Climate change is a serious threat to sustainable development. It affects and impacts various regions, generations, gender and other classifications differently. Men and women face different climate change impacts because they perform different tasks, have different access to and control over assets and have different sets of knowledge and skills based on their distinct roles and responsibilities. Evidence shows that greater improvement in agricultural productivity can be achieved if research is approached from a gendered perspective.
Recently there has been increased recognition of the importance of a gendered perspective in climate change research and development. While studies are being conducted on gender and issues like energy, water, environment, there are very few studies that are currently being carried out on gender and climate change. There is also very little systematic and empirical evidence on the gendered impacts of climate change and the coping strategies of men and women. It is on this premise that a 3 day workshop on ‘Incorporation of Gender into Climate–Resilient Crop-Livestock Systems Research to Accelerate Food Security in Africa’ was held in Nairobi on May 3-5. Participants from the workshop came from east, south and west African countries.
The objectives of the workshop were; to establish the current state of knowledge on gender and climate change in crop-livestock systems in Africa, identify key issues on gender and crop-livestock systems in relation to climate change, identify gaps for future research, develop a framework for better integration of gender in crop-livestock research and together with a comprehensive action plan for the proposed and related research.
Looking at livestock, a majority of human diseases are transmitted from livestock implying that climate change will significantly change disease emergences. In addition, a shift to start looking at how pastoral systems can be potential areas for sequencing carbon in the tropics in addition to trees would be worth investing in. It therefore goes without saying that agriculture, climate change and gender are intertwined.
A review by Agajie Tesfaye, a workshop participant disclosed some of the most hazardous climate change occurrences observed. In Ethiopian, climate change variability is observed through drought and floods similar to increasingly intense and frequent drought and flash floods in Kenya, in Tanzania the melting of glaciers in Mt. Kilimanjaro at an approximate glacier loss of 55% within the last 38 years, Malawi experiences winds, floods and heavy rains as it’s most common climate change hazard and Mozambique experiences cyclones in addition to other climate change hazards such as rising temperatures and torrential rain.
With the aim to better understand the current state in the region so as to come up with useful, adaptable and practical strategies at country and local level, participants who were drawn from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ghana and Malawi shared and exchanged information about the current state of knowledge on climate change in their various countries. This information touched on issues such as the contribution of women to crop-livestock systems, gender consideration in crop-livestock research, gender gaps, gender mainstreaming status of the country, best practices as well as opportunities available to integrate climate resilient crop-livestock systems.
Successful incorporation of gender into agricultural research requires gender sensitization and capacity building. A training session on gender sensitization was also part of the workshop so as to well equip the participants in this area of research and to enable them to integrate gender into their programs and projects.
The 3 days workshop enabled participants to share knowledge and information from the region, build and enhance their capacity on gender and other related issues and create a network of partners who can further drive the research work on gender and climate change. With a better understanding of the issues, participants were urged not to lose the momentum, to pull in their diverse strengths and skills to address gender, climate change and crop-livestock systems.
The workshop was jointly organized by the Poverty Gender and Impacts (PGI) team of the ILRI Markets, Gender and Livelihoods Theme together with Curtin University, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) with funding from the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
Click HERE to view the workshop photos