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    Seasonal forecasting Seasonal forecasting Document Transcript

    • CCAA LEARNING PAPER Edited by: Gina Ziervogel, Alfred Opere Contributing authors: Ignitius Chagonda Jacob Churi Amadou Dieye Integrating meteorological and Keziya Magawa, a Boris Houenou farmer with Nazareti Womens’ Group, tends Said Hounkponoumaize in a field school in Chibelela, Tanzania. indigenous knowledge-based Eric Kisiangani Evans Kituyi Photo: IDRC/ F. Nzema seasonal climate forecasts for Cromwel Lukorito Ayub Macharia the agricultural sector Henry Mahoo Amos Majule Paul Mapfumo Florence Lessons from participatory action Mtambanengwe Francis Mugabe research in sub-Saharan Africa Laban Ogallo Gilbert Ouma Amadou Sall Greno Wanda Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 01
    • Ziervogel, G. and Opere, A. (editors). 2010. Integrating About CCAA Learning Papersmeteorological and indigenous knowledge-based seasonalclimate forecasts in the agricultural sector. International In 2009, the CCAA program launched a series of learningDevelopment Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada. Climate forums, bringing supported research teams together toChange Adaptation in Africa learning paper series. share knowledge on themes relevant to climate change adaptation. These forums facilitate learning across teams,Copyright © 2010 IDRC and aim to generate synthetic lessons and findings useful to government officials, development organizations, donors,Cover photo: Keziya Magawa, a farmer with Nazareti communities affected by climate change, and a broad rangeWomens’ Group, tends maize in a field school in of institutions working to support adaptation in Africa.Chibelela, Tanzania. Through a facilitated process of discussion, forumPhoto: IDRC/ F. Nzema participants share research findings, and progressivelyThis publication may be downloaded, saved, printed deepen their exploration of common themes arising.and reproduced for educational and research purposes. Facilitators, CCAA staff members, and technical editorsWhen used, we request inclusion of a note recognizing work with researchers and subject area specialists tothe authorship and the permission granted for use by the crystallize key learning, and structure knowledge into coreInternational Development Research Centre. topics for further discussion. The results of these successive rounds of discussion are then written up in paper form andPlease send enquiries and comments to ccaa@idrc.ca extensively reviewed by contributors, external experts, and CCAA staff members.About CCAA CCAA Learning Papers can be accessed in electronic format at www.idrc.ca/ccaa along with briefs which accompanyThe Climate Change Adaptation in Africa (CCAA) program most titles. Hard copies are available upon request.was launched in 2006 and is jointly funded by Canada’sInternational Development Research Centre (IDRC)and the United Kingdom’s Department for International AcknowledgementsDevelopment (DFID). It is hosted and managed by IDRC from The editors and contributing authors express theirheadquarters in Ottawa and three regional offices in Africa. appreciation to the following expert reviewers, who providedWeb site: www.idrc.ca/ccaa invaluable comments during the drafting of this paper: Professor Richard Anyah, Department of Meteorology, University of ConnecticutAbout IDRC Professor Declan Conway, School of InternationalIDRC is a Canadian Crown corporation that works in close Development, University of East Anglia, and policy advisorcollaboration with researchers from the developing world to United Kingdom’s Department forin their search for the means to build healthier, more International Developmentequitable, and more prosperous societies. Dr Polly Ericksen, Senior Scientist, International Livestockwww.idrc.ca Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya Dr Carla Roncoli, Associate Director, Master’s inAbout DFID Development Practice and Adjunct Faculty, Department ofDFID is the part of the UK government that manages Anthropology, Emory UniversityBritain’s aid to poor countries and works to get rid of Professor Tim Wheeler, School of Agriculture, Policyextreme poverty. and Development, University of Reading, and deputywww.dfid.gov.uk chief scientific advisor to the Department for International Developmenti Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • CCAA Learning PaperContentsAcronyms and abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii1. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12. Context. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Use of climate information by agricultural and pastoral communities . . 3 Rationale for exploring the integration of meteorological and indigenous forecasts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43. Currently available climate information and farmers’ views of it . . . . . 5 Seasonal climate forecasts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Indigenous knowledge about climate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74. Integration of IKFs and SCFs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Validation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Down-scaling and up-scaling climate information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105. Tailoring information to user needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106. Applying tailored climate information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127. The way forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Lessons for national meteorological services and regional climate centres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Support for integrating IKFs and SCFs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Supporting future uptake of integrated climate forecasts . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Lessons for policymakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program ii
    • CCAA Learning Paper Acronyms CCAA Climate Change Adaptation in Africa CSE Centre de suivi écologique GHA Greater Horn of Africa ICPAC IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre IDID Initiatives pour un développement intégré durable IGAD Intergovernmental Authority on Development IKF indigenous knowledge-based seasonal forecast IRA Institute of Resource Assessment (University of Dar es Salaam) KMD Kenya Meteorological Department MSU Midland State University (Zimbabwe) PAR participatory action research SCF seasonal climate forecasts developed by national meteorological services SUA Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania) TMA Tanzania Meteorological Agencyiii Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • IntroductionExtreme climatic events, such asdroughts and floods, as well as chang-es in the mean climate, have a directeffect on crops and livestock and, thus,people’s livelihoods. Food security is atrisk, particularly in sub-Saharan Africawhere local production remains largelyrain-fed. Given that climate variabilityis likely to increase with increasing Farmers walkgreenhouse gas emissions, it is more through floodedimportant than ever to understand rice fields inhow this variability can be managed to Malawi.reduce the negative consequences. Photo courtesy ofThe impact is already significant. In Gina ZiervogelMalawi, for example, as a result of the maximize opportunities during favour-2002 drought, approximately 5 million able conditions. However, exploring thepeople needed emergency food aid, synergies between these two sourceswhich took a long time to be delivered. of climate information is a challenge.A similar situation occurred in Niger It requires not only an understandingin 2004–2005 when approximately 2.5 of the current uptake of the informa-million people — or a fifth of the popu- tion, but also mechanisms and policieslation — was in need of food rations to support improvements in generat- Climate information can(UNDP 2007). In 2009, approximately ing, disseminating, and using climate help farmers and pastoralists3.8 million people in Kenya required information. manage their crops andfood aid because of the prolongeddrought (FEWS Net 2010). In 2006, sub- SCFs are generated by national meteo- livestock to minimize risks rological and hydrological services us- and maximize opportunities.Saharan Africa accounted for 13% of ing models and empirical data. Thesethe world’s population and 25% of the specialized, scientific institutionsundernourished people in the develop- generate weather and climate-relateding world (FAO 2006). products under guidelines set by theReducing the impact of climate vari- World Meteorological Organization.ability and change on food produc- Their work is supplemented by othertion and livelihoods may be achieved, regional and international climatein part, by using available climate centres including the African Centreinformation to anticipate and manage of Meteorological Applications forannual climate-related risks (Tarhule Development, the Centre Régional de2005; Washington et al. 2006). Climate Formation et d’Application en Agromé-information is available from two main téorologie et Hydrologie Opérationellesources: meteorological seasonal (AGRHYMET), IGAD Climate Predic-climate forecasts (SCFs) and indig- tion and Applications Centre (ICPAC),enous knowledge-based seasonal the Climate Systems Analysis Groupforecasts (IKFs). This information can (University of Cape Town), the Unitedhelp farmers and pastoralists manage Kingdom Meteorological Office, thetheir crops and livestock to minimize National Oceanic and Atmosphericrisks during unfavourable seasons and Administration, and others. Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 1
