Browse by Theme: Climate Change

When I first worked in Kenya, 20 years ago, I saw how farming practices could provide a good life for men and women in rural villages even with little rainfall and where basic services, such as water and electricity were almost non-existent. Farmers and livestock keepers in the dry areas of Kenya have been, by necessity, resilient to difficult conditions. But this is at the cost of hard physical work over long hours on the farm alongside a constant search for additional income sources such as from small business activities just to feed the family and send children to school.

20 years on, rural communities are still dependent on the land but are now facing new challenges from the effects of climate change. Perhaps the biggest impact is the increased uncertainty of the weather patterns. Farmers are no longer sure when to plant, where to take animals for good grazing or when they will be affected by the increasing frequency of droughts and floods. This places a new demand on already vulnerable people. How can they adapt to climate change in the face of all this uncertainty?

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The journey from Bhubaneswar, Orissa's state capital to Kendrapada district is long. As we drive modern India shouts from bill boards and hand painted adverts. The roads get ever smaller. Billboards and tarmac are left behind and soon we are bumping along dirt tracks. Below the raised roadway the flat landscape reaches away punctuated with villages and rivers.

Last October heavy rain fall caused flooding that hit this region twice in the span of 15 days. 2.5 million people were affected, with many families losing  their homes and crops.

"How do we predict this? The floods have never been so bad before, you never know." says Santilata Malik, a widow.

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