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CGIAR Explores Participatory Action in East African Agricultural Carbon Projects

CCAFS9 January 2014: To evaluate the challenges and opportunities for strengthening and integrating local institutions into smallholder carbon projects, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research's (CGIAR) Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Program (CCAFS) has released a research report, titled 'Development of a Participatory Action Research Approach for Four Agricultural Carbon Projects in East Africa.'  

The report provides an institutional analysis of the relationships between local community organizations and external organizations involved in carbon project development. It addresses the challenge of strengthening local institutions to take ownership of projects that are initiated by external organizations.

This participatory action research examines: the Assisted Natural Regeneration Project in Humbo, Ethiopia, promoted by World Vision; the Sustainable Agriculture in Changing Climate Initiative in Western Kenya by CARE; the Vi Agroforestry's Western Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project; and ECOTRUST's Trees for Global Benefits project in Uganda. The research was developed in coordination with carbon project managers, and identified areas for future action related to: partnership development; enhancement of training of trainers approaches; improvements in community ownership; and increased opportunities for collective action. It notes the transition from a carbon finance project to a climate-smart agriculture project in the case of the CARE work. ECOTRUST's approach to extension has evolved from direct technical support to a training of trainers approach, which may support project growth. In this regard, research also shows the need to increase collaboration and relationships among farmer groups. The Humbo project, the most mature of the projects, shows that World Vision has begun a long transition phase to place cooperative groups in control of local management.

This work represents the second stage of engagement in learning from these agricultural carbon projects, and the paper follows previous lessons that were generalized across the East African projects that could be useful to managers of future projects. The CCAFS will continue to monitor the implementation of these projects in the future. The CGIAR CCAFS work was published through the CGIAR Systemwide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRI). [Publication: Development of a Participatory Action Research Approach for Four Agricultural Carbon Projects in East Africa] [CGIAR Landscapes Press Release]