Women's Coping and Adaptation Capacities in Pastoralist Communities in Africa: Dealing with Climate Variability and Change


Furusa, Zanele, and Munashe Furusa. 2014. “Women's Coping and Adaptation Capacities in Pastoralist Communities in Africa: Dealing with Climate Variability and Change.” Agenda 28 (3): 65-72.

Authors: Zanele Furusa, Munashe Furusa


African women, particularly in eastern, western, and northern Africa, still engage in pastoralism as a key livelihood strategy. Pastoralism as it is practised in this part of Africa largely involves the rearing of livestock in climate sensitive and vulnerable environments. Research on pastoralism in Africa identifies climate change as a major factor that adversely impacts pastoral women’s livelihood, thus challenging them to develop coping mechanisms to minimise the effects of resultant stresses and shocks. Such coping and adaptive strategies are dependent on several socially differentiated variables which include entitlements and assets, health status and disability, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion and gender. This Briefing is a desk-top study of climate change adaptation among pastoralist women in Africa. The study indicates that women tend to interact with the environment and with livestock (in relation to pastoralism) in ways that differ from men: women have lower coping and adaptive capacities to climate variability and change compared to men. It is therefore imperative that appropriate policies and strategies be developed to improve adaptive capacities among women in these communities.

Keywords: pastoralism, vulnerability, environmental risks, coping strategies, agency

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Africa

Year: 2014

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