Beads - Passion for Facilitation

Capacity development, learning, change, poverty/power/progress

Blog about learning/change, facilitation, systems: small groups and large scale processes, and poverty/power/progress.


Community Based Adaptation: facing fragmentation and stakeholder collaboration

I am on a quest to find common ground for a CBA community of practice.

There are a few issues that were mentioned yesterday at CBA6, the 6th conference on Community Based Adaptation (live coverage here or follow #CBA6 on twitter) which seem indicative of challenges that might concern everyone in the CBA community. Question is, do they also excite everyone to the point where some leadership emerges to start learning around it?

In the opening session, Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for DRR and Chief of UNISDR, mentioned two challenges for successful adaptation, and during the day experience of others illustrated these further.

1. fragmentation of intervention
2. involvement of all stakeholders across multiple levels

Robin Mearns (World Bank), presented a stocktaking Community-driven development (CCD) and climate resilience. He made the same points from a slightly different angle. He said that incentives for adaptation seem to work against collaboration. There was an audience question about how to encourage collaboration from the design stage of CBA or CDD programs. Mearns answered: social accountability.

As for point 2, Mearns observed a trend towards integrated approaches, and said that building community resilience needs action at multiple levels, not just the community (which is by the way exactly what CBA practitioners and researchers have been advocating from the start of CBA).

Research to develop two-year adaptation case studies in Africa and Latin America from Trocaire and IDS (report available in May) found the effects of fragmentation at the community and even household level. Cliona Sharkey from Trócaire shared three key findings, one of which is the lack of coherence in external support to communities, including policy. This fragmentation is apparently limiting the livelihood outcomes for vulnerable households.

I actually believe that the two challenges are different faces of the same coin. Stakeholders is not everybody else but you. CBA practitioners and researchers are also stakeholders. So when we think about engagaging multiple stakeholders in an adaptation process, we cannot think of ourselves as outsiders. We are part of that process. We are stakeholders too. So how can we work to involve all stakeholders, and not collaborate at the same time with others? It all about collaborative practice!

Terry Connan, IDS, reminded his fellow audience members of the myth of community as a uniform entity. The same goes for the CBA community: it is not uniform. yet all community do have something that binds them, like it or not, and can become more productive through better communication and learning (wasn't that the theme of CBA6?!). How about a CBA community of practice starting with these two challenges in a practical way: how can each CBA practitioner better collaborate and guide collaborative stakeholder processes?

Excited about these challenges? Take this short survey with which we are testing the CBA community waters.

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