Published | 9th June 2018

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Practical Guide to Participatory Scenario Planning: Seasonal climate information for resilient decision-making

Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) for seasonal climate forecast decision making is an approach to collaborative design and delivery of seasonal user-centred climate information services developed by CARE International’s Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP). The PSP approach has been documented, implemented in Kenya, Ghana and Niger through ALP, adopted by the Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) in all 47 counties in Kenya and by CARE and other organisations in a total of 12 countries. Based on this popular demand and the recommendations from an impact assessment of PSP, CARE, in collaboration with ASDSP and the Kenya Meteorological Department, has developed a detailed practical guide to support knowledge and quality implementation, and to upscale PSP.

The PSP guide provides practical and easy-to-follow guidance for readers to gain:

  1. A good understanding of the PSP approach and its contribution to leverage climate information as a valuable resource for decision making and planning for climate resilient and sustainable agriculture and wider development;
  2. Conceptual and practical knowledge of the steps in the PSP process and how to facilitate the process in different contexts;
  3. Comprehensive reference material, and examples to support quality assurance of the PSP approach and process as implemented in different contexts; and
  4. Information for use in promoting widespread adoption, upscaling and replication of PSP in Africa and beyond, contributing to the design and development of innovative climate information services that are responsive to diverse and changing local decision-making needs.

The guide is structured in an easily navigable way and is a useful resource for all PSP stakeholders, including from government ministries/departments in agriculture and other climate-sensitive sectors (such as water, environment, energy, health, development, disaster risk management); organisations working in adaptation and climate resilience programmes; national meteorological and hydrological services; value-chain stakeholders in agriculture and other sectors; and communities and other institutions.

Each chapter can also be downloaded as a standalone document. Click the chapters below to download:

Chapter 1 introduces PSP in the context of climate resilience and makes a case for the need for climate information in decision making and planning for different sectors.

Chapter 2 presents key concepts in climate services.

Chapter 3 presents the conceptual elements of participatory scenario planning used in the guide.

Chapters 4 to 8 are introduced collectively and provide practical guidance for facilitating the 5 steps in the PSP process. Each of these practical step chapters are colour coded and structured in the same way, including the purpose and expected outcomes of the step, duration, budgeting guidance, key concepts, theoretical explanations, practical implementation ‘how to’ guidance, and brief case studies.

Chapter 4, Step 1 Initiate and design the PSP process
Chapter 5, Step 2 Prepare and plan for a PSP workshop
Chapter 6, Step 3 Facilitate the multi-stakeholder PSP forum
Chapter 7, Step 4 Communicate with impact
Chapter 8, Step 5 Monitoring, feedback and learning

Chapter 9 deals with the linkage between PSP and regional processes for climate information services in Africa and takes the reader through suggested next steps for implementing and scaling-up PSP in Africa.

Annexes contain examples that demonstrate theoretical or practical aspects of certain concepts or steps in the PSP process.

The guide is the product of six years of work developing and refining the PSP approach, training practitioners and meteorologists, monitoring the outcome and impacts to see how PSP has supported access to climate information and informed adaptation decisions, and supporting its adoption and upscaling. The guide has a special focus on implementation of PSP to support climate-resilient decision making in agriculture, which is one of the most climate-sensitive sectors as lives, livelihoods and economies depend on agriculture in many sub-Saharan Africa countries. The focus on agriculture (i.e. crops, livestock and fisheries) allows us to demonstrate the practical application of PSP to enable understanding and replication of the approach. PSP can, however, be used as a seasonal decision-support tool in all other climate-sensitive sectors. It also demonstrates how PSP supports decisions at a local government level, but which are informed by and responsive to the information needs of all actors, and able to recognise gender and vulnerability differences that impact on people’s ability to adapt to change. The guide is a timely contribution to support the current rapid development of user centred climate services and supporting projects.

The guide was developed through a partnership between CARE International’s Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) and the Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) in the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

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