ACCCA experiences: implications of risk communication strategies for adaptation decisions

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 30th Mar 2011

 The risk communication strategies implemented in the ACCCA project produced rewarding effects on several levels in that community concerns were given voice through multi-stakeholder dialogues with policymakers; the trainings and dialogues contributed to a growing realization among policymakers of the implications of climate change on sustainable development within their countries; and the nature of participatory development and testing of risk communication material gave a sense of stakeholder ownership over the learning process and engendered capacity for action. Importantly, the insights and skills in risk communication gained through the pilot actions can potentially be replicated in other contexts.

Through actions that supported awareness raising and capacity building, communities were empowered to develop response strategies aimed at bolstering climate risk management and adaptive capacity. Most of the adaptation decisions in the ACCCA project were related to water resource management and agricultural practices that would enhance the resilience of production systems, while contributing to food, water, and income security. Some pilot actions also focused on health policy, particularly related to water borne and vector borne diseases, and a few others identified adaptation mainstreaming, pre-disaster planning and risk management as priority adaptation decisions. In most of the cases, adaptation decision-making led to concrete local adaptation options and actions. The following suggested/implemented adaptation actions are some examples:

  • In Mali, the project contributed to the establishment of Reso-Climat, a network of institutions dealing with climate change in the country that have agreed to collaborate in project development and information sharing. In addition, the project identified the following adaptation options: (i) the establishment of irrigation canals and infrastructure for the communities in Segou, as well as access to potable water; (ii) rehabilitation of the village canal in Kiban, as well as installation of solar pumps to provide access to potable water; and (iii) construction of a small dam on the Mono river in Massabla, and installation of solar pumps to provide access to potable water
  • The project in Bangladesh promoted the development of Union-level Local Adaptation Plans, which were mostly based on community inputs and were discussed at round-table meetings with local-level officials. Moreover, several adaptation options for different regions were favoured to pilot and test: In waterlogged lands (i) hydroponics, (ii) ring based vegetables, (iii) duck rearing, and (iv) fish trap making. In saline areas: (i) reed cultivation, (ii) mat making using reeds by vulnerable women, and (iii) crab cultivation. In drought-prone areas: (i) homestead drought-resilient vegetable cultivation, (ii) mini ponds/ditches for small-scale irrigation, and (iii) sheep rearing for indigenous women.
  • In Malawi , the community-made video transmitted the following adaptation messages: (i) the importance of crop diversification; (ii) irrigation farming; (iii) changing poultry/livestock options; (iv) building storm drains and planting elephant grass to protect against flood damage; (v) storage of food (keeping the grains in bags inside houses versus granaries, as bags are easier to transport when sudden floods happen); and (vi) early warning system (Red Cross volunteers alerting villagers to the risk of floods with whistles).
  • In Kenya, adaptation options to prevent malaria incidence exacerbated by climate change were implemented in each site. In Kebeneti, 1 142 houses were sprayed, as a result of which the malaria cases reported by the health clinic declined considerably. In Wekhome, the Emutete Swamp was restored by planting Napier grass, thus reducing malaria-carrying mosquito populations that bred in the swamp areas that had been cleared. During the field demonstration exercises for Napier grass planting, different issues wee discussed such as the planting methods to be adopted, the type of planting material to be used (which depended on availability and cost), appropriate seed spacing, planting distance from the water channels, and areas considered suitable for planting.
  • In Nepal, climate considerations have been integrated into community-based disaster preparedness plans and micro-insurance schemes. The project identified two pilot actions as adaptation measures to weather and climate related disasters: (i) a weather and climate (including climate change) related information dissemination (WCID) scheme for the community developed by establishing interactive communication between National Meteorological Service of Nepal with the vulnerable community of Putalibazaar Municipality and suburbs; and (ii) a community based insurance (CBI) in order to share disaster losses among government, community and insurance agencies.
  • In Niger, capacity building activities increased awareness among the farmers, stakeholders and policy makers, resulting in the integration of climate change adaptation in watershed management plans in the local districts of Diantiandou and Bitinkodji. Some of the measures implemented by local communities at individual level involve water-harvesting practices using techniques such as Zaj and half moon. Some of the adaptation measures validated by the communities are now increasingly being integrated in the revised NAPA programmes of Niger.
  • In Tanzania, adaptation options were suggested based on three priority areas identified by communities to have been the most affected by climate; these include food availability, water quality and quantity and energy sources. To alleviate the impacts of rainfall scarcity and crop disease on agriculture, it has been suggested to introduce irrigation schemes managed by community production groups. Improved livestock breeds and livestock keeping have also been suggested as adaptation measures to provide improved animal production. The introduction of fish farming has been proposed as an alternative to capture fisheries and initial efforts have shown communities acceptance of the practice. Construction of protected shallow wells and deep wells were identified to be ideal and reliable water sources. On the energy source issue, the introduction of woodlots for family wood requirements are expected to alleviate the energy problem in combination with the introduction of biogas for cooking and lighting.

Next steps

Many people and organisations are working on risk communication in a variety of ways. If you feel motivated to contribute to this material based on your own experiences, research, project activities, please add comments on the discussion pages behind these articles or create your own wiki article on a new page and add the link where relevant in this text so that others can find it. Alternatively add a link in the related resources section to where your material already exists on the web.

Authors: Tahia Devisscher (SEI Oxford), Fernanda Zermoglio (SEI Oxford), Jon Padgham (START International), Anna Taylor (SEI Oxford)

References

This material is largely based on the ACCCA project Synthesis Report