Climate variability impacts and coping strategies in Lesotho

Moipone Mantsebo Letsie of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, analyzed how strategies to cope with climate change differ between households in Lesotho.

Moipone Mantsebo Letsie

Moipone Mantsebo Letsie


Climate change is possibly one of the greatest threats facing human society in the 21st century. The rapid growth of the world’s population has escalated both the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Annually, economic losses due to weather-related events amount to hundreds of billions of dollars and are anticipated to double by 2030 (UNISDR, 2013). As a result, rural communities—especially in the African countries—have used various coping strategies in response to climate variability, environmental stresses, and food insecurity. The aim of the study was to investigate current coping strategies in Lesotho and to explore demographic differentials in these strategies.


The study adopted mixed quantitative and qualitative methods which combined data from different sources as a means of triangulation. The main data sources used for this study included household questionnaires, focus group discussions, and climate data. The study used a combination of descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis to explore how households’ coping strategies relate to households characteristics and livelihoods and how these coping strategies differ depending on the hazard type.

Results and conclusions

Results of the regression analysis on the association between household’s socio-economic profile and drought and drought coping strategies showed that gender, marital status, asset ownership, and type of hazard influenced the choice of coping strategies. Male and female headed households employ different coping strategies.


[1] UNISDR (2013). Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. Revealing Risk, Redefining Development. United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland.


André Pelser, Department of Sociology, University of the Free State, South Africa

Raya Muttarak, World Population Program, IIASA


Moipone Mantsebo Letsie of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, is a citizen of South Africa and was funded by the IIASA South African National Member Organization during the SA-YSSP.

Please note these Proceedings have received limited or no review from supervisors and IIASA program directors, and the views and results expressed therein do not necessarily represent IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other organizations supporting the work.   

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Last edited: 02 February 2016

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