Informations et ressources scientifiques
sur le développement des zones arides et semi-arides

Accueil du site → Doctorat → Allemagne → 2016 → Undeveloped adaptation : climate risks, vulnerability and household well-being in Mwingi/Kenya

University of Bayreuth (2016)

Undeveloped adaptation : climate risks, vulnerability and household well-being in Mwingi/Kenya

Kiragu, Serah Wambui

Titre : Undeveloped adaptation : climate risks, vulnerability and household well-being in Mwingi/Kenya

Auteur : Kiragu, Serah Wambui

Université de soutenance : University of Bayreuth,

Grade : Doctoral thesis, 2016

Rural livelihoods in Kenya’s arid areas are mainly based on rain-fed cultivation and herding of livestock. Climate risks either through variability or change pose significant threats to these livelihoods. Yet, rural households have to simultaneously deal with multiple risks. Global discourses on adaptation to climate change therefore need to take cognizance of context within which households experience and manage risks. This study set out to understand household adaptation practices in the face of climate risks with the aim of offering an alternative conceptualisation of adaptation that is not limited to climate risks and is applicable at the level of rural farming households. The study examined the perception of and the role that climate plays in the lives of the people of Mwingi, Kenya ; the adaptation practices they engage in to support their well-being ; the factors determining choice and constraints to undertaking these adaptation practices and the reproduction of these constraints. The study relied on theories of capacity and choice, and drew from tenets derived from Amartya Sen’s capability approach, Anthony Giddens’ structuration theory as well as new institutionalism. Data was collected using qualitative methods comprising of focus group discussions, key informants and expert interviews, observation and a household survey. The study findings reveal that precipitation is the main climate element featuring in local people’s description of changes in weather. Specifically, droughts spell the main climate risks that local people experience and live with. Households perceive climate through the impacts of weather on crop harvest or on pasture availability. Drought impacts result into three forms of crises - domestic water crisis, food crisis and livestock wealth loss crisis. These crises affect households’ capability to access water, secure income as well as secure social status in society. Socio-economic and cultural context are observed to influence household choices and effectiveness of adaptation strategies. Actors in administration of development and humanitarian interventions use their authoritative and allocative resources to determine which and how infrastructure goods and services vital to households’ adaptation practices are supplied. Market failure is observed to be a significant factor in defining the conditions under which households chose and undertake adaptation practices. Kinship and gender relations as well as societal social status also influence choice of adaptation. Households practise communal pooling of resources based on kinship relations. Gender orientations influence norms of property ownership, mobility and decision-making. In seeking to understand how constraints to household adaptation practices are reproduced, the study observes self-help groups as sites and tools through which unequal power relations are enacted, thereby nurturing a status quo that make constraints to household adaptation practices remain largely unaddressed and unchallenged. Based on the study results, it is prudent that debates of adaptation to climate change at household-level are not limited to assessments of the characteristics of climate risks but go further to embrace the holistic nature of household well-being.

Mots clés  : Climate ; Climate Risks ; Vulnerability ; Adaptation ; Households ; Household Well-being ; Kenya ; East Africa


Version intégrale

Page publiée le 2 novembre 2017