Assessing participatory initiatives with pastoral communities in Ethiopia
The IIED Climate Change Working Paper 6 “The role of community-based natural resource management in climate change adaptation in Ethiopia“ assesses the role of participatory community-based natural resource management initiatives taken by Save the Children (SC) with pastoral communities in the lowlands of Borana and Guji zones in Ethiopia in contributing to climate change adaptation. It describes the application of an assessment methodology adapted by the IIED Climate Change Group and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) on the basis of an M&E framework for community-based adaptation developed by ARCAB (Action Research on Community Adaptation in Bangladesh). Similar sites that also suffered from drought and had the same history of development and humanitarian interventions, but had no SC interventions, were visited for comparative purposes.
Results showed that much has been done at the SC sites towards moving from conventional approaches to development (and adaptation to climate variability including disaster risk reduction) to “transformative development” approaches that empower local people and support bottom-up, participatory, flexible decision-making and planning processes within a strong institutional context. It became apparent that more attention must be paid to merging local knowledge and meaningful scientific information on potential longer-term climate change impacts.
Comparison with a site without SC interventions suggests that these interventions contributed to reducing livelihood vulnerability and increasing resilience of the pastoralists by leaving behind a legacy of empowered people more able to cope with and adapt to current climate variability risk through “good” development and improved institutional governance.
The paper also outlines the lessons learnt and recommendations generated from applying the assessment methodology at the study sites.