Proportional piling in Turkana: a case Study

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The Turkana people of north-west Kenya are nomadic pastoralists, whose livelihood depends largely on their animals. They also engage in other activities such as growing sorghum, fishing, hunting and gathering, and trade. A study was commissioned to investigate the socio-economic context of Turkana living along the lakeshore, including the relationship between the various economic activities. This case study focuses on the technique of proportional piling, which was used to investigate the relative contribution of different economic activities to household food supply. The exercise was carried out twice, for the wet and the dry seasons, to enable seasonal differences to be assessed and discussed. It was found to be a simple, visual method for illustrating relative values and proportions from the perspective of the respondents.

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This article will be of interest to researchers and local level fieldworkers
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RRA Notes
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