By Vivienne Likhanga PROCASUR
In light of the recent 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 11 held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 12 December 2015, priority areas for actions to address climate change have been placed at the forefront to create frameworks that are consistent with sustainable development and poverty eradication efforts. Finally countries that want to commit to new actions on the reduction of emissions and adapting agriculture to the effects of climate change and have an opportunity to build upon transformative steps from the much more balanced Paris agreement to create a more formal dialogue regarding local solutions.In order to overcome the effects of climate change and other challenges that are preventing its member countries from attaining sustainable food systems and nutrition, other than adapting to climate change through the use of local solutions we need to consider every possible solution, including agro-ecology and biotechnologies.
The need to develop effective adaptation and mitigation strategies has then become crucial to securing livelihoods and community development. As a response, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and country partners are mainstreaming the thematic into their operations as well created the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), a funding facility of over USD 200m. A learning route “Natural Resources Management and Climate Change Adaptation Best Practices; The Experience in Kenya” was held in several counties in Kenya between the 7th and 13thof July 2014 funded by IFAD, in partnership with Procasur Africa, CARE (relief agency) in Kenya and the Cgiar Research Program on Climate Change & Food Security (CCAFS). 17 “routeros”/ route participants from various IFAD-supported projects, implementing partners and civil society organizations in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Lesotho and Kenya all met together on a 8-day journey across the districts and rural communities of Kenya. The aim of including participants from all over Africa is to share the learning as widely as possible, but also to facilitate relationships between those working in natural resource management and climate change adaptation.
A Learning Route is in first place an experience that transforms its participants because of what they learn, leading them to become agents of change in their own organizations. It is a capacity-building methodology with a proven track record of successfully integrating local knowledge and experiences, in development with innovation and best practices from the field that have scaling-up potential. A Learning Route is based on the idea that successful solutions to existing problems are already present within rural areas, and that those solutions might be adapted and spread to other contexts. It is a journey for participants to experience with their eyes and their ears the changes that have occurred in men and women’s lives, learning directly from them. This journey gets participants to understand these changes through peer learning, discussing directly with rural communities who are the promoters of the identified best practices and successful innovations.
The learning route visited the three host cases that had developed the best practices on natural resource management and climate change adaptation in arid lands and affected territories, namely:
- The Mount Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resources Management (MKEPP) and Upper Tana Natural Resources Management Project (UTaNRMP): an IFAD project that addresses the key link between poverty and natural resources degradation from an Integrated Participatory Approach involving local communities. Both project interventions focus on livelihood improvement activities, which result in better management of the environment.
- The Cgiar Research Program on Climate Change & Food Security (CCAFS), and Dryland Agriculture in Wote, Makueni County: This is a project that has dedicated learning sites aimed at understanding the interactions, synergies and trade-offs between climate change and agriculture in ASAL areas. The intervention is based on an integrated approach and shows how community resilience to climate change is greatly increased through localizing weather information and disseminating this in a timely manner to farmers so that they can make informed decisions on what to plant and when.
- The Community of Balich and the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), developed by CARE Kenya in the Garissa region: Which is a project that uses a community-based adaptation process since 2011 to support the development and implementation of their own responses to climate change and adaptation strategies.
“My main take home lesson is on Community empowerment. We have to engage the community in the development and implementation of climate change adaptation solutions, so that when the project lifetime ends there’s an element that will keep the project together. Sharing information at very local levels in a manner that is understandable in the local context in a timely manner is important for decision making at the household level. Linking community members who are influential in the community also leads to success in the uptake of projects. At the same time, other partners must come on board too to ensure the success and sustainability of climate smart strategies.” ~ Ms. Beth Mburu, a PHD Researcher on Climate Change Adaptation and food Security indirectly working with Smallholders Farmers previously engaged with IFAD.
During the learning route the participants developed their ideas into a concrete Action Plan, which outlined how they intended to bring new products, services or processes into their projects and organizations. The best three Action Plans were prized with a starting capital and seed funds of USD 2,500.
For more details on the learning route training and additional reading on the thematic of the Learning Route, we invite you to visit our website at the following link: http://africa.procasur.org/en/learning-routes/upcoming-learning-routes/113-113.
And to follow us on the Facebook pages dedicated to the stories and photos of the learning route: https://www.facebook.com/procasurafrica
For further information, please contact:
Valentina Sauve: email@example.com, phone: +254 (0) 706046742
Vivienne Likhanga: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +254(020) 2716036