Impact of climate change and gender roles in community adaptation: A case study of pastoralists in Samburu East District, Kenya
Ongoro, Eunice B
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Climate change continues to be of great concern both nationally and internationally, especially with regards to resource allocation and utilization for adaptation and mitigation. It is also clear that climate change is accelerating; taking almost catastrophic dimensions and the impacts are felt greater across the world than in the past thirty years. The impacts of climate change in the form of hurricanes, floods, and droughts affect the entire communities and presumably therefore, affect the lives of both women and men in a number of ways. Concern is emerging such that the negotiations on climate change do not fully involve the affected groups yet each of these groups is impacted by climate change in different ways. This paper addressed the impacts of climate change, the gender roles in adaptation process as different strategies were used in a pastoralist community. The study was carried out in Samburu East District of Kenya from February to May, 2010 using participatory methods and approaches. In the study used survey method; 180 households were randomly selected being a homogenous pastoralist community; gender and age were further used during purposive sampling to select the required household respondents. Focus group discussions, key informant interviews, life histories and observation were also used. The study findings indicated that the impacts of climate change were unequally felt along the gender lines in Samburu District. Women due to the community’s culturally gender constructed roles were found to be more vulnerable to the impacts as compared to their male counterparts. The adaptation process showed that women easily adapted and they had better strategies that led them to successfully cope. The study concluded that there was need to mainstream gender in the policies and legal frameworks that anchor the adaptation and mitigation of climate change in Kenya such that there is full participation of both men and women for burden sharing and sustainable development. The study confirmed that ethos and norms are key determinants of impact levels at the community social structure.