Making weather and climate services more gender-sensitive

Making weather and climate services more gender-sensitive

Gender Power (GPOWER) (Kenya)
Organization Circle Time Initiative
Country Kenya

The GPOWER Initiative aims to equip women, both young and old, in HomaBay County (Kenya) with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to respond to climate information in a timely manner such that they derive optimum benefits from it. In this regard, they are able to do the following: adjust their farming strategies with regard to appropriate choice of crop species or fruit trees; make informed decisions regarding land preparation and planting times as well as investment in fertilizer; choose the type of livestock and fishing methods to employ; and undertake re-afforestation to improve the climate of their region, among others.

The objectives of the initiative include: increased food security for the households in the project; reduction of climate related disasters as well as stress associated with opportunistic diseases that take advantage of low immunity and vulnerability of the women. This will result in improved health for the women and their families; reduced stigma and discrimination related to HIV and AIDS as well as HIV related deaths in the community which stood at 3,395 adults and 1,234 children in 2013. 


2016 - to date
Issue Addressed

According to the National AIDS Control Council (2015), Kenya has a high burden of People Living with HIV, with a national prevalence of 5.6%. The country has 47 Counties and according to the County HIV Profile, Homabay County has the highest HIV burden prevalence at 25.7%. The County has 140,600 adults and 19,370 children living with HIV with the prevalence of women at 27.4% compared to men at 23.7%. The burden of care of families lies on these vulnerable women in documented 60,958 households, 29,896 of which have orphans.  These women depend on climate-sensitive livelihoods to provide for their families and hence the Initiative is very important for them.

The aim is to reduce the mortality and morbidity of this vulnerable population.

Results / Impact

This is a new inititiative, therefore the impact has not yet been assessed. However, so far, there has been discernible improvement in weather and climate information uptake and utilization within the targeted population.

Success Factors / Replicability

Key conditions for success include:

  • Involvement of the community in the implementation of the project is pertinent.
  • Sensitization of both the women and men in the community is carried out regularly through meetings, group discussion forums and individual consultations on the importance of weather and climate information in relation to the economic enterprises that they would wish to undertake.
  • Collaboration with local institutions, such as Community Based Organizations (CBOs) supporting women, non-governmental organisations based in the area as well as government ministries and departments has made the project more credible and hence acceptable to the community. Involvement of stakeholders within the community is important as it enables the community to own the program.
  • Partnering with the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) and Kenya Meteorological Society to provide timely and accurate weather and climate information that is tailor-made to their needs.


The challenges so far include:

  • Budgetary constraints: This Initiative depends on donations and well-wishers contributions to undertake its activities. Members of the community volunteer their time and other resources. Consequently, some of the pertinent activities cannot be carried out including organizing seminars and workshops, packaging the weather and climate information through fliers, brochures and posters. Meetings are also limited due to lack of resources to facilitate movement of the members.
  • Stigma associated with HIV/AIDS within the community and more so due to opportunistic infections that take advantage of their lowered immunity. This is being addressed through awareness creation on how to reduce stigma and on adherance to treatment regimes.
  • Low awareness of the importance of weather and climate in socio-economic activities and more so for women who are often left out in the implementation of programmes. The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) and Kenya Meteorological Society (KMS) interact more with the community to create awareness of weather and climate and their importance through the County Director of Meteorology in Homabay County.
  • Resistance to the project by the community gatekeepers.

Budgetary allocations at the county and/or national government level are key to the success of this good practice.

Intergrating/mainstreaming weather and climate issues in policies, interventions and activities at all levels in the County Government of Homabay, which are gender-responsive and targeting the vulnerable population.

The activities are currently undertaken by volunteers and well-wishers. The bigger picture of the initiative is to enable the community to adapt better and mitigate the impacts of climate change which affects various sectors differently. Quantification of the good practice has not been done because the project is still very young.

Lessons Learned

Key messages: Weather and climate affect all aspects of life; climate drives businesses and daily life; it affects health.

What worked well: This project was borne out of a desktop research titled "The Influence of Climate Change on HIV Management" carried out by Pamela Kaithuru in 2015. The initiative is community-driven. Consequently, the approach to issues is that of "people" issues as opposed to "inititiative" issues, and hence the targeted community feels ownership of the activities.

