The influence of climate change on the livelihoods of women involved in rural agriculture in Kakamega county, Kenya

Liru, Pauline Nelima (2020-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Climate change is a global challenge that negatively affects natural, physical, human, financial and social capital and the livelihoods of people. In Sub Saharan Africa and Kenya, the influence of climate change is more pronounced on the livelihoods of rural farmers due to their overreliance on natural resources. This study investigated the influence of climate change on women farmers in Kakamega County in Kenya and how they adapt, and the assets they draw on to cope with the effects of climate change on their livelihoods. The study explored how gender roles, intersectionality and differential access to assets affect women’s adaptation and resilience to climate change. To establish this, a qualitative crosssectional exploratory study design was used to unearth the livelihood experiences of rural women farmers. The study was conducted over a period of four months between September 2017 to January 2018 across five sub counties including Lurambi, Malava, Mumias West, Lugari, and Lubao in Kakamega County. A total of 138 individual male and female farmers participated in the study; data collection was done over three months and involved ten life histories, sixteen key informant interviews and twelve focus groups and participant observations. Field notes and transcripts were thematically analysed. A Sustainable Livelihoods Approach guided the study’s framework for analysis, complemented by the Asset Based Community Development approach, resilience theory and feminist theory. Key findings show that the main aspects of climate change affect women are temperature changes and variable precipitation causing floods and droughts. Such have a negative influence on the livelihoods of women who mainly rely on crop production, livestock production and small businesses. Changes in climate generally have a negative impact on the livelihoods of rural men and women farmers and affect their health, energy, water availability, biodiversity, labour demands and social systems. The effects are more pronounced on women compared to men farmers due to their high dependence on natural resources to sustain their livelihoods. In addition, the influence on women is exacerbated by their reproductive roles that expose them to climate effects and disempower them to respond to the effects. Given the gendered effects of climate change in terms of the division of labour and underlying societal values, the key factor that influence women’s ability to mitigate the effects of climate change is patriarchy. This affects their ability to access various capitals and related assets. As a result of patriarchy, women’s decision-making and ability to respond to climate change is compromised. Women overcome this by using various social networks and groups to access the necessary resources to build resilience to climate change. The need to address the effects of patriarchy and promote access to capital is necessary to build women’s capacity to adapt and build resilience to climate change. Key ways women use to adapt and cope with the effects of climate apart from social networks included the use of indigenous knowledge to predict climate change; to resort to off farm labour (human capital);draw on social networks and government support (social capital); crop diversification and mixed farming (natural capital); sale of livestock and loans from microfinance (financial capital). However, women have limited access to these forms of capital due to patriarchal nature of the society that promotes male dominance and give men privileges and rights to ownership of assets compared to women. Women mostly access these assets through men or their husband, which limits their ability to adapt and respond effectively to climate induced shocks. The study found that women are not passive victims of climate change but have developed various strategies to mitigate the influence of climate on their livelihoods. They have developed various resilience pathways to enhance their absorptive coping capacity, adaptive capacity and transformative capacity to overcome the influences of climate change. The resilience pathways are interconnected and exist at multiple levels from the individual to household, community; and even at national level and they overlap within social-ecological systems. Within this, the study found that social capital in the form of bonding, bridging and linking capital was essential to building capacity and resilience and strengthening the ability of rural farmers to deal with climate related shocks.