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 The issue of climate change has become a
common challenge for both developed and developing countries. Climate change
has a visible challenge on the lives and livelihood strategy of developing
nations. It has been is one of humanity’s greatest challenges and it is
believed that within the next fifty (50) years, global warming will increase to
the detriment of the world’s population. It is a serious threat has the potential to cripple sustainable development by
adversely impacting the environment, human health, ecosystem and diversity,
food production and security, and economic activity (Abafura, 2011)

Climate change refers to the
average temperatures and precipitation rates over an extended period of time.
It includes shifts in the frequency and magnitude of sporadic weather events as
well as the slow continuous rise in global mean surface temperature. This
causes extreme weather event such as floods, heat waves, storms, drought and
bush fires thus, exacerbating more risks in terms of water crises, food shortages,
constrained economic growth, weaker societal cohesion and increased security
risks. Apart from extreme weather conditions other consequences of climate
change will be a rise in sea levels, loss of biodiversity and extreme strain on
ecosystems Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC, 2007).

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An assessment of regional impacts
of climate change widely points out that the most vulnerable countries and
societies are in Africa even though contributed least to these emissions.
According to African Development Bank (2002), increase in droughts, floods and
other extreme events would add to stress on water resources, food security,
human health and infrastructure and constrain development on the African
continent as a result of climate change and variability. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are likely to be the worst
hits of the devastating impacts of climate change due to their geographical
location, low incomes, low technological and
institutional capacity to adapt to rapid changes in the environment, as well as
their greater reliance on climate-sensitive
renewable natural resources sectors such as water and agriculture. Also factors such as desertification, water
stress, prevalence climate related diseases, reliance on rain-fed agriculture
as well as rapid population growth make African societies more vulnerable to
the consequences of climate change (IPCC, 2001). The
effects are therefore likely to vary among different populations hence its impact on livelihood is critical for the
survival populations whose vulnerability can be exacerbated by existing social
inequalities. Women and men are expected to experience the impact of climate
change differently due to existing gender inequalities in access and control of
resources and decision-making (Brody, Demetriades & Esplen, 2008).  

issues in the policy debate on climate change and adaptation were first raised
at the United Nation’s 2005 World Conference on Disaster which produced the
Hyogo Framework for Action, recommending that “a gender perspective should be
integrated into all disaster risk management policies, plans and
decision-making processes, including those related to risk assessment, early
warning, information management, and education and training” (International Strategy for Disaster
Reduction ISDR, 2005). This suggests
that governments are being to incorporate gender and human security issues into
their development policies and programs on climate change adaptation. This is
because recognising that relations of institutional power in which gender
identity intersects with other identities can shape people’s vulnerability to
systemic change in contextually specific ways.

The impact of climate change in
Ghana is real and staring at us in the face for immediate action.  As cited in Kankam-Yeboah, Amisigo and Obuobi (2010), a research by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) showed that, there is: 1°C increase in temperature over
a 30-year period from the historical records, increased evaporation, decreased
and highly variable rainfall pattern, and frequent and pronounced drought
spells. Again, average annual temperatures have been rising steadily in 5 of
the 6 agro-ecological zones of Ghana (source). There are also evidence of
drying of some rivers in the dry
season which were hitherto
perennial rivers, more intensive rainfall which results in flooding, the recent
event being June 3 2015 which claimed over 150 lives and destroyed millions of
properties, frequent events of
drought which largely affects the water levels of the Akosombo dam.


Problem statement

Ghana is among many other
sub-Saharan African countries where the negative impact of climate change poses
a crucial challenge to development. Ghana relies heavily on sectors such as
agriculture, forestry and energy which are susceptible to climatic changes; yet
the country is handicapped the needed resources to address the emerging
challenges The national vulnerability assessment carried out by the
Environmental Protection Agency identified some negative impact of climate
change in areas such as land degradation and soil erosion, water resources,
biodiversity and wildlife, forest reserve, human health and national revenue.
Other areas noted are tourism, energy/hydro power production and security and
women’s livelihood (Ministry of Environment Science Technology MEST, 2010). Land
degradation, soil erosion and water resources are of particular importance to
the agriculture which is can be said to be the backbone of the economy,
employing about 56% of the estimated 11.5 million labour force (Ministry Of
Food and Agriculture MOFA, 2007). It is therefore not out of place that issues
of climate change have become a major concern and have attracted attention in
both the academia and policy making institutions regarding issues on food
security, livelihood adaptation and its implication for poverty reduction and
sustainable development. All these issue will have gendered implications,
therefore Women, Environment and Development Organisation WEDO (2008) call
for gender dimension to be incorporated climate change policy environments
cannot be underestimated.