    • Producing useful forecasts requires a deep understanding of the needs of specific user groups and the benefits and challenges IKFs, on the other farmers use SCFs, but the temporal and spatial scale of forecasts may present to hand, are produced these is not precise enough; thus, they could benefit from these users. locally by people who the local details added by IKFs. It is, therefore, important live in the area for that policymakers, practitioners, and forecasters (both which the prediction from meteorological services and indigenous groups)is made. They are often based on generations of experience target existing gaps and take advantage of opportunities ifand include both biophysical and mystical indicators. they are to support farmers and pastoralists in managing climate risk.Although for years many communities have successfullyrelied on indigenous forecasting methods in planning The Climate Change Adaptation in Africa (CCAA) program,agricultural activities, SCFs have become increasingly funded by the International Development Researchavailable in many parts of Africa over recent decades Centre (Canada) and the Department for International(O’Brien and Vogel 2003; Patt et al. 2007; Roncoli et al. Development (United Kingdom), has supported a number2009). However, despite significant advances in the science of projects that have investigated how SCFs might be betterof seasonal forecasting and increased awareness of these integrated into agricultural and pastoral decision-makingforecasts, most African countries have not experienced to strengthen livelihoods and food security. Through thesesignificant benefits from using this information to reduce projects, it has become clear that IKFs, which have beenclimate impacts. A key challenge has been access to and used by communities for decades, provide information thatability to respond to meteorological climate information, is complementary to the SCFs. Some projects set out toby vulnerable groups as well as institutions and agencies investigate links between the two information sources at thecharged with managing the impacts of climate variability. outset, while others explored them when they emerged as an important focus in supporting increased uptake of SCFProducing useful forecasts requires a deep understanding information.of the characteristics and needs of specific user groups(Ziervogel 2004) as well as a clear view of the benefits and In this paper, we seek to answer two questions. First,challenges they present to these users. Studies carried how can farmers’ and pastoralists’ needs be met by theout in West Africa (Roncoli et al. 2009) and southern Africa dissemination and application of meteorological information(Ziervogel and Calder 2003; Ziervogel et al. 2006) show and, second, how can SCFs complement indigenouslimited adoption of SCFs by farmers because of serious knowledge about the climate.resource limitations (lack of land, labour, inputs, credit, Although much research has been done over the past twoand market access) and limited exposure to the use of decades on the challenges of and opportunities for applyingsuch forecasts. It is, therefore, important that the needs SCFs, much of it has been theoretical (Patt and Gwata 2002;and concerns of users, in particular vulnerable groups, Archer 2003; Ziervogel et al. 2006). The CCAA projectsinform the content and dissemination of forecasts. The provide a new insight, as they are based on participatoryfact that many small-scale farmers are unable to take action research (PAR) methods, which involve researchersadvantage of forecasts due to resource constraints means working withthat socioeconomic and political needs as well as cultural farmers,contexts must be addressed in adaptation planning, along extension officers,with climate information needs. meteorologists, CCAA projects provide newCombining meteorological and indigenous seasonal and policymakers insight, as they involveforecasting is one way to deal with the challenges faced to explore thein the development, communication, and use of climate realities of researchers working withinformation. Many farmers already use indigenous forecasts disseminating farmers, extension officers,in their farm-level decisions and may only need certain SCFs on the meteorologists, and policymakersinformation, such as total rainfall expected in the season, ground. The to explore the realities ofto complement what they already have. Similarly, some objective of this disseminating forecasts.2 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • CCAA Learning Paperreport is to document the process and lessons learned Contextduring the projects with respect to using, applying, and Use of climate information by agricultural and pastoralintegrating SCFs and IKFs. The individual project teams also communities: As small-scale farmers in sub-Saharanintend to analyze in more detail the implications of their Africa face increasingly variable rainfall, in terms of thespecific research projects for practice and policy. start and end of season and the amount and distributionWe begin by documenting lessons learned from eight PAR of rainfall, the scientific community hopes that seasonalprojects on the use of SCFs and their integration with IKFs, climate information can help them prepare and, therefore,as captured in a learning forum hosted by the CCAA program reduce the negative impacts of climate variability. Increasedin March 2010 (see “About CCAA Learning Papers” on p.i). attention has also been paid to indigenous knowledge thatWe then focus on the current availability of seasonal draws on local understanding of the environment to informforecasts and indigenous knowledge before exploring livelihood strategies. It may be possible to increase foodhow the two types of information have been integrated, as security if these combined forecasts can help improvewell as the platforms for disseminating this information agricultural yields. Through technical and managementand the challenges of applying it.We conclude by suggesting ways tostrengthen capacity to manage climatevariability among farmers, pastoralists, CCAA projects that contributed knowledge to the learning forumresearchers, policymakers, andproviders of climate information. Project title and lead institution Short form in textThe selected PAR projects and their Strengthening the Capacity to Adapt to Climate Benin (IDID)lead institutions are listed here. Change in Rural Benin, Initiatives pour un développementParticipants in these projects were intégré durablebrought together for a week of learningthat provided an opportunity to share Infoclim: Platform for Helping Vulnerable Communities InfoClim (CSE)experiences and insights developed Adapt to Climate Change in Senegal, Centre de suiviover the previous three years of the écologiqueprojects’ lifespans. Integrating Indigenous Knowledge in Climate Risk IK in WesternAlso invited to take part in the Management to Support Community Based Adaptation Kenya (ICPAC)discussions were experts from three in Western Kenya, ICPACinstitutions — the Niamey-based Managing Risk, Reducing Vulnerability and Enhancing Managing Risk inAfrican Centre of Meteorological Productivity under a Changing Climate in the Greater the GHA (SUA)Applications for Development, Horn of Africa, Sokoine University of Agriculturethe Hadley Centre in the UnitedKingdom, and the Nairobi-based Resilience and the African Smallholder : Enhancing the AfricanICPAC — that are involved in the Capacity of Communities to Adapt to Climate Change in Smallholdersproduction and dissemination of Seven African Countries, University of Zimbabwe (U. of Zimbabwe)meteorological information. Theseinstitutions represented one of the Building Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change in Zambia Zambia andtarget audiences of the forum’s output. and Zimbabwe, Midlands State University, Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (MSU)Several other participants from a wide Strengthening Local Agricultural Innovation Systems in Tanzania andrange of backgrounds, including the Tanzania and Malawi, Institute of Resource Assessment, Malawi (IRA)humanitarian aid and development University of Dar es Salaamcommunity, government and academia,were also in attendance as observers. Enhancing Adaptation to Climate Change among Pastoralist Pastoralists in Northern Kenya, Practical Action Adaptation (Practical Action) Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 3
