Engaging stakeholders and building ownership for climate adaptation: best practice from Southern Egypt

Published: 20th September 2017 16:57Last Updated: 10th October 2017 15:17
Southern Egypt farmer

A hibiscus field in Tomas 3 village, Luxor. With enhanced extension services and consultancy package on high value cash crops, farmers are able to achieving higher yields and more income stability. © WFP/Mohamed Gamal ElDin.

Introduction

The World Food Programme (WFP) acknowledges that its vision to eradicate hunger by 2030 can only be achieved with urgent and ambitious action to address the challenges of climate change. In the past five years, 40 percent of WFP’s operations have included activities to reduce climate related disaster risks, build resilience and help affected populations adapt to climate change. The Paris Agreement highlighted the international community’s emphasis on addressing the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable. The importance of sharing key lessons and best practices is paramount to ensuring such innovations can be scaled up and replicated.

This best practice report* explores how stakeholders were involved within a climate change adaptation project in Southern Egypt, and the important role this played in building ownership and sustainability. The project, funded by the Adaptation Fund, integrates a number of different technical activities to provide food insecure populations with a variety of tools to build their climate resilience. A number of positive outcomes and lessons learned have emerged from the project which has supported scaling up the initiative to other parts of the country.

*Download the full report in the right-hand column. Key points from the report are provided below.

Methods and Tools (abridged)

Project formulation phase

Techniques used to engage stakeholders in the project formulation phase included:

  • Focus group discussions with farmers from the project governorates to get their feedback on: climate issues and how they affect their lives, proposed priority solutions from their perspectives and institutions which would manage them on their behalf.
  • In-depth personal interviews with concerned officials and resource persons, such as the directors of Agriculture in the different Governorates, as well academic experts from local universities and heads of local NGOs.
  • A rapid survey with the selected project villages undertaken to seek the villagers’ opinions and engagement in the project design.

Project implementation phase

Techniques used to engage stakeholders in the project implementation phase included:

  • Community Project Support committees hosted by local partners (NGOs) on a monthly basis. The committees have agreed on upcoming activities, monitoring ongoing ones, discussing risks and challenges faced, and means to overcome them, as well as assigning roles and responsibilities to the different implementation teams.
  • District-level Coordination committees were established to support implementation and encourage official adoption of interventions.
  • Governorate Coordination Committees chaired by the Governors and comprised of the Directors of Agriculture, Irrigation, Education and Social Solidarity and meet quarterly. These committees have been effective for enhancing government engagement and commitment towards sustained project interventions.
  • The National Project Steering Committee, which meets quaterly and comprises of WFP, the Ministry of Agriculture, Directors of the relevant research institutes, the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, and the Egyptian Meteorological Authority. This engages central senior-level officials who offer strategic guidance and support.
  • Annual Project Workshop that brings together the representatives of the different partners to share experiences, discuss challenges faced and lessons learned during the year, and develop the project work plan for the upcoming year.
implementation diagram
Steering and technical support committees in place as part of the project's implementation phase (Figure 2 from page 10 of the report). 

Lessons Learnt

​Several lessons can be drawn from the project, which were highlighted in this report:

  1. Regardless of where a climate change adaptation programme is implemented, it is a multidimensional effort in which several stakeholders have different, yet complementary roles to play.
  2. A key aspect of project planning and design should involve consultation and cooperation with numerous stakeholders, at the central, regional and local levels, in order to effectively achieve common objectives.
  3. Establishing measures and tools that integrate inputs, create synergies and facilitate cooperation among diverse players is a critical aspect of successful and sustained realization of climate change adaptation objectives. This recognises that each of these stakeholder groups has its own needs, priorities, governance structures, and/or governing regulations, as well as way of operating.

Key messages and Impacts

The consultative approach used by the project to enhance stakeholder engagement and building ownership has implications for efficiency, effectiveness and the potential for sustainability after its lifetime. The main messages detailed by the report include:

  1. The deployment of local volunteers was highly effective. Female volunteers have been particularly effective as they supported activities that would have otherwise been difficult, such as household visits, subsequently increasing women’s participation in project activities.
  2. The involvement of stakeholders at the different local, sub-national and national levels has supported the project’s sustainability. The support of the local committees enhanced the daily management of the activities. Higher-level committees, on the other hand, gave longer-term support and guidance.
  3. Bringing representatives from all the project villages together with senior governmental officials, as well the technical experts of the interventions, was very effective to support learning. This annual gathering created a heterogeneous network of practitioners to share experiences across the governorates, discuss challenges and highlight success stories and provide technical and managerial support.
  4. Working with existing structures and bodies to own newly-established information centres, management units and specialized associations has strengthened institutional capacities in the face of climate change.

The WFP report also highlights numerous impacts achieved by the project. These have been evaluated externally by the Adaptation Fund. Some key successes include*:

  • 15,000 farmers and extension workers are directly adopting climate risk reduction measures in agriculture and livestock. An additional 20,000 people are also benefiting.
  • Alerts on two extreme weather events in the 2013 and 2015 wheat seasons were issued with recommendations to reduce losses, protecting people’s produce and food security. 14 Climate Information Centres have been established in partner NGOs to deliver services for climate risk reduction. The NGO centres have 300 dedicated volunteers.
  • The different forms of community mobilization have reached over 50,000 individuals, and over 90 percent of those questioned indicated they have felt stakeholder participation in designing and implementing the project has been very satisfactory.​​

*For a comprehensive view of what the project has achieved and more information on the Adaptation Fund, please download the full report from the right-hand column. The second Project Performance Report is also available to download from page 13 of the report. 

Further resources

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