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Pitch

Adapting agriculture to changing and increasingly variable conditions requires engaging multiple generations in locally-focused learning.


Description

Summary

One of the biggest challenges for adaptation is local-level understanding of climate change and adaptation. Climate information without contextualization, however, is often ineffective. While local people directly experience weather trends and impacts, rarely are there resources or opportunities for people to connect this experience to a broader understanding of climate change. Discussion of climate change throughout a community builds the knowledge, motivation, and adaptive capacity necessary to effectively adapt to changing conditions. Bringing together multiple generations to combine traditional ecological knowledge with climate science ensures robust and on-going dialogue and learning.

With the goal of enhancing traditional ecological calendars with information from climate science, this project will:

  • Support locally-focused climate change adaptation (CCA) curriculum in schools. An important part of the curriculum is children interviewing their families, particularly farmers and elders, about the traditional ecological calendar; local weather trends, impacts, and current adaptation efforts; and ideas for additional agriculture adaptation efforts. The curriculum includes synthesis of the local knowledge children gather with area weather data and climate science. Children share this synthesis with their families to promote feedback and on-going discussion.
  • Engage farmers in Farmer Field Schools (FFS) that focus on experimentation with adaptation options. The FFS will include deliberate discussion with elders and children of the traditional ecological calendar and how new knowledge from local observation and climate science can inform updating the calendar to current and future conditions.
  • Initiate on-going cross generational dialogue about the traditional ecological calendar and climate change trends, impacts, and agricultural adaptation measures through holding discussion forums and providing locally relevant climate change information in local languages and holding.


Category of the action

Adaptation


Who will take these actions?

There key actors at the local, sub-national, and national level. Locally are elders, farmers, school children, and teachers. At the sub-national level are government or non-government agriculture extension services. At the sub-national or national level are community-focused NGOs. At the national level are the Ministries of Education and Agriculture in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Primary Roles

Elders: Reflect and share information on the traditional ecological calendar, historic weather conditions and how they have changed, impacts to agriculture associated with changing weather conditions, past ways of adapting agriculture to local changes; and ideas for future agriculture adaptation efforts.

Farmers: Actively participate in FFS. Engage in dialogue and share knowledge with elders and school children.

Children: Actively engage in the school climate change adaptation curriculum. Initiate discussion about learning with family members and neighbors.

Agriculture extension: Facilitate FFS focused on adaptation efforts and evolving the traditional ecological calendar.

Teachers: Attend training on CCA curriculum and facilitate curriculum in schools.

NGOs: Develop and facilitate school CCA curriculum. Coordinate this curriculum with national Ministry of Education for approval. Work with and train local teachers. Work with agricultural extension to ensure appropriate facilitation of FFS. If agriculture extension services are not available, directly facilitate FFS.

Agricultural Extension: Facilitate FFS focused on traditional ecological calendar and experimenting with adaptation efforts.

Ministry of Education: Oversee, approve, support, and potentially up scaling project efforts.

Ministry of Agriculture: Oversee, approve, support, and potentially up scaling project efforts.


What are other key benefits?

The most significant benefit of the project is building locally informed engagement with and understanding of climate change and adaptation. This will support the on-going evolution of the traditional ecological calendar to reflect changing conditions and thus inform productive agricultural practices. The evolution of the calendar will be informed by multiple generations and carried forth by children as they become farmers, elders, and leaders.

Additional key benefits are promoting an active and connected civil society; better-informed teachers and agricultural extension; and national level awareness of the possibilities for supporting local level agriculture adaptation efforts.


What are the proposal’s costs?

Costs are dependent on the number of villages included in the project. Costs include:

  • Funding for NGO work on curriculum development, teacher training, curriculum facilitation, coordination with national ministries and agricultural extension services, and initiating discussion groups and climate change materials in local languages.
  • Funding for additional travel and/or work by agricultural extension.

 

There are no anticipated negative side effects of the proposed actions.


Time line

All project activities described will be initiated in the short-term. First is curriculum development and rollout and supporting the associated family and community dialog. Next is the FFS and finally, the on-going discussion forums and local language climate change materials and information.

With sufficient local interest and limited external support for curriculum updating and translation of current climate change information, the project activities would continue into the medium and long term.


Related proposals

The proposals for “agricultural tips on radios and mobiles” https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1301102/planId/1313404 and the “crowd sourcing via SMS” https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1301102/planId/1313507 would be excellent sources of information to be discussed and utilized in the FFS.

The proposal for a “game to promote/teach body calendars” https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1301102/planId/1312701 could be used in school curriculum and/or in FFS to promote understanding consequences of particular agricultural practices in the context of climate change and weather variability.


References

Adger, W. N., S. Huq, K. Brown, D. Conway & M. Hulme, 2003. Adaptation to climate change in the developing world. Progress in Development Studies 3,3 (2003) pp. 179–195.

Fiske, S.J., Crate, S.A., Crumley, C.L., Galvin, K., Lazrus, H., Lucero, L. Oliver-Smith, A., Orlove, B., Strauss, S., Wilk, R. 2014. Changing the Atmosphere. Anthropology and Climate Change. Final report of the AAA Global Climate Change Task Force, 137 pp. December 2014. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association. 

Heyd, T. & N. Brooks, 2009. Exploring cultural dimensions of adaptation to climate change. Chapter 17 In: Adapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance, eds. W. Neil Adger, Irene Lorenzoni and Karen O’Brien. Published by Cambridge University Press. © Cambridge University Press 2009.

Jones, L., E. Ludi, & S. Levine, 2010. Towards a characterisation of adaptive capacity: a framework for analysing adaptive capacity at the local level. Overseas Development Institute. Background Note, December 2010.

Tschakert, P., and K. A. Dietrich. 2010. Anticipatory learning for climate change adaptation and resilience. Ecology and Society 15(2):11.