Identifying drivers of household coping strategies to multiple climatic hazards in Western Uganda: implications for adapting to future climate change

This paper investigates what drives household coping strategies in rural Uganda under different climatic hazards.

Rural households in sub-Saharan Africa draw on various coping strategies to reduce the impact of climatic hazards on their livelihoods. Research to date provides only limited understanding of how the coping strategy portfolio of households’ changes depending on the climatic stress.

Using empirical data from Uganda, this research contributes to this gap by 1) exploring how household coping strategy relates to household characteristics and livelihood activity; and 2) how these coping strategies vary depending on the hazard. Coping strategy is found to be hazard specific for households that lack market-orientated activities, whereas those with market-access rely on economic activities regardless of hazard.

The implications that choice of coping strategy has on future adaptation are discussed. To maintain and improve the livelihoods and coping strategies of those most vulnerable to climatic variability and change, policies that advocate diversification away from a sole reliance on customary activities need to recognise the level and opportunity for market-based activities.

These interventions must account for different sensitivities to different hazards as well as the homogeneity of the community in order to effectively support rural communities to cope with climate variability.

Berman RJ; Quinn CH; Paavola J (2015), Climate and Development, 7, pp.71-84.