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Widows: agents of change in a climate of water uncertainty

Author:
  • Sara Gabrielsson
  • Vasna Ramasar
Publishing year: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 34-42
Publication/Series: Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume: 60
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

The African continent has been severely affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic and as a consequence, development is being obstructed. Agriculture and food production systems are changing as a result of the burden of the pandemic. Many farming families are experiencing trauma from morbidity and mortality as well as facing labour losses and exhaustion. To further exacerbate the situation, climate variability and change reduce the available water supply for domestic and productive uses. This article describes how these multiple stressors play out in Nyanza province in Western Kenya and explores livelihood responses to water stress in Onjiko location, Nyanza. In this community, widows and divorced women affected by HIV and AIDS have become agents of positive change. Data from local surveys (2007), mapping of seasonal calendars (September 2009) and numerous focus group meetings and interviews with women in Onjiko (October 2008, January 2010, January 2011), reveal that despite a negative fall-back position, widows are improving their households' water and food security. This adaptation and even mitigation to some of the experienced climate impacts are emerging from their new activities in a setting of changing conditions. In the capacity of main livelihood providers, widows are gaining increased decision making and bargaining power. As such they can invest in sustainable innovations like rain water harvesting systems and agroforestry. Throughout, they worlc together in formalized groups of collective action that capitalize on the pooling of natural and human resources as well as planned financial management during hardship periods. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Agency
  • Climate variability and change
  • Collective action
  • Water stress
  • Widows
  • Kenya

Other

Published
  • ISSN: 0959-6526
Sara Gabrielsson
E-mail: sara [dot] gabrielsson [at] LUCSUS [dot] lu [dot] se

Associate senior lecturer

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

+46 46 222 16 93

Josephson, 220

Josephson, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund

59

Short biography

Sara Gabrielsson is an Associate senior lecturer in Sustainability science at Lund University. Sara’s primary research focus is on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and sustainable development in Africa. Sara’s vision isto facilitate the interaction between academia and sanitation practitioners to enable the spread of sustainable WASH from theory to action.

Impact and communication

Policy work
Policy brief: Toward Sustainable Menstrual Health Managemant in Tanzania (PDF)

Capacity building

SUSTAIN

Land is Life

Media

Menskopp bidrar till bättre skolgång för tjejer i Tanzania, Sveriges radio, 2018 

Menskopp hjälper unga kvinnor i Tanzania få en bättre skolgång, SVT nyheter, 2018

Kära världen, låt oss prata mera om mens!, Debattartikel i Dagens Arena, 2018

Menstrual cups could help girls attend school in Tanzania, Lunduniversity.lu.se, 2018

Menskopp bidrar till bättre skolgång för tjejer i Tanzania, lu.se, 2018

Videos

"Breaking the Silence" - A film about the challenges with Menstrual Health Management in rural Tanzania

LUCSUS
P.O. Box 170, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se