Investigating Local Community Perception About Climate Change in Gatsibo and Nyagatare Districts, in Rwanda
Keywords:Climate change, Adaptation, Perception, Community
AbstractThe main objective of this paper was to investigate the perception of local community about climate change in drought prone areas of Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts in Rwanda. This paper perceived changes of climate and their effects, causes of climate change and perception of adaptation measures. Understanding community perception on climate change issues is critical in designing community-based adaptation actions and programs. Data were collected using questionnaire administered to 480 households selected in six sectors. Data were analysed using SPSS Statistics 28.0.1. to generate descriptive results. 89% of responds perceived a decrease in amount of rainfall while 70% perceive changes in reduction of length of rain season. Reported causes of climate change are dominated by environmental degradation (85.6%), deforestation (57.2%). Perceived effects of climate change on community livelihoods include decline of annual households’ income (88.3%), increased incidences of pests and diseases in crops (90.1%). The research results indicate that ongoing adaptation initiatives have failed to meet expected results. This is partly because local perception and knowledge are not considered. It is therefore, recommended to change the approach and adopt more community-based approach and considers local characteristics and local knowledge in designing adaptation actions. This will increase community resilience, ownership and address real community needs.