Engaging Stakeholders and Initiating Fieldwork in West Africa: ASSAR Update

Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) is one of START’s newest programs. In the last several months, ASSAR regional teams in West, East, and Southern Africa as well as in India have been busy disseminating the findings of the Regional Diagnostic Studies (RDS). This diagnostic research is aimed at understanding what people in semi-arid regions currently know about climate change, and what they’re doing to adapt to these changes.

In West Africa, district level RDS dialogue events have been held with stakeholders from Lawra and Nandom districts in Ghana and from Koutiala in Mali. National level events have also taken place in Accra and Bamako. These events provided opportunities for stakeholders to learn about RDS findings and to give feedback to inform the second phase of the ASSAR project, the Regional Research Phase. More information is available here.

ASSAR stakeholder RDS dialog in MaliStakeholder RDS dialogue participants in Koutiala, Mali in July, 2015.

START has been working closely with graduate student researchers and others from the West Africa team to prepare for the fieldwork of the Regional Research Phase. This work has already gotten underway with a preparatory field visit to research sites in northwestern Ghana and will continue to roll out from October through January. This work will be focusing on ASSAR’s three research streams of social differentiation, governance, and ecosystem services along with two crosscutting themes of gender and knowledge resources. In order to generate creative and novel thinking about adaptation futures in the region and to inform our ongoing research, a Transformative Scenario Planning exercise will also be undertaken as part of the West Africa team’s Regional Research Phase. For more information on ASSAR, theTransformative Scenario Planning and the work of the regional teams please visit START’s ASSAR web page or the global ASSAR website.

ASSAR TSP training in Accra

West Africa student researchers participating in a Transformative Scenario Planning (TSP) training exercise in Accra, Ghana in September 2015. Photo Credit: Lucia Scodanibbio