Assessing Achievements of Resilient Livelihoods Programme in Increasing Community Capacity to Respond to Climate Related Shocks in Kalawani Location, Makueni County, Kenya
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Climate change is creating vulnerability in communities living in Arid and semiarid lands the world over. It is threatening lives of millions of people in the Arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya. This necessitated humanitarian responses over the years albeit not increasing the resilience of affected communities. As resilience programming gains more and more prominence as an approach for addressing chronic vulnerability of populations exposed to recurrent shocks and stresses, empirical evidence will be needed upon which to base interventions and programmes designed to strengthen their capacity. The purpose of this study was therefore to find out how resilience livelihoods (RELI) programme increased the community’s capacity to respond to climate related shocks/stresses in Kalawani Location of Makueni County. The study was premised on resilience theory which conceptualized that households and community wellbeing is dependent on climate shocks/ stresses impacting on them resulting to resilience or vulnerability. The main objective of the study was to assess the achievements of RELI Programme in Kalawani Location in increasing the community’s capacity to respond to climate related shocks and stresses. The specific objectives were to: Examine how climate related shocks and stresses contribute to making residents more vulnerable; establish how RELI programme interventions contributed to increasing the community’s response capacity to climate related shocks/stresses, and establish challenges inhibiting households from developing resilience to climate related risks. A cross sectional research design was used and using Fischer’s formula, a sample of 220 households drawn from a population of 512 household who were beneficiaries of the project. Multistage sampling was applied, and the data obtained triangulated through 6 Focused Group Discussions and 13 Key Informant Interviews among identified stakeholders. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study established that drought was the major climate related shock. It manifested in increasingly higher temperatures and reducing rainfall that led to an increase in crop pest and livestock disease making agriculture a risky undertaking yet 80.9% of the respondents derived their livelihood from it. It also established that project interventions addressing drought had an adoption rate of 58% which is above average and this can be used as a proxy indicator for improvement capacity to respond to drought. The project brought Financial services to the community through VSLA and expanded their financial base through diversification which was adopted by 60% of the respondents thus addressing the what the community cited as the greatest challenge inhibiting them from developing resilience. The study concludes that the RELI project was able to increase the community’s capacity to climate related shocks and put it in the right trajectory for realizing resilience. To avoid relapse to the vulnerability pathway, concerted efforts to overcome the inhibitors to resilience building should be intensified.