    • CCAA Learning Paper It is often hard for farmers and others, including chiefs and extension officers, to interpret probability-based forecasts and know how toadjustments, farmers might be able to take advantage of In some places,good seasons and minimize risks during less favourable respond to them. targeted researchones. The PAR projects explored these opportunities in their has helped farmersvarious regional contexts. understand the nature of the information and how it might be used (Patt andAlthough gains have been made in bringing together users Gwata 2002; Roncoli et al. 2002; Ziervogel 2004; Patt et al. 2005;and suppliers of climate information, numerous challenges Roncoli 2007). Research has also shown that users like to haveremain associated with its use. Among farmers, there is interaction with those knowledgeable about the forecast beforeoften confusion over terminology (e.g., “seasonal” and making decisions about how to use it (Ziervogel 2004).“weather” forecasts used interchangeably and what is meantby below and above normal rainfall). In some cases, it isnot clear what information is of most use. The most widelyavailable information from the seasonal forecast is total Currently available climate informationseasonal rainfall. However, users are often interested in the and farmers’ views of itonset, cessation, and intra-seasonal variations to support Seasonal climate forecasts: The SCFs produced by thedecisions about what crops to plant, when to plant, which meteorological services are disseminated at the nationaltechnologies to use, and when to harvest. level in every country. The country is usually divided into regions where different seasonal rainfall totals areRationale for exploring the integration of meteorological expected. The information about expected rainfall is given inand indigenous forecasts: Meteorological services have probabilities, e.g., 40% chance of above-normal rainfall, 30%been producing SCFs for the last few decades, and these chance of normal, and 30% chance of below-normal rainfall.are available in most countries in Africa (O’Brien and Vogel According to project teams in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania,2003; Washington et al. 2006; Patt et al. 2007). However, and Kenya, it is often hard for farmers and others, includingtheir uptake by small-scale farmers and pastoralists has chiefs and extension officers, to interpret these probabilitiesbeen limited (Archer 2003; Luseno et al. 2003; Ziervogel et and know how to respond to them.al. 2006). The research community hopes that SCFs can bebetter used to inform decisions on crop types, planting date, There is also concern because the forecasts cover tooand the need for measures to safeguard yields (Patt and large an area. In eastern Zimbabwe, for example, projectGwata 2002; Ziervogel 2004; Patt et al. 2005). participants wanted to minimize their losses associated Table 1: Comparison of IKF and SCF methods IKFs SCFs Use biophysical indicators of the environment as Use weather and climate models of measurable meteoro- well as spiritual methods logical data Forecast methods are seldom documented Forecast methods are more developed and documented Up-scaling and down-scaling are usually complex Up-scaling and down-scaling are relatively simple Indicators are mostly observed Indicators are usually measurable Application of forecast output is less developed Application of forecast output is more developed Communication is usually oral Communication is usually written Explanation is based on spiritual and social values Explanation is theoretical Taught by observation and experience Taught through lectures and readings4 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • 33 I 33 33with climatic variation. Farmers mightwant to sell their livestock beforean imminent drought and restockwhen conditions become favourable.Alternatively, they might move theirlivestock to localities where more 45favourable conditions are expected II 35and where relatives or friends could 20keep the cattle in trust until conditionsimprove in their home range. Whenpresented with the SCF, they said June to August 2010the information covered areas that Consensus Climate 20 Outlook for the Greater 45 IIIwere too large for them to have local Horn of Africa. 35relevance and inform their decisions. Image courtesy of ICPACThey also thought that the short-term weather forecasts on radio and Keytelevision were for cities and holiday Figures on the map 33resorts and not for farm areas, because represent percentage IV 33 probability of 33city names were given on the weather Above Normalmap as reference points. This example Ahighlights the fact that communities’ B Near Normal C Below Normalrequests for information are differentfrom what is provided by the nationalforecasters. Table 1 compares IKFs andscientific methods of forecasting.Although national climate information In Benin, research found thatis often disseminated by radio, the radio broadcasts of climateproject in Benin found that this method information are only usefulis only useful if broadcasts occur at if they occur at times whentimes when farmers can listen, which farmers can listen, whichvary according to season. They have vary according to season.learned that when farmers are tilling,the broadcast should be in the evening,but when farmers are waiting for the why. Farmers would like forecasts atrains to start, the broadcast can be in least a month in advance of the shortthe afternoon. The project team also (October–December) and long (March–found that local discussion forums May) rainy seasons. Sometimes theyfacilitated by climate information are received a few weeks before theproviders and local stakeholders season starts, by which time farmerscan improve follow-up and uptake have already made key decisions aboutof information heard on the radio. their crops — types of seeds, when toHowever, it is important to first plant — and have purchased inputs,assess community access to radio. such as fertilizer. For this reason,A number of projects found that SCFs in Same district, Tanzania, IKFs areare not received when farmers most being used to complement SCFs. IKFsneed them, although it was not clear are available early enough to give Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 5
    • farmers time to prepare. A key lesson for meteorological However, tailoring of climate information will depend ondepartments is that timeliness of information dissemination disseminators and users of the information ensuring thatis critical to farmer uptake. their preferences are communicated to the meteorological services.In Same district, farmers used to struggle to interpret SCFsfrom the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA). But now, Another shortcoming of the current national-level seasonalas a result of the Managing Risk in the GHA (SUA) project, climate information is that it does not provide advice ona team has been established to interpret and disseminate interventions. Some meteorological services integratethe forecast, with the result that people are becoming more the forecast with agricultural advice, producing an agro-interested. meteorology bulletin with suggestions on what agricultural strategies might be most appropriate given the expectedIn general, distribution of SCF information is still too rainfall. However, project participants felt that this type ofsupply driven at the national level. Participants felt that information remains too broad to be useful: the informationthis reflects a lack of understanding of specific user needs. Table 2: Comparison of IKFs, SCFs, and an integrated forecast for selected seasons and locations in Kenya and TanzaniaSeason and IKF summary report SCF report Integrated report Performance oflocation and indicators integrated forecastMAM 2010 Frogs making a lot of noise, Seasonal rainfall The IKFs and TMA Reported as “verySame, Tanzania ants moving and spreading will be normal. forecasts indicate good” meaning(Managing Risk across roads, signifying that The main indica- normal rains, expect- almost all predictedin the GHA the Masika (rainy) season is tors include sea ed to decrease as the events cameproject site) about to start. IKF indicators surface tem- season progresses. to pass. show that rains during the peratures of the Masika season will decrease Indian and Pacific especially in May. Oceans and wind strength.SOND 2009 Stars and bubbles in water August to The Nganyi forecast Reported as “veryNganyi pots in shrines suggest rains September: provided a more good” meaningcommunity will start in the 2nd week of low-intensity rain- detailed version of almost all predicted(IK in Western August. Mid-August to end of fall. October to the KMD forecast events for the seasonKenya projects) September: light rain. October November: more and was therefore came to pass. to early December: increased intense rainfall. adopted as follows: rainfall intensity. 2nd week of Rains to continue 2nd week August: December to mid-January: into January 2010. onset of the rainy light rain. Good overall season. Mid-August Rains will be accompanied by distribution of to end of September: heavy storms, but not as severe rain throughout light rains. October as those in the previous season the season with to early December: (March–May 2009). Early rains no extended dry increased rainfall will be polluted. The overall spells. There will intensity. 