Limits...
Understanding adaptive capacity and capacity to innovate in social – ecological systems: Applying a gender lens

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ABSTRACT

Development policy increasingly focuses on building capacities to respond to change (adaptation), and to drive change (innovation). Few studies, however, focus specifically on the social and gender differentiation of capacities to adapt and innovate. We address this gap using a qualitative study in three communities in Solomon Islands; a developing country, where rural livelihoods and well-being are tightly tied to agriculture and fisheries. We find the five dimensions of capacity to adapt and to innovate (i.e. assets, flexibility, learning, social organisation, agency) to be mutually dependant. For example, limits to education, physical mobility and agency meant that women and youth, particularly, felt it was difficult to establish relations with external agencies to access technical support or new information important for innovating or adapting. Willingness to bear risk and to challenge social norms hindered both women’s and men’s capacity to innovate, albeit to differing degrees. Our findings are of value to those aspiring for equitable improvements to well-being within dynamic and diverse social–ecological systems.

No MeSH data available.


Panel figure depicting discussed elements of life and livelihoods in rural Solomon Islands, showing (clockwise); a a house in Malaita Province (photo by Filip Milovac), b a woman selling reef fish at the provincial capital market in Western Province (photo by Filip Milovac), c gardening in a small-scale agricultural plot (photo credit Jan van der Ploeg), d two men fishing with a net over reef from a dug-out canoe in Malaita Province a dug-out canoe used for subsistence and small-scale fishing (photo by Filip Milovac)
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Fig2: Panel figure depicting discussed elements of life and livelihoods in rural Solomon Islands, showing (clockwise); a a house in Malaita Province (photo by Filip Milovac), b a woman selling reef fish at the provincial capital market in Western Province (photo by Filip Milovac), c gardening in a small-scale agricultural plot (photo credit Jan van der Ploeg), d two men fishing with a net over reef from a dug-out canoe in Malaita Province a dug-out canoe used for subsistence and small-scale fishing (photo by Filip Milovac)

Mentions: Most people in all three communities resided in sago palm-thatched houses, and households generally had basic equipment for farming and fishing (Fig. 2). The challenges that communities faced (as identified in early engagements with the research programme) were commonly associated with assets (e.g. land access and quality, health and transportation services). Some respondents expressed that a lack of money or tools inhibited their capacity to be innovative. For example, respondents reported being unable to access electricity, freezers or ice for chilling fresh produce which meant that they could not accumulate products or develop new products to take to market. Other respondents suggested that a lack of money in fact promoted innovation; one example provided was of a farmer who produced copra2 without access to conventional building tools or equipment, and had built his own copra dryer using local bush materials. In describing household well-being, respondents suggested there was no, or very little, difference between status of people and households within their communities. Yet, in general terms respondents did make some distinctions between people of ‘lower’ or ‘higher’ well-being, and a majority of these descriptors were assets (Table 2).Fig. 2


Understanding adaptive capacity and capacity to innovate in social – ecological systems: Applying a gender lens
Panel figure depicting discussed elements of life and livelihoods in rural Solomon Islands, showing (clockwise); a a house in Malaita Province (photo by Filip Milovac), b a woman selling reef fish at the provincial capital market in Western Province (photo by Filip Milovac), c gardening in a small-scale agricultural plot (photo credit Jan van der Ploeg), d two men fishing with a net over reef from a dug-out canoe in Malaita Province a dug-out canoe used for subsistence and small-scale fishing (photo by Filip Milovac)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120023&req=5

Fig2: Panel figure depicting discussed elements of life and livelihoods in rural Solomon Islands, showing (clockwise); a a house in Malaita Province (photo by Filip Milovac), b a woman selling reef fish at the provincial capital market in Western Province (photo by Filip Milovac), c gardening in a small-scale agricultural plot (photo credit Jan van der Ploeg), d two men fishing with a net over reef from a dug-out canoe in Malaita Province a dug-out canoe used for subsistence and small-scale fishing (photo by Filip Milovac)
Mentions: Most people in all three communities resided in sago palm-thatched houses, and households generally had basic equipment for farming and fishing (Fig. 2). The challenges that communities faced (as identified in early engagements with the research programme) were commonly associated with assets (e.g. land access and quality, health and transportation services). Some respondents expressed that a lack of money or tools inhibited their capacity to be innovative. For example, respondents reported being unable to access electricity, freezers or ice for chilling fresh produce which meant that they could not accumulate products or develop new products to take to market. Other respondents suggested that a lack of money in fact promoted innovation; one example provided was of a farmer who produced copra2 without access to conventional building tools or equipment, and had built his own copra dryer using local bush materials. In describing household well-being, respondents suggested there was no, or very little, difference between status of people and households within their communities. Yet, in general terms respondents did make some distinctions between people of ‘lower’ or ‘higher’ well-being, and a majority of these descriptors were assets (Table 2).Fig. 2

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Development policy increasingly focuses on building capacities to respond to change (adaptation), and to drive change (innovation). Few studies, however, focus specifically on the social and gender differentiation of capacities to adapt and innovate. We address this gap using a qualitative study in three communities in Solomon Islands; a developing country, where rural livelihoods and well-being are tightly tied to agriculture and fisheries. We find the five dimensions of capacity to adapt and to innovate (i.e. assets, flexibility, learning, social organisation, agency) to be mutually dependant. For example, limits to education, physical mobility and agency meant that women and youth, particularly, felt it was difficult to establish relations with external agencies to access technical support or new information important for innovating or adapting. Willingness to bear risk and to challenge social norms hindered both women’s and men’s capacity to innovate, albeit to differing degrees. Our findings are of value to those aspiring for equitable improvements to well-being within dynamic and diverse social–ecological systems.

No MeSH data available.