In Ethiopia’s arid and semi-arid areas, drought is part of a normal cycle and pastoral communities like Konso people in the southern region of Ethiopia, have developed strategies to cope. Their strategies cover a wide range of indigenous soil and water conservation practices including physical structures, agronomic measures and agro-forestry. Strong grassroots institutions are also part of the community’s resilience strategies, enabling the community to experiment with further new innovations. Marginalization of these traditional or customary institutions then increases the vulnerability of the community.
Yohannes GebreMedhine, an associate professor at the Addis Ababa University, seeks to understand how the community has adapted to climate variability and change, focusing on local innovation within pastoralist livelihoods and their traditional grassroots institutions. The overall aim of the study is to understand the risk and impacts of climate change and community adaptation to climate change and variability, through both qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Generally from the study the following major lessons can be extracted:
By and large the community have underlined that temperature has been increasing across all months, the rainy months have been shifting and the distribution diminishing, the intensity of rainfall have decline gradually this has been compounded with depletion of household asset and loss of communal land and breezing spaces.
Besides, there are a wide range of adaptation practices and community management which include traditional land use system, early warning systems, family planning, as well as diversified and insensitive farming practices.
Finally, women in Konso play a fundamental role in both farming and household economy, unfortunately they are the first victims of climate change due to their marginalization in decision making, access to land and credit.
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