Resourceless victims or resourceful collectives

addressing the impacts of climate change through social capital in fringing coastal communities

Justus Kithiia*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper explores how social capital can influence the sustainable use of coastal resources amidst climate change in the East African cities of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. It uses a conceptual model underpinned by social capital theory to help explain process that may be involved in potentiating resources to effectively respond to local changes. The paper is part of a larger study, which used an eclectic mix of in-depth, exploratory and robust data collection techniques, resulting in data that were both qualitative and interpretative. The actual case study involved four coastal resources user groups in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, with membership ranging from 40 to 60 people per group. The paper finds a tendency by local resource users to self-organise through negotiated social practices, which are better suited, to respond to changes in local conditions. The social capital resource that these local actors bring into the management of resources is too significant to overlook, especially in the face of the uncertainties surrounding future changes in climate. Consequently, the use of coastal resources in cities in low income countries require workable approaches that privilege local actions, including social capital. The import of these findings is that, local practices of coastal resource management and use should be a part of humanity's wealth of adaptations that can serve both present and future sustainability needs, particularly so in the face of the expected impacts of climate change.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)110-117
    Number of pages8
    JournalOcean and Coastal Management
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


    • Climate change
    • Coastal resources
    • Collective action
    • East Africa
    • Social networks

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