Building climate services capacity in Rwanda

Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT)
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Project Description

The Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project is a four-year initiative (2016-2019) that seeks to transform Rwanda’s rural farming communities and national economy through improved climate risk management. The project’s goal is to improve agricultural planning and food security management in the face of a variable and changing climate at both local and government levels. In order to do so, project staff will work directly with technical officers, policy and decision makers within the Government of Rwanda, as well as with farmers and other key stakeholders in the country’s agriculture sector.         

The project benefits from years of applied research on climate services for agriculture by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and its partners in Africa and beyond. It aims to improve the supply, communication and use of climate-related information in a balanced manner using products co-developed by both providers and users. For instance, the project will build on the Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) approach, already piloted in eight countries in Africa, including Rwanda. ENACTS focuses on the creation of reliable climate information suitable for national and local decision making. Under this initiative, Rwanda’s National Meteorological Agency (Meteo-Rwanda) has merged satellite data with its station observations to fill gaps in both space and time and can now provide a range of high-resolution climate information products tailored to agricultural user needs through web-based “maprooms”.

Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture will build on and scale up the successful Participatory Integrated Climate Services (PICSA) approach to reach rural communities in the country. Through the PICSA approach, agricultural extension staff, development NGOs and other intermediaries will be trained to integrate climate services into their ongoing work with farming communities across Rwanda’s 30 districts. The ENACTS-related maprooms will provide an efficient way for these trained intermediaries to access location-specific data and graphs as they work with farmers and other local decision makers within the PICSA approach. The project will utilize other innovative communication channels, such as interactive rural radio programming, to reach Rwanda’s farmers.

By the end of the project period, nearly a million farmers will have timely access to useful climate services. They will have better opportunities to transform their livelihoods through improved agricultural productivity. Agricultural planners, policy makers, investors, and food security specialists will be able to respond more effectively to droughts, floods and other climate-related risks. Finally, a national network of climate services will be operational, with key national agencies able to sustainably deliver climate services for farmers. 

Outcomes

The project will deliver four specific outcomes:

  • Climate Services for Farmers. Agricultural extension and other relevant intermediary organizations and communicators (e.g. farmer cooperatives, rural radio networks, ICT providers, NGOs) will provide farmers across Rwanda’s 30 districts with decision-relevant, operational climate information and advisory services, and train them to use the information to better manage risk.
  • Climate Services for Government and Institutions. Agricultural and food security decision-makers in the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI), and in other national and local government agencies and institutions, will use climate information to respond more effectively to climate-related risks and to inform decisions that build the resilience of farmers.
  • Climate Information Provision. Meteo-Rwanda will design, deliver, and incorporate user feedback into a growing suite of weather and climate information products (historic, monitored, forecast) and services tailored to the needs of agricultural and food security decision makers.
  • Climate Services Governance. A national climate services governance process—involving joint decision making among relevant national stakeholders—will oversee and foster sustained co-production, assessment and improvement of climate services for agriculture and food security; and will facilitate a formal interface and effective dialog between the key agencies involved.

Partners   

This project is supported by USAID/Rwanda and coordinated by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Main partners include Meteo-Rwanda, MINAGRI, Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), International Research Institute for Climate & Society (IRI) based at Columbia University and Reading University.

Gender 

The project will proactively assess the information needs and appropriate communication channels for rural women and men, and incorporate the resulting information and insights into the design of services, development of communication channels, and training for agricultural extension and other intermediaries.  The monitoring component will include annual assessment of the reach of the climate services to all farmers, including the most vulnerable and marginalized within farming communities, such as women and youth. The results of the focused assessment will be used to adjust the implementation of activities each year.

Further information

For further information, please contact:

Project Leader, James Hansen (CCAFS-IRI): jhansen@iri.columbia.edu

Project Coordinator, Desire Kagabo: desire.kagabo@gmail.com