Dialogues on climate change and adaptation strategies

In 2016 AWARD invested considerable effort in engaging an extensive number of stakeholders at provincial and national forums regarding the potential impacts of climate change in the ORC. However it became clear that there are a number of challenges to seeing real action-for-change on the ground. In part this is to do with capacity of organisations but most importantly reflects the ‘reified’ nature of how climate change is being conceptualized and introduced. Since it is often spoken about as a highly technical - and largely environmental - subject that is introduced as an ‘add on’ to already overloaded staff with little practical meaning, it is hard for stakeholders to see their way into tenable adaptation practices.

Moreover, the current discourse lacks almost any systemic, strategic framing and is deeply fragmented in nature. Adaptation responses are drafted on a sectoral basis with little recognition of the linkages between for example between energy, water, biodiversity loss, food security, economy, poverty and livelihood vulnerability. We argue that a different orientation - informed by a systemic, social learning approach – is needed.

Strategically therefore, we have now adopted a two-pronged approach so as to embed climate change literacy and adaptation into our projects which span many focus areas. Firstly by adopting the adage that ‘climate-change should be - and is - everyone’s’ business’, we seek to facilitate dialogues for change within our projects based on a number of key - but simple -concepts. In a non-technical way, this supports a meaning-making process where people can collaboratively explore potential impacts and adaptation strategies. Secondly, these ‘field-based’ experiences need to inform the wider discourses at both provincial and national level (and vice-versa).

Given this, we have started our Dialogues for Climate Change Literacy and Adaptation Project – also known as DICLAD (see Box). The overall design is shown in the schematic below indicating on climate change within project work and also informing and being informed by dialogues at different scales and with different stakeholders.

Objective of the DICLAD work

To promote the emergence of agency for integrative CCA planning and actions through:
  • building capacity within AWARD staff and projects to facilitate “CC dialogues”;
  • engaging roleplayers and stakeholders in collaborative meaning-making and
  • integration of framings and experiences from our work at provincial and national levels