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Solving ‘wicked’ problems: can social learning catalyse adaptive responses to climate change? A compendium of case studies

Marissa Van Epp, Ben Garside

Book/Report, 138 pages

Social learning approaches can catalyse knowledge co-creation and action, so having the potential to help solve complex “wicked” problems such as climate change and food insecurity. Social learning is more than just group learning; it has an agenda for wider change. It encourages stakeholders to work together to implement and test solutions through iterative cycles of learning, action and reflection. Spreading the learning from this iterative process to wider stakeholder groups and networks allows for change on a larger scale. Institutional openness and support for such approaches is crucial for realising the potential for change.

These eight studies from come from five diverse initiatives employing social learning approaches in responses to such problems using the Climate Change and Social Learning (CCSL) initiative’s Monitoring and Evaluation framework. Working with each of these initiatives, the four dimensions of the framework have been explored in-depth – namely engagement, iterative learning, capacity development, and challenging institutions. The aim, to better understand when and how different processes across each dimension foster social learning in different contexts. Additionally, to track the progression from fostering process to resulting learning outcomes and positive changes in values and practice. The synthesis analysis across all the initiatives can be found in the working paper “Solving ‘wicked’ problems: can social learning catalyse adaptive responses to climate change?” (IIED 2016).

The peer assist approach used to gather these findings, aimed, as far as possible, to be a useful exercise in learning and reflection for the initiatives concerned. The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) would like to thank the following for their participation in this work:
 CARIAA
 Fundacão Amazonas Sustentável (FAS), (who lead BFP)
 PACCA
 The Potato Park communities, ANDES, and CIP
 ACCRA

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