Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa Print E-mail


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Nowhere on the planet are people more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than in sub-Saharan Africa. The continent is already prone to erratic rainfall, droughts, floods and cyclones, and climate change will only exacerbate these ongoing challenges. At the same time, Africa is grappling with the burden of poverty, environmental degradation, inequitable land rights, heavy reliance on the natural resource base for livelihoods, and the HIV&AIDS epidemic - all of which limit the ability of people and institutions to adapt to climate change.


Community-level research conducted by CARE in Africa indicates that climate change is already having significant impacts on food and income security, and that these impacts are particularly serious for women and other marginalized groups.


In response, CARE launched the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) for Africa in 2010. The programme is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Austrian Development Cooperation. Its  overarching goal is to increase the capacity of vulnerable households in Sub-Saharan Africa to adapt to climate variability and change. Towards this end, the ALP is:


    • Developing and applying innovative approaches to Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) to generate best practice models;

    • Empowering local communities and civil society organisations to have a voice in decision-making on adaptation;

    • Promoting best practice models for CBA among adaptation practitioners; and 

    • Aiming to influence national, regional and international adaptation policies and plans.


Working in partnership with local civil society and government institutions, the ALP will be implemented in 40 communities across Ghana, Niger, Mozambique and Kenya. Learning from the programme will be shared with policymakers and adaptation practitioners across Africa and globally.


Gender equality and diversity constitute a particular focus for the ALP. Activities will be targeted to ensure that benefits reach people in the most vulnerable socio-economic groups, which will be identified through participatory analysis. The programme will promote the rights and responsibilities of men, women and others in adaptation activities. It will empower people in the most vulnerable socio-economic groups to take concrete action and to raise their voices in local, national and international planning and policymaking processes on adaptation.


For more information on ALP, email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Latest ALP events


Learning event on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) and resilience, Ethiopia, September 2014


ALP, together with CGIAR's research programme on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and ICIPE’s CHIESA programme are pleased to share a new resource; 'Achieving Resilience in East and Southern African Drylands'.


83 participants from over 50 organisations, and 11 countries in East and Southern Africa, convened in Addis Ababa for 4 days to deliberate on trends and challenges in the region's drylands.  This event communique is the collective outcome, conveying messages on the need to develop effective approaches to community based adaptation (CBA) and to secure resilient and productive livelihoods for vulnerable communities living in the region’s drylands, in the face of an uncertain and changing climate. Read the full conference report.



West Africa Learning Event 



72 participants from a diverse range NGOs, research and Government organisations spanning across 12 West African countries came together in September at the West Africa Learning Event in Conotou, Benin, to confirm the urgent need for community based adaptation to respond to the adverse effects of climate change.


Hosted by CARE's Adaptation Learning Program in partnership with the CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Program, this learning event provided a space for social learning on good adaptation practices. Participants collectively identified new knowledge and ideas about what it takes in practice to adapt to climate change impacts and risks in different West African contexts.


This communique, also available in French, is the collective product of these discussions, conveying strong messages on the the crucial need to develop effective adaptation practice and policies to secure livelihoods and realise resilient development and economic growth in the face of an uncertain and changing climate.


Read the full conference report, or find out more about the conference outcomes in English and French. Photo (right): Participants at the West Africa Learning Event.



Recent ALP Publications


Climate Communications:


Facing Uncertainty: the value of climate information for adaptation, risk reduction and resilience in Africa


This document is designed for new users and intermediaries interested in climate information for adaptation, risk reduction and resilience building and sustainable development. It explains in easy to understand language why and how climate information is a valuable resource for informing responses to climate variability and change. Based on lessons from the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) and national meteorological services in Ghana, Kenya and Niger it demonstrates how climate information can inform decision making, planning and policy development and ensure results are climate resilient.


