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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON GENDER DIFFERENCES IN CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION STRATEGIES AND PARTICIPATION IN GROUP-BASED APPROACHES: AN INTRA-HOUSEHOLD ANALYSIS FROM RURAL KENYA
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- Name: Gender Differences In Climate Change Adaptation Strategies And Participation In Group-Based Approaches: An Intra-Household Analysis From Rural Kenya
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The impacts of climate change worsen pre-existing social inequalities specifically for women who are more vulnerable because of limited access to resources and because their livelihood depends on agriculture and natural resources, which are highly susceptible to climate variability (UN Women Watch, 2011:1; Alston, 2013). To lessen the adverse impacts of climate change and variability, local farmers have adjusted to harsh weather conditions and have already developed coping strategies over time. The uptake of these innovative practices and technologies, nonetheless, depends on individual characteristics, inequalities in household capital endowment and access to rural services including climate and agricultural information (Bohle et al., 1994, Adger et al., 2009, Nelson, 2011). In particular, much remains to be learned on how men and women are adjusting to harsh weather conditions and why they are taking up specific climate-smart agricultural practices.
The interaction between gender and climate change has received considerable attention in recent years, especially regarding the susceptibility of women to climate change impacts (Neumayer and Plu, 2007, Bynoe, 2009, Lambrou and Nelson, 2010, Dankelman, 2011, Serna, 2011, Goh, 2012, Alston, 2013). For instance, it has been widely acknowledged that the effects of climate change and variability are not gender neutral. Further, there is a far-reaching literature on adaptation to climate change in the domain of developing countries (see Grothmann and Patt, 2005, Deressa et al., 2009, Below et al., 2012, Bryan et al., 2013, Di Falco and Veronesi, 2013, Pérez et al., 2014). Nonetheless, these studies often miss out more nuanced gender aspects, or their empirical approach only permits comparing male- and female-headed households. Therefore, there is limited empirical evidence on how gender at the intra-household level influences the adaptive capacities of men and women.
Further, substantial empirical evidence indicates that gender disparity exists in access to resources, information and access to agricultural inputs (see FAO, 2011, Peterman et al., 2014 for a review). In spite of policies and interventions supporting gender equality and empowering women’s inclusion in governance, gender disparity remains a worldwide challenge. To improve their fallback positions and to obtain better access to resources and improve their bargaining power and well-being, the poor and women draw upon social capital created through group-based approaches (GBA). Recent studies show that social capital promotes rural livelihoods and access to rural services (Kirori, 2015, Hoang et al., 2016) and resilience of households against extreme events and climate change (Mueller et al., 2013, Bernier and Meinzen-Dick, 2014, Ngigi et al., 2015) as well as recovery from other adverse events (Adger, 2003, Adger et al., 2009, Bezabih et al., 2013). Nevertheless, there has been little attention to gender-differentiated group-based approaches in the context of improving men’s and women’s adaptive capacity, ability to manage climate-related risks and protect household assets. A research gap exists with respect to what kinds of groups are most effective for empowering men and women in the face of climate change. Understanding the potential for gender-differentiated group-based approaches is relevant for policy formulation and program design, while targeting development interventions through social groups in developing countries like Kenya.