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Post-harvest management strategies, drought vulnerability and food security
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
The major impacts of drought for agro-pastoral households are reduced crop yield, food shortage, loss of income and consequently, the inability to meet daily food needs. However, post-harvest management practices in preceding non-drought seasons can contribute to alleviating the effects of drought by ensuring future food availability and accessibility. Available for purchase from: Taylor and Francis Books
Indigenous knowledge related to climate variability and change: insights from droughts in semi-arid areas of former Makueni District, Kenya.
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
This article describes the indigenous knowledge (IK) that agro pastoralists in larger Makueni District, Kenya hold and how they use it to monitor, mitigate and adapt to drought. It examines ways of integrating IK into formal monitoring, how to enhance its value and acceptability. Data was collected through target interviews, group discussions and questionnaires covering 127 households in eight villages. Daily rainfall data from 1961–2003 were analysed. Results show that agro-pastoralists hold IK on indicators of rainfall variability; they believe in IK efficacy and they rely on them. Because agro-pastoralists consult additional sources, the authors interpret that IK forms a basic knowledge frame within which agro-pastoralists position and interpret meteorological forecasts. [...] Climatic Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9713-0 Download
Droughts and famines: The underlying factors and the causal links among agro-pastoral households in semi-arid Makueni district, Kenya
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
"Famines are often linked to drought in semi-arid areas of Sub-Saharan Africa where not only pastoralists, but also increasingly agro-pastoralists are affected. This study addresses the interplay between drought and famine in the rural semi-arid areas of Makueni district, Kenya, by examining whether, and how crop production conditions and agro-pastoral strategies predispose smallholder households to drought-triggered food insecurity. If this hypothesis holds, then approaches to deal with drought and famine have to target factors causing household food insecurity during non-drought periods. Data from a longitudinal survey of 127 households, interviews, workshops, and daily rainfall records (1961–2003) were analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods. This integrated approach confirms the above hypothesis and reveals that factors other than rainfall, like asset and labour constraints, inadequate policy enforcement, as well as the poverty-driven inability to adopt risk-averse production systems play a key role. When linking these factors to the high rainfall variability, farmer-relevant definitions and forecasts of drought have to be applied." Global Environmental Change 2008, Vol. 18, Issue 1, pp. 220-233. Available from: Global Environmental Change
Gender Based Analysis of Vulnerability to Drought among Agro-Pastoral Households in Semi-Arid Makueni District, Kenya
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
This study analyses how gender relations shape vulnerability to drought in the semi-arid areas of Makueni District, Kenya. The study area is a marginal environment of low argicultural potential and poverty is widespread. The interplay and socio-economic pressures on agro-pastoral households, and the compulsion to conform or to be perceived as conforming to the prevailing gendered traditional rules and norms, influences the capabilities of men and women to secure their livelihoods in non-drought periods. In times of drought, gender relations also shape the coping strategies of women and men in various ways, and the impacts of drought on household welfare challenge the traditional roles of men. In:Premchander S, Müller C, editors. 2006. Gender and Sustainable Development: Case Studies from NCCR North-South. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, Bern: Geographica Bernensia, pp. 119-146.
Drought vulnerability and risk in agro-pastoral areas
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
PhD Thesis, University of Bern, Switzerland For further information please contact the author