2nd week distribution of rains over the be heavy storms December to mid- season will be good. and high winds. January 2010: light rains.6 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • CCAA Learning Paper The integration of indigenous knowledge is very important as it is highly localized, and often comes with practical advice on measures to is insufficiently to reduce the impact of variable climate (UNEP 2007). take in light of the forecast downscaled to Observing stars, wind patterns, cloud movement, and the conditions. provide advice at position of the moon and sun allows weather and climate the local level, and forecasts to be made. Knowledge also exists about patternsfarmers in different parts of a district may need to respond in the occurrence of local natural hazards. People know thatdifferently because of unique local environmental conditions. they have to plan to be able to cope with natural disastersThe integration of indigenous knowledge is very important in and various ways are sought to recover from hazards. Suchthis process, as it is highly localized, and often comes with knowledge is not properly documented, but depends on oralpractical advice on measures to take in light of the forecast education by elders. Accumulated indigenous knowledge isconditions. Using local languages and terminology familiar passed from one generation to the next through traditionalto farmers is also essential to the usability of forecast socialization processes.information, and too often overlooked in the provision Because of the oral nature of indigenous knowledge,of SCFs. little has been published on the process of integrating itLearning forum participants observed that improvements into environmental conservation, management of naturalin infrastructure and capacity building among staff at local disasters, or indicators of and responses to climatemeteorological stations might help address some of the variability. Another challenge is maintaining this informationchallenges around producing useful forecasts and increase base in the face of the demise of older generations andcoverage. In Tanzania, the meteorological services have been the current wider scale of interactions of communitiesdecentralized, and participants felt that this could support with other cultures. It is important to record this preciousdirect interaction and engagement with communities. knowledge before it becomes “extinct” (Ocholla-Ayayo 2003).Indigenous knowledge about climate: Traditionally, farmers Various indicators and predictors (environmental, biological,have based their decisions about crop and irrigation cycles and traditional belief) are commonly used by farmerson indigenous knowledge of weather and climate patterns. to support farm decisions and adaptive measures. ThisThis knowledge has been gained through many decades of knowledge is based on locally defined conditions and needsexperience and has been passed down through generations. and is dynamic and nurtured by observation. The experienceThe knowledge is also adapted to local conditions and needs. of men and women farmers is incorporated into the indicators, modifying them slightly to meet current needsOne of the reasons indigenous knowledge plays a big role and situations. As an example, Table 2 gives the forecastsin farmers’ decisions is because traditional societies’ and indicators used by the IK in Western Kenya (ICPAC)livelihoods are closely intertwined with nature (UNEP project and the Tanzania component of the Managing Risk in2007). Their survival has depended on the sustainability the GHA (SUA) project.of resources in their local environment, thus, they haveconserved these resources by adhering to strict traditional In the Zambia and Zimbabwe (MSU) project, the keylaws — including taboos and heavy penalties — under indigenous knowledge indicators used for weatherthe guidance of elders (DMCN 2004). Particular plant and and climate forecasting included fruiting patterns, theanimal species were considered sacred or associated with emergence of leaves and weeds, and wind movement. Northbad omens that hindered people from overexploiting them. to south winds are called male winds, while south to northSome species were associated with shrines and water are female winds. When either is strong, rainfall is expected.sources protected by effective clan laws. Plants or animals The observation of clear cloudless days has also been linkedthat provided medicine and food became the subject of strict to some meteorological processes in this area.rules and practices to ensure their continuing availability Western scientists have tended to reject the traditional(Ocholla-Ayayo 1976). knowledge of local communities as primitive, non-Indigenous communities recognize that to be able to live quantitative, employing non-conventional methods, andwith natural hazards, they must monitor environmental unscientific. However, indigenous knowledge systems haveconditions, including the weather and climate, to make more recently attracted the attention of many people in bothrelevant predictions and advise on appropriate actions developed and developing countries, and the importance Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 7
    • has reduced farmers’ confidence in traditional knowledge and has led them to seek out both seasonal and short- term weather forecasts. If SCFs can capture the increasingly variable climate, they may be able to provide important information that can create a framework for developing strategies for responding and adapting to climate change.Nganyi IK forecasters Because indigenous knowledge hasexplain the use of some been used for generations and is partof the tools they use of many rural communities’ way ofin interpreting naturalindicators. life, it makes sense to explore the role In Zambia and Zimbabwe, of IKFs in relation to SCFs. This isPhoto: IDRC and DFID/ indigenous knowledge particularly important if SCFs are seenT. Omondi indicators included fruiting as external knowledge, too general, patterns, the emergence of and of questionable relevance to small- leaves and weeds, and wind scale farmers and pastoralists. It is a movement. challenge for disseminators to package the two information types; however, those involved in the learning forum supported an approach that does not prioritize either type of information, but of this information is beginning to be rather finds ways to use both. recognized. Practitioners are starting to realize the importance of recognizing One of the projects, implemented and working with indigenous by ICPAC working with the Nganyi knowledge that builds on generations community in western Kenya, has of experience (Orlove et al. 2010) to experience in integrating these two best support the adaptive capacity and domains of climate knowledge (Box 2). strategies of rural communities. Despite the project’s achievements, challenges still centre on building trust and acceptance of the SCFs Integration of IKFs and SCFs by the community, sourcing and It is clear that IKFs and SCFs both authenticating information based on have strengths and weaknesses. A indigenous knowledge, and acquiring major challenge is how to bring them meteorological data within the project together in a way that respects their area to cross-validate SCFs and different values and builds on their IKFs. There is also an urgent need to strengths. This is set against a backdrop integrate indigenous risk-reduction of a changing climate, which means strategies with SCFs to provide local that indigenous knowledge indicators communities with new tools for coping might not be as reliable as they were with the current climate extremes and in the past. Some projects have noted adapting for future climate changes that increasing variability in climate and greater impacts.8 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • CCAA Learning PaperIntegration of IKFs and SCFs in the IK in Western Kenya projectTwice a year, the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications during the season. An evaluation of the first season’sCentre (ICPAC) convenes a Climate Outlook Forum for forecast, validated by information from the community at thethe Greater Horn of Africa which produces a consensus dissemination workshop, revealed surprisingly good resultsseasonal forecast from modern-day climate scientists. The — the community concurred that the forecast was accurate.forecast is subsequently downscaled for Kenya by Kenya Over the life of the project, five seasonal forecasts wentMeteorological Department (KMD). In September 2008, through a similar “bridging” process, bringing togetherthrough a CCAA-supported project focusing on IK in Western meteorologically-based climate outlooks for the region,Kenya, ICPAC brought meteorologists and Nganyi indigenous with the more locally specific forecasts produced by theknowledge forecasters together to produce a further Nganyi. These took place in September 2008, March 2009,downscaled consensus forecast for the project area. The September 2009, March 2010 and September 2010.Nganyi clan is locally renowned for its forecasting abilities.For generations, family members have handed down A key outcome expected of the project is increased use oftheir skill and knowledge in interpreting local indicators, climate information by the community in planning theirincluding plant and animal behaviour, night sky phenomena activities, along with increased mutual trust and informationand a host of other signs that many consider mystical rather exchange between climate scientists and those withthan scientific. indigenous knowledge. In addition, the project will be able to document the history and practices of the Nganyi communityThe method for arriving at a consensus began with and outline the structure of a sustainable disaster riskpresentation of the meteorological forecasts for the region management curriculum incorporating indigenousand the consensus indigenous forecast (11 groups from knowledge. In July 2010, KMD committed resources towithin the Nganyi clan met to agree on a common forecast). build a new community resource centre which will help toThis was followed by a facilitated discussion of the two sustain indigenous forecasting practices, and strengthen theforecasts by all. The points of departure were thoroughly harmonization between SCF and IKF begun in this project.considered and reasons for the differences explored.Agreement was then reached on a harmonized forecast.The indigenous knowledge practitioners were very usefulin this process, as they are familiar with the local featuresthat would modify the large-scale systems considered by themeteorological methods.Representatives of government departments (e.g., health,agriculture, education, security, water) were then invitedto assume the role of change agent in communicatingthe risks arising from the forecast. The officials producedadvisories for the public regarding activities in their area ofresponsibility in anticipation of the forecast conditions. Theintegrated forecast and advisories were then disseminatedto the larger community at a meeting at a church compoundwithin the project area. The various advisories werepresented by the officer responsible for the subject area.The meetings were also used to evaluate the previous SCF meets IKF: Members of the Nganyi “rainmaker” clan of western Kenyaseason’s forecast, specifically, whether it was accurate, working with meteorologists to develop a harmonized forecast that bridges between their systems of interpretation.whether people received it in time, and whether anyweather-related impacts were experienced in the region Photo: IDRC and DFID/ T. Omondi Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 9
