Building climate services on the ground in Tanzania and Malawi

Photo: Cecilia Schubert (CCAFS)

Project description

This project was part of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The overall goal of this program was to increase the resilience of vulnerable populations in Tanzania and Malawi against the impacts of weather and climate-related events. This was achieved through the development, implementation, and evaluation of a joint program of climate services targeting agriculture and food security, health, and disaster risk reduction.  CCAFS and World Food Program jointly led the development of climate services for farmers and other agricultural decision-makers in target districts.  Key research and capacity development activities included: training and facilitating agricultural extension staff and other intermediaries in the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (IPICSA) process, introduction of district-level Planning and Review meetings ahead of each growing season, communication of climate-related information through interactive rural radio programming, needs assessment, and evaluation. 

This GFCS demonstration project produced greater and more effective cross-sectoral planning, co-production, and uptake of climate services at the national and local levels. Climate-service users in Tanzania and Malawi significantly strengthened capacities to demand, access, and benefit from co-produced climate services relevant for food security, nutrition, health, and disaster risk reduction at the sub-national to local level. By the end of the project, there was an improved understanding at the international level of the effectiveness of the GFCS in climate risk management and adaptation.


  • Baseline survey analysis and needs assessment.
  • Rural radio and short message services (SMS) programs for the dissemination of climate services and information.
  • Training programs for 1,000 national agricultural extension officers in communicating climate services for male and female farmers.
  • Strengthened PICSA approach, including incorporation of pre-season Planning and Review process, and analyses of reach and influence of climate information on farmers’ decision-making.
  • National meteorological service staff trained in statistical forecast downscaling methods.
  • Guidelines for further development of climate information for agriculture, targeting national meteorological services.
  • An assessment of the program’s progress against the baseline measurements.


The project partners were: (1) the UN World Food Program, who jointly led the agriculture and food security component of the program with CCAFS; (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) World Agrofrestry 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) International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); and (8) International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).


The research assessed gender differences in information and communication needs, and in the use and benefit from climate services. Capacity development activities proactively ensured balanced participation of women and men.

Further information

For further information, please contact the Project Leader, James Hansen (IRI) at