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Climate Change Adaptation from the Bottom Up: Collaboration Between Malian Communities and Scientific Organizations to Identify and Implement Responsive Water Management Actions (ACCCA)

Submitted by Michael Rastall 11th October 2012 11:52


The project explores the links between vulnerability and adaptation to the effects of climatic change in the basins of the Sankarani and Baoulé rivers. The main purpose of the project is to help the members of the three pilot communities in southern Mali to identify and implement promising water management innovations that could improve household conditions while increasing resilience to climate change.

Lessons Learnt

Challenges encountered

Limited funding regime made it difficult to allow for more creative participation and dialogue between the scientists and the communities. It was difficult to communicate the purpose of the project to the communities without setting un-realistic expectations on what the project could actually deliver, which was a set of ideas for adaptation, rather than on the ground, implemented projects.

How these challenges were resolved

This continues to be a challenge which we addressed through creative interactions, and by identifying “bridging” members of the scientific team, such as M. Ouedraogo, who participated in all meetings and communicated directly with the communities and the scientific team. In the case of community expectations, we hope to make a contribution to secure funding for implementing the adaptation activities identified subsequent to the ACCCA programme.


Key Messages

This project is linked to several government agencies, and the dissemination of the NCAP documentation in key government offices has provided case study evidence on the key climate change issues involved. Based on several consultations with the communities and relevant policy makers, many who are themselves part of the pilot action team, the communications strategy carried out during the latter part of the project targeted both national decision makers as well as three groups within the community: men, women, and village leaders. Project findings were discussed, noting where specifically identified adaptation options would help to alleviate some of the concerns and consequences related to expected changes in climate. Dissemination of results was conducted using a two pronged approach: An awareness raising musical presentation to the community of Massabla. The methods selected include collaboration between the students and director of the National Collage of the Arts, led by Mr. Masamou Dialo of the National Conservatory – and Mr. Diakite Cheick of the Hamala Labo SEP group, who have expertise in awareness raising activities using music and theater. These groups worked together to develop an awareness raising campaign with the communities using local music and dance. A video of the community visit during April of 2008 was made, and is currently being translated from Bambara to French. This video provided the basis for the artist's formulation of the climate change conditions, tailoring the communication strategy to the community's expressed concerns. Considerations;

  • The strategy was wholly oral, to demonstrate the options and raise community awareness on the potential increased impacts of climate change.
  • Music will adhere to local preferences, including the Balafone instrument in pentatonic style, which is typical of the region.
  • The communications strategy was conducted in the Bambara language to demonstrate the options and raise community awareness on the potential increased impacts of climate change.
  • A video demonstrating proposed adaptation options was developed and shown to the communities and national policy makers alike to elicit feedback and encourage discussions of trade-offs among the proposed options: