Tag Archives: Malawi

“Tailored climate projections to assess site-specific vulnerability of tea production” New paper with inputs from Kulima

A new paper “Tailored climate projections to assess site-specific vulnerability of tea production” has just been published in the journal Climate Risk Management. The paper, led by Neha Mittal with a team that included Katharine Vincent, draws on research conducted across a variety of contexts conducted under the Future Climate for Africa programme, explains the process of co-producing decision-relevant climate information to enable adaptation within the tea sector in Malawi and Kenya.

Tailored climate change information is essential to understand future climate risks and identify relevant adaptation strategies. However, distilling and effectively communicating decision-relevant information from climate science remains challenging. The paper presents the development and application of an iterative stakeholder engagement approach and a Site Specific Synthesis of Projected Range (SPR), to co-produce future climate information for Africa’s largest tea producing nations – Kenya and Malawi – for the mid-and late-21st century. SPR demonstrates site-specificity, showing risks of large changes in tea crop sensitive metrics, notably substantial increases in heatwave days and large decreases in cold nights by 2050s compared to the current climate. Having this information enables stakeholders in the tea sector to identify location-specific adaptation strategies and investment priorities, potentially safeguarding supply- chains and millions of livelihoods.

“Exploring the adaptive capacity of sugarcane contract farming schemes in the face of extreme events” New paper with inputs from Kulima

A new paper “Exploring the adaptive capacity of sugarcane contract farming schemes in the face of extreme events” has just been published in the journal Frontiers in Climate. The paper, led by Rebecka Henriksson with Katharine Vincent and Kivana Naidoo from the UMFULA project team, developed a framework to determine adaptive capacity and then assess how this changed over time to mediate the impacts when different contract farming schemes were exposed to climate hazards, as shown through different production levels.

The Phata and Kasinthula sugar outgrower (contract farming) schemes are both in Chikwawa district in southern Malawi. As a result, they are similarly exposed to extreme events, but have shown different impacts in terms of sugarcane production. Looking over the last 10 years, the total level and components of adaptive capacity differ in several aspects. Phata had much better prerequisites to mitigate the impacts of the extreme events (i.e. maintain production), particularly related to the components of the adaptive capacity framework, i.e. the Asset base, Knowledge and information, Innovation, and Forward-looking decision-making. Kasinthula had limited capacity to recover from the severe 2015 floods, the adaptive capacity was thus drawn upon and had not been replenished by the time the next event occurred (drought). This novel, comparative approach to assessing adaptive capacity, linking to past events, is useful in determining the components of adaptive capacity that are missing and need to be built in order to reduce risk from extreme events and climate change.

“Climate variability affects water-energy-food infrastructure performance in East Africa” New paper with inputs from Kulima

A new paper “Climate variability affects water-energy-food infrastructure performance in East Africa” has just been published in the journal One Earth. The paper, led by Christian Siderius with other members of the UMFULA project team, including Katharine Vincent, highlights how climate variability is poorly understood in East Africa’s climate transition zone, where variability in rainfall is projected to increase. The implications of these projected changes in climate on infrastructure performance are poorly understood, with implications for the water, energy and food sectors.

graphical abstract

Infrastructure design should take into consideration the potential for changes in climate variability and recognise the limitations of planning on the basis of short time series of observations or projections. In the Rufiji basin in Tanzania and Shire basin in Malawi, a repeat of an early-20th century multi-year drought would challenge the viability of proposed infrastructure (dams). A long view, which emphasizes past and future changes in variability, set within a broader context of climate information interpretation and decision-making, is crucial for screening the risk to infrastructure and informing contingency planning to manage climate risk.

“Reflections on a key component of co-producing climate services: Defining climate metrics from user needs” New paper from the UMFULA project, led by Kulima

An output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project has just been published in Climate Services journal. "Reflections on a key component of co-producing climate services: Defining climate metrics from user needs" was led by Katharine Vincent, with Emma Archer, Rebecka Henriksson, Joanna Pardoe and Neha Mittal. It is a methodological piece that unpacks the iterative process applied within UMFULA to determine what climate information would be of use to our partners in the water and agriculture sectors to better plan for the impacts of climate change over a 5-40 year period. It discusses how the choice and application of four existing social science methods (interview-informed role play workshop, open-ended interviews, prioritised surveys and enhanced surveys) arose out of, and was in turn embedded within, a different epistemological approach characteristic of co-production, and reflect on the evolution of our understanding of co-production as our assumptions were challenged, from the expectation that we would be able to “obtain” metrics from users, to a dynamic mutual definition based on better understanding of the decision-making contexts.

