Community-based adaptation for improved rural livelihoods: a case in eastern Uganda
Climate change adaptation is a priority and is fundamentally about sound and resilient development tailored to local conditions and needs. Several researchers have underscored the importance of community-based adaptation in achieving this. This article examines community-based approaches in order to build an understanding of community vulnerability to current and future climate risks in eastern Uganda. Primary data were collected at the community and household level applying participatory vulnerability and capacity assessment, in-depth household, and key informant interviews. Major climate risks in eastern Uganda that exacerbate community and household vulnerability are heavy and erratic rainfall leading to landslides in hilly areas and floods in low-lying areas, and droughts within the year and mid-season, affecting crop and livestock yields. Communities and households have innovative coping mechanisms based on past experiences, local knowledge and expertise albeit in an ad hoc manner. Household labour endowment, farm size, livestock ownership, access to weather information and credit positively and significantly affect the adoption of adaptation technologies by households. At community level, inherent knowledge and skills, and social and financial capital, play a critical role in shaping adaptation to climate risks. This study therefore strongly suggests that analyses of climate change impacts and design of adaptation projects should take into account community perspectives, knowledge and resources. Government and other stakeholders should identify and evaluate potential, location-specific adaptation measures, and incorporate them into the country's development policy and management practices particularly national development plan.