AfricaAdapt: Overcoming barriers to sharing African knowledge for climate change adaptation

1 May 2009

Women farmers from a community in Uganda affected by increasing weather-related shocks1 May 2009

African experiences, research and innovations that could help vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change are rarely well disseminated across the continent. IDS has teamed up with leading African organisations to launch AfricaAdapt, a network that will ensure African knowledge on climate change adaptation is effectively gathered and shared.

AfricaAdapt is the first network focused on sharing African knowledge on climate change adaptation. It will offer African researchers, practitioners, local communities and policymakers an innovative combination of services and activities to overcome linguistic and geographical barriers to sharing their adaptation knowledge across the continent.

Why an African network to share knowledge on climate change adaptation?

Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate variability and change because of its high dependence on climate-sensitive economic sectors such as agriculture and its low capacity to adapt to the changes. Negative climate impacts are already being felt and are expected to increase, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions.

Researchers across Africa are working with communities vulnerable to climate change – such as smallholder farmers and pastoralists – to understand the best ways to cope with drought disasters and manage climate risks. Local communities are also using their traditional experience to develop coping and adaptation strategies. However, this knowledge is not being interlinked or shared across regions and therefore vulnerable communities cannot benefit from all the knowledge available.

What does AfricaAdapt offer?

AfricaAdapt’s interactive website, face-to-face events, specialised radio broadcasts and support for innovation will facilitate the sharing of new and traditional African knowledge on adaptation. The website will connect users according to their areas of interest and their activities bringing communities of practice together whilst meeting their information needs with tailored products. Members can sign up to updates on projects, themes, and events and receive them through email, newsletters or automatic newsfeeds.

Face-to-face fora, and local radio programmes will be used to reach out to local communities and ensure that their own knowledge and experiences are shared with others working to address climate change impacts in Africa. Media have a key role to play in facilitating the sharing of knowledge on climate change and AfricaAdapt will work with community-based radios and seek opportunities to collaborate with journalists across the region.

The network is funded through the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Climate Change Adaptation in Africa programme and is collaboratively hosted by Environment and Development in the Third World (ENDA-TM); Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA); IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC); and Institute of Development Studies (IDS).