Concern Worldwide and its partners are running a programme focusing on building community resilience amongst 280,000 people to the effects of regular droughts in West Darfur and Eastern Chad. Key components include: increasing access to basic services; climate smart agriculture and the development of early warning systems. The programme aims to produce evidence on the effective strategies to support building resilience; in support of existing policies and providing information to contribute towards policy formulation at national governments.
Under BRACED, Concern Worldwide and its partners, The World Agro Forestry Organisation, The Feinstein Center and Al Massar are implementing a multi sector integrated programme in West Darfur and Eastern Chad to increase the resilience of communities to climate extremes and disasters.
By changing household and community behavior alongside strengthening local institutions and governance structures such as the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, the programme aims to generate evidence of real, practical change and increased resilience to cope with drought. This evidence will be used to influence national policy level dialogue and ultimate the aim is to motivate governments to prioritize interventions that build resilience.
Firstly, partners will focus on improving and protecting any existing asset base for communities. This is mainly through subsistence farming or pastoralism. This will be done through improvements in agricultural production based on climate-smart techniques, including conservation agriculture (CA). This will include:
- The introduction of crop-friendly trees to provide mulch and improve soil fertility
- Homestead gardening to improve the nutritional variety of available foodstuffs
- the promotion of wild and domestic fruits which facilitates the recovery of wild trees and enhances the availability of fodder and the survival of animals during droughts
The programme will also focus on improvements in water and soil management to increase food production. Communities will be taught simple techniques to capture rainwater and increase infiltration to improve water availability during the dry season. Through supporting Community Animal Health Workers and pastoralists the production of livestock will be supported.
Coupled with protecting and improving the asset base of vulnerable groups better health outcomes will also be delivered. There will be increasing the provision of nutrition services and improved access to safe and sustainable water sources. The programme will target:
- Encouraging appropriate infant and young child feeding
- Water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, through community led total sanitation (CLTS) and participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation (PHAST)
- Community Conversations that will entail regular, facilitated community discussions to strengthen conflict prevention mechanisms through dialogue on natural resources and livestock mobility and strengthen regional and local stakeholders’ knowledge on pastoralism.
Change also needs to come in the social and behavioural realms, and therefore in a culturally sensitive way, efforts will be made to engage women and men on issues of gender equality. The participation of women in decision-making and dialogue processes will be supported by engaging with traditional leaders as well the general male population. Engaging men and promoting positive masculinities to foster relationships of mutual respect and non-violence will be achieved through the targeting of key role models and change agents in communities.
Parallel to these activities is the establishment of an Early Warning System (EWS) building on existing work in Chad collecting data on key indicators (markets, livestock disease, coping strategies, illness incidence), and in Sudan, utilising the Darfur Development and Reconstruction Agency’s (DRA) market monitoring and trade analysis project, which incorporates a community-based market monitoring network.
A key area of focus of the programme is the linkage between communities, state and national levels in terms of services and providing evidence to support national level policy and programmes thereby ensuring impact and sustainable approached to to climate change.