Communication for development in Climate Field Schools

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The "Livelihood Adaptation to Climate Change Project" (LACC) integrated communication for development in Climate Field Schools to promote community-based adaptation strategies among farmers in drought prone and saline coastal regions of Bangladesh.

Country:

Bangladesh

Organizations:

Department of Agriculture Extension and Ministry of Agriculture in Bangladesh, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Theme:

Climate Change Adaptation

Overview of activities: 

Adapted from the Farmer Field School (FFS), the Climate Field School (CFS) is a group-based and experiential learning process that aims to increase farmers’ knowledge of climate and their adoption of climate forecast information. The end goal is to improve adaptive capacity to climate change for sustainable livelihoods in the agriculture sector. Climate change concepts are integrated in the learning activities of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) schools and Integrated Crop Management (ICM) clubs. Through a session facilitator, the following activities are done: undergoing the new experience; gathering observations of the experience; analyzing the experience with peers; synthesizing principles from the experience; and applying new principles in farm/household.

Methodology:

Ten pilot sites were covered, four of which are located in the northwestern drought prone areas and six others in the highly saline coastal areas in the southwestern part of Bangladesh. Apart from the climate field school, the project also used social mobilization, community empowerment, awareness raising, and field demonstration.

Major outcomes/impact:

  • Farmers' knowledge as starting from local knowledge and built upon through their and the local community's participation
  • Decentralized implementation of activities but coordinated and guided by the project field officers and Sub Assistant Agricultural Officers (SAAOs)
  • Empowerment of farmers to make evidence-based decisions for their own farm problems
  • Focus on collective learning through dialogue and group discussion since climate change impacts are community-wide
  • Use of various communication methods and tools to enrich farmers' learning

In particular, the integration of the ComDev approach in CFS exhibited the following advantages:

a. ComDev facilitates and extends participation as farmers see the need to discuss and learn together
b. Participation in CFS generates proactive stance to seek for more and different knowledge inputs
c. Promotion of messages about climate change through folk songs (gambhira, jarikan) enhances social inclusion and participation
d. Social mobilization engages farmers in horizontal knowledge sharing about their adaptation needs, and in mobilizing local initiative and resources in support of their adaptation options.

Milestones:

The following are the key lessons learned from the project:

  • Planned use of ComDev enhances collective learning.
  • Use and benefits of ICTs can provide new and better learning experience in a local setting as well as help capture and store local knowledge.
  • More than the technology content, CFS enables the farmers to engage in critical and analytical thinking, thus, preparing them to a more informed decision making process.
  • Validation of local adaptation practices through scientific process yields long-term adaptation options for the farmers.

Contact:

Cleofe S. Torres, CSDI Focal Point for Southeast Asia - cstorres@devcom.edu.ph

The project report is available here.

Photo credit: FAO/Giulio Napolitano