Few climate change adaptation strategies of rural women : a case study of Ndwedwe-Cibane, KwaZulu-Natal.
Mzimela, Jabulile Happyness.
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Climate change is documented to impact food, energy and water (FEW) resources. Rural women are vulnerable to climate change impacts due to their high dependence on natural resources. Despite numerous studies on climate change impacts, there has been insufficient examination of climate change adaptation with a focus on FEW resources using an intersectional lens. Focusing on women and using an intersectional lens, this study explores how marital status intersects with gender to influence FEW based climate change adaptation in Ndwedwe-Cibane. In addition, perceptions are explored, vulnerability is assessed and barriers and opportunities are determined. The sustainable livelihood and ecofeminist framework are used to explore the various concepts in this study. Data were collected using quantitative (meteorological data and climate projections) and qualitative Participatory Rural Appraisal-PRA research methods (three focus group discussions and two key informant interviews). First, women’s perceptions of past climate change were sought by matrix scoring and meteorological data was analyzed using mainly the MK test and climate projections downloaded from the CSAG CIP website. Second, women’s vulnerability was assessed using resource and hazard mapping and the vulnerability matrix. Third, climate change impacts were determined through trend diagramming. Fourth, adaptation strategies, barriers and opportunities for adaptation were explored during discussions. This study makes four contributions to climate literature. Firstly, perceptions of temperature change regardless of marital status are fairly congruent, though there are divergences in rainfall perception. Both single and married women were found to have high temperature perception and low rainfall perception evidenced by contradiction of woman’s perception of rainfall changes and meteorological data. Women’s perceptions and meteorological data provide evidence for climate change. Climate projections reveal a warmer and wetter climate, which will affect FEW resources. Secondly, vulnerability appears comparable between the two groups of women. However, strong conclusions pertaining to vulnerability cannot be drawn. Thirdly, the results show that climate change impacts on FEW resources are negative and include crop failure, livestock death, and reduced water supply among other impacts. There was concordance of perceived climate change impacts between both groups of women. Fourthly, to adapt both single and married women employed multiple strategies including income and crop diversification, irrigation, use of fertilizer, collection of wet firewood and rainwater harvesting among other strategies. Notable differences in adaptation strategies indicate that single women are more concerned about crop adaptation while married women are more concerned about livestock adaptation. Despite adopted adaptation strategies, barriers to climate change adaptation were established. Barriers were similar between single and married women, whereas divergences were in financial barriers which affect only the single women. The findings reveal that no support pertaining to climate change adaptation was given to women. Women in Ndwedwe-Cibane want to opportunistically use development projects for adaptation purposes. The findings suggest that designing policies, plans and programs that focus on women as a homogenous group will not adequately address issues underlying climate change adaptation, and an intersectional perspective should be used when developing and implementing adaptation strategies.
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