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Klimaatsverandering is 'n wêreldwye uitdaging wat die natuurlike, fisieke, menslike, finansiële, sosiale kapitaal asook die lewensbestaan van mense negatief beïnvloed. In subSahara-Afrika en Kenia, is die invloed van klimaatsverandering meer diepgaande op die lewensbestaan van landelike boere vanweë hul natuurlike hulpbronne afhanklikheid. Hierdie studie het ondersoek watter invloed klimaatsverandering op vroueboere in Kakamega Distrik in Kenia het, om te bepaal hoe hulle aanpas, die bates wat hulle gebruik om die gevolge van klimaatsverandering op hul lewensbestaan die hoof te bied. Die studie het ondersoek ingestel na hoe geslagsrolle, interseksionaliteit en differensiële toegang tot bates, die aanpassing en weerbaarheid van vroue ten opsigte van klimaatsverandering beïnvloed. Om dit te bepaal, is 'n kwalitatiewe dwarsseksionele verkennende navorsings studie ontwerp om die lewensondervindings van vroulike boere in die platteland te ontdek. Die studie is uitgevoer oor 'n periode van vier maande vanaf September 2017 tot Januarie 2018 in vyf distrikte, naamlik Lurambi, Malava, Mumias-Wes, Lugari en Lubao in die provinsie Kakamega. Altesaam 138 individuele manlike en vroulike boere het aan die studie deelgeneem; data-insameling is oor drie maande gedoen en het tien lewensgeskiedenisse, sestien sleutel-informantonderhoude en twaalf fokusgroepe en deelnemende waarnemings behels. Veldnotas en transkripsies is tematies ontleed. 'n Volhoubare lewensbenadering raamwerk het die studie gelei, wat aangevul was deur die bates benadering raamwerk van gemeenskapsontwikkeling, weerbaarheidsteorie asook feministiese teorie vir die analiese. Belangrike bevindings toon dat die hoof aspekte van klimaatsverandering wat vroue beïnvloed, is temperatuurveranderings, en veranderlike neerslag wat oorstromings en droogtes veroorsaak. Dit het 'n negatiewe invloed op die lewensbestaan van vroue wat veral op oesproduksie, veeproduksie en klein ondernemings staatmaak. Veranderings in die klimaat het oor die algemeen 'n negatiewe invloed op die lewensbestaan van landelike mans- en vroueboere en beïnvloed hul gesondheid, energie, die beskikbaarheid van water, biodiversiteit, arbeidseise en sosiale stelsels. Die gevolge is meer prominent op vroueboere in vergelyking met mansboere as gevolg van hul groot afhanklikheid op natuurlike hulpbronne om hulle lewensbestaan te onderhou. Daarbenewens word die invloed op vroue vererger deur hul voortplantingsrolle wat hulle blootstel aan klimaatseffekte en hulle bemagtig om op die gevolge te reageer. Gegewe die geslagseffekte van klimaatsverandering, asook die verdeling van arbeid en die onderliggende samelewingswaardes, het patriargie 'n belangrike invloed op die vermoë van vroue se om die gevolge van klimaatsverandering te verminder. Dit het hul vermoë om toegang tot verskillende kapitale en verwante bates te bekom beïnvloed, wat hul besluitneming en die reaksievermoë ondermyn. Vroue oorkom dit deur verskillende sosiale netwerke en groepe te gebruik om toegang tot die nodige hulpbronne te bekom om weerbaarheid teen klimaatsverandering te teenstaan.Om die gevolge van patriargie aan te spreek en toegang tot kapitaal te bevorder, is dit nodig dat vroue se vermoë en weerbaarheid op gebou word sodat hulle die kapasiteit het om aan te pas by klimaatsverandering. Die kern maniere wat vroue gebruik om by die gevolge van klimaat aan te pas, behalwe sosiale netwerke, is die gebruik van inheemse kennis om klimaatsverandering te voorspel; hulle arbeid verkry vanaf die plase (menslike kapitaal); oes diversifisering en gemengde boerdery (natuurlike kapitaal); verkoop van vee en lenings van mikro-finansiering (finansiële kapitaal). Vroue het egter beperkte toegang tot hierdie vorme van kapitaal as gevolg van die patriargale aard van die samelewing, wat man’s voorregte en regte gee ommeer bates te besit in vergelyking met vroue. Vroue verkry meestal toegang tot hierdie bates deur mans of hul man, wat hul vermoë beperk om doeltreffend aan te pas en te reageer op klimaat skokke. Die studie het bevind dat vroue nie passiewe slagoffers van klimaatsverandering is nie, maar dat hulle verskillende strategieë ontwikkel om die invloed van die klimaat op hul lewensbestaan te verminder. Hulle het verskillende weerbaarheidsroetes ontwikkel om hul absorberende vermoë, aanpassingsvermoë en transformatiewe vermoë te verbeter om die invloede van klimaatsverandering te oorkom. Dit is alles onderlangs verbind en bestaan op verskillende vlakke van individu tot huishouding, gemeenskap; distrik, nasionale en hulle word binne sosiaal-ekologiese stelsels oorvleuel. In die studie word daar gevind dat sosiale kapitaal in die vorm van verband-, oorbrugging- en koppeling kapitaal noodsaaklik is om kapasiteit, weerbaarheid en die vermoë van landelike boere om klimaatsverwante skokke te hanteer, te versterk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108269
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