With a strong focus on understanding the factors that enhance or diminish people's vulnerability and wellbeing, and the responses they take to deal with both climatic and non-climatic stressors, ASSAR focused on the most marginalised. In particular, we sought to shift the adaptation narrative from centering mainly on infrastructural, technical solutions to forefronting and addressing some of the barriers posed by power structures, patriarchal norms and governance disconnects.
Gender inequality is a key factor making adaptation efforts ineffective, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Researchers and practitioners involved in ASSAR provided ample evidence to show that commonly-held beliefs about women being the most vulnerable and needing to be the target of interventions should be challenged as local realities show much more complexity and variance.
ASSAR has been examining the conditioning factors surrounding adaptation action in four of the world’s semi-arid regions, with a specific focus on barriers and enablers to the uptake and success of adaptation. Here is what we found.
When the ASSAR Mali team discovered the need for new capacities in Koutiala to enable better use of the scarce soil and water resources, they organised a three-day cross-border exchange visit for 11 Koutiala stakeholders to neighbouring Burkina Faso, which has vast experience in water and soil fertility management practices.
The imminent approach of the end of the ASSAR project has called for visits to the regional teams, to take stock of what has been achieved, plan exit strategies, agree on final outputs and give each other one last hug. ASSAR's project coordinator, Lucia Scodanibbio, reflects on a week with the West Africa Mali and Ghana teams.
The ASSAR Mali team organised a key event with the Transformative Scenario Planning (TSP) participants in Koutiala, on 28 August 2018, to reflect on the process and post-TSP capacity building activities that are underway.
ASSAR's Mali team recently held a workshop in Koutiala District to explore ways to strengthen the adaptive capacity of young women, who are the most vulnerable to climate change because of their limited access to education, financial services and assets.
In Mali stakeholders gathered together to create scenarios that asked: “What should agriculture and food security look like by 2035 to support livelihood improvement in Koutiala, under conditions of climate change?”
In this brief we describe the processes undertaken during our TSP workshops in Koutiala (June and December 2016), including the possible responses and actions brainstormed by the participants that could pave the way to greater agricultural and food security in the region.