on 7th September 2014

Adaptation Learning Programme delivers positive impacts for climate-vulnerable communities

The CARE-implemented Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa (ALP) delivered a range of positive impacts for vulnerable communities in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, according to an annual review by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

ALP, which operates in Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique and Niger, is one of CARE’s flagship climate change programmes. It focuses on increasing the capacity of thousands of people to adapt to climate variability and change through community-based adaptation (CBA) approaches.

The review, carried out by DFID as one of the programme’s key donors, showed that ALP is having a positive impact on vulnerable households in its target countries. More than 650,000 people have benefitted from CBA strategies promoted by ALP; 25,400 people are benefiting from livelihoods and adaptation strategies informed by CBA approaches, and there has been an increase in the numbers of men and women implementing CBA who report positive shifts in gender equity.

Fiona Percy, Coordinator of the ALP programme, said:

“This review is good news for the communities we are working with across Sub-Saharan Africa. The impacts of climate change are exacerbating economic crises, natural disasters and environmental degradation, adding an additional layer of uncertainty and risk to the complex challenges of poverty and inequality. That’s why increasing the capacity of vulnerable people to adapt to the impacts of climate vulnerability and change, based on their own priorities and decisions, is essential for sustaining development progress and future economic growth in Africa.”

According to the DFID review, ALP’s key achievements in 2013 include:

  • Increasing the number of people supported to diversify their livelihoods strategies, for example through scaling up village savings and loans associations (VSLA) in Ghana which are used for agricultural inputs and small enterprise development; promotion of conversation agriculture techniques through farmer field schools in Mozambique; consolidation and expansion of petty trade and group farms among three agro-pastoral communities in Kenya, and legal recognition of crop warrantage groups in Niger.
  • Uptake of Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) climate communication models across all counties in Kenya via the Kenya Meteorological Service (KMS) and in ALP sites in Ghana which support informed decision-making on livelihoods and Disaster Risk Reduction actions.
  • Improved Disaster Risk Reduction plans in all four countries, including using information disseminated in PSPs to improve early warning and planning, for example in Kenya where losses from floods during the 2013 rainy season were minimised due to preparedness activities.
  • Shifts in gender dynamics in all ALP communities, including diversification of women into traditionally male-only livelihood activities, greater involvement of women in decision making and planning and increased access to land and resources.
  • Integration of community based adaptation into local plans and national adaptation strategies in all ALP countries, and national development planning guidelines in Ghana where ALP has trained Planning and Budgeting Officers in all 206 Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assemblies (MMDAs) on CBA.
  • Learning and training events are leading to outreach and replication with other organisations in all ALP countries and beyond, demonstrating a growing appreciation and demand for CBA.
  • Influencing the African regional policy position to reflect principals and commitments of CBA at the AMCEN (African Ministerial Conference on the Environment) and the UN climate change talks in Warsaw in 2013 (COP19), resulting in a request to governments to urgently scale up support for the implementation of adaptation measures and national adaptation plans with a focus on CBA.

 As ALP moves into its fifth and final year, it aims to:

  • Create and strengthen systems for climate information services, CBA planning and monitoring so that in future communities, local and national actors can continue to integrate adaptation into their planning processes and ensure this can be replicated across Africa. This includes providing training to a CARE programme team and partners in Ethiopia.
  • Influence the African agenda on climate smart agriculture to promote importance of access to climate information and integration of CBA into local agriculture planning in the build up to Ban Ki-moon’s summit on climate change to be held in New York in September 2014.
  • Influence the integration of gender equality, community based adaptation and climate information in adaptation finance in the build up to a new climate deal, scheduled to be agreed at COP20 in Paris in 2015.
  • Increase documentation and dissemination of ALP’s learning on approaches and impacts of CBA.


Key challenges also remain as the ALP programme draws to a close including:

  • Underlying poverty and vulnerability. Community based adaptation alone may not result in significant changes to poverty and resilience if the underlying drivers of poverty and vulnerability (including land tenure security, high levels of debt and inequality, lack of government investment in infrastructure and basic services in marginalised vulnerable places) are not tackled more broadly by multiple actors.
  • Sustainability. Continued adoption and replication of community based adaptation is a challenge. Without additional resources, motivation and political will, further adoption and up scaling by local governments, partners and others is likely to be difficult.


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