Building local institutional frameworks that enable farmer-led adaptationGhana, Kenya, Mozambique and Niger


From 2010 to 2014, CARE International implemented the Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa (ALP) in 40 communities in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Niger. It aimed at building the adaptive capacity of vulnerable households. In Ghana, the ALP programme was implemented at both the community and district levels. At the community level, Community Adaptation Action Plans were introduced in support of local farming practices. At the district level, community-based adaptation was integrated into local agriculture and development plans, as well as associated government extension work. Mechanisms include the Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) approach and the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs).

Relationship to CSA

The PSP combines the knowledge and information of farmers and experts to provide seasonal climate forecasting (CARE 2014b). 1 This, in turn, provides a basis for longer-term planning of crops and farming cycles, which reduces vulnerability to climate risks and facilitates a transition towards more productive agriculture (CARE 2014a). 2 The VSLAs are self-funded microfinancing initiatives that support risk reduction through the diversification of agriculture and livelihoods. Significantly, the VSLAs have also come to act as a forum for farmers' own dissemination of technologies and knowledge on agricultural adaptation.

Impacts and lesson learned

ALP programme activities in Ghana have contributed to the establishment of an enabling institutional framework for household and community adaptation in the project sites. Through this framework, farmers have been equipped to engage proactively in adaptive agricultural practices on their own account. VSLAs play a particularly important role as a vehicle for self-driven adaptation within communities because they address an issue of key interest and need, namely, access to capital and new ideas. Meanwhile, PSP forecasting has been successful in bringing together communities, the district assembly and technical experts in climate forecasting and agricultural planning. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has adopted the PSP approach and is integrating it into their sectorial policy. Likewise, the district assemblies in the project areas have integrated the Community Adaptation Action Plans into their Medium Term Development Plans for 2014-2017. On their own indicatives, they have also expanded the CAAP process from 4 to 98 communities (Ibid).


  • 1

    CARE. 2014b. Facing Uncertainty: the value of climate information for adaptation, risk reduction and resilience in Africa. Nairobi, Kenya: CARE International.

    This document explains why and how climate information is a valuable resource for rural communities and those working with them in confronting climate variability and change. It is based on lessons from the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), implemented by CARE International, together with the national meteorological services in Ghana, Kenya and Niger. The document will help those working in adaptation, agriculture, sustainable development, disaster risk reduction (DRR), resilience and other climate-sensitive sectors to connect with and use meteorological services and other sources of climate information. It demonstrates how climate information can inform decision making, planning and policy development in these areas and ensure results are climate resilient.

  • 2

    CARE. 2014a. Decision-making for climate resilient livelihoods and risk reduction: A Participatory Scenario Planning approach. Nairobi, Kenya: CARE International. The Adaptation Learning Programme supports improved communication of climate information to vulnerable rural communities and local governments as a key element of community based adaptation to climate change impacts. Participatory scenario planning, or PSP, is one approach which uses seasonal climate forecasts to inform decisions for more resilient livelihoods and risk management, thereby strengthening adaptive capacity. PSP workshops create a multi-stakeholder platform for collective interpretation of meteorological and local forecasts and their probability and uncertainty. This brief describes the PSP process and its outcomes and benefits. PSPs in Kenya and Ghana have already resulted in enhanced relations between meteorologists and local actors, flexible locally owned decision making and greater confidence in local knowledge and innovation.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

Case studies

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