Setting up sustainable mechanisms in climate resilience fund
The project set up a resilience fund for preparing, financing, and monitoring the implementation of proposed sub-projects for producer organizations such as income-generating activities and strengthen the economic viability of households. To make the fund sustainable, the project collaborated with an existing national development fund, FNDASP, which provided multisectoral technical support to producer organizations, including implementation of CCA community-based plans. With contributions from the State via the Finance Law and from agro-pastoral production sector via levies, FNDASP’s capital facilitates the pooling of partners’ financial resources to double the initial allocation of the climate resilience fund. The FNDASP resilience fund is operational, and its revolving fund is accessible by producer organizations to support collective initiatives relating to adaptation to climate change. Ten producer organizations are funded through the resilience fund and their CCA projects are ongoing.
This innovative financing mechanism facilitates the scaling up of project achievements and promoting communities to be lead actors of CCA activities. For producer organizations to get the technical advice and support for their sub-projects in transparent manner, three supervision entities were installed: National Approval Committee to approve the sub-projects based on the technical advice; Regional Evaluation Committees to provide technical opinions on the sub-projects; and Local Animation Committees to support producer organizations in the identification, formulation, and advisory throughout implementation of their sub-projects.
People centered approaches leading to inclusive local engagement and climate action
The methodological alliance between FFS and Dimitra Clubs enabled the enhancement of technical skills, community empowerment and women’s leadership for resilience and climate change adaptation. FFS and Dimitra Clubs are socially inclusive because of their focus on smallholders, who are often among those more vulnerable, and their methods contribute to improving livelihoods and reducing rural poverty. Both participatory approaches were complementary: while FFS is transfered through the Dimitra Clubs to non FFS members and the whole community, Dimitra Clubs disseminated newly introduced practices to other villagers, including women and youth. There is around one FFS active in a village during agricultural/pastoral seasons, while there are four to six Dimitra Clubs in a village, and they are active all year. Learning from FFS is transfered through the Dimitra Clubs to non FFS members and the whole community, amplifying the impact of FFS through members while strengthening women’s role and knowledge exchange within a village.
FFS and Dimitra Clubs empowered local communities to strengthen their resilience against shocks like climate change and pandemics. Moussa Diop, Club Dimitra Leader at Koulor village said: “The project through the Dimitra Clubs did not come to solve our problems, but it shows us how to lift our constraints by our own means and our capabilities. With the Dimitra Clubs, transparency and communication are strengthened within the community and this is the way of our stability and development.” These dynamic and community-driven platforms have proven to be successful approaches to encourage behavioral change and agile responses to threats. FFS and Dimitra Clubs were active and engaged on COVID-19 awareness through their engagement with the community and their connection on WhatsApp for information sharing. The project demonstrates how people in villages can become real agents of change through participatory approaches.
Strong partnership with government agencies enabling climate mainstreaming and sustainability of outcomes
The project was successful thanks to strong partnerships with relevant government agencies including ANACIM, ANCAR, CSE, Department of Environment and Classified Establishments and FNDASP. Harnessing the different technical expertise of these agencies was critical for: analyzing climate information; leading the multidisciplinary working group; broadcasting meteorological information to farmers and field school facilitators; strengthening farmer organizations; capacity building on adapted seed production; providing extension services with CCA; following up with famers trained through field schools; climate vulnerability analysis; characterization of pastoral units; capitalization of CCA practices; mapping natural resources in sylvo-pastoral zones; mainstreaming CCA in national policies and local development plans; and operationalization of the resilient funds and capitalization of the project results.
While working with local farmers and herders on the ground, the project simultaneously mainstreamed these CCA good practices into local and national policies, strategies, and action plans to scale up tangible results at both field and policy levels. The project established a high-level intersectoral group in the National Climate Change Committee, which then defined and adopted the CCA strategies and resilience agenda to be mainstreamed into policies, programs, and projects based on experience on the ground. The Regional Climate Change Committee was revitalized through a capacity-building program based on: (i) the integration of the climate change dimension in planning and budgeting, (ii) the development of a feasible plan of action; and (iii) the preparation of financial resource mobilization strategies for a regional policy dialogue on climate change to monitor, evaluate and submit CCA projects.
As a result, the climate change dimension, together with gender, migration, and nutrition, was integrated into the National Guide for Local Planning for the communal development plans. A policy brief “Agro-sylvo-Pastoral sector & climate change in Senegal” was prepared, eight action plans integrating CCA strategies were developed for producers organizations in the Sylvo-pastoral zone, and nine action plans were developed in the Groundnuts basin and Eastern Senegal, resulting in 27 Farmers Organizations integrating CCA strategies.
Effective engagement with CSOs and community radio stations helping outreach to communities
Collaboration with a variety of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) was vital for successful implementation of the innovative approach such as the Dimitra Clubs. Trusted CSOs initiated dialogues with villagers and explained the Dimitra Clubs concept, and partnership with community radio stations in rural areas helped Dimitra Clubs mobilize local communities and amplify the voice to women, youth, and other vulnerable people. Local radio stations, which broadcast in local languages, play a pivotal role as a source of information in local communities and helped Dimitra Clubs members reach broader audiences by broadcasting their good practices and results obtained.
Saré Boubou, Tambacounda Region @De Mol/FAO
References and multimedia
Mid Term Review: https://www.thegef.org/project/mainstreaming-ecosystem-based-approaches-climate-resilient-rural-livelihoods-vulnerable
Project Document: https://www.thegef.org/sites/default/files/project_documents/08-31-15_Project_Document_PAD_0.pdf
FAO. 2019. Farmers taking the lead—Thirty years of farmer field schools. Rome, http://www.fao.org/3/ca5131en/ca5131en.pdf
FAO. 2016. Farmer Field School Guidance Document. http://www.fao.org/3/i5296e/i5296e.pdf
Video: Dimitra Clubs, Stepping Stones towards Climate Change Resilient Communities in Rural Senegal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7aWWtDbI5Y
Chizuru Aoki, Lead Environmental Specialist, GEF, email@example.com
Stefano Mondovi, Agricultural Officer, Farmer Field Schools, Plant Production and Protection Division, FAO, Stefano.Mondovi@fao.org
Christiane Monsieur, Dimitra Clubs’ Programme Coordinator, Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equality Division, FAO, Christiane.Monsieur@fao.org
Mame Diene, Policy and Institutions Expert, FAO Representative in Senegal, FAO, firstname.lastname@example.org