Scaling up community resilience to climate variability and climate change in Northern Namibia, with special focus on women and children
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) with funding resources from the Global Environmental Facility via the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are implementing a five-year project: “Scaling up community resilience to climate variability and climate change in Northern Namibia, with a special focus on women and children” (SCORE Project). The SCORE project is being implemented in seven northern regions of Namibia namely: Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kunene, Kavango West and Kavango East. These regions are regularly, and increasingly threatened by extreme weather events such as floods which causes damage to infrastructure and agricultural productivity, as well as severe droughts. A combined effect of these natural disasters have detrimental effect on the livelihoods of people including their health status.
The project aims to strengthen the adaptive capacity of 4000 households to climate change and reduce their vulnerability to droughts and floods, with 80% of these households being women‐led, and children from 75 schools in Northern Namibia. The project’s desired outcomes include: (1) Smallholder adaptive capacity for climate resilient agricultural practices strengthened; (2) Reduce vulnerability to droughts and floods; and (3) Mainstreaming climate change into national agricultural strategy/sectoral policy, including budgetary adjustments for replication and scaling up.
2. IMPLEMENTATION SUMMARY
Output 1: Smallholder adaptive capacity for climate resilient agricultural production practices strengthened.
2.1. Smallholder advisory and mentorship programme
The project is developing manuals for the Smallholder advisory and mentorship programme, which is a training programme that aims at promoting drought resilient land management and crop production (planting, harvesting, weeding, soil improvement, crop diversification, microfinance, access to input services, etc.). The final materials will be translated into local languages, and Lead Farmers will be trained to train other project beneficiaries under a Training of Trainers approach.
2.2. Conservation Agriculture (CA)
To promote the adoption of climate smarter practices e.g. conservation agriculture, the project has enabled individual capacities enhancements. For instance, the project has procured appropriate technologies for conservation agriculture (e.g. Implements such as tractors and rippers) which form part of the MAWF inventory and have been used for field/land preparation within the SCORE project intervention sites/areas. The project has also facilitated, in collaboration with MAWF and Agro Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) a subsidiary of MAWF, the training of seasonal tractor drivers.
To enhance individual capacities for adoption of conservation agricultural practices, inputs (e.g. maize and sorghum) for 80 Lead Farmers (64 females and 16 males) were procured and legumes (e.g. cowpeas, groundnuts and beans) to promote intercropping, one of the three key principles of conservation agricultural were procured for ordinary farmers (1536 females and 384 males) by the project. The seeds (maize, sorghum, beans and cowpeas) were availed to farmers at subsidized prices at various Agricultural Development Centres (ADCs) within the project regions. The project also has four demonstration plots which will be used as on-field training for farmers.
Figure 1: Supporting conservation agricultural practices: Implements (tractors) (left) and Field preparation and intercropping (right) Mangundu village, Mashare Constituency.
2.3. Installation of micro-drip Irrigation
To promote water conservation management practices and measures at individual and institutional levels, the project is promoting the adoption (through installations) of alternative water saving systems appropriate for dry land areas. The SCORE Project team installed micro-drip irrigation systems to supply water directly into the gardens set up for improving food security in all its project implementation regions. Such gardens are directly benefiting a total of 10,000 people (including schools) targeting about 4,000 males and 6,000 females.
The selection of the project beneficiaries took into account gender balance, women-headed households, vulnerable individuals like children and the elderly, and the spread across the 16 constituencies. Such spread is likely to broaden income generation opportunities, and wide outreach for replication in future. In summary the criteria used to select beneficiaries of the micro drip irrigation were: Verification of suitability of the gardens in terms of nearness to the source of water, soil factors, passion for gardening for scaling-up purposes (the beneficiary was required to show that the y were already involved in gardening and that there were vegetables growing in the garden); and women and child headed households were prioritized.
For Lead Farmers, the project engaged those already in vegetable production at small-scale level, as they will play a significant facilitative role in encouraging ordinary farmers to be self-reliant to address issues of sustainability of the project interventions beyond the project closure. Community gardens are important in that they will cater for the vulnerable households that don’t have access to piped water and sometimes do not have sufficient land to set up gardens. About 44 community gardens were installed with micro drip irrigations. These will service about 440 vulnerable people, 20 youths and 300 females and 100 males).
Figure 2Micro drip irrigation System, Onyaanya Constituency
2.3. School gardens
To promote adoption of climate change adaptation practices at institutional levels, and to ensure that vulnerable children in these institutions are targeted, 54 schools were supported as a target institutions. Establishing school gardens that are managed in accordance with conservation agricultural practices will contribute to foster a culture of agricultural learning; to assist with improving nutritional value of food provided to the vulnerable children in schools as encouraged by the Ministry of Education.
Figure 3Learners of a beneficiary school with some of the produce from their school garden, Oshakati
2.5. Flood and drought management
Revitalization of old wells and earth-dam excavation/restoration sites were identified in all the project implementation constituencies, although only four regions were selected for earth dam restoration, and five regions for well restoration due to cost constraints and demand by the local communities. These initiatives, will be as far as possible linked to both vegetable production and fish farming/aquaculture. The focus on constituencies is to enable strengthened institutional level for adaptation of individual levels to assist in the ultimate mainstreaming of appropriate adaptation practices within the institutional aspects of managing and living with droughts/floods.
The project is so supported the restoration of four existing dams used by 40 villages (Iipya earth dam, Onghala earth dam, Dolphine earth dam and Negumbo Iipinge earth dam). These villages serves about 20,000 people, 12,000 females and 6,000 males (at 60% female population). The four dams all approximately 40m (length) x 40m (width) x 3m (depth) = 4800 m3 (480 loads).
Six hand dug wells each serving an average of two villages were constructed.
Figure 4Restored Earth dam (left) and hand dug well (right) Okambebe village, Ongenga Constituency.
Outcome 3: Mainstream climate change into national agricultural strategy/sector policy, including adjustments to budgets for replication and up-scaling
2.6. Monitoring and Evaluation Tools
The project has developed a functional Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework for the systematic tracking of progress towards expected results which will feed into project evaluation in targeted project intervention areas. The framework will also be guiding the project implementation up to its completion to ensure that lessons learned, and project results are mainstreamed into the national agricultural strategy, and guide implementation adjustments where necessary. The capturing of lessons learned and best practices is an ongoing process. In addition, the project has also developed local level resource monitoring systems, which is real-time monitoring of interventions on the ground.