This document is also available in French


Economic Analysis:


Managing Uncertainty: An economic evaluation of community-based adaptation in Dakoro, Niger


A new report carried out for CARE by NEF Consulting which shows that Community Based Adaptation (CBA) is both an effective and cost-efficient approach to supporting communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The report is also available in French.


Looking for simplified guidelines for social cost-benefit analysis of climate change adaptation projects on a local scale? Find the French methodology guide here.


This new tool is designed to help build the capacity of local governments and NGOs to undertake such analyses, by presenting a simplified evaluative framework. It focuses primarily on climate change adaptation interventions, but can also be useful for appraising and evaluating development projects more broadly (e.g. health interventions, education programmes and others.)


An excel spreadsheet template to carry out social cost benefit anlysis is available to download here. This should be used in conjunction with the above reports. For further information about how to use this model, please contact us:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  


Read a new CARE blog outlining the key findings from the report 'Community based adaptation makes economic sense'



Technical Guidelines:


CBA Planning with Communities


ALP is pleased to share a new brief describing the community based adaptation action planning process using practical examples from our experience in Ghana and Niger. It describes how to progress from climate vulnerability and capacity assessments, such as CARE’s CVCA, into a participatory community planning process. ALP community plans focused on livelihoods and natural resource issues, but the CAAP process described applies for addressing all climate sensitive sectors, for example health, education, energy, or social safety nets. 


Guidelines for producing Community Digital Story Telling (CDST) Videos


These guidelines were produced in collaboration with ALP based on training and piloting of the approach with communities in the four countries where ALP is working on community based adaptation. The approach has been used by ALP as a tool for participatory monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and advocacy, in order to support communities to reflect on the progress and outcomes of the programme, and to advocate for changes needed to support them to successfully adapt to the impacts of climate change. The methodology can equally be used to support community participation in reflecting on any issue or development programme intervention and is not specific to climate change adaptation.



ALP Policy Briefs: 


Community Based Adaptation Brief 


This short brief demonstrates how community based adaptation is an invaluable and essential component of the vision for resilience across Africa. The paper provides greater clarity on what CBA looks like and how it can add value to disaster risk reduction and sustainable development by drawing on the lessons learnt by ALP over the last four years across four countries and through demonstrating some practical approaches to CBA which can be adopted and scaled up.


The CBA brief is also available in French and Portuguese


Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity: Synthesis and Lessons from Ghana, Kenya and Niger


This report provides a synthesis of findings from climate change vulnerability and capacity analysis (CVCA) conducted by ALP with communities and other actors in Ghana, Kenya and Niger. It draws out learning from these processes in relation to the dynamics of vulnerability and adaptive capacity and the value of participatory analysis as the foundation for CBA. It discusses the implications of the learning, providing recommendations for CBA in Africa and beyond.


Kenya Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity Report


A new report outlining the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of communities in Garissa county in north eastern Kenya based on participatory research conducted by ALP in 2011. The document explores the impact of climate change on the livelihoods of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in the arid and semi arid lands and highlights the existing adaptive capacity within communities and the barriers which constrain people's ability to put this capacity into action. 


New blog: East African Policymakers learn from Innovative Community Based Adaptation Strategies. Find out how a recent 'learning route' led by CARE and partners gave decision-makers new insights into the climate change challenges facing communities in Kenya. Read the blog here.


Ghana Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity Report


This report explores the vulnerabilities of agricultural communities to climate change impacts in East Mamprusi and Garu Tempane districts, part of northern Ghana’s Guinea Savannah and Sudan Savanna respectively. It goes further to discover their inherent and growing capacity to adapt to the changes and uncertainties they are facing. The report draws from a series of vulnerability and capacity and gender analysis studies conducted in 2010 by the Adaptation Learning Programme implemented by CARE International, as well as from ongoing work supporting community based adaptation.


