The research programme explores the overall theme of Gender Dimensions of Natural Resource Use, Farming and Food Adequacy: Climate Change Risk, Vulnerability and Adaptation. The broad aim of this research programme is to study how the well-being (in terms of food adequacy) of male and female headed households is influenced by reliance on farming and natural resources. The research will also investigate how climate uncertainty affects male and female headed households’ decisions regarding farming versus natural resources (living from ecosystem services) use. Lastly, the research we propose to do will also focus on vulnerability, adaptation and constraints to adaptation due to climate variability.
It is stated that gender differences are prevalent in the use and management of natural resources. This is because existing gender inequalities, such as role and position of men and women in both society and the household, access to resources and financial markets, land tenure and political voice, mean that women and men are likely to experience the impacts of climate change differently and are likely to differ in their abilities to respond to the impacts associated with climate change. Additionally, often most households headed by women depend on income generated through cash cropping or plantations so as to provide for household necessities such as food and water. Therefore women are more likely to be disproportionately affected by environmental degradation, storms or droughts. Set against this background the broad aim of this research programme is to invsetiaget how the well-being (in terms of food adequacy) of male and female headed households is influenced by reliance on farming and natural resources and whether there exists any difference between male and female headed households. The research we propose to do will also focus on vulnerability, adaptation and constraints to adaptation of these households due to climate variability.
This research programme will be based on a quantitative approach using two different household panel datasets. The first panel data focuses on household (female and male headed households) subsistence farmers (crop farmers, livestock farmers and mixed crop-livestock farmers) who participate in farming to supplement their income and dietary needs. The second panel dataset consist of female and male headed households who depend on natural resources to meet basic needs (for example, firewood, medicinal needs, fruits and nuts etc.). This will enable us to establish both the male and female headed households’ vulnerability to climate change, and on whether the dependence is on farming or on natural resources, and the various coping mechanisms that households adopt. Overall the impact of climate change of these households coupled with a gender dimension will offer powerful insights and contribute to the literature gap that currently exists. Additionally, because our datasets are of a panel nature it will offer us the luxury of executing research methods based on panel models that can accommodate the undesirable influence of unobservables prevalent in cross sectional studies of climate change literature which greatly bias results. The research programme will produce two discussion papers. The key expected outcome and the advantage of this research programme is the on-going involvement and interaction of the research team with the communities living in the study area. Thus the reesrach outcome will be easily fed back to communities via active community forums on a regular basis allowing the community to incorporate important findings in their decision making processes.