Women, Water and ‘Wicked Problems’: Community Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change in Northern Pakkoku, Myanmar
In a very poor, very dry area of NW Myanmar, Northern Pakkoku exhibits numerous ‘wicked problems’—the interplay between lack of water, too much water when torrential downpours impact the baked hard gullies causing serious erosion, climate change which can bring flash floods, the struggle to eke a living from the difficult soil, and community empowerment programs by NGOs which seek to mobilize the resources of the community’s women’s networks in order to provide more varied livelihood options. Sometimes, objectives can clash with realities and many months of concerted effort through integrated development programs can be destroyed. A large horizontal earth wall dam built to trap the seasonal rains now enables water to be reticulated through pipes to each village household, thus reducing the burden of women’s work. But will the dam hold as intense weather increases under the impact of climate change, or will it contribute to the risk of climate-induced disasters in this fragile area? Will the tourism measures set in place to bring in much-needed currency support household adaptation, or will they contribute to fragility? This chapter explores the interactions between measures to enhance community resilience to climate change and the enduring interplay with the ‘wicked problems’ which have long conditioned the villagers’ livelihood outcomes.
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