Behaviour Changes to Advance Gender Equality in Climate Action: The example of Chad

By Julie Dekens, Senior Researcher, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

To ensure a gender-responsive National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process, it is vital to gain a detailed understanding of the actors involved in the process by understanding not only their knowledge but also their attitudes and behaviour regarding gender equality in the area of climate action.

In 2021, the NAP Global Network worked with Chad’s Ministry of Environment to understand these dynamics and learn from them to inform the development of its NAP process. Our analysis and conclusions are available in a new report, “Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours related to gender and climate change in Chad. Considerations for informing the NAP process” (French version only).


Improved knowledge can affect the degree of importance accorded to a subject and generate voluntary changes among certain persons and organizations.

Individuals are more willing to engage in gender-responsive climate action when they understand how and why climate change affects men, women, girls, and boys in different ways. Otherwise, a lack of understanding can lead to inappropriate behaviour that reinforces gender inequalities in climate action or even creates new sources of gender inequalities. However, it is very clear that improved knowledge in and of itself is rarely sufficient to motivate actors and change behaviour patterns.

Bitkine, Chad - February 20,2020: A woman is transporting goods with a push cart in the crowded city of Bitkine, which is an important trading place in Central Chad.
A woman is transporting goods with a pushcart in the crowded city of Bitkine, in Central Chad: to ensure a gender-responsive NAP, it is vital to gain a detailed understanding of the actors involved in the process.

In Chad, the results of the study reveal that there is a certain level of knowledge about the link between gender and climate change among the national actors surveyed. Yet this knowledge is not uniform, and major gaps remain. Weak political leadership regarding equality, paired with a lack of information about gender, has resulted in a limited understanding of the concept of gender and of its relevance in policies relating to climate change adaptation.

Taking a stand

The actors’ attitudes toward gender issues (whether at home, at work, or within the community) are another factor that influences their motivation to commit themselves to this cause. If the actors feel that the question of gender equality is not a concern, then they are unlikely to have the intention of making a commitment in this area. Attitudes are influenced by various elements, such as our environment, our experience, our political affiliation, social norms, and our values.

In Chad, our survey reveals that attitudes appear to be mostly in favour of taking gender into account in climate change adaptation policies, strategies, and programs, even though other forms of discrimination are perceived as being more significant. On the other hand, a non-negligible proportion of the participants have favourable attitudes toward practices that run counter to women’s rights, such as the use of violence against women or early marriage.


Current research shows that there is no clear correlation linking the values that people hold, the attitudes that they express, and their actual actions. Very often, behaviour patterns cannot be changed solely by targeting and modifying people’s attitudes.

As emphasized in the latest special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2018), the climate emergency demands that many changes be made, and not only in the financial, institutional, and legal domains. Behavioural changes—at the individual, collective, and organizational levels—along with changes to our overall way of life are also necessary.

Behavioural sciences indicate that to change behaviours, it is important to combine a variety of mechanisms—not only the traditional mechanisms related to information (for example, by means of education), to rules and regulations (for example, through quotas), and to material incentives—but also to appeal to the emotions or to social influences and to change the context in which the choices are made.

Portrait of Toubou, or Tubu people - 10 november 2018 Demi village at Fada, Ennedi, Cha
Portrait of Tubu people at Fada, Ennedi, Chad: a lack of understanding can lead to inappropriate behaviour that reinforces gender inequalities in climate action.

In Chad, our analysis reveals that the participants consider civil society organizations to be their key sources of gender-related information. These organizations represent crucial stakeholders for adaptation efforts because they are already working on projects aimed at supporting the development of the most marginalized populations and promoting women’s rights.

This study carried out in Chad provides a point of reference for the government and development partners. It could be repeated in the future to assess changes in the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours related to gender equality in the field of climate action in Chad.

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