Date of Award

January 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Sarah Lowe


Introduction: Climate change is having profound and disproportionate impacts on East Africa. Rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall patterns, and prolonged droughts have become prevalent, leading to profound humanitarian challenges. The effects of climate change in East Africa span beyond those related to agriculture, food insecurity, and economic well-being. Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is only proliferated in the climate change context. In the event of natural disasters, sexual and gender-based violence increases in tandem with the increase in vulnerability and instability in affected communities. Due to its myriad health consequences, SGBV requires the attention of public health professionals, policymakers, and those who design development programming for the betterment of women and girls globally. Methods: The present paper is a rapid scoping review of the link between climate change and SGBV in East Africa. This paper investigates this relationship by identifying the synergies present in the scholarly and gray literature on this topic. Results: This rapid review identified 10 sources examining the link between climate change and sexual and gender-based violence in East Africa and had three key findings. First, with few exceptions, climate change was significantly associated with SGBV in the region. Second, studies identified several pathways by which climate change could lead to increases in SGBV. The findings shed light on the complex interplay between climate change's adverse effects on agricultural income, the resultant familial stress, and the escalation of violence against women, particularly intimate partner violence. Third, severe weather events led to an overall increase in the disempowerment of women and girls. Conclusion: The results from this study strongly suggest that women play a crucial role as stakeholders in addressing both climate change and violence decisions in East Africa.

Keywords: gender-based violence, sexual violence, climate change, East Africa


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/07/2026