Differentiated impacts of Climate Change on Gender in Southern Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is set to be one of the regions hardest hit by climate change, partly because 96% of its population is dependent on rainfed agriculture (WorldBank, 2008) and partly because of Africa’s poor adaptive capacity, relating to historical backlogs of under-development. Examples are poor access to health services, lack of availability of micro-finance, and under-developed infrastructure and transport systems.

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBS) commissioned four country reports to investigate gender-differentiated impacts of climate change, focusing on poor, rural communities where climate impacts are already being felt.

The primary aim of this study is to understand whether women and men in the region are differently impacted by climate change, and if so, in what ways. Although various studies have recorded general impacts of climate change, few have addressed gender-differentiated aspects. OneWorld was contracted due to its unique position and ability to draw on existing and previous climate change, as well as climate-related gender work, conducted in southern and Sub Saharan Africa.

Eight case studies in four southern African countries were investigated. Country studies were carried out in Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa, with an investigation of two separate communities in each country. Methodologies used were focus group discussions, interviews and life histories with members of the community.

OneWorld used the four country studies, expert opinion and available and relevant literature to provide further analysis on key gender implications of climate change by incorporating the findings of the four country studies into a regional report, thereby developing the synthesis report and making policy recommendations.

Project Data

Client: Heinrich Boll Stifting (HBS)

Project duration: 2009 – 2010