IBLI / Insurance / Kenya / Livestock / Pastoralism / Resilience / SLS

Let the games begin: Using simulations to collect data and disseminate information on livestock insurance

By Oscar Naibei,
Research Associate, International Livestock Research Institute

My sojourn in August 2018 was to Samburu County in northern Kenya. The county is in the country’s arid and semi-arid region and is mostly inhabited by pastoralist communities. My colleagues and I were there with the intention to play games with the locals. Yes, we were there for a game experiment on gender and insurance.


Community members playing the SIMPASTORALIST game in Samburu County.

Community members playing the SIMPASTORALIST game in Samburu County (photo credit: ILRI/Oscar Naibei).

At that time, the 2018 FIFA World Cup was at its fever pitch. Grown men screaming and cheering loudly for the love of the game was a common phenomenon. This time round, the beautiful game had a new twist to it — a video assistant referee otherwise known as VAR. The technology had finally found its way to the beautiful game. I digress, back to my Samburu trip. I am in Samburu and I can’t help but think of how simple and beautiful life here is. Folks here have no worries about fuel prices, traffic jam, work deadlines or calories’ intake for that matter.

A game known as ‘SIMPASTORALIST’, an abbreviation for the phrase ‘simulating pastoralist’ is being used to collect data on the decision-making process within pastoralist households. This information will inform future designs of interventions such as the index-based livestock insurance.

Though I know that I am here to play games with the local communities, I begin to realize that I have fallen in love with the place and start thinking of setting up a home in the area. Realizing that my wife would not hear any of it or even remotely consider the idea, I jolt back to reality and focus on my mission is restored.

Continue reading the article in the Innovate Digest.

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