This article examines continuity and change in farming and herder communities' strategies for coping with food deficits in S.E. Kajiado District, Kenya,
through a comparison of coping strategies reported in surveys conducted in 1977 and 1996. It provides empirical evidence of the dynamic responses that
one rural society prone to recurrent drought-related food insecurity has made to the complex interactions between exogenous and local political, economic,
social and demographic, and environmental processes. It demonstrates that although driving forces emanating from national and international scales
create the broad context for developmental change, local processes mediate these. As these alter, so do the options available for coping with food insecurity.
The availability of these options differs according to a person's age, gender, and socio-economic status. Such dynamism and differentiation is
inherent in rural development and should inform development planners and those seeking to include monitoring of coping strategies as a component of
famine early-warning systems.
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