Systematisation: learning from experiences of community-based adaptation projects in India
India is one the many countries globally that is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The country’s diverse agro-climatic zones and a large number of rural populations dependent on climate sensitive sectors like agriculture, forests and natural resources make it even more vulnerable to risks imposed by a changing climate. The Indo-German development project Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India (CCA-RAI) aims to enhance the adaptive capacities of vulnerable rural communities in India so that they are better equipped to cope with climate variability and change. Under this project, German Development Cooperation (GIZ) partnered local implementation organizations in partner states to test adaptation measures on ground and use lessons to inform climate change adaptation policy. A total of nine projects were implemented between 2011 and 2014 with the common objective to demonstrating improved resilience of rural communities to climate change. Since 2012, CCA-RAI used a process called systematisation for six of these demonstration projects to extract lessons and create knowledge on what climate change adaptation means on the ground. Systematisation is a self-evaluative and participatory process that was originally designed to capture learnings from complex development projects in Latin-America in the 1960s. In India, GIZ applied it for the first time to community based adaptation projects. This participatory approach helped the local implementation partners to reflect on their project activities and progress systematically. The method was successful in creating evidence about changing adaptive capacities of the communities and the overall impact of the projects in the intervention areas which in turn helped in increasing the visibility of the projects with local government partners; in supporting mid-course corrections; and finally in informing policy and governance for climate change adaptation.