What did not work well: The fact that the initiative is not funded is a big challenge because some of the pertinent activities cannot be carried out. 

Targeted action to increase women's participation in METAGRI Roving Seminars and "train the trainers” workshop for female extension workers (Nigeria)
Organization Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet)
Country Nigeria

n 2011-2015, NiMet in collaboration with WMO organized 26 Roving Seminars under the METAGRI project across 512 Local Government Areas (LGAs) or districts in Nigeria. A total of 1,127 rural farmers comprising 895 males and 232 females were trained on the use and application of weather and climate information in agriculture. They were also empowered with a total of 460 raingauges for recording rainfall in their respective farms. Special emphasis was placed on increasing the participation of women in these seminars as well as on providing agro-climatological advisories and information services' products for activities where women are more involved.

Special training programmes like the "train-the-trainers" in weather and climate information dissemination for female agricultural extension workers (2017).


Issue Addressed

Just as the impacts of climate change and factors that trigger it are premised on gender roles and their involvement in the various socio-economic activities, so are their climate information needs, especially for the more disadvantaged female gender, which constitutes the largest percentage of the world’s poorest and are subsequently the most affected by climate change. In Nigeria as in many other developing countries in Africa, this is further aggravated by differences in life styles, opportunities and in unequal access to resources and participation in decision-making processes, especially in the highly weather-dependent and climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture.

Women used to comprise only 10% of participants in the Roving Seminars. 

Results / Impact

Following the new concept of gender-sensitive climate information service delivery of WMO, emphasis was placed on increasing the active participation of women. This was achieved through a review of NiMet’s invitation letter from 10% female participation to at least 20%. The impact can be seen from some of the female beneficiaries who have reported increase in their capabilities to assist their husbands to boost the economy of their respective homes.

In addition, current agro-climatological advisories and information services’ products provided under the METAGRI project now cut across all the agricultural value chain with emphasis on processing and marketing activities where women are more involved. For example, specialized temperature and relative humidity information for cassava processors in the southern states are being provided in order to aid the choice of drying processing time for their cassava yields. 

Success Factors / Replicability

Existing good collaborations between NiMet and relevant stakeholders, such as the All Farmers' Association of Nigeria (AFAN), the Federal and States' Ministries of Agriculture and a few agricutural research institutes/extension workers under the Ministries such as the National Agricultural Research and Extension Liaison Services (NAERLS). In addition, NiMet's added funding to that usually received from WMO enabled the Agency to cover more locations with the Roving Semnars, which also contributed to the success .

Proper documentation and sharing of data/experiences on the practice will significantly facilitate its replication elsewhere. 


It is interesting to note that challenges faced in these efforts have translated to great opportunities to improve the service delivery. For example, issues of cultural barriers such as frowning at women found talking with men has led to organization of special training programmes like the "traint-the-trainers" in weather and climate information dissemination for female agricultural extension workers carried out in 2017. This increased the participation of women in the downscaling exercise and improved the dissemination of information to rural female farmers. 

Due to funding constraints arising from the limited funding available from both WMO and NiMet, greater efforts were directed in obtaining greater collaboration from international agencies like USAID and IFAD. More efforts are also presently being geared towards collaborating with communication firms to increase the outreach of the information and access as well as to achieve enhanced interpretation through technological innovations like cell phones and the internet.

There is need to sustain and increase the involvement and collaboration of both the Federal and States’ Governments and other relevant organizations in harnessing these opportunities, especially in the area of increased funding in order to widen the scope of the Roving Seminars across the country. 

Lessons Learned

The need to convince the rural farmers on the usefulness of weather and climate information. For example, the rural farmers and fish farmers now understand to some reasonable extent, the role of weather and climate on their respective occupations. This way they can optimize the benefits of the good climate and also avoid or reduce the negative impact of hazardous weather/climate. Hitherto, they were planting on false start of rain and losing their best seedings and also attributing the negative impacts to offended deities.

Training sessions held in the local languages resulted in more interactions with the rural farmers and gave rise to many revelations about their local practices and experiences from climate challenges. Having a group leader to help coordinate activities during the training and later within the localities as well as get the feedback to NiMet also helped.

