CGIAR: Getting a better understanding of how climate variability affects rural men and women differently, and in different regions, is challenging. Since their ability to respond to change and take action that will make them more resilient and able to adapt to a changing climate (alongside all the other social and economic change they are dealing with) differs, we need to focus more research efforts on enhancing this understanding and linking this knowledge with actions aimed at enhancing livelihoods and food security.
The global CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) joined forces to examine how well existing participatory gender-sensitive research approaches address some key climate change-related research issues that CCAFS has prioritized. Bringing together gender experts and experienced agricultural research teams from Bangladesh, Ghana, and Uganda, multiple methods were tested in the field, and refined through the lessons learned, to help inform future action research and development efforts towards enhancing communities’ and individuals’ (particularly women’s) access to, and use of, information and knowledge to help them adapt to climate variability through more resilient livelihoods and agro-ecosystems.
CCAFS research teams have developed an adaptation tool called ‘climate analogues’, an approach aimed at helping people visualize what their climate and environment is likely to look like in the future. The idea behind the analogue tool is to connect a particular location with places that have climates similar (analogous) to what climate scientists predict the climate will be like in 2030 and beyond in that location. The climate analogue approach can enable farmers to better visualize and understand what their agricultural future might look like and what kinds of changes and options they need to be considering now. The results of the pilot studies in three regions suggest that farmer-to-farmer visits to analogue sites will be more challenging and problematic for women than for men, and for the elderly.
For men and women who are unable to travel, more innovative means of communicating the ideas behind climate analogues and what information can be gained from them could be explored, such as through mobile phones or films. The findings also suggest that information on climate change adaptation strategies could be effectively shared in central locations that are already commonly visited by both men and women, such as in market places, hospitals, schools and water collection points.
The pilot studies also explored if, how, and what weather-related information is being accessed by different groups. Although listening to the radio is a popular way to receive formal weather forecasts, the tendency is for most adult men and both younger and adult women to rely primarily on indigenous knowledge of weather patterns. This trend seems to be slowly changing among young men, especially in the Bangladesh and Uganda sites, who rely on a combination of radio and cell phones for weather-related information and forecasts. Although seasonal forecasts can inform improved risk management and longer-run adaptation practices, none of the study participants, male or female, were yet accessing or using seasonal weather forecasts.
Authors: Moushumi Chaudhury, Patti Kristjanson,Florence Kyagazze,Jesse Naab and Sharmind Neelormi
Working Paper No. 19CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
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