About us

The ESSA project is funded by the DeSIRA programme of the European Union in 2020-2024.

The project aims to contribute to the pastoralist households’ transition towards climate-smart agropastoral systems in Ethiopia and Kenya by improving understanding of the dynamics of and interlinkages between tropical upland forest cover and semi-arid lowland landscapes, and by providing new knowledge on the multifunctionality of agropastoral landscapes through a system-wide view of food and nutrition security, diversified livelihoods and ecosystem sustainability leading to improvements.


In Ethiopia – Wondo Genet in Sidama Region and Yebelo in Oromia Region

In Kenya – Kajiado County, Machakos County, Makueni County, and Taita Taveta County

The main expected outcomes are:

  1. Increased scientific knowledge of climate-smart agropastoral systems and enhanced on-the ground capacity of National Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems,
  2. Sustainable livelihood transformation framework from pastoralism to integrated agropastoralism,
  3. Enhanced potential of income diversification to support transition towards climate-smart agropastoral systems among pastoralist households in Ethiopia and Kenya, and
  4. Improved quality and availability of Earth observation and environmental sensing methods for environmental change and landscape degradation assessment and for monitoring improvements and climate-smart agropastoral system transition in pastoral areas.

The main activities are:

Collection of data on ecosystems dynamics, carrying out on-field trials, modelling, and remote sensing analysis to obtain the following outputs:

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions from ruminants, and manure management systems characterized in Kenya and Ethiopia,
  2. Hydrological ecosystem services and water exchange between pastoral rangeland systems and the atmosphere characterized,
  3. Completed carbon sequestration assessment in forest, woodland, bushland and grassland covers in Eastern Africa,
  4. Delivered remote sensing products & methods for points of change assessment and local scientific evidence for environmental footprints of semi-arid and arid lands, and
  5. Produced analyses of environmental impact, sustainability and environmental footprint of different land use scenarios.

Participatory workshops, surveys on livelihoods and value chains will be carried out to obtain:

  1. Produced analyses of potentials of livelihood diversification;
  2. New value chains for diversified livelihood options identified, implemented and validated in semi-arid and arid lands.

Capacity building amongst a cohort of pastoralists and agropastoralists, agriculture extension agents, and young researchers (MSc, PhD, postdocs) will be provided for reinforcing national research, governance and innovation capacities.

The results of the project will be disseminated through different media, seminars and workshops to key stakeholders and used to formulate policies in the two focus countries and across sub-Saharan Africa for sustainable arid and semi-arid land management.