“Himili Pamoja” – Gendered Encounters in Climate Change Adaptation in Tanzania


Start date: 1 May, 2022 End date: 30 April, 2027 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 21-06-KU Countries: Tanzania Thematic areas: Climate change, Gender equality, State building, governance and civil society, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), Tanzania Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Britt Pinkowski Tersbøl Total grant: 11,999,830 DKK

Project summary

This research aims to promote gender-transformative approaches in climate change adaptation policies and initiatives at household, ward and district level in four districts in Tanzania. To achieve this overarching goal, the project explores the gendered nature of climate adaptation processes, and investigate negotiations entailed in the development and implementation of selected adaptation initiatives, from a gender perspective. In this process, the project seeks to enhance research capacity in social sciences and climate change adaptation.

Climatic changes, such as rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and increase in pests and crop failures, significantly challenge people’s livelihoods in rural Tanzania. Women and men's responses to these challenges are influenced by gender roles and norms and what resources they have access to. In Tanzania, sociocultural norms and political and economic institutions may directly and indirectly restrict women’s adaptive capacity and mainstream adaptation initiatives may not adequately benefit women.

The adaptation strategies that individuals, households, and communities engage in may interlink with various adaptation policies and initiatives engendered by governments and civil society organizations. However, little is known about how such external initiatives interact with the gendered dynamics of everyday life. Previous research indicates that while climate change adaptation has the potential to transform gender relations, adaptation initiatives may reinforce existing inequalities if local socio-cultural, political and economic contexts are not adequately considered. Therefore, this research adopts a gender-transformative approach to climate change adaptation, with focus on addressing both fundamental informal, intangible - and formal barriers and disadvantages that women may be subjected to.
The study will take place in four different locations: two districts in Zanzibar and two in Morogoro Region, involving a range of local institutions such as universities, agricultural colleges, and NGOs. A range of ethnographic research methods will be employed to study the gendered nature of climate change adaptations across scales and over time, contributing to in-depth understanding is needed for effective, gender-transformative adaptation.


First year report
The objectives of the project remain the same.

Four PhD students have been recruited and enrolled at University of Dar es Salaam in November 2022 and they have undergone initial training. The students have been supported in developing a qualitative research tools which is currently being pre-tested in two sites in Zanzibar and in mainland.

In June 2022, consultations were held with district authorities and selected communities in Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba) and in Kilosa and Kilombero districts, to inform about the project and to discuss how the project can best be implemented and what specific interests local stakeholders had concerning the focus of the project.

Beyond the first year progress, in January 2023, two stakeholder workshops were held, one in Zanzibar and one in Morogoro town, with the purpose of:
a. re-introducing project aims and objectives
b. initiating collaboration
c. collecting qualitative research data by having focus group discussions and interviews with participants on their experiences with climate change adaptation.

One paper, related to the project, has been submitted with the title: Gender relations and decision-making on climate change adaptation in rural East African households: A qualitative systematic review. We are awaiting response from the journal.

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