Hands on with Practical Adaptation Skills

By Elin Lorimer


In October, the Adaptation Network once again provided members with the opportunity to develop their capacities by hosting a “Practical Adaptation for Vulnerable Communities” training workshop at the Botanical Gardens in Pretoria. In addition to local network members, the training drew participants from beyond the borders from Zambia, Zimbabwe and eSwatini, which made for a diverse and interactive group.

One of the highlights of the training was the interspersion of hands-on facilitation skills used not only by the facilitators, Noel Oettlé (Secretariat of the Adaptation Network) and Shannon Parring, but also by the participants themselves, who were encouraged to practice some of these skills in the group. The training covered introductory information on climate science, including climate projections for the areas where the participants were from and current seasonal forecasts. I joined the training both as a participant, and to give a brief input on the topic of climate finance, ranging from the global to the national level. Noel also touched on methodologies to use for adaptation practice and sustainable development and some of the theories behind this. Another highlight was the “radio show” inputs from some of the participants themselves, who gave us a picture of their own local work relating to climate change adaptation.

There is clearly a great need for adaptation practitioners to develop their skills and to share their inspirations and challenges, and I hope that the Network will be able to continue to offer this type of dynamic training going forward, beyond the current round of funding from the Government of Flanders.

All the topics presented spoke to me in one way or the other as my area of research interest is adaptation to the impacts of climate change among small scale farmers; who fall in the category of vulnerable communities. Nevertheless, the session that stood out for me was the one on sharing adaptation knowledge and experiences by the workshop participants. This session was a highlight for me because it brought out adaptation strategies that work in practice and not in theory. This is what we should endeavour to achieve as we come up with adaptation strategies for vulnerable communities.

 I would like to make mention that I enjoyed the interactive learning approach that was taken by the workshop facilitators – I must start by commending them. The whole workshop was lively and informative. This approach ensured that every workshop attendee was engaged, focused and participated actively. Additionally, the games (activities) played during the workshop kept the participants energised and were all related to the theme of the workshop and I found that to be so amazing.

Chibuye Florence Kunda, Lecturer and Researcher, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Zambia, Zambia