The gender dimensions of sensitivity and adaptive capacity to climate change in Northern Nigeria

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Yule, Melissa
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University of Guelph

This thesis investigates the gender dimensions of climate change vulnerability among small farmers in Northern Nigeria. The research aimed to identify the biophysical risks that farmers confront, and how they deal with these, including the factors and processes that constrain their choices. Qualitative data were collected from farmers and key informants in semi-structured interviews, discussion groups, and observation. This research identified small farmers in the semi-arid region as a highly vulnerable population due to their exposure to multiple stresses, their climate-sensitive livelihood, and their low adaptive capacity. This paper concluded that gender, religion and ethnicity are key determinants of farmers' sensitivity to risk and their capacity to adapt to the effects. These socially constructed distinctions generated inequality in vulnerability across and within households. These findings underscore the importance for government policies and development initiatives to consider how inequalities intersect to place different individuals differently at risk to future climate change.

gender dimensions, climate change vulnerability, small farmers, Northern Nigeria, biophysical risks