Risk in the Okavango Delta in the face of social and environmental change
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Information from 117 questionnaires and focus groups in four villages in the Okavango Delta, Botswana was used to identify households exposed to different levels of risk in order to relate them to various livelihood activities and coping strategies. Current household strategies such as migration and diversification that are used to cope with recurring hazards such as drought, reduced flooding and animal disease are becoming more limited because of fencing policies and changed flooding regimes. In the light of future challenges such as climate change and increased upstream water abstractions, the heavy reliance on government assistance will probably increase especially among female-headed households and high-risk households. Without targeted initiatives based on spatial and social distributions of risk, then the dependency syndrome of Botswana is likely to continue and be exacerbated.
KeywordsRisk Vulnerability Okavango Delta Livelihoods Coping strategies
This study was performed within the EU-funded project Water and Ecosystem Resources in Regional Development––Balancing Needs and Wants and Natural System Sustainability in International River Basins. We thank Piers Blaikie for his comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
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