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Instituto Universitário de Lisboa - ISCTE (2016)

Community based adaptations to climate change : experiences of the Mijikenda Community in Coastal Kenya

Groh, Maxie Elizabeth

Titre : Community based adaptations to climate change : experiences of the Mijikenda Community in Coastal Kenya

Auteur : Groh, Maxie Elizabeth

Université de soutenance : Instituto Universitário de Lisboa - ISCTE

Grade : Master of Science in African Studies 2016

Résumé partiel
Small-scale farmers in Africa are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Macro level climate change policies are having little positive impacts on their livelihoods. However, at the local level, communities are innovating and adapting to climate change. While these innovations are not enough to guarantee extensive adaptation to climate change, they are an important element for the survival of agrarian societies and botanical diversity. It is therefore important to understand what these innovations are and the factors that hinder and facilitate them. This knowledge would allow the incorporation of strategies to support the endogenous capacities of societies to innovate and adapt to climate change into climate change policy and projects. This thesis will present the case study of agrarian societies, the Mijikenda, in Kenya’s coastal areas. Kenya’s coastal forests and agricultural lands, while fragmented and threatened by degradation, contribute to the resilience of coastal Mijikenda communities. They serve as territories of biocultural heritage that have traditionally unified the communities through cultural cohesion and information exchange, and are reserves of rich agro-biodiversity that improve community food security and health. Kenya’s coastal societies have developed various strategies to adapt to climate change that have emanated from the specific biological and cultural conditions of these coastal territories. This study investigates the factors that hinder and facilitate biocultural innovations - innovations that are developed locally and adapted to community needs - and which serve to boost climate resilience in three Mijikenda communities : Giriama, Rabai, and Duruma. They include technological innovations (e.g. use of a wide range of herbal plants to control increasing incidences of pests in crops and animals) and social/institutional innovations (e.g. establishment of cultural centers). It will build on work previously conducted by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) within the framework of the Smallholder Innovation for Resilience (SIFOR) research project, and will focus on a specific set of aspects that have not previously be dealt with : how gender and age affect the capacity to innovate. The study has found that gender and age play an important role in the capacity to innovate.

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