Andrea Grolimund, MA

PhD: "The Caring Elderly of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania"

Editing Assistant "Living the City"
Conference Office "History of Health Care in Africa"

Transhumance towards Northern Togo: Effects of a New Inter-Ministerial Order


Andrea studied African Studies (MA, 2010) and Social Anthropology and Law (BA, 2008) at the University of Basel, as well as Social Anthropology, Political Science and French at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland (September 2007 - January 2008, Swiss Mobility Program).

From 2008 to 2009 Andrea was conducting a one-year internship at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute with a three months stay at the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d'Ivoire.

For her Master Thesis Andrea was conducting qualitative research in Togo on the influence of an inter-ministerial order on the movements of transhumant pastoralists arriving from the Sahel zone as well as on the effects for the local population in northern Togo. Andrea was teaching the exercise "Einführung ins wissenschaftliche Arbeiten" at the Institute of Social Anthropology, Basel in 2011 and 2010. At the CASB, she worked as an editing assistant for the "Living the City" volume and was in charge of the conference office for the conference "History of Health Care in Africa" at the Centre for African Studies, Basel in 2011.

Andrea Grolimund currently works at the Institute for Social Anthropology of the university of Basel for her PhD (see link) on Caring Elderly in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. See here her PhD project.


Transhumance towards Northern Togo: Effects of a New Inter-ministerial Order. Masterarbeit, Universität Basel, 2010.

Ammann, Carole; Grolimund, Andrea; Staudacher, Sandra: Research Assistants: Invisible but Indispensable in Ethnographic Research, in: Tsantsa 21/2016, 2016 accepted, S. 1-8.

MA Thesis

Every year, Sahelian mobile pastoralists from the ethnic group of the Fulbe arrive in Togo. They conduct transhumance, a form of pastoralism where the movement happens seasonally between the home base and a second definite place to stay. Because of the West African Union ECOWAS that stipulates free movement between the member states, Togo, as a member state, is obliged to accommodate a high number of mobile pastoralists every year. In 2088 the Togolese state therefore adopted an inter-ministerial order to re-organize transhumance on a national scale. The master thesis looks at the impact of this legal change. The new regulation stipulates that mobile herders must pay a high amount in taxes in order to enter the country. Through the theoretical concepts of vulnerability and social capital and the terms mobility and migration, the paper investigates the impact of the regulation on the individual participants, but also on the social interaction of the community. In addition, this paper examines the application of the order; hereby it also looks at the supersession of the regional legal system. The results of the study show that the new legal regulation may not conform to the agreements of the ECOWAS. However, this eventual infraction could be justified by Togo as a protection of the country's own resources. Due to the legal change, the mobile pastoralists did not arrive in large numbers as in the foregoing years and many of those who arrived anyway avoided registration at the prefecture. In consequence, the revenue of the prefectures was less. However, a decrease of conflicts was recorded. In terms of social interaction the study shows that the mobile pastoralists have a big network in which they move during their change of base. Through their connectedness with the settled Fulbe in Togo as well as with their family members at home, they are able to develop strategies to cope with new situations - for example, with the legal change. One of these strategies is the use of mobile phones. Another strategy is to stay in the border region where state control is weak. Through their mobile way of life, they are very flexible and can adapt quickly to new situations. Therefore, the thesis ends with the conclusion that the legal change does not increase the vulnerability of the mobile herders. Instead, it is the Togolese prefectures who are asked to react on this legal change, as the mobile herders begin to arrive again, but often they hide and thus, do not appear in the system where they would pay the taxes.


Andrea Grolimund
Ethnologisches Seminar
Universität Basel
Münsterplatz 19
CH-4051 Basel
Office phone:
+41 (0)61 267 27 46
Office fax: 
+41 (0)61 267 27 47

Links: PhD project (CASB) and Social Anthropology