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Gender and climate risk management: evidence of climate information use in Ghana

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The gender perspective of climate information use is not well studied although
necessary for developing gender-responsive climate information services (CIS). This study
determined how CIS use by men and women farmers may be influenced by their perceptions
about climate change (CC), farm activities, and demography. The study was carried out at the
Lawra-Jirapa Districts of the Upper West Region of Ghana where downscaled seasonal
forecast information through mobile phone technologies (Esoko platform) had been disseminated
to farmers since 2011. Data was collected from semi-structured questionnaire interviews
involving 900 farmers (50.2% women and 49.8% men) and four 20-member focus group
discussions. The study confirmed 85.2% (representing 767) farmers were aware of climate
change and its implications for their agriculture and other livelihood activities. Men and
women had similar perceptions about climate change, perceived by the majority as increased
strong winds, higher temperatures, increased frequency of drought, increased rainfall variability
and increased flooding. Among other factors, it was evident that use of CIS may be
influenced by gender. Men were found to be particularly responsive in adopting CIS use for
climate risk mitigation. This was attributed to their ability to easily access and use telephone
devices compared with women. The study revealed that unlike women, men were able to access more financial resources and had control of household income which allowed them to
purchase mobile phones. Women generally accessed their husbands’ mobile phones. Despite
differences in access to CIS, the study showed both men and women found it beneficial for
strategic farm decision-making such as when to begin land preparation, when to plant, and
which crop to select. In addition, both men and women were found to face similar constrains
(such as poor network connectivity and limited of training), to accessing and using CIS
through the Esoko platform. The study recommends the need to explore different CIS
dissemination channels and design CIS that meet gender-specific needs.

Citation

Partey ST, Dakorah AD, Zougmoré RB, Ouédraogo M, Nyasimi M, Nikoi GK, Huyer S. 2020. Gender and climate risk management: evidence of climate information use in Ghana. Climatic Change 158:61-75.