The Power of ‘Know-Who’: Adaptation to Climate Change in a Changing Humanitarian Landscape in Isiolo, Kenya

Volume 48 Number 4
Published: August 9, 2017

This article examines adaptation to climate change in view of changing humanitarian approaches in Isiolo County, Kenya. While humanitarian actors are increasingly integrating climate change in their international and national-level strategies, we know less about how this plays out at sub-national levels, which is key to tracking whether and how short-term assistance can support long-term adaptation. The article suggests that increasing attention to resilience and adaptation among humanitarian actors may not lead to reduced vulnerability because resources tend to be captured through existing power structures, directed by who you know and your place in the social hierarchy. In turn, this sustains rather than challenges the marginalisation processes that cause vulnerability to climate shocks and stressors. The article highlights the important role of power and politics both in channelling resources and determining outcomes.


  • Aid
  • Climate Change
From Issue: Vol. 48 No. 4 (2017) | Courting Catastrophe? Humanitarian Policy and Practice in a Changing Climate