Garbal information service increases pastoralists’ resilience in Mali

Garbal information service increases pastoralists’ resilience in Mali

The "Garbal" service was launched as part of the STAMP project in November 2017. Since the service started, 1,221 calls and 32,820 data requests were made. The innovative service was awarded the first prize in the Orange Social Entrepreneur Contest Mali in 2017 and was recently showcased during African Spatial Delight event at the World Water Week 2018 in Stockholm.

Garbal is offered over a simple mobile phone through a call to a service center or a text message to an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) menu for livestock and cereal prices. The service allows users to access information on biomass availability, biomass quality, surface water availability, herd concentration and market prices for livestock and staple grains along the different transhumance routes. The service improves pastoralists’ decision making processes as it predicts circumstances for their herd migration.

Garbal is implemented under a public-private partnership: 70% of the funding is provided by the Netherlands Space Office (NSO). The remaining funding is covered by partners including Orange Mali, who exploits the call center commercially. SNV handles the project coordination and ensures that the information format matches perfectly the pastoralists’ realities, needs and aspiration.

Satellite data are processed and stored by Hoefsloot Spatial Solutions (HSS), with additional satellite data and algorithms provided by Action Against Hunger. The Malian Institute for Rural Economy (IER) provides technical backstopping for the call center’s operators, as part of its collaboration with Orange Mali. Tassaght, alocal NGO in the Gao and Menaka regions, organises data collection in the field, together with pastoralists themselves, especially on biomass quality, herd concentration and market prices. Finally, Project Concern International (PCI), introduced the use of geo-satellite maps as a decision support tool for the mobility of pastoral communities in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya.

The expected 2018 results for 60,000 pastoralist in the Gao & Menaka are as follows:

  • Livestock mortality reduced by 15%;

  • Livestock productivity improved by 10%;

  • Income from livestock increased by 10%.