Building Climate Resilience of the Most Marginalized through Feminist Transdisciplinary Approaches

Building Climate Resilience is the contemporary developmental agenda. However, this is easier said than done. In diverse climate hotspots, gender norms influence women’s exclusion from productive agriculture, income secure livelihoods and decision-making at scale. Disparities by class, religion, caste and other contextual factors intersect and exacerbate gender inequality, as do economic, climate and other drivers of a growing poverty. Feminist researchers argue that transformative change requires the “view-point from below” – i.e. experiential, lived knowledge must inform and shape science solutions and R4D interventions. In the first section of this panel discussion, we will discuss how a feminist transdisciplinary approach calls for critically analyzing blatant and latent power-relationships in science and R4D. This presentation is followed by an interactive discussion on knowing and doing transdisciplinarity. Building climate resilience requires tackling gender-power inequalities in the face of dynamic, economic-social-ecological challenges. The matrix of these complexities requires tools that allow making sense of dynamic, inter-connected change processes. In a second session, we discuss a digital ethnographic tool, SenseMaker – that applies the classic feminist methodology of Narrative Action Research (NAR). We discuss how we apply SenseMaker to analyze the gendered dynamics of climate challenges and risks, and unpack gender norms, values, perspectives and behaviors of key institutional actors implementing climate initiatives.


Upandha Udalagama, International Water Management Institute (IWMI)


  • Deepa Joshi, IMWI
    Knowing and Doing Transdiciplinarity
  • John van Breda, Stellenbosch University, South-Africa
    The design of a transdisciplinary, gender transformative, digital ethnographical tool
  • Prabhat Kumar and Mayank Jain, SumArth/MICROX Foundation
    (Re)shaping the power from within
  • Upandha Udalagama, IMWI
    Building resilience for whom & how?