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The GFCS– APA programme in Malawi and Tanzania

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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Author name: Georgia Pergolini

The climate crisis is already harming the productivity of farmers globally, threatening the livelihoods, crops and livestock of the poorest people. In 2020, the number of people suffering from food crises soared to a five-year high, with 155 million people experiencing acute hunger.

In a warming world, vulnerable food-insecure communities face more frequent extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, changes in rainfall patterns and in the timing of the start and end of the rainy season. The current pace of change is overwhelming their capacity to understand how to adapt and plan based on their traditional knowledge. As the past is no longer a reliable indicator to understand the present or the future, climate services is a crucial tool in ensuring communities are able to make risk-informed decisions to be able to plan for agriculture and ensure food security at the household level.

While information about the weather and climate may exist at a national level in some countries, access to it in the communities living in rural remote areas, where such information would be useful, is often limited or non-existent. The World Food Programme (WFP) has considerable experience in co-production, translation and strengthening access to climate services so that countries and vulnerable rural food-insecure communities can use it to make informed decisions and manage climate related risks.

In Malawi and Tanzania, WFP is part of the multi-partner initiative of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Adaptation Programme for Africa Initiative, supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), which focuses on reducing vulnerability to climate change by enhancing the production and use of climate services in support of decision-making for a range of sectors, including agriculture, food security, health and disaster risk reduction.

Phase I (2014-2017) of the GFCS APA initiative, and in particular, the food security component was co-led by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) with WFP. Phase I (2014-2017) implemented pilot projects in Tanzania and Malawi based on the needs identified by communities in target districts and by integrating the project activities in the R4 Rural Resilience initiative to maximize impacts of interventions in Malawi. Whereas Phase II (2018-2020) consolidated the work in the same districts targeted in GFCS phase I, with WFP and the Ministries of Agriculture in both countries leading the work under the food security component.

Key partners in the food security component within the GFCS-APA initiative include:

(1) the UN World Food Program, who jointly led the agriculture and food security component of the program with CCAFS in phase I, and the former led phase II;

(2) the University of Reading, who led training and capacity development in the PICSA approach;

(3) the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), who performed scoping and feasibility studies ICT-based communication strategy;

(4) the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), who performed baseline data collection and analysis, and contributed to the final project impact assessment;

(5) Farm Radio International (FRI) and (6) Farm Radio Trust, who provided training and capacity building for rural radio use;

(7) the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); and

(8) the International Center for Tropical (CIAT).