    • CCAA Learning Paper Meteorological information is usually too “coarse” for crop planning, but integrating indigenous forecastsTo integrate the different forecasts, detailed information to provide rainfallabout both types must be available. This seems to be an with those provided distribution; hence, mostemerging challenge in Senegal also, according to the by the meteorological farmers relied on localInfoclim (CSE) project, with information based on indigenous departments can bridge indicators. However,knowledge not easily available. The reluctance of those with this gap. advances have beenindigenous knowledge is understandable and should be made that allow forrespected. However, if trust is developed between partners down-scaling to thethrough participatory projects, opportunities for working local level.together are likely to increase. Some participants at the learning forum felt that there isCombining IKFs and SCFs is one way to deal with the a need to scale up some indigenous knowledge indicators,challenges faced in the development, communication, and such as certain tree species, so that they could be useduse of seasonal forecasts. Many farmers already make use more widely. Up-scaling might be a priority if communitiesof indigenous forecasts in their farm-level decisions. Thus, identified this need and if relevant indicators could be scaled.forecasters should target existing gaps so as to add value to Mystical indicators, for example, cannot be up-scaled ascommunities working on the ground. Meteorological services people outside a local area have no knowledge of them.could help explain the probability approach for the benefit of But plant indicators may be used over a wide area. Localindigenous knowledge users. Meteorological information is knowledge about such indicators could be shared with otherusually too “coarse” for crop planning, but integrating IKFs communities. Up-scaling of tree species as indigenouswith the SCFs provided by the meteorological departments knowledge indicators has been carried out in the Zambia andcan bridge this gap as demonstrated by the IK in Western Zimbabwe (MSU) and Benin (IDID) projects.Kenya (ICPAC) and Managing Risk in the GHA (SUA) projects. Forecasting is not an end in itself, but should be viewed inClimatologists are often uncertain what role indigenous a context of decision-making and risk management. Thus,knowledge might play and indigenous knowledge forecasters there were conflicting opinions about whether indigenousare suspicious of external people telling them about knowledge should be up-scaled. At the forum, some peopletheir environment. For future integration to occur, both felt that indigenous knowledge is only useful locally andgroups must be open to working together and building should not be up-scaled. Others felt that it could be “out-understanding and trust. If this is achieved, imaginative, scaled,” where findings in one place (where there are goodinnovative, and perhaps unexpected responses to climate meteorological data and where relationships between therisk may emerge. two approaches can be demonstrated) can be extrapolated to other areas. Exactly how this might be done has notValidation: One way to increase acceptance of IKFs among been established. Similarly, some researchers feel thatthe scientific community is to validate these forecasts by indigenous knowledge should be used in regional consensuscomparing them with SCFs. The starting point would be to forums by integrating it with meteorological science, but howmonitor indigenous knowledge indicators to see whether to do this remains a challenge.they are linked to known scientific parameters. Tanzania andBenin projects brought farmers and researchers togetherin the field to observe and reflect on phenological change Tailoring information to user needsidentified by farmers and linked to other environmental Tailoring climate information to farmers’ and pastoralists’indicators. Another method was to use a core team to local needs requires a number of steps and a rangemonitor indigenous knowledge indicators, then explore how of stakeholders must be involved. One of the clearestthese indicators relate to scientific ones. contributions made by the PAR projects has been theDown-scaling and up-scaling climate information: A establishment of multistakeholder platforms to interpretsecond step in easing the integration of SCFs and IKFs meteorological, climate, agronomic, and indigenousmight be to look at information at the same spatial scale. information, develop advice about how farmers andSCFs are usually given for regions rather than localities. In pastoralists might change their farming practices in light ofBenin, for example, the meteorological service was unable this information, and disseminate the tailored information to10 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • make it more accessible to users thanthe national level seasonal forecast.The project in Benin, for example,has established pre-alert committeesin 35 communes and it works witha national agro-meteorologicalpre-alert committee. The nationalcommittee includes members fromthe national meteorological services,the national farmers committee, theMinistry of Agriculture, the Ministryof Environment, researchers from Farmers andnational research institutes and the researchers discussingtwo national universities, project drought tolerant maizemembers, NGOs, and farmers. In Benin, pre-alert varieties near VumariThey receive the national agro- committees such as the village of Tanzania’s one shown here bring Same district.meteorological information from the together national andmeteorological services in bulletin local stakeholders to in- Photo courtesy of SUAform. The various members provide terpret data and developinput, based on their interpretation agro-meteorological advisories useful toof the national information as well as rural producers.their own experience and disciplinarybackground to develop a package of Photo courtesy of IDID-ONGholistic and locally relevant informationthey think will be suited to farmer use. services, NGO representatives,They prepare a bulletin in French extension officers from district toand send it to the local pre-alert village levels, researchers, inputcommittees, which are composed suppliers, and indigenous weatherof representatives of farmers’ forecasting groups. Once the nationalorganizations, local leaders, extension SCF is released by the TMA, the coreservice members, and local radio team meets and compares it with thestations. The local committees indigenous knowledge-based weatheradapt the information to their area forecast. Since the project began 3by considering recent weather and years ago, the two types of forecaststhe stage of agricultural production have not contradicted each other. Thefarmers are engaged in. The comparison has made it easier to makeinformation is also translated into the recommendations to farmers on whichlocal language. A communication plan crops to plant and when, whetheris then developed targeting they should consider diversifying, andfarmer meetings in the villages whether pastoralists might considerand local radio. selling their livestock. This adviceIn Same District, Tanzania, the is disseminated via brochures thatManaging Risk in the GHA (SUA) project extension officers and district officialshas established a core team that distribute or use as reference materialincludes staff from the meteorological when talking to farmers. The project Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 11
