Household survey investigating coping strategies adopted during El Nino 2015-2016

Keane, Aidan and McNicol, Iain and Noe, Christine and Ryan, Casey and Homewood, Katherine (2020). Household survey investigating coping strategies adopted during El Nino 2015-2016. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Service. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-853955

El Nino is a climatic phenomenon linked to warming of the ocean surface in the eastern Pacific that causes unusual weather patterns across many parts of the tropics and further afield. In Tanzania, El Nino events typically lead to heavier rain and flooding in northern parts of the country while southern parts experience less rainfall than normal. These environmental changes can have severe consequences for the livelihoods of local people, leading to crop failure and outbreaks of disease affecting humans and livestock and causing significant hardship and loss of life. "Natural" disasters such as these arise when society fails to respond adequately to changes in the environment, but the role human behaviour plays in shaping the outcomes of environmental change is complex and poorly understood. The impacts of El Nino are most serious in poor rural parts of the world, where households decisions about how to respond are vital if they are to minimise the harm they suffer. These decisions commonly involve changes to their livelihood activities, selling property or increasing their use of natural resources and are often referred to as coping strategies. The set of possible coping strategies a household can use depends upon the resources they can call upon, and these can in turn be affected by their environment and the existence of relevant institutions. Together these three factors - household level differences and institutional and environmental context - are important determinants of local scale impacts of environmental shocks. In this project, we examine how Wildlife Management Areas - a specific form of community-based natural resource management institution - affect the ability of local communities to respond to El Nino. In theory WMAs could lessen El Nino's impacts if they improve the condition or availability of natural resources at key times, or lessen conflict. However, they could also have a negative effect if they impose restrictions on natural resource or reduce the set of coping strategies a household can call on. We will investigate this interaction using survey data collected from more than 1,200 households across Tanzania, comparing El Nino's impacts in the differing environments of the north and the south and in areas with and without WMAs. In addition, we will examine whether impacts vary between different types of individuals or households within a community (e.g. men and women, richer and poorer households, households relying more or less on natural resources). Our results will provide valuable new insights into the reasons why some households and communities are more seriously affected by environmental change and help communities to become more resilient in the future.

Data description (abstract)

The data were collected during household surveys designed to investigate the strategies adopted by households to cope with environmental shocks linked to the 2015-2016 El Nino event in Tanzania, and the role played by Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) - community-based natural resource management - in enabling or constraining these responses. The surveys referred to the period from 2014 to 2016 and were carried out with both heads of households and the wives of heads of household. Those carried out with household heads included sections on: basic household demographics; overall trends in wellbeing; experience of severe livelihood shocks; ownership and use of land and livestock; collection of bushmeat; changes in access to natural resources; composition of environmental income and livelihood portfolios; strategies for coping with environmental shocks; direct income and benefits from WMAs where they are present; conflict; and human casualties linked to wildlife. Those carried out with wives included sections on: basic household demographics; overall trends in wellbeing; use of produce from livestock, farms and gardens; income generating activities and remittances; food security; strategies for coping with environmental shocks; participation in WMAs where they are present; access to natural resources; conflict and safety; receipts of external aid and scholarships; and ability to perform ceremonies.

Data creators:
Creator NameEmailAffiliationORCID (as URL)
Keane, of Edinburgh
McNicol, of Edinburgh
Noe, Christinecnpallangyo@gmail.comUniversity of Dar Es SalaamUnspecified
Ryan, of Edinburgh
Homewood, College London
Sponsors: Natural Environment Research Council, Department for International Development
Grant reference: NE/P004725/1
Topic classification: Natural environment
Project title: Coping with El Nino in Tanzania: Differentiated local impacts and household-level responses
Grant holders: Aidan Keane, Casey Ryan, Christine Noe, Katherine Homewood
Project dates:
30 April 201618 May 2018
Date published: 16 Mar 2020 16:16
Last modified: 16 Mar 2020 16:16

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