In September 2014, Oxfam received a grant of US$3.98 million from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) through UNDP on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe to implement the project, Scaling up Adaptation in Zimbabwe, with a focus on rural livelihoods. Launched in February 2015, by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate (MEWC), this project seeks to scale up climate change adaptation measures and reduce the vulnerability of rural communities, particularly women to impacts of climate change and extreme events. The project is implemented by Oxfam in partnership with Plan International, SAFIRE and the University of Zimbabwe in Buhera, Chimanimani and Chiredzi districts over the period November 2014 to October 2018. The project builds up on the first UNDP/GEF supported project, Coping with Drought and Climate Change implemented through the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in Chiredzi District from 2008 to 2012. The project also compliments the UNDP supported project Scaling up Adaptation in Zimbabwe, through strengthening integrated planning systems being implemented by the Environmental Management Agency over the period 2014 to 2018.
The Climate Challenge
In Zimbabwe, the threat of climate change and extreme events is manifested in challenges such as rising temperatures (annual surface temperature rose by about 0.9˚C between 1900 and 2014), increased frequency and intensity of drought, flooding, heavy rainfall events, intraseasonal dry spells and periodic shifts in onset and cessation dates of the rainfall season. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects a future warming of 1 to 3˚C by 2060 and a likelihood of rainfall decreases over southern and western parts of the country during December-January-February (DJF). These challenges interact with environmental degradation and socio-economic issues such as population pressure, limited investments in public infrastructure and disaster preparedness to worsen problems of water scarcity, infrastructure, human health, food insecurity, child malnutrition, poverty, volatility of food prices and frequency of humanitarian assistance particularly among rural communities in semi-arid regions of the country.
Project Response to protect rural livelihoods
Climate change and extreme events could destabilise the status quo, challenge existing social constructs and unequal relationships thereby presenting opportunities for the future if the right investment decisions are made now. About 10,000 households (70% female headed) are directly targeted by this project, with an estimated 50,000 being indirect beneficiaries. To achieve its development objective, the project pursues two outcomes:
i. Diversified and strengthened livelihoods and sources of income for vulnerable people in targeted areas.
ii. Increased knowledge and understanding of climate variability and change-induced risks at country level and in targeted vulnerable areas
Activities of the project are organised into two components:
Component 1: Investing in diversifying and strengthening rural livelihoods
To encourage resilience building investments at the local level, the project uses the watershed approach to work with vulnerable women, men and children through three integrated interventions that help to build adaptive capacity.
• Strategic adaptation investments in targeted subcatchments: Informed by a participatory assessment of the status and trends of the biophysical and socio-economic conditions in the targeted subcatchments, stakeholders in Buhera, Chiredzi and Chimanimani districts formulated a climate change adaptation investment framework with five pillars: water; natural ecosystem; agriculture; infrastructure and built environment; and emergency response and disaster risk reduction. To sustain adaptation, institutional development was identified as a cross-cutting issue. The project implements priority, scalable, replicable and economically viable climate actions identified under this framework.
• Inclusive rural financial services: The African Development Bank (AfDB) estimates that African agricultural output could more than triple if farmers were able to access the finance and viable markets they need to expand both the quality and quantity of their produce. The project leverages Village Savings and Loan Groups to promote inclusive rural financial services and helps to establish connections to formal finance institutions particularly for supporting micro-rural enterprises that might be too big for Self Help Groups (SHGs) to finance.
• Market linkages for selected value chains: The World Bank estimates that economic growth in the agricultural sector is twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors of the economy. Working with private sector partners, the project supports the growth of three gender inclusive short value chains that have potential to build the climate resilience of women and thousands other small-scale farmers in climate vulnerable regions of the country.
Component 2: Technical assistance to increase knowledge and understanding of climate variability and change-induced risks
Lessons from the UNDP/GEF Coping with Drought and Climate Change project and elsewhere suggest that there are benefits of delivering tailored seasonal and shorter term weather information at the local scale. Using the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), the project uses an integrated approach for co-designing, co-producing, communicating and evaluating science based climate services that work for smallholder farmers and disaster risk reduction.
The project supports five integrated workstreams:
(i) local level meteorological observations;
(ii) climate research, modelling and prediction to produce tailored products;
(iii) tailored climate services information dissemination system;
(iv) climate user interface platforms, and
(v) capacity building.
Climate Farmer Field Schools are used to train farmers in the correct use of climate information to make climate smart decisions.
Oxfam implemented projects value accountability to people living in poverty and project partners. Mechanisms for transparency, participation, evaluation and learning, and feedback have been put in place for the project. A Project Board co-chaired by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, and UNDP provides project oversight, and Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism allows beneficiaries and stakeholders to provide periodic feedback on project implement and impact.
Climate change and extreme events impact men, women and children differently given their different roles and responsibilities at the household and community levels. Women are more exposed and vulnerable because they tend to have limited access to productive resources, training, and information, and tend to be generally excluded from political, household and community decision making processes. The project is involving women and youths as both stakeholders and project participants throughout the project cycle. About 70% of the project beneficiaries are women.
For adaptation to take place at scale there is need for collaboration among a wide range of actors including government, local authorities, civil society organisations, private business, research institutes and individuals. This project uses a partnership approach to build on the competencies of all these actors for the benefit of vulnerable rural communities and as scale-up pathways.
This project will systematically capture lessons from on-the-ground adaptation experience and channel them into practical tools and policy recommendations. We will also engage a broad network of partners in strategic communications and outreach activities to ensure that the best possible adaptation tools, practices, and ideas are taken up into district and national policy and practice.
For more information:
Norfolk Road, Arundel Office Park,
Block 9, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 (4) 369603; 369564; 369873