A Look at the Social and Environmental Opportunities Brought by Climate Variability and Change in Kenya

Monica Wangechi Nderitu, Christopher Oludhe, Ali, Ali Adan


Climate variability and change will definitely stress the rural livelihoods and especially the agropastoral communities in various ways which include, but not limited to, reduction of harvested produce and death of livestock. It is very important for communities to understand the actual and anticipated changes that may affect their livelihood systems to enable them make informsed choices in tackling the adverse impacts. Understanding the factors that make a certain community vulnerable and managing climate related risks opens opportunities for the communities to overcome the challenges hence increase their resilience. This paper presents empirical findings on the opportunities associated with climate variability and change that the agropastoral community in Kieni can pursue to adapt better. House hold survey, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were used to gain insight into what the community has in terms of resources and the opportunities perceived as a result of changing and variable climate. The study revealed that 91% of the agropastoral community are aware of the opportunities brought by climate variability and change. Those opportunities were seen in livelihood diversification including poultry farming, dairy goat farming and dairy cow farming; social and environmental entrepreneurship mainly in agribusiness; technological innovation and development; land use and land management; improved farm production practices; financial and market services; employment and in education. Of the 350 households who were aware of the opportunities, only 67% had taken up one or more, 33% of those households did not utilise any of the perceived opportunities. The research revealed that despite being the majority who perceived opportunities brought by climate variability and change; female headed households had a lower uptake level (48%) as compared to male headed households (52%). Some of the barriers that hinder utilisation of these opportunities include lack of financial capital, lack of knowledge and technological awareness, old age( because majority of the young people have migrated to urban areas in search of employment),health problems, unreliable water supply and hindering market services and credit facilities.

Keywords: Livelihoods; climate variability and change; opportunities; Adaptation

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