The training sessions held only in English yielded less impact as participants sometimes slept through most part of the training sessions. 


Women Leadership Circles for Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (Kenya)
Organization Institute of Environment and Water Management
Country Kenya
  • Climate and gender-smart agriculture
  • Improving livelihoods of rural communities and making them part of the decision-making
  • Strengthening livelihoods and food security, especially of smallholders, by improving women's roles in management and use of natural resources, harnessing appropriate methods and technologies for food production and marketing. This is aimed at:
    • Reducing the amount of time women take in reproductive activities by introducing technology;
    • Increasing women's income by propagating climate-smart agriculture and facilitating access to information, quality inputs and services;
    • Leadership: promoting and strengthening female leadership in decision-making at the county level and facilitating dialogues between the county government (at the county assembly and the executive) and local farmers, on matters of agriculture;
    • Enhancing food security by using weather-related information and facilitating dialogues between relevant institutions and local farmers.


June 2014 - 2015  
Issue Addressed

Participation of women in agricultural bodies, diminishing food production and loss of incomes and market access.

Food security is one of the daunting challenges that most poor Kenyans are struggling with. Kenyan agriculture needs to fulfill an estimated 60% increase in demand by 2030. With the setting in of climate change, this is a difficult task. Although the government has a very innovative strategy to achieve its constitutional obligation to feed all Kenyans, climate change has become a major factor. Unless the country moves towards strengthening the sector’s resilience, food insecurity will become the single most daunting challenge for Kenya’s sustainable development. Climate-smart Agriculture is one of the most innovative ways towards achieving food security.

The majority of Kenyans derive their livelihoods from agricutural based activities either through small scale enterpreneurship or as workers in related value chain.

Results / Impact

The forum's main objective was to provide a platform for female farmers to engage with their policy makers and air their concerns. Led by women farmers, the local farmers presented their challenges to the county assembly of Nyandarua and were accorded a meeting by the governor. The encounter took three hours and included a field activity with the governor. The women facilitated the entire discussion. As a result:

  • They demanded and received water supply services, seedlings and goats. Road rehabilitation was also carried out to access the market.
  • Sensitization and increasing access to information on climate change: This was done through facilitating information sharing by the experts such as the County Director of Meteorological Services and Climate Change experts with the women farmers through Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP). This has helped the farmers to plan ahead and make informed decisions in crop production.
  • Through training and capacity building, IEWM impacted knowledge on sustainable crop production such as high value crop, poultry and livestock farming. Margret Wamuyu, a member of Gathara Women Group, has set her farm to showcase good agricultural practices to the rest of the members. She has grown lucerne, oats and animal soya for animal fodder. This has increased her milk production and hence her income and markets. 
  • Interventions on tackling poverty among women: IEWM has trained farmers on silage production and bio-gas production. Those women farmers who have actualized the knowledge have reduced time spent on fodder and firewood collection tremendously, therefore increasing their disposable time for other income generating activities.  
Success Factors / Replicability

Relevance to the local groups - how much time is spent on activities. For example in Nyandarua, Silage production was of key interest to women because livestock feeding is time consuming. Silage production helped reduce the amount of time that women take to feed livestock by a great margin. The majority of women spend up to 3 hours every day feeding livestock, and when they make silage, it lasts for up to three months, thus reducing drastically the time it would take to look for pasture.

Expert support is key in facilitating replication. IEWM brought different experts together to help the farmers understand market dynamics, agricultural challenges, factors of production, etc. This advisory service resulted in increased knowledge that translated into increased incomes. Helping farmers to grow appropriate crops for appropriate weather and soil type, and to understand and appreciate the importance of production of high value crops.

Empowering local communities or groups being targeted through training, peer-to-peer learning and practically facilitating participation of local farmers in face-to-face meetings with policy makers. It not only helps the county government understand the local needs but also empowers local farmers.


Availability of county officials when needed. It is however pertinent to be flexible and work with their schedules.

Policies on gender equality mainstreaming must be deliberate; and adequate budgetary allocation is necessary to undertake related activities. Mechanisms to ensure that women and men have equal opportunities to influence decision-making in the county agricultural bodies. Capacity building of relevant stakeholders at county and institutional levels must be sustained through genuine partnerships.

