Utilising local knowledge for climate change adaptation : a case study of the lake Chilwa Basin climate change adaptation programme (LCBCCAP), Malawi
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It has been argued that local knowledge should be incorporated into climate change adaptation programmes in order to produce appropriate adaptation strategies. How local knowledge can and should be utilised is the topic if the study. The Lake Chilwa Climate Change Adaptation Programme aims to secure the livelihood of the 1.5 million people living in the Lake Chilwa Basin in south-eastern Malawi, by introducing adaptation and mitigation strategies. The assessment of how LCBCCAP and the Women Fish Processing Groups (WFPGs) utilises local knowledge brings great insight ways in which local knowledge can enhance climate change adaptation. The WFPG utilised local knowledge through participatory means such as participatory research and participatory management. The findings indicate that the WFPG-project is rich in local content and specifically target local issues. The participation of the community has increased sustainability and efficiency, improved communication and reduced the chance of conflicts. Further, utilising local knowledge has empowered the beneficiaries as they experience that their opinions, involvement and perceptions are valued. The challenges that were identified regards knowledge-conflict between ‘local knowledge’ and ‘scientific/western knowledge’ and the issue of validating local knowledge. It is argued that for local knowledge to be beneficial, it needs to be exactly that – local. Local knowledge should not be taken out of context and generalised to be implement elsewhere. The WFPG-project is a good example of a project that has a rich local foundation and is improved with technical solutions. This way, local practices and scientific knowledge can complement each other. The findings indicate that by involving the stakeholders in identifying adaptation strategies and together adapted them to fit into the local context local knowledge may indeed enhance climate change adaptation programmes. Further, the findings indicate that climate change may affect the most fundamental needs for rural poor in the Lake Chilwa Basin, their food security and their livelihood. This is due to their overdependence of natural resources. Encouraging diversification of livelihood strategies that are not based on natural resources is identified as a recommendation in order to enhance adaptive capacity to present and further climate variability and change.
Master thesis in development management- University of Agder, 2012