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The Changing Climate in Gamo Highlands


The Changing Climate in Gamo   Highlands

Director(s) Community
Date released (year) 2011?
Production company INSIGHTSHARE
Length 12mins
Location Ethiopia
Keywords/tags Climate change
Link to film
Synopsis This video is a compilation of three videos   made by community members from Doko, Ezo, Zozo and Daro Malo in the Gamo   Highlands.

Climate change increasing poverty and vulnerability in Ethiopia

Oxfam Press Release, Published:   22 April 2010

Small-scale farmers and   pastoralists in Ethiopia are likely to bear the brunt of the negative impacts   of climate change in the region, which will include increased poverty, water   scarcity, and food insecurity, according to a new Oxfam International report released   today.

The   international development agency’s report, “The Rain Doesn’t Come on Time Anymore: Poverty, Vulnerability, and   Climate Variability in Ethiopia,” was launched at a   special Earth Day celebration organized by the Climate Change Forum-Ethiopia   in collaboration with other environmental organizations. While Ethiopia has   always suffered from great climatic variability,   including droughts that have contributed to hunger and even famine in the   past, the report details how climate change is set to make the lives of the   poorest even harder.

A country of farmers

“People who are already poor and marginalized are struggling to cope with   the added burden of increasingly unpredictable weather,” said Abera Tola,   Oxfam’s Horn of Africa regional director. “It is getting harder and harder   for families and communities to bounce back from ever-changing, inconsistent   weather affecting their livelihoods, and many have been forced to sell   livestock or remove children from school – coping mechanisms that only   increase the cycle of vulnerability.”

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world and 85 percent of   the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. The agricultural   sector is especially vulnerable to the adversities of weather and climate   since it is rain fed, done using relatively basic technologies, and on tiny   plots of land.

Women are hardest hit

“From the Rift Valley to Tigray, farmers and pastoralists around the   country have shared with us the toll that the changing weather is having on   their communities, from ruined crops to dying cattle,” said Tola. “Even   relatively small shifts in the growing season, can spell disaster for the   poorest farmers and pastoralists who are already struggling in poverty.”

Women and girls in particular are disproportionately affected by climate   variability. In times of crisis, women tend to stay home with their children,   while men move away to look for alternative means of survival. Women also   have fewer options to find other ways of making a living, especially since   women’s literacy rate is not even half of that of men. Women are also not   given a say in household decisions and are frequently without cash savings or   assets to sell to buy food and other basic items.

“The rain doesn’t come on time anymore. After we plant, the rain stops   just as our crops start to grow. And it begins to rain after the crops have   already been ruined,” Sefya Funge, a farmer in Adamitullu Jiddo Kombolcha   district in Ethiopia told Oxfam. “Because of a lack of feed and water, most   of my cattle have died. The few that survived had to be sold so that we could   buy food to live on. As I no longer have the means to support my family, only   three of my eight kids are still with me. Losing our assets was bad, but the   fact that our family is separated is devastating.”

Coping with climate change

With some assistance from non-governmental organizations and the   government, small-scale farmers and pastoralists are adopting a variety of   coping mechanisms, according to the report. In the farming areas, many are   shifting to more drought tolerant crops and varieties, improved forest   management practices, diversified energy sources, and alternative means of   income from off-farm activities. Pastoralists have also divided pasture into   wet and dry season grazing areas to better manage risk, while others have   changed the composition of their heard from cattle to camels and goats, which   can better tolerate dry, hot weather.

Poverty, limited resources, little alternative sources of income and   livelihoods, lack of knowledge and expertise, and the absence of appropriate   public policies and financing, increase vulnerability and decrease people’s   capacity to cope.


Links to other resources  

Marius Keller, Climate   Risks and Development Projects: Assessment Report for a Community-Level Project   in Guduru, Oromiya, Ethiopia. Source:

Many academic   reports available via Google


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