    • These platforms have increased farmer confidence and capacity to use data while helping scientists understandteam also prints posters enhancing adaptation to climate change among pastoraliststhat are put up in district IKFs and better tailor in northern Kenya. By exploring existing formal and informaloffices and given to their forecasts for local information channels, which were not immediately evident,villages. To ensure that adaptation. the project was able to build on these channels beforethis work is sustainable, attempting to develop new ones.the project team has For example, they found that key sources of informationasked the district for herders were the shops and houses selling goods toauthorities to set aside a budget for team meetings in the them. Women, on the other hand, share information at thefuture and to extend the practice to other areas. wells where they collect water; they discuss weather, rangeThese learning platforms have served two main functions. conditions, and where herders have moved. It was clear thatFirst, they have brought together actors who might settled pastoralists receive information at regular meetingsnot usually spend time together, thus strengthening convened by the local chief. The chief, who is in contactcommunication channels among those in the information with the district steering group that convenes to examinechain. Second, the interactions have built confidence climate information relevant to the district, passes on thatamong both farmers and extension officers in terms of information at the monthly village meetings. Project andunderstanding and using the data. The multi-stakeholder extension staff members occasionally attend these meetingsplatforms have not only been effective in increasing farmer as well to disseminate climate and non-climate information.confidence and building farmer capacity to understand and One of the key challenges that emerged around establishinguse data, but have also increased scientists’ capacity to platforms for information use is the danger of creatingunderstand IKFs and better tailor their forecasts for expectations and dependency. In some projects, such aslocal adaptation. in the African Smallholders (U. of Zimbabwe) researchThe platforms also served another function in projects in in Zimbabwe, free inputs, such as seeds, are being givenMalawi and Zimbabwe. They provided an opportunity to raise to farmers to help them put into practice the advice theyawareness among farmers about both climate change and receive through the platforms. The seeds must be usedseasonal climate information. Building such awareness on the learning plots. However, because many of theseemed to create increased demand for climate information communities in the area are vulnerable, they are receiving a(from the meteorological services, from IKFs, and from lot of assistance from NGOs and the government, which canthe consensus forecast where available). It also increased determine the type of crop or variety they plant. Thus, it isawareness among suppliers of climate data and those imperative that policymakers are included in the system fordisseminating the data about the needs of farmers. disseminating climate information to ensure that the right seeds or crop varieties are distributed to the right place.In eastern Zimbabwe (MSU), an innovative method of Although this might make sense during these participatoryrole-playing was used to help the various stakeholders projects, there was a concern that this might create farmerunderstand the needs and constraints of the others. For dependency and reward failure in some cases.example, farmers assumed the roles of meteorologicalservice scientists and vice versa and acted out their Applying tailored climate informationresponse to the forecasts. This proved to be a powerfulway to help people see the nature of the problem and The platforms mentioned above are places where variousthink through various decisions as well as develop a basic actors work together to produce new information. In thisunderstanding of some of the uncertainties associated with section, we describe how some of that information andthe forecasts. advice is put into practice.Although establishing these new platforms serves many In southern Zambia and southwestern Zimbabwe, thegood purposes, existing information dissemination channels Zambia and Zimbabwe project has developed learningcan also be strengthened as a way of improving information centres, where various options for managing climateflow and contributing to the sustainability of information variability are demonstrated in test fields. Through thedissemination. This was clear in the project which aimed at learning centres, training modules are presented by12 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • CCAA Learning Paperresearchers, meteorological officers, and extension officers, Instead of accepting dry In central Tanzania,who provide climate forecasts and adaptation strategies to spells as evil or natural climate information issensitize farmers. Those doing the training get IKFs from paired with technical calamities, farmers arefarmers and integrate this information with SCFs from advice, such as now demanding moremeteorological officers before preparing and disseminating promotion of in situadvisories to farmers. information on weather rainwater harvesting conditions and how they technologies andUsing this information, villages then decide what strategies might plan. improved early-maturingto follow and what technology to employ. These decisions and drought-tolerantthen become the basis for what the project participants refer varieties, and this hasto as “baby trials” that address the concerns of a particular led to an increase in yield of farmers who adopted thevillage and are managed by farmers within that village. innovations.“Mother trials” then combine the various “baby trials” andrepresent the concerns of a ward — about 600 households in As part of the Tanzania and Malawi (IRA) project, they havethe Zimbabwean context. also used learning plots, but they differ from those used in Zimbabwe. The plots linked to the learning centre areBoth mother and baby trials are monitored by the “mother plots,” where all sets of treatments are applied,researchers and the farmers throughout the season, and including different fertilizers and seeds. The farmers thena field day is held at harvest to demonstrate the effect of choose one or two of the strategies demonstrated in thevarious crop management practices on yield, based on the mother plots to try on their “baby plots.”given forecast. An interesting outcome of this approach isthat the farmers have taken it upon themselves to pass on The farmers involved in the project help harvest the motherthis information and have developed dramas and songs plots and can judge the results for themselves. In the 2009related to the lessons they learn. Evidence of use has been cropping season, for example, it was evident that the usedemonstrated in reapplication and scaling up of practices of new tillage methods increased yields. These methodsthat were taught. In addition, there has been a rise in included ripping (using the Magoye ripper implement thatdemand for early dissemination of the SCF and the training creates deeper furrows), tie-ridging (using an ox-drawnmodules, as a result of the perceived increase in yield among ridger and ties between furrows to increase water retention),farmers who had attended the training. and deep ploughing using a “spring jembe” (a long, narrow implement attached to a hoe supported on a used motorIn Malawi, farmers involved in “learning plots” have begun vehicle suspension spring that has the ability to make deepto adopt these strategies in their own fields. This seems to furrows on hard soils). Using these methods increasedbe attributable to the demonstration technique and learning sorghum yields 30.5–66% over those using traditional tillageby doing of farmers participating in the Tanzania and Malawi methods (slash and burn, locally called kuberega).(IRA) project. In addition to uptake of adaptation strategies,there has also been a change in attitude toward adaptation The InfoClim (CSE) project in Senegal also supports ato climate change. Before the project, farmers associated process of learning among partners. A regional committeechange in weather with natural causes and thought they and a number of local committees work with farmers tocould not do anything about it; now they realize that they gather information on practices in the previous season.can initiate adaptive strategies on their own. Instead of Each local committee holds a forum once a year; most localaccepting dry spells as evil or natural calamities, farmers people attend and talk about past experiences, challenges,are now demanding more information from extension service and what they might do in the coming season. During theproviders on weather conditions and how they might plan. season, the local committee meets twice with the regionalThey are finding that some kinds of IKFs are not working as committee for updates.they used to. Previously, when the temperature rose, the Evidence of change can be seen in the increased uptakerains would begin; now it gets hot for two weeks and the of climate information by farmers. Although they saidrains don’t come. they appreciated the information they received from the meteorological office before the project started, they weren’t Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 13
