Climate Change Risk & Vulnerability in a Remote Tanzanian Village

Project of the Month. I’m very lucky because every week I receive project progress reports from people from all over the world. I get to learn the intricate details about people’s lives living in drought conditions in deserts, I get to learn about people living in flood conditions in river deltas, and I get to learn about people’s lives in conflict situations.

To download these reports and learn about the participatory process please go to the bottom of the page.

This week I received a project report from Chris Enns (Canadian, but living and working in Tanzania), and Catalina Gheorghe (Colombian, but living and working in Romania); additional support was submitted by Philip Chiwanga of AICT-MUD a partnering organization with Chris’s organization CRWRC.

They are doing a community-based adaptation to climate change project with five hamlets in a village called Wagete, Tanzania, impacting 4,000 community members. Their project is what is known as a community-based adaptation ‘mainstreamed’ project. This means that they are incorporating adaptation to climate change activities into a traditional rural development project.

So for example, they have a healthcare component, an education component—and then for their adaptation components, a farmer soil and water conservation program and a farmer extension program. You can see a detailed outline of these programs on the downloadable reports below.


Over the past few weeks they’ve been working on determining the risks and vulnerabilities to changing climatic conditions that these communities have and will face in the future. They’re using an approach which combines scientific data with local community knowledge.


In simplified terms they can take meteorological data and projections to determine how much has the climate changed over the past few decades and how much is it expected to change—and compare that with local knowledge of how the weather has changed.

Collecting local knowledge is very participatory and very interesting. Working with a series of vulnerability and capacity analysis tools, Chris and his partner Philip worked with the community to develop a list of local resources, hazard maps, a seasonal calendar, a historical timeline and a discussion on current local coping strategies and aspired strategies. Here are a few examples of the workshop results:


  • Water wells
  • Forest (bush)
  • Seasonal river
  • Primary school
  • Land for crop cultivation
  • Land for grazing

Hazards in their Community:

  • Floods
  • Drought
  • Malaria spread
  • Hunger (as a result of droughts)
  • Lack of health services within the community
  • Tuberculosis

Seasonal Calendar:

  • Sowing seeds
  • Farm preparation
  • Building houses
  • Selling crops
  • Weeding
  • Crop harvesting
  • Grazing livestock

Drought and Flood
The facilitator asked group members to rank the vulnerability of each identified resource from each of the identified hazard.rought and flood ranked as the highest hazards to livelihood resources. See the livelihood/hazard results matrix here.

The information that was gathered during this process, and the way that the information was collected in the participatory fashion, will do two things at once. This Tanzania and team will be able to improve their project design with new and more complete information—and most importantly with community feedback—and the community will continue the process of developing ownership in their project. Being able to provide knowledge, feedback, and project direction continues to reinforce for the community that this is their project—not an outsider’s.

To see the project reports about the workshop and about assimilating the information (not to mention some of the best photos I’ve seen yet!) simply follow these links:
Enns Gheorghe A5
Philip Chiwanga VCA Workshop

To learn more about the process:

OL 343 Adapting to Climate Change: The Community Focus

CARE: Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis

Learn how to develop a community centered, impact oriented project.

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