ACCRA in Uganda is a consortium made up of Care International, Oxfam, Save the Children, and is led by World Vision and key government actors including the Office of the Prime Minister (Department of Disaster Preparedness and Management - OPM), the Ministry of Water and Environment (MoWE) (Department of Meteorology and the Climate Change Unit), the Uganda Local Government Authority (ULGA), the Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change, and the Climate Change Action Network (CAN-U). Follow this link to see full details of ACCRA consortium members.

In Uganda, ACCRA works both at the district and national level, working with rural communities through the consortium members. Its successes are a result of its unique operational approach. To achieve change, ACCRA uses an integrated, three-track approach with three nationally led, designed and delivered operational components: research, policy advocacy and capacity building. It works with multi-sector stakeholders with an interest in climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR), including donors, other INGOs, national civil society and research institutions. Outlined below are four change processes showing successes in influencing change at the local, regional and national level are a result of ACCRA’s operational approach.

CCA and DRR bottom up participatory research

ACCRA’s community-based and participatory research on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction has shaped its entire programme. ACCRA collects evidence on the adaptive capacity of communities and their political economy through a set of tools that allow communities to analyse their own resilience, vulnerability and capacities. This bottom-up approach ensures that community voices and concerns form the basis of ACCRA’s work with local and national government. Such community assessments are integrated with capacity building to enhance participatory planning processes around DRR and CCA and to boost community resilience through the exchange of innovation.

Innovatively support government to disseminate weather forecasts to communities

ACCRA works to strengthen systems of information and knowledge. In June 2012, the Uganda Department of Meteorology (DoM) issued its first-ever seasonal forecast using simplified language. This was translated into 4 (then 7, and most recently 10) of 56 local languages, and contained sector-specific advisory messages for rural communities. The DoM and the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Management in the OPM led this initiative supported by ACCRA and with consortium members supporting dissemination. Local-level feedback indicates that this helped local communities to make more informed decisions in response to climate information and climate change. The DoM is currently documenting indigenous weather-forecasting methods to develop ways of integrating local knowledge with science. In this way, ACCRA is supporting communities and other stakeholders to access, understand and use information that is crucial for food security and livelihoods in rural Uganda.

A case study and a policy brief document the innovative aspects to this approach for seasonal forecasting. A fact sheet lists the common questions from end users of weather forecast information to the Meteorology department of Uganda

Local communities in Kotido, drawing their own village resource /social map showing different community assets, livelihoods, and hazards prone areas and impacts.

Local communities in Kotido, drawing their own village resource /social map showing different community assets, livelihoods, and hazards prone areas and impacts.

Cross sector and joint capacity building to mainstream CCA, DRR and gender

ACCRA is proactively engaging and supporting local governments to mainstream CCA, DRR and gender into local public development planning. Evidence collected by ACCRA reveals that the effective implementation of DRR and CCA relies on local institutions. ACCRA’s approach is to use a mix of evidence-based advice and demand-driven, jointly designed and cross-sector capacity building. It believes that local capacity alone is not enough and that the many barriers to mainstreaming CCA and DRR are related to political prioritisation and funding; to this end ACCRA has sought to work with key ministries to train local governments and CSOs on climate change vulnerability, CCA gender assessments and multi-sector, forward-looking planning. Discussions are underway with Climate Change Unit in the Ministry of Water and Environment to develop national resilience indicators.

Read more about the best practices and challenges for mainstreaming CCA and DRR here.

Uniting the voices of civil society organisations and communities to advocate for policy change

Two crucial components for longer-term resilience in Uganda are an enabling environment and positive policy incentives. As part of its advocacy work, ACCRA has contributed to multi-sector learning and policy advocacy platforms on DRR and CCA. The Government of Uganda’s DRR policy was approved in 2010 and a climate change policy is in the process of being approved by the cabinet. Here ACCRA provided evidence and played a key role in coordinating the voice of civil society, helping thus to increase CSO and community participation in the development of climate change policy.

Climate Context: why ACCRA is in Uganda

Uganda is highly vulnerable to climate change due to its heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture. More than 80% of the Ugandan people make their living this way and the sector contributes over 60% of the country’s export earnings. Recently, erratic and unseasonal rainfall has cost the country over US$60 million in crop losses per year. (UN World Water Development Report, 2006). Over 4 million people have been affected by disasters in Uganda since 1979, and more than 500,000 have died from disaster-related causes, whilst others displaced from their homes.

Vulnerability to climate hazards, variability and change has been further exacerbated by poverty and inequality, high population, low levels of awareness, poor infrastructure, high rates of HIV/AIDS, and armed conflicts. Women in particular, are hit hardest, struggling to provide water and food for their families.

It is predicted that in Uganda, temperatures will increase by up to 1.5oC in the next 20 years and by up to 4.3oC by 2080 (DFID, 2008). The increase would wipe out robust coffee production, limiting it to highland areas (MFPED, 2004). As this makes up 40% of Uganda’s export revenue, it makes adapting to climate change a critical priority.

The Government of Uganda has implemented Disaster Risk Reduction activities for a long time. It has signed up and ratified the Hyogo Framework for Action, the AU’s Africa Regional Strategy for DRR and others, as well as developing the National Disaster Preparedness and Management Policy and the National Adaptation Programme of Action. Whilst many efforts have been made, implementation of existing commitments at the local level is still a challenge. In addition, there is a need to identify how best the most vulnerable women and men can be supported to improve their livelihoods, despite climate change.

ACCRA's main goal is to bring together evidence of good practices through research from Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Sustainable Livelihoods and Social Protection programming to inform new adaptation efforts. This will include recommendations for effective ways of supporting communities’ and individuals’ capacity to adapt as well as how interventions can combat the different factors driving men and women’s vulnerability.

For more information on ACCRA in Uganda, please contact our national coordinator, Margaret Barihaihi