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One of the biggest challenges the world faces over the next decade is climate change. Climate change forces us to think about development differently - it is not possible to continue the same development practices without taking into account the risks of climate change, and the necessary adjustments to reduce its impacts.

In Nicaragua, the projected impacts of changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, and increases in sea levels and the intensity and frequency of extreme events, are estimated to significantly decrease agricultural productivity, causing:

  • insecurity in water resources
  • increased exposure to coastal flooding
  • the collapse of ecosystems
  • increased health risks

Each of these changes poses a significant threat in the fight against poverty. Therefore, it's urgent that measures are taken to enable communities to adapt to climate change (and its variability,) and to reduce the impacts, especially on poor producers in rural areas.

In this video, Blanca Layaco explains in how your support is enabling us to enable communities to adapt to climate change.

An interview with Programme Manager Blanca Layaco

In this video, Blanca Layaco explains in how your support is enabling us to enable communities to adapt to climate change.

Climate change is making weather more extreme and more unpredictable, and is hitting our poorest and most vulnerable communities hardest.

- Moises Gonzalez, Christian Aid Head of Latin America and the Caribbean..

Project Progress:

This initiative aims to develop local-tailored knowledge and solutions amongst poor producers in Nicaragua. It invests in getting communities to fully understand the different climatic phenomena they face, and supports them to respond effectively to these risks, and protect their livelihoods.

The first six months of the project have enabled us to establish stable foundations on which to build:

  • The Climate Observation Network, made up of 44 climate monitoring stations, is collecting data generated within the territories for the analysis of climatic variables, such as temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, dew point, etc. This information is then being shared through forecasts and weather alerts, through a variety of formats and channels including infographics, audio and video, newsletters and WhatsApp, to enable it to be easily understood by wider the wider community
  • The climate observation system established through the project has resulted in the installation of new weather stations and the effective utilisation and maintenance of existing stations. Additionally, 20 people across various communities have been trained as climate observers so that they can gather, read and interpret locally-specific climate information. This directly addresses the aim of empowering communities to take back control in a situation that can often make them feel powerless
  • 95 small scale producers of cocoa, coffee and honey and their families (360 community members in total) have been provided technical training to understand the linkages between climate information and production and to promote targeted, locally appropriate knowledge on how to better protect their crops from climate change
  • The Soppexcca data management unit team and systems have greater capacity to provide high quality and timely climate information to community members, due to training provided through the project. This is crucial for the long-term sustainability of the changes made.
Rural producer in Nicaragua

Responding to challenges

Nicaragua was severely affected at the end of 2020 by a record-breaking hurricane season. Category 4 Hurricane Eta passed across the region at a speed of 225 km/h, followed by Category 5 Hurricane Iota about two weeks later with the strongest winds experienced in 127 years. The hurricanes caused havoc, leading to flooding, landslides, falling trees, damage to productive infrastructure and homes and loss of coffee, cocoa beans, corn and vegetable crops.

The response to the crisis

Our project partners acted immediately: 500 food packages and 500 hygiene kits were delivered to affected families by project partner, Soppexcca, including to those families directly involved in this project.

Our partner Centro Humbolt activated alerts as soon as the hurricane formations were detected, and developed information on the likely effects.

Reports were generated every 12 hours, alerting the population, and offering recommendations to reduce risks.


The impact of the response

Whilst crop loss was significant, it is likely that they would have be wiped out altogether without this advice. Crucially these reports also prevented any loss of life within the project communities.

As activity temporarily shifted from project delivery to humanitarian delivery, some project activities had to be rescheduled.

Alongside this, the destruction of crops has impacted project communities and has impacted the ability to assess the project impact on agricultural yields in year one of the project.

Despite these challenges, extreme weather events like this only seek to reinforce the commitment of partners and communities to this work.


Moving into year two of the project

As we move into the second year of the project in August, we will take some time to re-establish the indicators for success in light of the current reality, and to adapt our approach as needed, to maximise the long-term impact of the project.

We look forward to keeping you updated on the difference your support is making.