The effects of climate change are quite evident; the changing weather patterns that have a direct impact on food security and ecosystem services. The rural communities that rely on these ecosystems for their livelihoods are most vulnerable. How then can these communities take charge of their adaptation strategies?
The Work Package 7 of the CHIESA project “Elaboration of Adaptation strategies” focuses on developing tools and strategies that are necessary to decrease the vulnerability of these rural communities to the effects of climate change. It is in support of this goal that the project has been guiding the communities in the target areas to develop community-based climate change adaptation plans.
These workshops were held in Taita hills (Kenya) and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) project sites on February 10th-12th and February 16th -17th respectively and took place at the Uhuru Lutheran Hotel in Moshi, and at the Lavender Garden Hotel in Wundanyi.
The effects of climate change vary in magnitude with the different community groups therefore the need to ensure that their needs are well articulated and relevant solutions considered. To ensure fair and equal representation in the process, the participants comprised of local farmers, extension officers, women groups, people with special needs and representatives from the county government ministries. These sessions were a continuation of previous seminars held in 2014 that identified the main problems caused by the effects of climate change.
Each of the two project sites had unique problems to their areas. In Taita hills the main problem identified was the changing water quality and quantity and the reduction in the food yields that greatly contributed to and increased poverty and hunger/malnutrition. For the Kilimanjaro area the issue identified was droughts and floods that were compromising food security upstream and downstream of the Miwaleni area.
During both workshops, the participants, with the guidance of Dr. Tino Johansson and Ms. Emma Owidi from CHIESA, were able to group the causes of climate change in terms of immediate; underlying and root causes and also grouping the effects in terms of short term effects (less than 3 years) and long term effects(more than three years). The discussions were held in both plenary and group sessions which allowed the participants to exchange ideas and consult among each other.
In their groups the they identified the groups; sectors and economic activities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The participants identified and reviewed the consequences of climate change and identified possible solutions to these problems. They then prioritized the suggested solutions and identified the local capacity and the institutions best placed to implement the prioritized solutions.
The nest step in the development of the adaptation plans will be to review the process and the draft adaptation plan that will be presented to the decision-makers.