Robust adaptation planning and decision-making: a comparative study of subsistence-oriented communities in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and West Africa

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Academic Profile

Meghan is a humanitarian practitioner and has worked in multiple sub Saharan African countries to improve food security and livelihoods for subsistence-oriented farming families. She has been providing project management support for a coastal resilience program called Resilient Tsunza in Kenya since 2008. She studied drought management and disaster risk reduction in Karamoja, Uganda as a 2010 Red Cross / Red Crescent Young Humanitarian Scholar. She completed the MSc in Environmental Change and Management at the ECI in 2011. Most recently, she has been working in the Gambia to train public servants on participatory methods to develop community development plans within protected areas.

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Current Research

Meghan's thesis examines climate adaptation through a social lens: the role social differentiation, knowledge and power play in adapting agricultural practices. Specifically she is asking: what is the impact of social differentiation on adaptive capacity to environmental change? She is conducting embedded ethnographic research in Nepal's Terai region and Upper West Ghana. She is also collecting quantitative household and individual level data using an adapted version of the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index to measure parity of decision making within and between households. In Ghana she has collected addition anthropometric data to analyse nutritional outcomes in each household.

This research is one component of a larger research project called Systemic Integrated Adaptation (SIA) being completed by a team of four DPhil students with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). In each field site the students run a five day whole-of-community participatory action workshop where they assist the community to develop a strategic development plan and set goals. They then provide them with ongoing organisational support and a small amount of seed funding to get the projects started. This process is part of our commitment to conducting community level research that is not purely extractive.

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