Catalyzing climate change adaptation capacity : potential effects of “GALS” Approach in transforming rural farm households towards gender inclusive climate change adaptation in KIREHE District. Rwanda

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Abstract: This study explores the impact of climate change on the livelihoods of rural farm households and the adaption strategies used to cope with the effects of climate change in Kirehe District. To thoroughly understand the case, a particular attention has been paid to gender dynamics and climatic change adaptation; the main intent was to comprehend how gender relations and adaptation strategies are intertwined in rural households which are exposed to climate-related hazards. Through individual interviews and focus group discussions, reliable data have been generated, from the standpoints of rural dwellers that experience the hazards. Moreover, personal observation has been employed to complement other methods and triangulate the sources of information. The research revealed a linkage between gender relations and climate change adaptation in agrarian households. More than men, women are vulnerable to the harmful effects of climate change and they endure a heavier workload to adapt. This trend is exacerbated by the social norms and the customary laws which condone gender inequality in rural house-holds. As a coping mechanism, men opt for labor migration, but in many cases, they do not earn sufficient remittances to support their families. The research studies the example of a local NGO known as SAFE, which suc-cessfully boosted the adaptive capacity of rural dwellers in Kirehe. The experience of the men and women beneficiaries of this NGO is studied through the lens of the chosen conceptual framework, focusing on the inter-play between gender relations and climate change adaptation. The study concludes that adaptive capacity can be improved through the reinforcement of gender equality and women empowerment.

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