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Climate Variability and Change as Perceived by Rural Communities in Swaziland

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Author(s): Norman Mhazo | A.M. Manyatsi and M.T. Masarirambi

Journal: Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences
ISSN 2041-0484

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 164;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Adaptation | climate variability | climate change | coping strategies | food security

ABSTRACT
The objective of the research was to determine the perception of climate variability and change by rural communities in Swaziland. Interviews were conducted to a total of 60 members of three rural communities (20 from each community) selected from Middleveld, Lowveld and the Lubombo ecological zones. The reported signs of climate variability included late rains, low rains, drought and famine. The effects of climate variability felt by community members included failure of crops, death of livestock and low crop yields. The majority of the community members did not provide any scientifically proven causes of climate variability. The causes cited included that of community not keeping Swazi customs, supernatural powers and that of being an act of God. Community members did not have adequate information on climate variability and change. The limited information accessible to many communities was through the local radio in the form of daily weather forecast. The information was found to lack details and of a very short term nature. The feelings of the community members were that weather forecast should provide medium to long-term information. The weather prediction focused on major towns, and was of less relevance to many rural communities. Communities suggested an effective early warning system to operate at constituency level. They specified need for weather stations at community levels in order for them to monitor and record weather data.
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