Recent studies of global climate change paint a bleak picture for the Andes. Researchers have proposed expert-led solutions, such as improved climatic modelling and forecasting, and the breeding of drought-tolerant crop varieties. In this article, the authors argue that farmers need to shape the research agenda according to local priorities, and that smallholders and researchers should learn together. The Katalysis approach to climate change adaptation is on enhancing local knowledge of climate change and creating opportunities for coping with it. Katalysis aims at helping rural people to creatively manage their own resources in response to the growing threat of climate change. Katalysis builds on Farmer Field Schools ‘discovery learning’ tradition and other flexible, knowledge based approaches for improving agriculture through farmer participation in group problem-solving. The approach requires strong facilitators with flexible programmes and funding to support open-ended learning-action. Donor and development agencies must hand over more trust and responsibility to communities to design and implement their own agendas. Local people and outsiders need to be free to learn from each other, and to learn as they go along.
Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See: www.planotes.org
Article in: PLA 60. Guest-edited by: Hannah Reid, Mozaharul Alam, Rachel Berger, Terry Cannon and Angela Milligan.
Keywords: CBA, climate change, adaptation, participation, DRR, disaster risk reduction.
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