Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Variability Impacts on Coastal Settlement Areas in Mombasa County, Kenya
Sheriff, Salia S.
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Sea level rise and ocean flooding as a result of climate variability are often manifested on shore lines. Such impacts may be experienced in creeks and river estuaries when they overflow their banks thus causing significant impact on human settlements. Flooding is not extraordinary to Kenya especially in Mombasa County. The Port City of Mombasa, the largest seaport in East Africa, over recent years experienced incessant flooding. Unplanned settlements and structures along creeks and riverine estuaries have relatively higher densities of population. As increased population pressure continues to pose challenges to the community, it is further complicated by climate variability impacts. Tourism and the economic activities here influence inflow of population from different parts of Kenya and the world at large. Yet application of indigenous knowledge to mitigate and adapt to the resulting impacts are underreported in literature. This study examines the role of community indigenous knowledge in mitigation and adaption of climate variability impacts on settlements adjacent to three major creeks in Mombasa County: Port Reitz, Tudor and Magogoni. More specifically, the study was primarily set to determine climate variability by an analysis of temperature and rainfall between 1986 and 2016 with data sourced from the Kenya Meteorological Department. It further sought to find out application of local indigenous knowledge to mitigate climate variability impacts on settlements and livelihood activities. It also determines incidences and patterns of sea level rise as a result of climate variability and as assessed role of environmental education in shaping communities’ capacity in measures used and preparedness to cope with the flooding and associated disasters. The survey used head of a household as the unit of data acquisition. Household sample size was determined statistically and derived from the population residents around the three creeks. Structured and semi-structured questionnaires were administered to the sampled household heads to obtain information regarding variables set in the objectives. The data was statistically analyzed (p≤0.05) in regard to the main variables with the help of computer software such as Excel and SPSS. Results were presented in tables, charts and graphs with detailed discussions. The impacts were interpreted in relation to livelihood activities in the study areas comparative to similar places around the world. It can be concluded that based on the set questions and conclusions with respect to role of indigenous knowledge in mitigation and adaption of climate variability impacts on coastal settlement areas of Mombasa County, it was found that the study areas experience high precipitations and irregular temperature trends though rainfall variation was statistically significant. Sea level rise as result of flooding affects residents in the study areas from $ 100 to 200 annually. The respondents have low environmental education and rarely aware of climate change; hence, low community preparedness, low involvement in local preventive measures and the lack of improved drainages. Many local activities such as tourism, animal grazing, farming and business are factors that largely affect community resilience and preparedness to flooding in the study areas.