Kulima participating in new project “Bridging national strategy on sustainable development of water-energy-food systems to local scale needs in Malawi”

Kulima is proud to announce that we are part of a new project "Bridging national strategy on sustainable development of water-energy-food systems to local scale needs in Malawi" that has been funded by the GCRF Collective Programme 'Clusters’ Call to take place from June 2020-May 2021. The project is led by the University of Southampton with LEAD SEAFANRPAN, the Universities of Leeds and Manchester and Kulima Integrated Development Solutions, builds on three existing GCRF GROW projects – BRECcIA, AFRICAP, FutureDams – with the aim of enhancing equity of rural people’s key participatory roles in shaping and making policy work in order to bridge the gap between national scale priorities/strategies and gender-sensitive local scale needs, including environmental sustainability.

Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Change in Malawi commemorates International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

The Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Change programme in Malawi, in which Kulima is part of the Knowledge and Policy Hub, commemorated International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction last week by releasing a brief and other pieces. The brief, a joint output with the Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC), addresses "Why invest in resilience?" and consolidates existing evidence for the cost-effectiveness of investing in disaster risk reduction and resilience-building. This was accompanied by a blog on the CDKN website "Spotlight this Disaster Risk Reduction Day on Malawi" and opinion article in the Daily Times Malawi "Why Disaster Risk Reduction is more important than ever" – both of which highlight the need to finalise the DRM Bill and create a budget line for Disaster Risk Reduction in the country.  

“Evolution of national climate adaptation agendas in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia: the role of national leadership and international donors” now published-with inputs from Kulima

An output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project has just been published. "Evolution of national climate adaptation agendas in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia: the role of national leadership and international donors" unpacks the ways in which political economy has affected the emergence and evolution of national climate adaptation planning in three sub-Saharan African countries over the last decade, based on data collection over a six year period. Despite variation in the specifics of how they operated, the roles of two factors in common emerge in the evolution of the climate change adaptation agendas: national leadership and allied political priorities, and the role of additional funding provided by donors. These influences lead to changes in the policy and institutional frameworks for addressing climate change, as well as in the emphasis placed on climate change adaptation. By examining the different ways through which ideas, power and resources converge and by learning from the specific configurations in the country examples, the paper identifies opportunities to address existing barriers to action and thus present implications that enable more effective adaptation planning in other countries. 

“Understanding gender differences in availability, accessibility and use of climate information among smallholder farmers in Malawi” New paper from the UMFULA project with inputs from Kulima

A new paper "Understanding gender differences in availability, accessibility and use of climate information among smallholder farmers in Malawi" has just been published in Climate and Development. The paper, led by Dr Rebecka Henriksson with inputs from Katharine Vincent, is an output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project. Ensuring smallholder farmers have access to climate information is important to enable adaptation, but access to it is strongly gendered. This study shows that both women prefer radio to access forecasts, but that women also like to access forecasts through a knowledge broker. Those farmers with higher levels of education (mostly men) prefer to also obtain forecasts via internet and cell phone. Understanding gendered preferences and barriers to climate information access is crucial for benefits of adaptation to be accessed equitably.

“Re-balancing climate services for climate-resilient planning” New paper from the UMFULA project, led by Kulima

A new paper "Re-balancing climate services to inform climate-resilient planning – A conceptual framework and illustrations from sub-Saharan Africa" has just been published in Climate Risk Management. The paper, led by Dr Katharine Vincent, is an output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project. UMFULA aimed to increase the availability and use of medium-term climate information for decision-making in central and southern Africa. Whilst the climate services field has placed a lot of emphasis on generating information that is useful and usable to decision-makers, the "usability gap" has persisted. The paper argues for more attention to be paid to enablers that need to be in place to ensure that useful and usable information is actually used. These enablers include supportive institutions, appropriate policy frameworks, capacity of individuals and agency to make decisions. 

FCFA launches a critical reflection on learning from its activities-with inputs from Kulima

Future Climate FCFA learningFor Africa has launched "A critical reflection on learning from the FCFA programme." The report is led by Julio Araujo, Blane Harvey and Ying-Syuan (Elaine) Huang, with inputs from a wider team, including Kulima director Katharine Vincent. It highlights the nature of collective learning, experiences of leadership and capacity development and knowledge co-production and research uptake over the four years of applied research on improving climate information for use in medium-term (5-40 year) planning, which was undertaken by the five consortia under FCFA, including UMFULA-in which Kulima was a partner. It recommends that flexibility should be built into programme design, transforming research and knowledge mobilisation practice, investing in Southern leadership and capacity, and evaluating impacts.