Lessons Learned
  • Given an opportunity, local women farmers have the capacity and courage to present at any level, the needs of their own people.
  • Teach policy makers on how to make development more responsive.
  • Partnerships and collaboration with both local government and national government are pertinent.
  • Use of participatory learning approaches is key to achieving results in any training and capacity building.


Enabling Women to Access Meteorological and Climatological Information during the Rainy Season (Senegal)
Organization Agence Nationale de l'Aviation Civile et de la Météorologie (ANACIM)
Country Senegal
Description Women have been trained to measure rainfall and relay climatic information (seasonal forecasts, start of the rainy season, 10-day forecasts, 24-to-48-hour forecasts, immediate forecasts, rainfall measured) to other women during social events and in women's groups, in order to enable them to improve their agricultural yields and minimize the associated risks, such as loss of seedlings, water stress on plants, loss of harvests due to unexpected rains or loss of livestock.


he practice was introduced in theory (discussed) around 2010–2011 within the framework of a joint project by the Red Cross and ANACIM. Then, it was tested in an operational setting in 2012, initially in Kaffrine to understand the implications and adjust it before rolling it out on a larger scale. Since 2012, we have been taking into account women's access to climate information and their specific demands in projects to provide climate services to communities. 
Issue Addressed

In rural settings, in addition to the fact that women have less access than men to land and resources, they also have much less access to technologies such as mobile telephones (used to pass on information to producer groups). This, combined with their social role of providing vital services in the home (food, water, health), makes them particularly vulnerable to the climate variations that affect food resources. However, women hold socio-cultural meetings that help improve social cohesion, particularly through mutual assistance. Therefore, awareness-raising and access to climate information by this means is an effective way of improving their resilience. 

Results / Impact

The practice has made climatological and meteorological information more accessible and, in particular, has improved ownership of this information by women (women's groups).

Ms Aïsaatou Ndao, the leader of the United Sisters of Ngodiba association, and the members of that association use the information in their cultivation practices. They have had better yields and have felt more responsible and able thanks to having access to this information. Ms Ndao was asked to present her work at the Hunger, Nutrition, Climate Justice Conference in Dublin in 2013. Read more (in French).

From 2012, Amy Ndiaye, NGO president, was the weather forecasting focal point in Gniby, which allowed her to play an important role in her community and to help her female colleagues.

Another example is Ms Fatou Seck, who manages rain gauges to monitor rainfall and pass on climate information. 

Success Factors / Replicability


Firstly, men, but also women and young people, must be made aware of the added value of taking into account climate information in their activites.

In addition, it is necessary to understand, for each community, what beliefs and socio-cultural realities might constitute barriers to the use of climate information by women, and identify the most appropriate ways of accessing meteorological and climatological services.


Yes, at first, for the community in general, there were preconceived ideas about weather forecasting and the ability to predict the future (related to divine order or divination practices).

The probabilistic aspect of seasonal forecasts posed difficulties.

Managing to combine local knowledge and science, particularly for seasonal and weather forecasts.

These difficulties were overcome through dialogue, focus groups and, particularly, training. "Test field" demonstrations (with or without climatological or meteorological information) played a key role, too. Seeking a convergence between traditional knowledge and meteorological knowledge was also an important factor in establishing a relationship of trust. 
  • Ensuring that local decision-makers are aware of the practice and include it in their local development plans;
  • Using a multi-disciplinary approach so that other services that contribute to local development feel involved;
  • Systematically involving women producers' associations, women's groups or women with leadership potential in their communities;
  • Ensuring the sustainability of training, access to climate information and follow-up, by allocating sufficient human resources.
  • A follow-up and evaluation report by Henri Lo and Dieng in 2015 shows the added value of climate information for small-scale farmers. 
Lessons Learned

Women's associations and women's interest groups constitute a powerful lever for the integration of a large overlooked section of the population - women - while also ensuring more widespread use of meteorological and climatological services to increase the resilience of communities.

When women are properly equipped (for example, with access to climate information), they develop their leadership skills and become much more useful to their communities.

There are still socio-economic barriers that hinder the use of climate information by women (for example, women must wait for men to sow their crops before their can sow their own).