    • because multiple stakeholders are involved, they help create ownership which appears to be increasing the use of climate information. The way forward Lessons for national meteorological services and regional climate centres: These projects provide numerousResearch leader lessons for meteorological servicesHenry Mahoo ofSokoine University of in terms of strengthening the typeAgriculture discusses of information provided and how it isthe use of rain gauges Information that is disseminated, as well as interactionswith farmers in Mhezi with users.village, Tanzania. tailored to user needs isPhoto courtesy of SUA more likely to be used. Information that is tailored to user needs is more likely to be used. Clearly, farmers want more than just information about the overall rainfall expected in a season. They need to know how the sure how to use it. Now, because the upcoming season will differ from normal climate information is more specific seasons in terms of the onset of the to their local area, farmers are rainy season, cessation, and lengths of seeing and discussing the benefits of dry spells, as well as the seasonal total. using it. For example, after the local More important, there is a desire for committee evaluated information from agro-meteorological information rather all partners, they suggested that it than just meteorological information. For was too early to start planting. Those example, although farmers want to hear who planted early lost their crops. about rainfall, they are more interested Similarly, at the end of the season the in suggestions about how they might committee suggested that farmers change their activities in response to might wait to harvest as they were changes in rainfall total and timing. expecting more rain. Those who did Some meteorological services include not wait lost out on better yields. The agro-meteorologists who can develop sharing of information and experience this advice. Where this is not the case, has strengthened farmers’ capacity partnerships are required to provide and built a collective understanding, the needed information. As was supported by growing trust between clearly seen from the projects, agro- the various actors. meteorological information becomes It is clear that these multi-stakeholder more useful if it is interpreted in platforms are helping to clarify relation to local conditions and local how farmers interpret and apply activities. Meteorological services climate information. As seen from cannot be expected to provide locally the examples above, they can also relevant information in all areas, be a good forum for disseminating which again supports the need for successful farming practices and, partnerships. Agricultural extension14 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • CCAA Learning Paper When meteorologists engage with indigenous knowledge forecasters, value is added to the information from both officers, in particular, were calls to promote the integration of these two types of sources. are important allies climate information. because of their To improve current forecasting practices, more emphasis experience with could be placed on identifying local predictors — both whatagriculture strategies, climate variability, and local they predict and their equivalent in meteorological terms.communities’ needs. In many cases, although extension This should be explored in relation to climate changeofficers have been trained in agricultural science, they grew to help indigenous knowledge practitioners determineup in local communities and are sensitive to the local signs whether these indicators are affected by climate change.and beliefs of their elders. Thus, they are in a key position to Meteorological services could start integrating localbridge the two types of information. indigenous knowledge, such as phenological data, into theirWhen meteorological staff engage with indigenous advisories to provide users with holistic information, as inknowledge forecasters, value is added to the information the IK project infrom both sources. In projects where IKFs and SCFs were western Kenyaintegrated (e.g., IK in Western Kenya and Managing Risk in and the IDIDthe GHA), there was agreement on the expected forecast, There was consensus project in Benin.highlighting the fact that the two types of knowledge that IKFs should be used This alignmentcan complement each other rather than being seen as more widely alongside between SCFs andseparate. A significant challenge will be to get buy-in from meteorological SCFs to IKFs could helpmeteorologists regarding the value of indigenous knowledge increase reliability and users see that theas well as getting indigenous knowledge forecasters to learn acceptability of overall two approachesmore about SCFs and potential synergies. It is evident from forecasts. are not inKMD and TMA experiences that the participatory process opposition.of engaging indigenous knowledge forecasters from the A core multidisciplinary team is needed to carry out thebeginning is key to this, as well as feedback from users who integration. Both human and institutional capacity must becan articulate how indigenous forecasts are able to meet developed to validate indigenous knowledge indicators andsome of their requirements where SCFs may fall short. find effective ways to link IKFs with SCFs. Local farmer-In addition to tailoring SCFs to users’ needs, there are managed meteorological stations could be key in helping tochallenges related to the current spatial and temporal scale validate IKFs, as had been shown through ICPAC’s work inof the information. Farmers working in their fields not only Kenya, Midlands State University in Zimbabwe, and the SUAwant to know how the projections for the region are relevant team in Same, Tanzania. Achieving this integration is goingto their own activities, they also need the information in to require sufficient time for case-study-based projects totime. Farmers start preparing for planting weeks or months pilot the various validation, integration, and disseminationbefore the season starts. If they receive the seasonal techniques. In addition, it is important that those workingforecast two weeks before the season, it is often too late with SCFs and students learning about them are morefor them to change their plans. Through the projects, it exposed to IKFs and their strengths from early on in thebecame clear that providing indigenous forecasts earlier curriculum.than the SCFs can help farmers start thinking and planning Supporting future uptake of integrated climate forecasts:for changes. But there should also be more emphasis The PAR projects have shown that even though indigenouson helping meteorological services disseminate their knowledge is useful to farmers and can complement SCFs,information as quickly as possible, which can depend on the to make the best use of this rich information, scientistsactors in the communications chain. and researchers will need increased capacity to request,Support for integrating IKFs and SCFs: Among the analyze, and use the necessary data. Future research musteight projects represented at the learning forum, there involve specialists in fields, such as botany and zoology,was consensus that IKFs should be used more widely in who can study plant and animal behaviour and relate it toconjunction with meteorological SCFs to increase reliability conventional forecasts. Indigenous knowledge providers alsoand acceptability of overall forecasts. For this reason, there need to be supported so that they can share their knowledge Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 15
    • Partnerships among relevant institutions, NGOs, and local communities can strengthen capacity and without it being be used to enrich indigenous knowledge based indicators increase use of seasonal compromised. and vice versa. and indigenous forecasts, Zambia and It has been clear in these projects that feedback from on climate change, Zimbabwe (MSU) small-scale farmers to meteorologists helped the latter and on agricultural project participants respond to user needs. Also, the sharing of data through the production. suggested that projects has strengthened trust and understanding among some indicators are the various user groups. For example, in some countries, readily available from agricultural offices have shared rainfall data they collectlocal communities, whereas others must be approached from their areas of operations with the meteorologicalsensitively. They also found that only elderly people who department. Such collaboration is expected to significantlygrew up locally have good indigenous knowledge of their improve the coverage as well as accuracy of the SCFs.area. At the same time, meteorological agencies need to Lessons for policymakers: Policy support is needed tobe engaged in the use of indigenous knowledge indicators improve the nature and availability of information and toto generate seasonal forecasts as evidenced by the ICPAC strengthen partnerships for sharing and using climateproject. In this way, they can appreciate the value of IKFs information. Improvements can be achieved by increasingin terms of integrating them with seasonal forecasts. In meteorological services’ capacity to generate climatethe Zambia and Zimbabwe project, there was evidence information that is rigorous, timely, and relevant to users’that meteorological offices located close to communities needs. This includes providing more information thancould most easily become familiar with local indigenous seasonal totals andknowledge and understand how it relates to the seasonal improving channelsforecast, in order to explore options for “scaling up” that for feedback onknowledge where appropriate. Researchers suggested information uptakeDeveloping partnerships among relevant institutions, that one of the threats and use.NGOs, and local communities will enhance the capacity to hindering the effective In some of thecooperate on the use of seasonal and indigenous forecasts, use of IKFs is the projects, ongoingon climate change, and on agricultural production. In Benin, skepticism of many engagement withfor example, the PAR project influenced the meteorologicalservice to start generating information for sectors other scientists. policymakers has increased theirthan aviation, because they saw the potential value for attention, uptake, andagriculture. Such partnerships should incorporate participation. Involving policymakers allows them to see theindigenous channels of dissemination — including dancers, benefits for themselves rather than being lobbied after theartists, and dramatists, for example — beyond the use project results are available.of conventional methods, such as radio, television, andextension workers. Another positive outcome of engaging policymakers during the project life cycle is their ability to lobby for mechanismsThe IK in Western Kenya (ICPAC), Managing Risk in the that contribute to sustainability. For example, in Zambia,GHA (SUA), Zambia and Zimbabwe (MSU), and Benin policymakers who participated in a local project forum(IDID) projects all indicated that when the two sources of adopted a supporting financial role in the dissemination ofweather forecasts were integrated, they were most often information through radio in local languages. In Senegal,in agreement and complementary. However, participants local authorities were involved in workshops and activitiessuggested that one of the threats hindering the effective throughout the project. The self-organized farmeruse of IKFs is the skepticism of many scientists. If this committees supported by the project were recognizedproblem can be overcome, then meteorological science can16 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
