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Title: Local knowledge, institutions and climate adaptation in Tanzania
Author: Naess, Lara Otto
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 3420
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2008
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The aim of this thesis is to explore the role of local knowledge for climate adaptation. Despite increasing interest over recent years in people's knowledge and capacity for adaptation to climate change, there have been few systematic studies of what this implies for adaptation theory and practice, particularly in a developing country setting. The motivation for the thesis is that a better understanding of the current use of local knowledge in responses to climate variability and change is needed for policies to support adaptation. The thesis addresses this gap by examining what role local knowledge plays in household and community level responses to drought. Building on an environmental entitlement framework, the thesis examines the preferences, actions and outcomes at household level, and the role of informal and formal institutions in shaping responses and outcomes. A case study was conducted in Kigwe and Nzali villages in the Dodoma Region, Tanzania. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, data were collected on people's perceptions and actions in response to an ongoing drought, and the reasons for them. The study further considered the role of local informal and formal institutions in providing support during droughts. Data were derived from household questionnaire surveys, semi-structured interviews and group discussions, as well as observations and transect walks. Key findings are, first, that a widely held perception of a changing rainfall regime has made a large proportion of farmers change their resource use strategies. Second, the study documents changes in informal institutions, from past systems of reciprocal exchange and mutual dependency to market-based systems of seasonal labour and loans with high interests. Third, it explains how formal interventions and support systems, as translated and implemented at the local level, may not improve long-term adaptation, but rather put short term constraints on farming activities, undermining farmers' own responses. The thesis concludes that local knowledge plays an important role in observing environmental changes and explaining their causes. However, there is a widespread sensethat rainfall changes mean that some local knowledge-based options are no longer feasible. Findings suggest local knowledge plays an important role in understanding farmers' agency, perceptions and responses to climatic changes, preferences, and the barriers to the introduction of new strategies. Such contextual aspects may be as important a contribution for adaptation policy as documentation of the local skills and practices normally associated with local knowledge 6
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available