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Title: Rural transformations : livelihood adaptation to climate change in Uganda
Author: Cooper, Sarah Jane
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2012
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Adaptation to climate change is difficult because of uncertainties about the future climate and its impacts, the multitude of contexts affected and the dynamic nature of future impacts. Adaptive governance and social learning may provide institutions with the flexibility to tackle this challenge. This study aimed to explore how these processes assist smallholder farmers in Uganda. A mixed methods approach was used. Farmers' perception of the climate, livelihood adaptation and social learning was explored using semi-structured interviews (n=160), and social networks of learning was investigated using an actor-network analysis (n=62). Processes of livelihood resilience were documented with guided interviews and focus group discussions. Farmers perceived a change in the local climate. There were differing perceptions of change in seasonality, but conclusive perceptions of decreasing trends in rainfall and increased variability in intra-seasonal rainfall. No perceptions were supported by meteorological data, except for the rising trend in temperature. Farmers implemented many livelihood coping and anticipatory responses to perceived climate risk, including livestock maintenance, food storage, and planting drought-resistant varieties. Adaptive capacity and perception of farmers differed with their access to assets, entitlements and endowments. Wealthier farmers had more effective responses than marginalised farmers, and perceived drought as higher risk, whereas marginalised farmers perceived extreme rainfall as riskier. Agricultural extension stimulated social learning and contributed to livelihood innovation increasing food security and income. Informal knowledge exchange at other learning platforms, e.g. church, supported marginal farmers and learning was assisted by strong, local leadership and shadow networks at local scales. Reflexivity and multi-stakeholder collaboration were evident in governing institutions. Limited self-organisation and vertical communication among farmers demonstrated few opportunities for shifts in governance and learning was challenged by inequity and elite capture. Livelihood resilience would be improved by further farmer inclusivity, the mainstreaming of adaptation into policy and improved collaboration amongst stakeholders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available