Climate, Conflict and Displacement: Shifting Patterns in Kenyan Pastoral Communities

War is no longer the only driver of displacement in the world. In 2012, climate-related disasters accounted for the forced displacement of 32.4 million people worldwide. More than 25 percent of those displaced were from Africa, often propelled by armed violence.

Broad direct, indirect and systemic physical health impacts of climate change are well-documented through observational and disease-oriented research. Less prominent in the literature is the discussion of ways in which communities support cultural, physical and psychosocial health in the face of climate-related displacement. Yet the set internal processes of self-determination, identity preservation and healing will be critical to manage and strengthen communities in the face of the destabilizing effects of climate change and, ultimately, to minimize intercommunity conflict in the coming decades.

Community interventions that have been designed to address trauma and improve coping in war-affected communities may be relevant.  With this is mind, the project will:

  • conduct a focused study to better understand the human experience of climate variability, conflict and displacement due to climate change
  • build multidisciplinary academic and multisectoral partnerships to develop a program that can improve the health and resilience of climate-displaced communities.

Project Leads

  • Cheryl Robertson,(, Associate Professor, School of Nursing
  • Paul M. Porter (, Professor, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
  • Innocent B. Rwego (, Adjunct Instructor, School of Public Health
  • Fred Rose (, Co-Director, Acara, Institute on the Environment