Using information to enhance the adaptive capacity of women and ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia

Photo: ICRAF

Project description

Forecasting and weather monitoring are generally for meteorologists and not for women and the ethnic minority (W&EM) smallholders. This project, however, puts the conduct of meteorological observations and consequent decision-making on agricultural management options in the hands of W&EM smallholder farmers who, in most instances, are marginalised even when it comes to development initiatives which address their concerns.

This initiative aims to enhance the adaptive capacity of W&EM smallholder farmers to better anticipate and respond to risks and opportunities from climatic variability. Agricultural and meteorological service providers work directly with these smallholders and engage them in meteorological observations, advisories and decision-making regarding agricultural management options.

Through a phased approach, the agro-climatic information systems (ACIS) was demonstrated in Viet Nam, and is now being customised for Cambodia and Laos, covering four different agro-ecosystems. Local knowledge is integrated with scientific knowledge and social learning processes like farmer-learning networks will be used to develop the capacity of smallholder farmers in weather monitoring and understanding climatic variability by 2018. This project also conducts a research that aims to arrive at a better understanding of farmer decision-making processes. The project has a strong gender-focus and closely monitors what happens when climate information is more gender-sensitive.  It also examines the question whether co-generated weather information can reduce yield variability and losses.


By 2019, women and ethnic minority smallholder farmers in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos are able to better anticipate and respond to risks and opportunities from climatic variability through participatory equitable ACIS.

The project enable these farmers to understand and confidently use ACIS by integrating scientific and local knowledge and by engaging them using farmer-managed meteorological stations and through farmer learning networks. By doing this, the project also helps increase ACIS uptake among similar groups.

Meteorological offices and extension services translate locally relevant weather forecasts and agricultural information into formats and languages which farmers understand, validate, and use to make informed, proactive decisions about farm management. To do this, the project facilitates dialogues and establishes feedback loops among scientists, service providers and farmers. The project output will also enable the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, national agricultural research system and farmer groups, to have access to tailored agro-climatic information and are able to communicate effectively with farmers.

Through the use of ACIS farmers will be able to come up with plans to reduce crop failures and food insecurity arising from extreme weather-related events should be reduced.  

Local government bodies will acknowledge the need for better preparedness and planning, resulting in updated policy interventions for ACIS. Private partners will also see value in the ACIS and will decide to co-invest. Outscaling will be done by local civil society organisations and through national and international NGOs, universities, CCAFS and CGIAR partners.


  • Situational analysis of existing gender roles, relations and power dynamics at household and community level, integrating diversity factors such as age, ethnicity, and other socioeconomic conditions.
  • A needs-based capacity development package information education and Communication (IEC) materials for local partners and wider dissemination
  • Assessment report of existing ACIS, with analysis of gender and equity aspects  
  • Methodology and accompanying tools for Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index- adapted and contextualized.
  • Research protocols to identify ensure gender and equity research gaps are identified and research methodologies and outputs are gender-proofed.
  • Database established for collection of qualitative and quantitative data on M&E indicators including gender- and social groups-disaggregated.
  • Regional synthesis of approaches and lessons learned shared via CSV and CCAFS platforms.  
  • Policy review applies gender and equity filter to identify incentives and barriers for inclusive and equitable ACIS.


The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) leads the project initiatives and activities and provides technical backstopping and training material for project partners.

Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) - CARE's primary responsibility is regional coordination and technical support on community-based adaptation, capacity strengthening including behavior change, M&E, gender and equity. CARE also manages project activities in Laos and Cambodia, and one site in Vietnam.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology provide expertise in the training of trainers (ToT) to provincial staff and peers in Laos and Cambodia on ACIS-development and agroclimate zoning and forecasting improvements.

For their long experience of working closely with farmers, the Farmers' Union Ha Tinh, Center for Community Development in Dien Bien Province, Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture, are involved in social preparation activities and farmer-to-farmer trainings.

Further information

For further information, please contact Project Leader, Elisabeth Simelton (ICRAF)