the participation of 15 households of former pastoralists and experts on the topic. Research methods involved a questionnaire, informal interviews, and participant observation. The questionnaire (derived using the Environmental Change and Forced Migration Scenarios [EACH-FOR] Project framework) captured case histories related to both personal livelihoods and motivations for settlement in towns. Case histories were collected from 11 men and 4 women aged 18 to 64 years old who have recently migrated to town (within the past 10 years). Interviews with non-migrants supplemented by secondary data from expert analyses provided triangulation for the study. Based mainly on the stories and perspectives of former pastoralists, the primary factors leading to migration to towns are directly related to environmental change.


Natural Resource Economics | Natural Resources Management and Policy


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