    • CCAA Learning Paper Involving policymakers allows them to see the benefits for themselves; in some cases they identified resources to by local officials, an impediment to providing the agricultural section with sustain useful practices providing them climate information in a holistic way. identified through access to government Although new platforms and partnerships are needed, in research. resources. In Benin, some cases existing institutions or structures can be built engagement with on to link the meteorological community and end-users. In local authorities has some places, government department representatives at theensured budgetary support for radio communication beyond local level can develop and disseminate advisories in localthe life of the project. In addition, the project has been languages. Similarly, among pastoralists in Kenya, therepraised as a way to adapt to climate change and has gained are existing channels of information that can be used tosufficient support to be included in local development plans disseminate climate information.in approximately 35 towns. Another componentIn Kenya, the KMD recently allocated funds for the that is relevant forconstruction of a climate information resource centre policymakers is(including a new meteorological station) on land purchased Policy support that the need to buildby the Nganyi community in western Kenya. KMD has been encourages ongoing capacity in a numberan active member of this PAR project and is committed to of areas: the capacitytaking over leadership from ICPAC once the latter’s role is engagement of various to strengthencomplete. stakeholders is critical. the scientificAnother important way to gain support for strengthening Many noted the difficulty products and theirclimate information is by using intermediaries or brokers of accessing and sharing dissemination, thewho can influence policy, rather than project partners data across sub-Saharan capacity to workattempting to lobby directly. Brokers who are well positioned Africa. across disciplines,and are already part of the system, such as district officers, and the capacitycan also have a longer-term influence. to interpret and apply climate information (both SCFs and IKFs) at the localPolicies to support partnerships that increase the sharing of level. Activities, such as the PAR projects, that include aclimate information and its use in a holistic fashion — rather participatory process with a wide range of actors go a longthan focusing on the information itself — are central to way toward strengthening many of these capacities. In someclimate adaptation and good development. Bringing together instances, targeted support is needed to strengthen themindigenous forecasters, extension officers, meteorological even further. Rather than focusing on adaptation as an end-services, researchers, and farmers creates opportunities to point, it should be seen that strengthening capacity supportslook at agriculture and pastoralism in a holistic manner — the adaptation process. This is necessary so that local actorsrecognizing the different actors, the types of information they determine and implement their own adaptation responsesprovide, and how this information might help farmers adjust rather than having them imposed from the top down.to more variable climate. This is a development priorityand should be supported at the national, district, and local The PAR projects have begun to demonstrate the usefulnesslevels. Funding support can help initiate these platforms, of integrated forecasts. More examples of better decisionsbut policy support that encourages ongoing engagement resulting from the use of the forecasts are needed to getof various stakeholders is critical. This is also important in broader buy-in. However, it is clear that there has beendeveloping a national policy framework for inter-ministerial some success in integrating the two types of knowledge and(multi-sectoral) data sharing. At the learning forum, many this provides evidence for supporting those who encourageparticipants mentioned the difficulty of accessing and the integration of SCFs and IKFs.sharing data across sub-Saharan Africa, which may be Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program 17
    • Conclusion ReferencesThe challenge of an increasingly variable climate is of Archer, E.M. 2003. Identifying underserved end-user groupsparticular concern to small-scale farmers and pastoralists in the provision of climate information. Bulletin of thein sub-Saharan Africa, as the weather determines the American Meteorological Society, 84: 1525–1532.course of their lives. Information about conditions over the DMCN (Drought Monitoring Centre, Nairobi). 2004.rainy season can help them prepare as much as possible Traditional indicators used for climate monitoringand choose strategies to maximize yields and raise healthy and prediction by some rural communities in Kenya.livestock — the basis of their livelihood and food security. A contribution to the harmonization of traditional andAdapting to annual variability is an important start in dealing modern scientific methods of climate prediction inwith long-term climate change. It is particularly important Kenya. DMCN, Nairobi, Kenya.for people whose livelihoods are often fragile and for whom FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 2006. The statesecuring food and resources is a struggle. However, because of food insecurity in the world 2006: eradicating worldthey have lived in a variable environment for a long time, hunger — taking stock ten years after the World Foodthey have developed many ways to deal with variability. Summit. FAO, Rome, Italy.One of these ways has been to observe the environmentand learn to read what changes mean in terms of coming FEWS Net (Famine Early Warning System Network). 2010.weather. At the same time, western science has developed Kenya food security outlook. Available: www.fews.ways to predict weather and climate. Both methods can help net/docs/Publications/Kenya_OL_2010_01_final.pdfinform agricultural management, and it is important to find (accessed 1 Sept. 2010).opportunities to integrate them and deliver information in a Luseno, W.K.; McPeak, J.G.; Barrett, C.B.; Little, P.D.;way that is suited to user needs to ensure maximum benefit. Gebru, G. 2003. Assessing the value of climate forecastIt is clear from the eight projects represented at the learning information for pastoralists: evidence from southernforum that the PAR approach has had significant benefits. Ethiopia and northern Kenya. World Development 31(9):Grounded in participation by the various stakeholders, 1477–1494.it supported engagement from the beginning, which Ocholla-Ayayo, A.B.C. 1976: Nordiska afrikainstitutet,helped create trust and buy-in. Stakeholders were able to Uppsala Offset Center AB. Traditional Ideology andunderstand each other’s perspectives and challenges and Ethics among the Southern Luo. Scandinavian Instituteexplore ways to work together over the course of several of African Studies, Uppsala.years. The participatory approach also enabled integratedclimate information to inform farm decisions, as when _____ 2003. A study of traditional indicators and knowledgefarmers taking part in demonstration plots were able to of seasonal climatic change and hydro-meteorologicalprovide feedback at end of a season and apply lessons they disaster management in Migori and Suba Districts,learned in the next season. Kenya. Drought Monitoring Centre, Nairobi, Kenya. Research report.Integrating different types of knowledge and differentstakeholder groups is not simple. However, because the O’Brien, K.L.; Vogel, H.C. (editors). 2003. Coping with climatechallenges of adapting to climate change and improving variability: the use of seasonal climate forecasts infood security in sub-Saharan Africa are significant, southern Africa. Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, U.K.groundbreaking work, such as that shared in the PAR Patt, A.; Gwata, C. 2002. Effective seasonal climate forecastprojects, must be recognized and supported to increase the application: examining constraints for subsistenceresilience of farmers and pastoralists and help them adapt farmers in Zimbabwe. Global Environmental Change 12:to climate variability and change. 185–195.18 Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program
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