Lingerew Ayele and his family, Amhara, Ethiopia

Climate change is increasingly intersecting with the challenges faced by people seeking to emerge from poverty, and changing the way Canadian development organizations – and their partners in the global south – must design their programs to ensure resiliency and continued sustainability. Climate change not only permeates the entire development process, it threatens many of the development gains of the past years.

C4D has published two sets of five case studies in 2013 and 2010 that highlight how climate change is being incorporated by Canadian organizations in development and humanitarian work in order to increase resiliency or decrease risk in vulnerable communities. Drawing directly from the experience of Canadian NGOs and their partners in the global South, these case studies highlight solutions that communities are employing to adapt and reduce vulnerability at the local and national levels.

For development practitioners, lessons from the case studies show that promoting understanding of climate change through integration with existing programs can increase awareness of climate impacts and lead to better adaptation, and that integrated, coordinated initiatives that draw from multi-disciplinary teams can help address both climate impacts and the underlying drivers of vulnerability.

For policy-makers, the case studies show that adaptation must form part of a holistic response that aims to reduce the underlying causes of vulnerability and not simply respond to a specific projected climate impact, and that both local and scientific knowledge are essential in understanding how communities experience climate impacts and how they can increase their resiliency. It is essential to build networks to increase knowledge sharing around climate change, as no one organization can address all impacts or all drivers of vulnerability. Efforts to integrate climate impacts and adaptation must be scaled up, as the impacts of climate change are already hitting home for vulnerable populations around the world.

The lessons from each study, detailed in the individual case study reports and summarized here, have the potential to impact the work that Canadian organizations undertake internationally and the policies adopted by national governments.

2013 Case Studies

2013 Chapeau Document

For an overview of both the 2013 and 2010 case studies, and for a discussion of the lessons learned written by Angie Dazé, Consultant in Climate Change Adaptation, Environment and Development, please see: C4D-ALP-CaseStudies-2013+2010-ChapeauDocument

CARE International

The Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), implemented in Africa by CARE International, is supporting communities and local governments to use seasonal climate forecasts and information on climatic uncertainty for decision-making, as part of the community-based adaptation (CBA) approach. Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) is a key component of the ALP CBA approach, providing a multi-stakeholder learning platform that is integrated into development planning and adaptation processes. Seasonal PSP processes facilitate flexible, weather-based planning using forecasts and thus enable different actors to adapt to seasonal variability, while at the same time building evidence and capacity for longer term adaptation planning.

View PDF: 2013-CaseStudy-CARE-Kenya

Canadian Feed the Children Canada

Smallholder farmers and elders of rural communities possess the knowledge and skills that can enhance farmer productivity and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on rural agricultural systems and livelihoods. The Climate-Seed-Knowledge (CSK) project developed in-country strategies to enhance climate resilience by reviving traditional seed diversity and knowledge in the Zoosali community of Ghana’s Northern Region. The project resulted in promising gains in awareness of the effects of climate change, as well as improved biodiversity, food security and resilience.

View PDF: 2013-CaseStudy-CFTC-Ghana

USC Canada

In East Central Nepal, local NGO Parivartan Nepal, local farmers and USC have been rehabilitating riverbanks to reduce risks associated with landslides and flash floods. A combination of steep terrain and increasingly variable rainfall make this region prone to these events, which cause destruction of crops, damage to infrastructure and displacement of families. Through a process of community mobilization, a range of sustainable land management actions have been put in place, resulting in stabilized riverbanks as well as improvements in soil fertility, biodiversity and watershed management.

View PDF: 2013-CaseStudy-USC-Nepal

World Vision Canada

Smallholder farmers are becoming increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather patterns but they have fewer resources, including affordable credit, for adaptation. At the same time, micro-finance institutions (MFIs) are often reluctant to provide loans to smallholder farmers as their default rate is generally high due to weather- related crop losses. In cooperation with its partners in the field, World Vision has developed a weather index insurance policy that is bundled with credit products. This insurance protects farmers from unpredictable weather- related events, provides credit to invest in improved technologies, and enables financial institutions to offer loans in higher-risk areas.

View PDF: 2013-CaseStudy-WVC-Tanzania

Mennonite Central Committee

The hilly, arid region of Amhara, Ethiopia, north of Addis Ababa, has faced recurrent droughts, floods, heavy rains and strong winds, which have led to chronic food insecurity, land degradation, soil erosion and loss of biodiversity. Climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity and unpredictability of these climate-related hazards in the Amhara region. In 2012, Migibare Senay Children and Family Support Organization (MSCFSO) completed a four-year project to rehabilitate the Dejel watershed in the East Gojjam zone of the Amhara region. The project, supported by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), was designed to increase soil and water conservation, restore biodiversity and increase food security in the watershed. In exchange for working to improve the land, the area’s poorest residents received payment in cash and in-kind assets, such as farm animals. As a result, these farmers are less vulnerable to climate-related shocks and stresses and have improved food security.

View PDF: 2013-CaseStudy-MCC-Ethiopia

2010 Case Studies

2010 Chapeau Document

This document provides an overview of the five case studies that we published in 2010.

View PDF:

International Institute for Sustainable Development and Centre for Science and Technology Innovations (with a 2013 epilogue)

In Kenya, drought events have become more pronounced in recent years, adversely affecting the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers. IISD and CSTI have undertaken a pilot project that links together downscaled weather forecasts, improved agriculture practices, increased access to reliable water, and a revolving microcredit system for women’s self-help groups. These initiatives contribute to improved and diversified livelihoods, and facilitate the integration of climate change in policies related to disaster management and sustainable development.

View PDF: 2010-CaseStudy-IISD-Kenya-with-epilogue

Learn more about the project @:

Canadian Foodgrains Bank (with a 2013 epilogue)

In the Nkayi District of western Zimbabwe, chronic food insecurity is the result of recurring and persistent droughts stretching back nearly a decade. A three-year project of the Foodgrains Bank and Christian Care — a local partner — has demonstrated that promoting conservation agriculture can increase yields, decrease chemical inputs and lower capital investment required from farmers. The result? Increased food security and greater resilience to climate change in a drought-prone area

View PDF: 2010-CaseStudy-CFGB-Zimbabwe-with-epilogue

World Vision Canada (with a 2013 epilogue)

On the Indonesian Island of West Kalimantan, communities concerned about the disruptive forces of environmental and climate stresses participated in a pilot project to assess the environmental stresses and the local capacity to cope with them. Incorporating local wisdom, scientific knowledge of climate change, and risk assessment strategies, World Vision has developed new programming methods and standardized vulnerability assessment tools to better address the complex relationship between climate change, environmental degradation, food insecurity and child malnutrition.

View PDF: 2010-Case Study-World Vision-Indonesia with epilogue

Oxfam Canada

In the lowland communities of Bolivia, there is a widespread perception of unpredictability of rains, warmer temperatures, and increases in extreme weather. Terrible flooding in Beni in 2007 and 2008 motivated local communities to enlist with Oxfam in a project known as the camellones (‘raised fields’). This farming practice draws on both ancient techniques and modern science to offer a sustainable solution to flooding, drought and overall food insecurity.

View PDF

CARE Canada

CARE’s ‘case study’ stands apart from the others; rather than focusing on the lessons of one particular project, CARE has examined the process of developing National Adaptation Plans of Action (NAPA) in Malawi and Niger. Worryingly, gaps in the NAPA process as identified by CARE demonstrate that the priority actions included in the NAPAs are inadequate in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable groups. CARE provides recommendations to improve the process.

View PDF