CIARE: Supporting communities in Ethiopia to overcome the negative impact of climate change

  • Countries of Operation: Ethiopia
What are the main aims of the programme?

The programme aims to build the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate extremes and disasters in high risk locations of Ethiopia. These include droughts, floods, extreme temperatures and extreme precipitation.

We will work in a consortium of six partners to:

• improve access to reliable climate information through the use of text messaging and public service announcements on local radio stations;
• maximise key assets such as livestock produce and other sources;
• increase the capacity of local communities to respond to climate threats through training and the development of disaster response plans;
• better understand the specific impact of climate extremes on women and girls in order to plan a sustainable response to each of these challenges.

Why does Ethiopia need this support?

Ethiopia is experiencing increasing trends of climate extremes, coupled with an increase in vulnerability as peoples’ livelihood base is eroded. Access to reliable climate information is not sufficient at present and many local actors urgently require increased capacity to counteract these predicted long term changes.

Barriers to communities responding to climate-related shocks include misconceptions and a lack of knowledge surrounding the causes of problems such as drought; attitudes and social norms among some groups which discourage changes, such as livestock reduction and crop diversification; as well as low levels of resources to respond to these threats.

Across target woredas, or areas, women are often excluded from discussions and decision-making around livelihoods.

 

How does the programme involve local partners and communities?

The programme brings together a wide range of local partners and utilises a mix of participatory methods. For example, we will work with government stakeholders and communities to create reliable climate information which will be used to interpret and respond to climate extremes. We will also work with local service providers such as radio stations to enable the, to produce and disseminate this information.

 

Where are we focusing our efforts in Ethiopia?

We are focusing on 7 primary woredas: South Omo Zone, Borena Zone, Arsi Zone, East Hararge Zone and 5 secondary woredas in the Orimiya State.

We assume a reach of 90% of radio listeners in the primary woredas, which will be supplemented by on-the-ground publicity, led by BBC Media Action.

 

What is the role of the members of the consortium?

Christian Aid: main implementing partner with oversight for the work of the programme.

BBC Media Action: design and implementation of the communications strategy, focused on local radio.

Action Aid Ethiopia: implementation of practical resilience activities, as outlined below.

King’s College London: thematic research and monitoring and evaluation of outputs.

National Meteorology Agency (NMA): development and implementation of systems and processes to improve climate forecasting and user friendly climate information for at risk populations.

Met Office (UK): support to NMA to develop systems and processes necessary to improve climate forecasting.

Who are we working with in Ethiopia?

The programme will primarily focus on those living in pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in seven target woredas, as listed above. This will include socio-professionals such as farmers and herders and vulnerable groups, primarily women and girls.

Due to their prime responsibility of caring for the household, women are the most immediately affected group as they tend to prioritise their children and other family members and reduce what they eat. Women often take on extra activities to support the family during times of climatic stress - for example, opting for small trading on top of their workload in the household. In addition, women and girls have to travel longer distances in search of water as climate extremes affect water availability.

We have calculated the total reach of climate information, promotion activities and resilience radio programming in the seven primary intervention woredas to be 553,151 people and in the five secondary woredas to be 238,379 people, totalling 791,530 people.

 

How will we reach our audiences?

We will be utilising text messaging and radio to disseminate climate information from the Climate Science Institutions (CSI) to target woredas. This will include specific and reliable weather forecasts in local languages through radio. There will also be a range of participatory elements to the programme, in order to share best practice within target communities.

 

What will we be doing?

The project will include, but not be limited to, such exercises as:

  • the installation and analysis of rain gauges, providing farmers with the knowledge to use rainfall records to determine appropriate planting time, based on acceptable soil moisture levels;
  • analysis of the full range of climate risks, including, for example, different categories of drought;
  • integrated and participatory watershed management;
  • small scale irrigation;
  • empowerment schemes for women, providing increased understanding of crop productivity and access to markets;
  • livestock health improvement practices.

 

When will we be implementing the programme?

The programme will run from January 2015 – December 2017, over a 36-month period.

 

What is Christian Aid’s communications role?

As the lead consortium partner, Christian Aid will be responsible for capturing and amplifying the voices of citizens and communities through participatory communications techniques. We will ensure transparent messaging, a clear programme identity and appropriate communication channels, which enable stakeholders to engage with the vision and purpose of the programme.

More information on this project and other work by Christian Aid on resiliency can be found on their new website: Resilient Livelihoods Learning Space.

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