Adapting to Climate Change
PCI works to increase vulnerable communities’ long-term resilience to climate change and climate-related shocks.
Devastating storms. Conflicts over reduced resources. Failing crops. Little to no water. Climate change is a global issue that affects us all. From pole to pole, for large cities and rural areas alike, the world needs innovative solutions and collective strategies in order to become more climate resilient.
For populations that are at high risk for overwhelming climate change-related impacts, adapting to the circumstances becomes a crucial component in ensuring a hope for a healthy future.
AfriScout – Equipping Traditional Pastoralists with Modern Technology
There are over 225 million pastoralists in Africa, 43% of the continent’s land mass is pastoral, and livestock production accounts for up to 44% of the GDP in some African countries. Pastoralists migrate their livestock during dry seasons using traditional methods such as scouting, word of mouth, and indigenous knowledge, all of which have inherent limitations and increasing unreliability due to climate shocks and land use changes. Annual minimum temperature in Ethiopia has been increasing by 0.37 degrees Celsius every ten years, and annual warming across Africa is expected to rise 0.2-0.5 degrees Celsius per decade. The Arid and Semi-Arid (ASALs) regions of Africa have been acutely affected with pastoralists emerging as some of the most vulnerable populations to climate variability and change. In PCI’s target areas, pastoralists are on average losing a third of their herds per year.
In response, PCI created community grazing maps overlaid with current vegetation conditions using satellite imagery. These maps provide critical information to empower pastoralists to make better decisions on where and when to migrate herds for grazing in order to reduce potential livestock loss and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Through cross-sector partnerships with USAID, Google.org, Fordham University, and Hoefsloot Spatial Solutions, PCI is currently expanding the field testing through a randomized control trial (RCT) covering a population of over 1 million people in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Early findings continue to reinforce pilot results and potential for:
- Greater resiliency;
- Decreased livestock losses;
- Improved rangeland management; and
- Reduced need for drought-related food aid.
PCI is revolutionizing the way pastoralists in Africa find pasture and water for their animals using the power of satellite and mobile technology. The AfriScout mobile application displays current water and vegetation conditions on localized grazing maps, enabling pastoralists to make more accurate and cost-effective migration decisions, improve pasture management and collaboration, reduce the risk of herd loss, and ultimately transform their lives.
As access to smartphones continues to increase across Eastern Africa, the AfriScout app will offer pastoralists localized digital content and real-time vegetation and surface water conditions, and crowd-sourced alerts, eliminating the need for paper maps. PCI is developing AfriScout as a subsidiary social enterprise to ensure long-term sustainability and to bring the maps to more pastoral communities across Africa.
REVIVE – Building Resiliency to Climate Change
Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations on earth with a multi-ethnic population and rich history. Sadly, it is also one of the world’s poorest. Nearly 30% of the population lives below the poverty line, with 12 million people chronically food insecure and dependent on food aid. Additionally, more than 40% of children under five are stunted and about 25.2% of all children are under-weight (World Bank). This is further exacerbated by poor access to clean water and vulnerability to extreme weather conditions, such as annual droughts and flooding.
With funding from USAID, PCI, together with three local partners, is implementing a three-year effort to support community-managed disaster risk reduction in the nine most vulnerable woredas (districts) of Bale Zone, Oromia Region, reaching a total population of over 620,000. The project, known as Project REVIVE (REstoring VIbrant Villages and Environments) aims to increase vulnerable communities’ long-term resilience to climate-change and climate-related shocks through three strategic objectives:
- Improved access to science and analysis for community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) decision-making;
- Improved household and community measures to adapt to climate variability, change, and resulting shocks; and
- Enhanced community DRR and climate adaptation planning and processes integrated with, and supported through, the Government of Ethiopia and other resiliency initiatives.
One of the ways REVIVE is meeting these strategic objectives is by incorporating PCI’s promising “AfriScout” model, which is providing pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in Afar and Oromia with satellite-derived imagery to inform decisions on where to migrate their herds in order to reduce potential livestock loss and mitigate the effects of climate change. At the end of the pilot period, 78% of the households receiving the maps stated they used them to help make migration decisions, and 52% found them to be their most important resource. Through continued use of these maps, pastoralists experienced a 47% drop in herd mortality.
This blog was originally published in the Huffington Post as part [...]