15, November, 2011

Spotlight on Organisations: Adaptation in Semi-Arid Regions

This selection describes key Brazilian and international organisations working on community-based adaptation (CBA) in semi-arid areas, focusing on the resources they offer to South Asian and Sub-Saharan African development actors.

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Articulation in the Semi-Arid Region (Articulação no Semi-Árido Brasileiro - ASA)

Link: http://www.asabrasil.org.br/
Areas of Expertise: Cisterns, water pumps, Brazilian semi-arid region, communication
Key Activities: Project implementation, information gathering and disseminating forums
Articulação no Semi-Árido Brasileiro (ASA) is a civil society forum pushing for social, economic, political, and cultural development in the Brazilian semi-arid region. Established in 1999, ASA currently includes over 700 diverse entities such as religious organisations, environmental and development NGOs, rural and urban workers unions, and donors. Its key current projects include One Million Cisterns (Um Milhão de Cisternas) and Popular Water Pumps (Bomba D’Água Popular). ASA stands as an example of the power of civil society and bottom-up approaches in pushing development and adaptation mesures into public policy. The organisation’s website provides articles and information about technologies, project implementation and results which will be useful for practitioners and researchers in African and South Asian countries.

Caatinga Association (Associação Caatinga)

Link: http://www.acaatinga.org.br/
Areas of Expertise: Caatinga Biome, biodiversity conservation, agroforestry
Key Activities: Community engagement, networking with governments and the private sector, advocacy, education
Associação Caatinga is an NGO whose mission is conserving the biodiversity and ecosystems of the Caatinga Biome of Northeast Brazil. Through a focus on conservation and agroforestry, the NGO integrates and fosters conditions for community-based adaptation. Several technical manuals published by the organisation can be found on their website and further knowledge of their practices can be found on their YouTube channel featuring educational videos and explanations of their projects, though most of their material is published in Portuguese.

We Adapt

Link: http://www.weadapt.org
Areas of Expertise: Climate change adaptation
Key Activities: Online platform, networking, knowledge exchange
The We Adapt site of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is an interactive platform that helps disseminate information on CBA projects and to connect CBA practitioners. Registered members acquire access to high quality information from projects around the world, gaining unique and wide-ranging perspectives. This online community seems to be growing and is increasing the pool of resources available. While this platform does not focus in particular on semi-arid regions, a growing number of projects related to dry areas can now be found, and will be useful for African and South Asian readers looking to gain access to a variety of project models.

The Centre for Popular and Social Education (Centro de Educação Popular e Formação Social – CEPFS)

Link: http://www.cepfs.org/ingles.html
Areas of Expertise: Microfinance, education, small-scale agriculture, water collection
Key Activities: Farmer capacity-building, microfinance
The Centre for Popular and Social Education (CEPFS) is a non-profit organisation focused on the sustainable development of rural community life in the semi-arid region of Paraiba, in Northeast Brazil. They provide interactive capacity building programmes to equip farmers with skills to adapt to semi-arid conditions. Emphasis is on dialogue with farmers to discover new ideas, and not just on implementing already established technological solutions. CEPFS keeps an updated blog with first-hand accounts from farmers and reflections from project implementers and researchers that demonstrate their evolution as a NGO.

Institute for Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy (Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável e Energias Renováveis - IDER)

Link: http://www.ider.org.br/
Areas of Expertise: Renewable energy, biofuels, renewable energy technology, education, participation, local knowledge
Key Activities: Project implementation
The Institute aims to preserve the environment, refine renewable energy techniques, promote community development and increase quality of life for low-income families. Projects in the semi-arid regions of Northeast Brazil include the promotion of biofuels, solar energy, substituting traditional wood burners for healthier and more efficient ones, digital inclusion and education. Their website provides a comprehensive understanding of their methods and activities through images, videos, interviews and research material, which will be useful for project implementers in other regions.

WAFLA: Integrated Water Resource Management by the Implementation of Improved Agro-Forestry Concepts in Arid and Semi-arid Areas in Latin America

Link: http://www.wafla.com/
Areas of Expertise: Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), agroforestry, desertification, international cooperation, technology
Key Activities: Research, propagation of expert knowledge, promotion of agroforestry practices
WAFLA works to encourage Latin American cities and countries to adopt Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and use agroforestry methods to curtail land degradation in semi-arid areas. WAFLA is a coordinating body that collects and shares research results, technology breakthroughs and policy advancement. The WAFLA project creates workshops, seminars, and written reports to identify strategies to promote region-adapted agroforestry based on participatory management. They also foster dialogue, networking and international cooperation between research institutions, universities, associations, NGOs and social stakeholders in Latin America. Extensive research material, including articles, presentations and case studies, are available online for the benefit of South Asian and African policymakers, researchers and practitioners.

Community Based Adaptation Exchange Network (CBA-X)

Link: http://community.eldis.org/cbax/
Areas of Expertise: Community-Based Adaptation (CBA)
Key Activities: Networking, knowledge exchange
The Community-Based Adaptation Exchange Network (CBA-X) of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an interactive platform that helps disseminate information on CBA pilot projects, including strategies, results and lessons learned. This is a useful resource to gain access to knowledge from other projects, especially when considering issues of horizontal or vertical scaling-up. It offers a useful platform for asking questions to other project implementers and for keeping in touch with the CBA community, including staying informed about conferences and new publications.

International Institute for Environment and Development, Climate Change Group

Link: http://www.iied.org/climate-change/about/about-climate-change-group
Areas of Expertise: Climate change, sustainable development, Community-Based Adaptation (CBA)
Key Activities: Research, online networking, knowledge exchange
The Climate Change group of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) takes a justice-focused approach to climate variability, in particular by seeking to support the world’s poorest communities in dealing with climatechange and adaptation. It does so by working in collaboration with developed and developing countries, drawing on skills of people and organisations, and influencing policy. The website provides several excellent sources of information for CBA, including recent publications, lists of useful organisations, key issue summaries and new media resources.

Eldis – Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Climate Change Adaptation Dossier

Link: http://www.eldis.org/go/topics/dossiers/climate-change-adaptation
Areas of Expertise: Network, information exchange
Key Activities: Online platform
Eldis is an online platform for development information on policy, practice and research. As part of the platform, the Climate Change Adaptation dossier provides extensive information on climate change issues, organisations and resources. Individual country profiles are also included, with a focus on semi-arid regions, and Latin American, Asian and African countries.

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