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Exploring households’ resilience to climate change-induced shocks using Climate Resilience Index in Dinki watershed, central highlands of Ethiopia (lay summary)

This is a lay summary of the article published under the DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219393

Published onJun 20, 2023
Exploring households’ resilience to climate change-induced shocks using Climate Resilience Index in Dinki watershed, central highlands of Ethiopia (lay summary)

How to survive droughts and floods in Ethiopia

Researchers say it is best to live in the midlands of the Dinki watershed area in Ethiopia. This is because the area has infrequent climate shock events like drought and floods, and the ground has a gentle slope and fertile soil. They also suggest that Ethiopians should save their income in preparation for future shocks.

Worldwide, climate shocks are becoming more frequent and life-threatening. But the poorest areas, such as the Dinki watershed area in Ethiopia, are often the worst affected. These researchers wanted to assess how well Ethiopian households and small farmers managed these shocks. They wanted to learn what strategies people used and whether different areas used different approaches. They also wanted to find any lifestyle factors that could help. They interviewed people and surveyed households in the Dinki watershed area. They asked about the characteristics of people who lived in the area, what shocks they experienced, and what they did to manage shocks. The researchers then used statistical techniques to find the most important ways people coped.

They found that people tended to save some assets, and they used those stores during a shock. It was slightly less effective to innovate or adapt to overcome shocks. The people in the Dinki watershed area who managed best had multiple ways of making money, such as both farming and selling alcohol, and many food sources. They also lived close to clean water and health services. 

It was beneficial to have many assets, such as a large farm, livestock, money savings, and technology. People that lived in areas that experienced shocks less frequently also coped better.

These findings will likely help individuals and governments prepare for future shocks more effectively. However, the researchers say that measuring how people manage shocks is very difficult, and there is no perfect way of doing it. But, they used the same method as many previous studies.

Ethiopian researchers did this study.


This study assessed households’ resilience to climate change-induced shocks in Dinki watershed, northcentral highlands of Ethiopia. The data were collected through a cross-sectional survey conducted on 288 households, three focus group discussions, and 15 key informant interviews. The Climate Resilience Index (CRI) based on the three resilience capacities (absorptive, adaptive and transformative) frame was used to measure households’ resilience to climate change-induced shocks on an agro-ecological unit of analysis. A principal component analysis (PCA) and multiple regression analysis were used to identify determinant factors and indicators to households’ resilience, respectively. Findings indicate that the indexed scores of major components clearly differentiated the study communities in terms of their agro-ecological zones. Specifically, the absorptive capacity (0.495) was the leading contributing factor to resilience followed by adaptive (0.449) and transformative (0.387) capacities. Likewise, the Midland was relatively more resilient with a mean index value of 0.461. Both the PCA and multiple regression analysis indicated that access to and use of livelihood resources, such as farmlands and livestock holdings, diversity of income sources, infrastructure and social capital were determinants of households’ resilience. In general, it might be due to their exposure to recurrent shocks coupled with limited adaptive capacities including underdeveloped public services, poor livelihood diversification practices, among others, the study communities showed minimal resilience capacity with a mean score of 0.44. Thus, in addition to short-term buffering strategies, intervention priority focusing on both adaptive and transformative capacities, particularly focusing on most vulnerable localities and constrained livelihood strategies, would contribute to ensuring long-term resilience in the study communities.


This summary is a free resource intended to make African research and research that affects Africa, more accessible to non-expert global audiences. It was compiled by ScienceLink's team of professional African science communicators as part of the Masakhane MT: Decolonise Science project. ScienceLink has taken every precaution possible during the writing, editing, and fact-checking process to ensure that this summary is easy to read and understand, while accurately reporting on the facts presented in the original research paper. Note, however, that this summary has not been fact-checked or approved by the authors of the original research paper, so this summary should be used as a secondary resource. Therefore, before using, citing or republishing this summary, please verify the information presented with the original authors of the research paper, or email [email protected] for more information.

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