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Photo of producer involved in ITL CLIMA project

ITL CLIMA Project Update

ITL Climate Monitoring Action Project, Nicaragua

The ITL CLIMA project (Climate Monitoring Action) in Nicaragua focuses on training families to gather locally sourced climate information, sharing and interpreting that information and utilising it to develop targeted agricultural adaptation strategies particularly in regard to cocoa, coffee and honey farming practices which are central to household incomes. This approach offers a way to protect the futures of these families, and other families across Nicaragua, from the ravages of climate change. 

In the last newsletter we touched on the fact that a mid-project review was conducted. This review assessed the impact achieved to date through the project and identified areas for improvement. Below we provide a summary of the findings.

OBJECTIVE 1: Families in the target communities benefit from enhanced decision making, based on climate information and are making improved agricultural decisions and report better yields and reduced losses from adverse climate conditions.

Achievements:

  • Climate data collected by the communities themselves through weather stations installed through the project, are being used to inform production decisions as part of the crop production cycle. 
  • As a result, despite the challenges caused by Hurricanes Eta and Iota, an average 36% increase in yields has been seen by 37% of families involved in the project.
  • Families are also experiencing a reduction in soil erosion thanks to the soil conservation practices initiated through the project.

Challenges: One challenge identified through the mid-term review is that some families have limited internet access affecting their ability to access timely climate updates. This is something we are seeking to address with urgency.

Another challenge was the resurgence of COVID-19, which affected a large number of project staff and as a result, both partners had to go into quarantine.  During this period face-to-face group sessions were halted, and project delivery was reoriented towards house-to-house visits conducted in accordance with social-distancing guidelines. In this way we have managed to continue delivery as much as possible whilst also keeping communities safe.

One of the climate observers proudly showing his log book which he uses to log the climate information captured through the climate station.

Climate observation log book

OBJECTIVE 2: Our partners have an enhanced ability to collate climate data and provide high quality climate information to communities. Furthermore there is evidence that the climate information generated by the project is being used by government entities at regional and national level and throughout the LAC region.

Achievements:

  • 42% of our partner, Soppexcca's technicians have been trained in climate issues, which have strengthened the quality of the information which is being generated and transmitted to producer families.
  • Evidence of this enhanced capacity is the first ever climate bulletin for families (using data collected by community observers themselves through the community stations), as well as the creation of a climate Whatsapp group, which has 146 members and where reports, forecasts and climate alerts are transmitted in a timely manner, with the aim of influencing decisions made by producers.
  • ITL partner Central Humboldt has produced and distributed early warning climate alerts, which are central to minimising crop losses. 46 forecasts, 2 reports and 1 informative note have been broadcast through WhatsApp, Facebook and email.
  • Key meetings took place between the ITL project partners and wider stakeholder networks like CAFENICA, the Nicaragua Alliance on Climate Change, the Vulnerable Central America Forum and the National Risk Management Board, to support the sharing and utilisation of climate information for decision making beyond the immediate project area.

OBJECTIVE 3: Our partners have an enhanced ability to collate locally-sourced climate data and provide high quality climate information to communities. There is evidence that the information and approaches are being shared more broadly and being embedded throughout the LAC region via climate networks

Achievements:

  • Climate observers and their family members have participated in capacity building on climate issues, which has increased knowledge of climate monitoring and the importance of transmitting this information within and outside their community. This is impacting the economy of the communities, through evidence of more resilient agricultural livelihoods.
  • In order to achieve broader impact beyond the communities directly served by the project, our partners undertook training via the regional climate network, (ROCC). The immediate impact of this training is evidenced through post-training feedback, such as the example below.

I am a member of Meza del Ocote in San Rafael del Norte municipality. About climate I knew nothing. I only saw no rain. I now know how to measure the water that falls from the sky and I can say to my family and my community when is a good time for sowing.

- Reina Isabel Montalván , ROCC (LAC Regional Climate Network) Member .

OBJECTIVE 4: The Climate Resilient Family Model has been successfully trialled and families have  greater knowledge of good agricultural practices as a result. A comprehensive methodology has been developed aimed at supporting the entire family to respond to climate change. This includes generation and implementation of practices, tools and strategies for coping and adapting to climate change.

Achievements:

  • The development of the Climate Resilient Family Model has begun.
  • Training has been given to local media and journalists on climate issues.

Challenges: The Climate Resilient Family Model has yet to be embedded into communities, and has been identified as a crucial focus for the year ahead. Furthermore while a positive start has been made in training journalists, it is clear much more work is needed to sensitise journalists on this issue as they are key actors for dissemination of climate information.

Reina and her family are part of the ITL CLIMA project