a signatory to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) and more recently the Sustainable Development Goals,
the government is required to mainstream gender in all development programmes
and policies to promote gender equality. However, despite formal commitment government’s
achievements in mainstreaming gender in development policies has not
encouraging (Apusigah 2007, Tsikata 2009).  Rodenberg (2001) study of Ghana’s Poverty
Reduction Strategy notes that gender mainstreaming is at the basic level and
argues that women are still considered as recipients of development hence in
comparison with men, women’s interests are less prioritised in government
policies. Gender mainstreaming therefore appears not to have been effectively
institutionalised in the country development planning process.

Government is now finding ways of
mainstreaming gender into sector policies. One of such commitment in recent
time is the assessment of women’s livelihood vulnerabilities in the agriculture
sector, undertaken among other vulnerability studies commissioned to inform the
development of Ghana’s climate change policies. As the mainstay of the economy,
the agriculture sector engages about 60% of the total population. Approximately
half of the 52% female population in Ghana derive their livelihood from agric (MOFA,
2007). Women are considered vital to this sector because of their predominant
role in food production, an area which is likely to be affected by climatic

Whilst this may be considered as a
positive step, focusing solely on women as a homogenous group in the agriculture
sector fails to address the diverse challenges different women may be facing,
based on their social location (Okali, 2011). Additionally, the term ‘gender’
is used in policy documents as a synonym of the term ‘women’, missing its
significant analytical meanings which refers to power a set relations between
men and women, their socially constructed roles and responsibilities. Therefore
attempts to address climate change issues from a perspective which view all
women as sharing the same vulnerability will not sufficiently address their
differential needs. Furthermore such an approach not only misses out on the
intersectional gender dynamics influencing the agency and coping mechanisms of
women in particular ways, but also makes the vulnerability of particular groups
of men invisible to the policy makers. It is in view of this that the study
proposes to explore how gender is defined in climate change policies in Ghana
and to what extent does this reflect the perceptions and intersectional
experiences farmers in the Eastern and Brong Ahafo Regions of Ghana.




Objectives of the study


The proposed objective
of the study is to explore the situation and experiences of  farmers in relation to climate variability and
change with a view to analyse policy discourses on the subject and the extent to
which they address or incorporate the gender complexities and dynamics involved
in farmers experiences of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. The
specific objectives will be to:

 the main gender-based dimensions of
vulnerability and adaptation identified by Ghana’s climate change adaptation

?   2. Explain how male and female farmers
perceive and experience vulnerability to climate change           and variability

       3. Examine how they adapt their
livelihoods to adverse effects in their specific social location?

       4. Examine measures to enhance gender
equity in climate change policies

5. Make recommendations incorporating gender dimensions into policy.





 The population for the study will comprise
male and female farmers within the Eastern and Brong Ahafo Regions as well as
policy makers and stakeholders within the arena of agriculture and climate
change. Simple random and purposive sampling will be used to sample respondents.
Simple random sampling will be employed to sample communities within the
districts as well as farmers while purposive sampling will be used to sample
policy makers and agencies involved in agriculture and climate change. The
study proposes to use a combination of methodology, thus both quantitative and
qualitative method of scientific enquiry to scrutinize key policy texts on
climate change and how gender perspectives are factored within such policies. Quantitative
approach will be used to contextualise the composition of the communities in
terms of gender and age differentiation, ethnic groupings and family size among
others. On the other hand, the qualitative method will be used to study
meaning, social processes, and group variation. Both approaches were useful for
the analysis of the intersectional differences in vulnerability and capacity of
adaptation among rural farmers. Both primary and secondary data will be used.
Primary data will be gathered through interviews (semi-structured in-depth
interviews), focus group discussions and informal discussions. Secondary data
were obtained from existing documents such as policy documents, programme
reports and journal. The data collection instruments will include
questionnaires, interview guides and focus group discussion guides (Bryman,


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