Understanding Women’s Needs for Weather and Climate Information in Agrarian Settings: The Case of Ngetou Maleck, Senegal

Edward R. Carr International Development, Community, and Environment Department, and Humanitarian Response and Development Lab, George Perkins Marsh Institute, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

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Grant Fleming South Carolina Honors College, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina

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Tshibangu Kalala Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, and Humanitarian Response and Development Lab, George Perkins Marsh Institute, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

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Abstract

While climate services have the potential to reduce precipitation- and temperature-related risks to agrarian livelihoods, such outcomes are possible only when they deliver information that is salient, legitimate, and credible to end users. This is particularly true of climate services intended to address the needs of women in agrarian contexts. The design of such gender-sensitive services is hampered by oversimplified framings of women as a group in both the adaptation and climate services literatures. This paper demonstrates that even at the village level, women have different climate and weather information needs, and differing abilities to act on that information. Therefore, starting with preconceived connections between identities and vulnerability is likely to result in overgeneralizations that hinder the ability to address the climate-related development and adaptation needs of the most vulnerable. Instead, as is demonstrated in this paper, the design and implementation of effective gender-sensitive climate services must start with the relevant social differences that shape people’s livelihoods decisions and outcomes, including but not limited to gender.

Corresponding author address: Edward R. Carr, International Development, Community, and Environment Department, Clark University, 950 Main St., Worcester, MA 01601. E-mail: edcarr@clarku.edu

Abstract

While climate services have the potential to reduce precipitation- and temperature-related risks to agrarian livelihoods, such outcomes are possible only when they deliver information that is salient, legitimate, and credible to end users. This is particularly true of climate services intended to address the needs of women in agrarian contexts. The design of such gender-sensitive services is hampered by oversimplified framings of women as a group in both the adaptation and climate services literatures. This paper demonstrates that even at the village level, women have different climate and weather information needs, and differing abilities to act on that information. Therefore, starting with preconceived connections between identities and vulnerability is likely to result in overgeneralizations that hinder the ability to address the climate-related development and adaptation needs of the most vulnerable. Instead, as is demonstrated in this paper, the design and implementation of effective gender-sensitive climate services must start with the relevant social differences that shape people’s livelihoods decisions and outcomes, including but not limited to gender.

Corresponding author address: Edward R. Carr, International Development, Community, and Environment Department, Clark University, 950 Main St., Worcester, MA 01601. E-mail: edcarr@clarku.edu
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