Niger Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity Report


This report explores the vulnerability of pastoral communities in the department of Dakoro in Niger and highlights the inherent adaptive capacity within these communities to respond to and manage the changes posed by climate change. The analysis has served to increase understanding of the dynamics of vulnerability and the necessary conditions to increase adaptive capacity in the targeted communities which has informed ALP’s work in Niger and provides a basis for recommendations for policy and practice for CBA in Dakoro and beyond. 


Joto Afrika Magazines:


Joto Afrika Issue 15 - Adaptation to climate change and achieving resilience in East and Southern Africa


ALP, CGIAR CCAFS programme and ICIPE’s CHIESA programme are pleased to share Joto Afrika 15 – a special edition produced from the East and Southern Africa Learning Event on CBA and Resilience held in Ethiopia, in September 2014.


83 participants from over 50 organisations engaged in policy, practice and research across 11 countries in East and Southern Africa convened in Addis Ababa for 4 days to deliberate on trends and challenges in the regions’ drylands. This special issue of Joto Afrika shares the conference outcomes, policy messages and success stories drawn from participants’ experiences in CBA and resilience in the region.


Joto Afrika Issue 14 - Community based adaptation to climate change strengthens pastoralists' resilience


Adaptation has always been a feature of pastoral communities; however climate change is bringing additional change to livelihoods in arid lands. This edition of Joto Afrika includes a series of articles from Niger, Kenya and Ethiopia demonstrating how improvements in technology and access to markets and services, along with the use of climate information, are providing great opportunities to increase resilience of pastoral populations.


Joto Afrika 14 now available in French.


Joto Afrika  Issue 13 - Integrating adaptation in local development plans


This special edition of Joto Afrika focuses on the value of integrating community based adaptation into local government plans and budgets. It presents some initial successes from ALP's work in Ghana, Kenya and Niger but also focuses on the challenges and barriers which must be overcome for effective integration to be achieved.


Joto Afrika Issue 13 is also available in French


Joto Afrika Issue 12 - Climate Communication for Adaptation


Joto Afrika is a series of briefings and resources about adapting to climate change in sub-saharan Africa. It helps people understand the issues, constraints and opportunities that poor people face in adapting to climate change and escaping poverty. 


Communicating climate information in ways that users can understand and apply is a critical resource to support effective adaptation to climate change. This latest Joto Afrika issue (June 2013) shows how a range of programmes in Kenya, Niger and Ghana are developing approaches to incorporating communication of climate information into their work with farmers and pastoralists in climate vulnerable areas. This issue is also available in French.


Joto Afrika Magazine - December 2012


This special issue looks at the experiences of communities who are adapting to a changing climate in Mozambique, Kenya, Niger and Ghana and considers a range of new and innovative approaches. These include farmer field schools in Mozambique, Community Adaptation Action Planning in Niger, the role of Community Monitors in adaptation in Ghana and women's voices on vulnerability, resilience and climate change.


Read the full issue here


ALP Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) Brief - September 2012 


This brief explains how the PSP process works and it is enabling vulnerable communities to make decisions  which support climate resilient livelihoods and risk reduction. This document is also available in French and Portuguese.


July 2012 Report: Economics of CBA: Full Report / Policy Brief / Technical Annexes


This brief introduces research conducted by the UK economics think tank nef (new economics foundation) on behalf of CARE International in Garissa County in Kenya which found that, investing in community based adaptation makes strong economic sense, even in a volatile and evolving economic context. This document is also available in French and Portuguese.


Other ALP Resources 


- ALP brief - English / Portuguese / French

- ALP overview card and ALP Poster

- ALP videos: Community Videos
- ALP gender brief: Gender in ALP for Africa

- Learning event communiqué: Gender & CBA in Africa

- JotoAfrika magazine: Gender & CBA - English / French
- ALP- Mar '11: Presentation for Africa Adapt

- ALP Community Stories: Ghana - April 11 /Sept '11 /Nov '11 /

Nov '12 / Kenya -Aug '12 / May '11 / Aug '11 / Niger - Sept '11 (FR) / Mozambique - Feb 2012