Addressing environmental degradation and rural poverty through climate change adaptation: an evaluation of social learning in drought-affected districts of Southern India

Addressing environmental degradation and rural poverty through climate change adaptation: an evaluation of social learning in drought-affected districts of Southern India

The overall goal of this paper is to apply the climate change and social learning monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework of the CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Policies and Institutions Flagship program to a climate change innovation platform. The Strategic Pilot project on Adaptation to Climate Change (SPACC) is selected to illustrate the usefulness of the social learning M&E framework and add to the social learning evidence base. The SPACC project was launched as a three-year (2010-2013) pilot initiative in Andhra Pradesh, a state in southern India to strengthen the knowledge and capacities of communities to respond to climate variability and change impacts in seven drought- prone districts.  
 
The social learning component of SPACC is captured at three levels: community level, project level and beyond the project level. The CCSL M&E framework identifies a total of 30 primary indicators across four areas that form key components of the theory of change, viz. Iterative Learning, Capacity Development, Engagement, and Challenging Institutions. Among these four areas, indicators for capacity building and iterative learning were most easily observable in the case of SPACC. While the process and outcome indicators were observed for Engagement, it was difficult to study the quality of engagement and its impact in terms of change in value/practice. Engagement can be quantified in terms of number of new institutions formed, representation of marginalized groups and number of Farmer Climate Schools conducted. It was difficult to study indicators relevant to challenging institutions, primarily because the SPACC activities tried to build on and strengthen existing institutional structures where possible. Additionally, as the project primarily focused on building capacities and knowledge base at the community level, the learning beyond the project level was not as evident.  

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