Voices from the frontline: the role of community-generated information in delivering climate adaptation and development objectives at project level
Patrick Pringle and Declan Conway, Climate and Development September 2012 | doi: 10.1080/17565529.2012.707608

This paper examines the challenges and opportunities for NGOs to integrate climate change adaptation into development projects, focusing on the potential contribution of community-generated information. The research, undertaken with agricultural NGO FARM-Africa, centres upon subsistence farming communities in the Kenyan Districts of Mwingi and Kitui, where a succession of droughts has blighted agricultural production in recent years. Discussions with FARM-Africa staff highlight how recent climate variability and possibly climate change, is already affecting project-level operations. In particular, the interaction between the secondary impacts of climate hazards and livelihood responses presents a challenge to local staff as there is no obvious means of reflecting the complexity of local experiences and impacts within project planning processes. In response, drawing upon discussions with farmer groups, a matrix for each community was developed comprising environmental, social and agro-economic hazard (drought) consequence indicators and corresponding measures under ‘extreme’, ‘severe’ and ‘moderate’ scenarios. This paper concludes that a structured approach to gathering locally held knowledge on the consequences of climate hazards appears to present a potentially valuable means of exploring the complex web of interactions between climate, livelihoods and vulnerability. Such community-generated information can be used to inform future project planning and community decision making, increasing the likelihood of achieving locally appropriate adaptation outcomes. Read the abstract …