Climate Change Risks – The Role of Partnerships

A partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. This means that a partnership addresses shared or common needs. Partnerships exist within, and across sectors. In the case of the Adapt2T project, partnerships have been established between private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), local authorities and government ministries so as to increase the likelihood of each achieving its mission and to amplify their reach.

In Nandi Hills, Kenya, the ROA process identified the main contributors to climate change as: destruction of forests and water catchments, poor soils due to over-use of chemical fertilisers, poor waste disposal, poor agricultural practices, poor soils, little water availability, and lack of information.

Producer members of Sireet Outgrowers Empowerment Project (Sireet OEP) and other stakeholders, identified the following ways to address the risks and resulting impacts on tea production and the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers in the Nandi region:

  • crop diversification;
  • environmental education and capacity building to address inappropriate farming methods;
  • enhanced water management to address changes in rains and water availability;
  • maintenance and expansion of forest cover as the activities they would carry out so as to be able to address the increase in temperature and changes in the rain patterns.

The various institutions that were represented in the ROA workshop offered to work with Sireet OEP. So far, Sireet OEP has partnered with the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment and that of Livestock Development and Fisheries. Other partners include Kenya Forestry Service and Eastern Produce Ltd.

While the cooperation with the government ministries started before the climate change adaptation activities, the Adapt2T project brought a new dimension to this partnership. Before the climate change activities started, the cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture focused on farming as a business including training in farm business planning, record keeping, and group dynamics and leadership. The climate change adaptation activities brought the Ministry of Environment and the Kenya Forestry Services on board with support for tree nursery establishment and management and provision of tree seedling for planting. The training in the construction of energy saving stoves was supported by GIZ, the German Agency for International Cooperation, which trained 15 members of Sireet OEP who are now constructing stoves for the different households in the area at a fee.

Over 100 stoves have been constructed by two smallholder producers, Amos Chirichir and Clara Jerono Bett within only a period of only three and half months. The construction of the stoves is being promoted as an income generating activity so as to ensure sustainability. Kitchen gardens too which were initially only promoted for household vegetable consumption are now being promoted for income generation. Sireet OEP provides fuel to enable government extension staff to go out to work with the smallholder producers. Through the partnership with the government ministries, there is also promotion of bee-keeping, dairy farming and poultry keeping.

The collaboration with the government ministries has also led to the increased participation of women in the activities of Sireet OEP. The Ministry of Agriculture is carrying out sensitisation on gender issues with a focus on sharing benefits from agricultural activities and empowerment of women who are now increasingly participating in group discussions and in the trainings conducted by the Ministry. The Ministry of Agriculture and Sireet OEP initially had a challenges of working together. Sireet OEP provided facilitation to the Ministry to be able to organise a Stakeholders’ Forum which brought together the different stakeholders in the agriculture sector for joint planning information sharing. As a result, different stakeholders are now working together and hold field days and also mark special days such as World Food Day.

In the Rwenzori Region, six institutions including NGOs and private companies have partnered with Mpanga Growers’ Tea Factory Limited (MGTFL) and formed a consortium, the Mpanga River Catchment Climate Change Consortium which brings various stakeholders together to address the challenges smallholder producers in the Rwenzori Region are faced with as a result of climate change. They include Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE), Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC), Tooro Botanical Gardens (TBC), Protos, Mpanga Hydro Power Plant and CARE International.
Through the ROA process, the member producers of Sireet OEP identified increased water shortage and water pollution; drying of springs and streams; increased runoff water due to loss of top soils; decreasing soil fertility; air pollution; loss of ecosystems (up to an estimate of 30% of the existing species) as the climate change impacts that were being experienced in the region. They also noted that there were more incidences of pest and disease attacks; new pests and diseases in the region; increased occurrence of mosquitoes and malaria, degraded soils; and decreased agricultural production.

The participants in the ROA process further identified deforestation and clearing of natural vegetation; drainage of swamps; application poor farming methods such as inadequate and excessive fertiliser use and burning practices; ignorance or lack of environmental education; and contamination of water through inadequate use and disposal of agrochemicals as the major causes of climate change.

In order to address the above challenges, the stakeholders agreed to:

  • create awareness on the causes and impact of climate change on human activities;
  • sensitise communities and local authorities on the importance of water bodies including river banks and swamps;
  • maintaining and increasing forest cover through afforestation and reforestation;
  • securing sustainable agricultural production through the introduction of soil and water conservation, soil fertility management and, in the case of tea growers, diversification of crops in order to ensure household food security.

The ROA process was the starting point in getting the various stakeholders in the Rwenzori Region to realize the need for addressing the effects of climate change on the livelihoods of smallholder producers. KRC took the next step by inviting the various stakeholders to participate in a training aimed at equipping participants with skills to enable them to support smallholder farmers to be able to cope with the climate change risks. It was after this training that Mpanga River Catchment Climate Change Consortium (MRCC) was formed. The Consortium has developed a 2-year project aimed at improving environmental sustainability, reducing carbon emissions and protecting key water shades in the region through improved biodiversity, awareness to climate change adaptation mechanisms and livelihood improvement for the people in the immediate Mpanga catchment ecosystem.

The project will focus on:

  • Community awareness on climate change adaptation strategies with at least 6 adaptation strategies piloted in the community around the Mpanga catchment ecosystem;
  • Re-introduction of over 100,000 indigenous trees and 2,000 fruit trees;
  • Identifying and piloting 3 alternative sources of livelihoods among 500 households;
  • Stimulating the local community members in the Mpanga catchment ecosystem to demand for accountability from various stakeholders within the catchment.

The budget for the project is Ushs 324,212,000 (£74,311) which the different stakeholders will contribute to and also approach their respective funding partners for support so as to be able to realize the objectives of the project.

Since MGTFL is making preparations for certification by the Rainforest Alliance, this partnership for climate change adaptation is timely as it will complement the already running activities. Most importantly, it will reduce the related costs. MGTFL has also had challenges of leaf diversion and decreased farmer loyalty resulting mainly from farmers having no other source of income. Given the fact that some of the partners including KRC and JESE address household income and food security, the tea smallholder producers will be able to boost their household incomes hence reduced leaf diversion.

JESE also partnered with MGTFL to create awareness on climate change mitigation and adaptation through radio programmes and has secured funding from their major donor, HIVOS for a biogas project. In partnership with MGTFL, JESE will construct 380 digesters with the farmers contributing Ushs 600,000 (£150) which they can secure from MGTFL’s savings and credit scheme. MGTFL and Sireet OEP are also going to partner with SNV on the same initiative.

Given the fact that Sireet OEP and MGTFL only finalised their adaptation strategies in December 2011 and January 2012 respectively, there is no doubt that the partnerships they have created with the different stakeholders have been instrumental in fast-tracking the awareness creation and the climate change adaptation interventions. The synergy that has been built with the different stakeholders will lead to the up-scaling and replication as well as the sustainability of the interventions that have been initiated by the Adapt2T project.