Gender dimensions of smallholder farmers’ perceptions, knowledge and adaptations to climate change in Soroti district, Eastern Uganda

Perceptions and knowledge play a key role in shaping individual and collective response to climate change. Furthermore, understanding what types and forms of adaptation are possible, feasible and likely; and who would be involved in their implementation is an important step towards facilitating effective climate change adaptation. Also, a successful campaign should take into consideration equity which calls for extensively examining the gender aspects of adaptation to climate change. This study therefore focused on three objectives: 1) evaluating male and female farmers’ climate change perceptions and knowledge; 2) identifying the determinants of knowledge of climate change among male and female farmers; 3) characterizing and evaluating male and female farmers’ climate change adaptation practices; and 4) Assessing male and female farmers’ contribution to household climate change adaptation. The study was carried out in three parishes of Gweri Sub-County, Soroti district, Eastern Uganda and it employed a descriptive survey design. Exploratory data were obtained from a stakeholders’ workshop which was followed with a survey. Temperature and rainfall data of Soroti district for the last 30 years was also obtained from the Meteorology Department, Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment (MWLE). The survey sample comprised of 135 respondents (from 90 male and 45 female headed households), based on stratified random sampling. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, two-proportion z-tests, Chi-square tests, and linear and multinomial logistic regression. Results showed high levels of perception of climate changes among male and female farmers and that the perceptions of men and women were generally similar. However, with regard to knowledge, femalehousehold heads were about 11 times more likely to be ignorant about the cause of climate change and about three (3) times more likely to be wrong about the cause of climate change than their male counterparts. On the other hand, resilience of male and female farmers was not guaranteed given that the bulk of their adaptation practices were climate dependant. Adaptation ideas attributed to women (only 5%) were found to be way below the proportion attributed to men (80%) despite the fact that in 60% of male headed households women had introduced agricultural ideas in general, with 97% implementation rate. In addition, women shouldered the more labor intensive adaptation related activities, while decision making and selling of proceeds from adaptation efforts were mainly done by men. The study recommends that: (i) the communication strategy for climate change adaptation should capitalize on the high levels of perception of climate change by availing communities with appropriate climate change information for action; (ii) while strengthening farm production practices, the national adaptation plan should put equal emphasis on developing the farm financial management profile of farmers as a cushion against climate dependency; and(iii) adaptation interventions by the various actors at national and lower levels should be deliberate in mainstreaming gender at the grassroots so that both men and women’s contribution to climate change adaptation are maximized.
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Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
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Open Access
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Associate Professor Margaret Najjingo Mangheni, PhD and Dr. Haroon Sseguya, PhD
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