Original Research

The political ecology of stakeholder-driven climate change adaptation: Case study from Ntalale ward, Gwanda district, in Zimbabwe

Alexio Mbereko, Moses J. Chimbari, Samson Mukaratirwa
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 10, No 1 | a419 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v10i1.419 | © 2018 Alexio Mbereko, Moses J. Chimbari, Samson Mukaratirwa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 December 2016 | Published: 26 March 2018

About the author(s)

Alexio Mbereko, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Moses J. Chimbari, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Samson Mukaratirwa, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

Vulnerable rural communities face climate change-related shifts in rainfall patterns, particularly droughts and floods. The study investigated how Ntalale ward households in Gwanda district of Zimbabwe interpret climate change and adapt to its stressors in the context of the Zimbabwean political economy. Focus group discussions and interviews collected qualitative data. The community has experienced the following climate change-related risks: droughts, floods, heatwave and intra-seasonal rainfall variability. Droughts were reported to be occurring more frequent in the past 25 years as compared to the period before 1991. Ntalale area experienced floods in the 2002–2003 rainy season only. Respondents generally perceived that the rainy season had changed in the past 5 years, with the season now beginning in December and ending in March. The households have resorted to shifting cultivation practices, replanting, use of wetlands in preference to upland fields, changing of seed varieties or crops, selling of livestock and informal trading as coping strategies. Although non-governmental organisations have assisted the community to set up irrigation schemes, a few selected community members have benefited from the initiative. The Ntalale community has experienced four climate change-related risks and institutions have assisted the community. It is recommended that cooperation between households and institutions is key in developing stakeholder-driven adaptation strategies.

Keywords

livelihoods; political ecology; disaster; rural development; Zimbabwe

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