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Policy brief: How do gender approaches contribute to climate compatible development? Lessons from Kenya

This report investigates advantages and challenges of integrating a gender dimension into climate compatible development strategies in urban settings, in Kenya.
james smith


This brief*is based on a research project carried out by Practical Action Consulting with support from the Institute of Development Studies, commissioned by and supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), to provide evidence on the advantages and challenges of integrating a gender dimension into climate compatible development strategies in urban settings, with a focus on Peru, India and Kenya. Although considerable evidence exists pertaining to rural areas, significant knowledge gaps can be found in relation to climate compatible development and gender in urban areas.

The research attempts to respond to the following four questions: Ÿ

  1. What does a ‘gender-sensitive’ approach to climate compatible development mean in the urban context? Ÿ
  2. What is the evidence of the relevance of gender-sensitive programming in climate compatible development to promote and achieve people’s empowerment? Ÿ
  3. Does a gender-sensitive approach enable better climate compatible development outcomes and if so, in what way? Ÿ
  4. What socioeconomic, political and cultural factors constrain or favour gender-sensitive approaches in the context of climate compatible development, and the ability of men and women to tackle climaterelated risks in urban contexts?

The Kenyan case study examined the experiences of Kisumu, Kenya, drawing lessons from the five-year project ‘People’s Plans into Practice (PPP): Building Productive and Liveable Settlements with Slum Dwellers in Kisumu and Kitale’. The findings presented in this brief are based on interviews and focus group discussions held with key informants, as well as a review of relevant literature, policy documents and plans.

*download from the right-hand column or via the link under further resources

Key Messages

  • A research study looked at whether gender-sensitive approaches to climate compatible development are being adopted in urban areas of Kenya and if so, whether these approaches influence development outcomes for men and women.
  • The study assessed gender awareness and action in Kisumu, with a focus on the 5-year project ‘People’s Plans into Practice (PPP): Building Productive and Liveable Settlements with Slum Dwellers’, whose main achievement has been to improve the wellbeing, productivity and living conditions of poor people in informal settlements.
  • The study found that where vulnerable groups were included in decision-making processes, the project was better able to address their practical needs, which are often quite distinct from those in rural areas. When women participated actively in these processes they went on to take managerial and leadership roles.
  • Despite this, limited opportunities exist for women’s participation in planning processes and project activities and men tend to dominate due to cultural attitudes.
  • A very wide range of actions are recommended across all sectors of society to lift the barriers and address gender issues effectively in climate change interventions. [see the full text for details of the recommendations made]

Authors: Elvin Nyukuri (PAC), Lars Otto Naess (IDS) and Lisa Schipper (ODI)

About CDKN

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) aims to help decisionmakers in developing countries design and deliver climate compatible development. We do this by providing demand-led research and technical assistance, and channeling the best available knowledge on climate change and development to support policy processes at the country level.

About Practical Action Consulting

Practical Action Consulting (PAC) is the consulting arm of Practical Action, an international development agency working with poor communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America to help them choose and use technology to improve their lives.

About IDS

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a leading global institution for development research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex.

About ODI

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is the UK’s leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues.

Suggested Citation

Nyukuri, E., Naess, L. O. and Schipper, L. (2016) How do gender approaches improve climate compatible development? Lessons from Kenya. CDKN Policy Brief. Climate & Development Knowledge Network: London, UK

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