Gender Differentials in Adoption of Alternative Livelihood Strategies among Pastoralists in West Pokot County, Kenya
Kondoltiony, Emmanuel Psongol
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This study sought to investigate gender differentials in adoption of Alternative Livelihood Strategies (ALSs) among pastoralists in West Pokot County, Kenya. This is because the differentials have persisted in spite of concerted efforts to address them, thereby impeding adoption of ALSs, a process considered the best pathway out of the community‟s socioeconomic challenges. The study, specifically, endeavoured to: assess the status of adoption of ALSs by men and women; examine the factors that influence adoption of ALSs by men and women; evaluate the effects of adoption of ALSs on households and identify gender-responsive strategies that would enhance adoption of ALSs in the Pokot pastoral community. The study was guided by Structural Functionalism Theory, complemented by two gender analysis frameworks: Capacities and Vulnerabilities Analysis (CVA) and the Harvard Analytical Framework (HAF). Both quantitative and qualitative research approaches were applied. The study adopted a cross-sectional survey research design and the target population was all adult household members in West Pokot County. Multi-stage cluster sampling technique was employed to sample 371 respondents from the households while 15 key informants and nine (9) groups for FGDs were selected purposively. Data were collected using questionnaires, key informant interview schedules, and focus group discussion guides. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics with the help of SPSS version 23. The analyzed data were presented in Tables and Charts. Thematic grouping was employed for qualitative data analysis which was presented in narrative and verbatim forms. The study findings revealed that adoption of ALSs in the pastoral community was characterized by gender differentials. Thus, women were faster and had adopted more ALSs than men. Nonetheless, men made most of the decisions to adopt ALSs and it was easier for them to access the resources needed for adoption. Further, men controlled the benefits accrued from adoption ALSs and despite being slower than women, the few ALSs they had adopted, were of higher returns. Given the necessary resources, women were more willing than men to adopt ALSs. The differentials were caused by pull and push factors that impacted men and women unequally. These included sociocultural, environmental, and technological factors as well as the development strategies applied by development agencies. The study also established that adoption of ALSs had both negative and positive effects on households. While the positive effects included narrowed gender gap and increased income streams, the negative ones were suspicions of infidelity and adultery and increased cases of spousal separation and divorce. The strategies that could bolster adoption of ASLs included the National Government‟s education and training programmes, education services by the Catholic Church and the pastoral community‟s elite-led mentorship programme, which were gender-responsive. The study concluded that huge gender differentials have slowed down adoption of ALSs. It, therefore, recommends that all development stakeholders should ensure that the strategies employed in adoption of ALSs are gender-responsive. This can be achieved through gender mainstreaming and affirmative action in ALSs projects and programmes.