Category Archives: Climate change

(Mis-)communicating climate information in Kenya

“Is this a bad time to call?” Mobile phones, migrants (mis-)communication of climate information in Kenya

NEW!  Click here to download the full presentation from Wed. 5 April, 2017 – American Association of Geographers (AAG), Boston, MA

Huge thanks to all who joined me and my fellow panelists (Peter Dannenberg; Sheila Huggins Rao; Dorothea Kleine) at the American Association for Geographers (AAG) meeting in Boston, MA.  Feedback, questions and comments continue to be welcome. Please keep in touch!

Abstract: . Ethnographic fieldwork conducted with farmer groups in contrasting high and low market-access sites over the period 2012-2016 explores how household members shared (or withheld) information about climate and agricultural performance using phones or physical visits.

Phone calls were the dominant medium for information sharing, which for agricultural issues prioritised discussion of crop problems, dry spells, lack of inputs, and extreme weather events.  Mobile money transfers were the most common response to reported problems with many migrants concerned and frustrated by the poor agricultural performance in the rural areas. Reliance on mobile communication and a decreasing frequency of migrants’ physical involvement in the rural home leads to migrants’ perceptions that climate-related changes are extreme and potentially costly.

Narratives of climate change and its impacts in rural Kenya must therefore be interpreted with care, since many are embedded in household narratives constituted to maintain the economic and emotional involvement of migrants in their rural homes.

FOLLOW THE PROJECT ON ITS WEBSITE multilocationality.wordpress.com

Local experience of climate change in Kenya

Kenya is on the frontline of changes to the global climate.  Local communities report that weather is becoming more variable and less predictable.

Fieldwork, West Pokot
Fieldwork, West Pokot

Although many people label this “climate change”, the reasons for these changes and their impacts on already difficult, rural lives are not always obvious!

The VALUES project (full title “Global Climate Change and Kenya: Vulnerability and Adaptation of Livelihoods Under Environmental Stress“) ran from 2010-2013 and involved multiple students and multiple sites.  We wanted to see what role “climatic” factors played in already complicated rural livelihoods.

Publications and findings will be uploaded soon! (watch this space)