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An Institutional Assessment of the Impact of Lesotho Highlands Water Project and Hydropower Development


Lucy Khalema Redeby & Thakane Makume

Executive Summary

While the relationship between energy and climate change is indisputable, the link between gender and climate change, on the other hand, is not very clear. Gender, is the role of man or woman as ascribed by the society and is neither inherent in their nature nor homogeneous. This paper seeks to explain the relationship between gender and climate change with emphasis on the women in Africa. It also briefly examines the links between energy use and climate change. 

Energy use affects women and men differently. In developing countries where division of labour across gender is more marked and visible, women’s roles and responsibilities include cooking, cleaning, washing, growing food for consumption and for sale as well as producing crafts for barter or profit. Each of these activities, and many others, requires a great deal of energy use. However, there is little control women have in negotiating power in relation to pricing, production or convenience of the energy services they require. Similarly, only few countries in the developing countries in Africa have women in decision-making bodies of the government. This has exacerbated the problem since policy decisions are made by men who are not directly affected by such decisions. This paper also assesses the socio-impact of climate changes on various sectors and the implications this has on the women.

A number of suggestions are provided to facilitate the design and implementation of policies and action plans to address specific needs of people in response to climate change and energy use issues. Women education is necessary to recognize maladaptive practices and address the root causes of environmental degradation. Linked to this is information dissemination about the threats to livelihoods and disasters so that the risks can be managed. At a regional level, improved agreements and arrangements between countries to prevent droughts and flood damage should be put in place. Moreover, funds from adaptation levy for projects should be put in place to specifically benefit poor women since they are most vulnerable.

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