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Assessing social vulnerability of villages in Mt. Kasigau area, Kenya, using the analytical hierarchy process

  • Njoroge GathongoEmail author
  • Liem Tran


This research assesses the social vulnerability of five villages (Jora, Kiteghe, Makwasinyi, Bungule, and Rukanga) in Mt. Kasigau, Kenya. Our goal was to develop a social vulnerability model by adopting a vulnerability conceptual framework that conceptualizes vulnerability into three major components: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity and using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP). Employing the AHP, the three components of vulnerability were decomposed into its constituent components and structured into a hierarchical format where each component was represented by different societal and environmental criterions and stressors. Next, we performed a pairwise comparison at each level of the hierarchy to obtain local priorities. Finally, we aggregated the local priorities from the bottom up to obtain global priorities of the social vulnerability of each village. The results from this study revealed that Makwasinyi was the most vulnerable village followed by Bungule, Kiteghe, Jora, and Rukanga respectively. Further, the results suggested that adaptive capacity and exposure played a critical role in determining the social vulnerability compared to sensitivity. Considering this, reducing social vulnerability in the area should focus much on improving the adaptive capacity of the people and reducing their exposure specifically in Makwasinyi village.


Exposure Adaptive capacity Sensitivity Social Vulnerability Analytical hierarchy process Vulnerability assessment 



This study was partial funded by The W. K. McClure Scholarship Program of the University of Tennessee.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants that were interviewed and participated in the focus group discussion sessions.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Tennessee, KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA

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