Gender Influence on Access to and Control of Resources for Coping to Climate Variability. A Case of Mbita Fisher Community, Homa Bay County, Kenya

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Robert David Lubalo Onyango
Christopher Oludhe
Doris Amwata


Global warming effects have far reaching impacts of livelihoods of many rural communities including fishers. It is in record that fishing accounts for world’s 36 million fishers nearly 1.5 billion consumers who rely on fish for their dietary animal protein. Past studies have concentrated on fisher communities and climate variability in marine waters and oceans; mainly investigating the impact of climate variability on fish distribution and production. Limited focus has addressed the interaction between impacts of climate change on the fishing activities on inland and fresh waters such as in Lake Victoria and the fishers coping and adapting with changes and variability of climate. The discussions in this article focused on Lake Victoria shore location of Mbita where the livelihood of local community is largely fishing. The objectives were to: Determine the influence of gender on access and control of fisher resources for climate adaptation in Mbita sub-county; Document the current coping strategies and constraints to Climate variability/change in Mbita sub-county. The study used a constructivist epistemology and the mixed methods research design to help it achieve its findings. Yamane’s formula (1964) is used to get the sample size of 388 respondents out of a population of 13191. Primary data was collected through use of  questionnaires, interview schedules for KII and FGDs. Secondary data collection was collected through document reviews of relevant past studies reports and working papers on  (temperature/rainfall data) of Mbita for the last 30 years data to get the trend of these elements and to determine climate variability and change. The instruments were validated using experts’ content validity with the supervisors. Piloting was used to ascertain reliability of the instruments Analysis was accomplished using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences. Presentation was done in descriptive and inferential statistics. The study found that there was gender discrimination in access and control of resources which support adaptive activities that makes women more vulnerable to Climate Variability/Change hazards and disasters. The study further found that adaptation  requires access and control of factors of production which were traditionally under the control of male fishers making women more vulnerable and susceptible to surviving through chamas and table banking activities. Statistically access to and control was significant to adaptation at p-value of 0.000. Under coping strategies the study found that adaptation required transformation of mind set that called for bigger investment which required the collaboration and consultation of entire Mbita community and county government to address environmental and conservative resource utility. The study concluded that lack of alternative livelihood opportunities/options is the major constraints to adaptation for people living in the Lake Victoria region escalated with limitation of skills outside fishing industry, limitation of other employable professional skills including lack of capital. The study recommends a transdiciplinary concientization of adaptive strategies which can translate into flexible and sustainable climate change adaptation and gender inclusive livelihood activities. Future research should explore participatory action research on environmental influences affecting CCA by comparing findings across other beaches and livelihoods to see if gendered resources have any role in their adaptation.

Gender, climate change and livelihood adaptation.

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How to Cite
Onyango, R. D. L., Oludhe, C., & Amwata, D. (2020). Gender Influence on Access to and Control of Resources for Coping to Climate Variability. A Case of Mbita Fisher Community, Homa Bay County, Kenya. International Journal of Environment and Climate Change, 10(11), 8-18.
Original Research Article


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