Effects of Participatory Action Research on Climate Change Adaptation by Smallholder Farmers- Case of Nyando Sub -county, Kenya
Kimeli, Philip K
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Researchers have shown that climate change is a threat to agriculture and rural livelihoods in Africa. It has also revealed that climate change and climate variability have led to increased frequency of droughts, shortening of rainy seasons, and reducing or increasing rainfall amounts. The negative effects are anticipated to be tougher in the warmer regions of African, and that additional increments in temperature will have a bigger consequence on the continent. These regions also happen to be home to the most vulnerable communities; thus, the climate change effects are certainly going to be tougher on the poor, women, and children. Averting this tragedy, calls for transformative farming and land management practices that are adaptable not only to the changing climate but reduce greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions. Participatory Action Research is one of those approaches where partnership is encouraged at all research levels by involving the target population in developing the research question, methodology designing, data collection participation, analysis and disseminating the findings. The study is aimed at investigating the effects of Participatory Action Research (PAR) among smallholder farmers in Nyando Sub County in Western Kenya, on their adaptation, mitigation and risk management to climate change and variability. The Specific objectives of the study were to identify the existing local farming technologies prior to project implementation, assess the new farming technologies adopted, investigate adoption level of the new technologies and finally to assess the overall effects of the newly adopted farming technologies and practices on livelihoods. A mixed method approach was applied towards getting valid and comprehensive data and ensuring that the study achieved the desired objectives. Data analysis was done using STATA, which entailed the determination of frequency distribution tables, binomial tests and t-tests. A sample of 359 households in Nyando climate smart village was used to explore the effects of the PAR interventions being tested on climate change adaptation, mitigation and risk management. The results indicates that farmers had generally improved their household food security outcomes. Qualitative discussions with farmer groups suggest that households had more secure food conditions during lean seasons unlike before. Baseline primary data had shown that only 5 percent households had own-farm food as a main source during lean seasons. However, this has proportionately appreciated to 14 percent as established by this study. Farmers have generally attributed these outcomes to the diversified livelihood sources promoted through the PAR initiative. These findings illustrate that the PAR contributed to enhanced food security and livelihood conditions among the farmers as attributed by the community during qualitative interviews.
University of Nairobi