n Mousaion - Dissemination of information on climate change : a case study of women mussel harvesters at KwaNgwanase in KwaZulu-Natal

Volume 30, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



Climate change has recently been the cause of a number of natural disasters throughout the world. Climate change and the changing conditions arising from it exacerbate the poverty of many poor rural communities in developing countries by damaging the natural resources on which they depend for survival. All sectors, including the library and information services (LIS) sector, should make an effort to understand this phenomenon, and ensure that information related to climate change is disseminated effectively and efficiently. The Millennium Development Goals, set by many countries for 2015, cannot be reached if efforts to achieve them are disrupted by drastic changes in weather conditions. Many communities situated along the coast depend on marine resources for both food and income, as is the case at KwaNgwanase, where mussels have been harvested for many years. However, climate change is affecting the mussel population, and the supply is decreasing. Focus group discussions, interviews and observations were conducted to identify the challenges of accessing and disseminating information relating to climate change faced by KwaNgwanase (KwaZulu-Natal province) women mussel harvesters. Specifically the objectives were to establish the flow and use of information on climate change to and by women mussel harvesters at KwaNgwanase, with the focus on information sources used; the role of the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife). Specific information elicited related to the dissemination of information on climate change, and in improving ways of diffusing relevant information to KwaNgwanase rural women harvesters. The findings indicate that information on climate change and its impact on marine resources was available but not adequately disseminated to the harvesters that affected their harvesting. It is recommended that various stakeholders and different methods of disseminating climate change information be used to enhance its accessibility, i.e. traditional leaders/elders such as the amakhosi; and utilising local government structures/stakeholders such as councillors to disseminate information on climate change to women harvesters. It was found that the indigenous knowledge possessed by these stakeholders is crucial and could be incorporated into climate change predictions. Information and communication technologies (ICTs), too, could be helpful in the diffusion and accessing of such information.

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