What are the gender implications of poverty, unemployment and the absence of basic infrastructure in the face of climate change, and what should governments be doing to improve the situation? This paper considers the case of Oko Agbon, a poor coastal community of 10,000 inhabitants in Lagos State, which is facing the challenge of climate change, with rising temperatures and fresh water becoming salinised (salted). The paper notes that ensuring safe drinking water reaches the community has negative implications for both women and men’s health, time and household income, with 50 per cent of monthly household income being spent on water for household use. However, it is women in the community who are most affected by ‘water stress’. Coping strategies identified include women treating water to make it suitable for drinking and cooking, and women engaging in informal-sector work such as petty trade and construction site labour in order to bring in an income. Women are largely limited to working inside or close to the community due to their household water needs, and because travelling around the area is difficult.The paper argues that, in order to address these water challenges, a bridge should be built to link the community to Lagos State and the water supply network. It also calls for information on climate change to be provided to residents to help them make informed and sustainable adaptation choices. This is the first in a case study series produced by Nigeria’s Centre for 21st Century Issues.
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