Our first In Their Lifetime (ITL) 2.0 project, Climate Monitoring Action (CLIMA) in Nicaragua, ended in April 2023. The project targeted 300 rural families (approx. 1270 people, 50% women and girls) of small producers strongly dependent on coffee, cocoa, and honey for their livelihood. While the full evaluation report is still being drawn up, preliminary findings show that the project made significant impacts despite a number of challenges.
Just after the project started in August 2020, Hurricane Eta/Iota hit the project location, causing extensive damage to coffee and cacao orchards. This resulted in major financial setbacks for the families and the orchards required replanting with a predicted 3-4 years of recovery. Then the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption and delayed some project activities. Lastly, towards the end of the project, our key project partner, Central Humboldt, was shut down as part of Nicaragua’s authorities' increasing suppression of civil society.
Against the backdrop of these challenges, the project still largely met its overall objective of equipping families with tools and approaches for anticipating and adapting to climate change. Some findings from the evaluation show that:
- Families can now make decisions about agricultural practices based on weather forecasts developed through the network of climate observers and newly installed weather stations.
- Families are now sharing weather forecasts with 2-5 other families, showing that the project’s impact reaches far beyond the targeted families.
- Coffee yields have increased by 15-20%, a significant success considering the anticipated reduction in yield anticipated as a result of the damage caused by hurricanes Eta/Iota.
As we wait for the final evaluation report, we are exploring forums to share the learnings from the project more widely. These include the possibility of sharing the project model at a regional conference in Guatemala in August, reaching 5,000 delegates. The approach of developing local weather stations to collate and share climate information has been used to influence project design elsewhere, including an Irish Aid funded project across DRC, Myanmar, South Sudan and Colombia. We have also been able to present findings from this CLIMA project to UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, as part of a bid to be included in their Climate and Nature Providers List. Within Christian Aid, learnings from the project are shared through working groups to inform our strategy around combining inclusive market projects with climate projects.
We will be able to provide more information once the full report is available but already we can see how the learning from this project has had an impact on families locally and in other countries around the globe. It has provided a great start for ITL 2.0.