Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crisis (SPARC)

January 2020 to December 2025
A group of women place rice in sacks for storage, Burkina Faso

Climate change and the impact it has on livelihoods based on natural resources – including water and land – is one of the key drivers of both crisis and poverty for communities in some of the world’s most vulnerable and conflict-affected countries.

Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crisis (SPARC) aims to generate evidence and address knowledge gaps to build the resilience of millions of pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Our ambition is to use research and evidence to develop knowledge that will enhance the way the UK Department for International Development (DFID), donors, non-governmental organisations, local and national governments and civil society can empower these communities in the context of climate change.

We have two main goals:

  • To carry out new research on how programmes and projects that deliver support to agro-pastoralists, pastoralists and farmers can be designed, implemented and evaluated more effectively.
  • To support innovation and the use of technology in DFID and partner programmes.

We will do this by focusing our research on distilling key insights from existing knowledge. SPARC believes that much is changing in the countries and contexts we work in, largely thanks to the initiatives of local communities and the 

support of national governments, international donors, aid organisations and businesses. Yet valuable knowledge on the sustainability and medium-term impacts of these programmes is lost as many are not evaluated or are only assessed during the lifetime of the initiative.

The SPARC team includes more than 100 experts specialising in research on agriculture, climate change, economics, livelihoods, gender and social inclusion, conflict and peacebuilding and operational activities including research management, procurement, knowledge brokering and communications. The evidence and information we generate will be used to better understand which programmes are most effective to deliver in semi-arid regions and fragile and conflict-affected areas. SPARC will also assess if, and how, projects can be replicated at scale given the complexity of dynamic development contexts.

Our ambition is to create impact by generating knowledge for practitioners, donors and decision-makers that is context-specific and directly addresses current gaps in existing evidence on programmes that seek to improve the futures of farmers, pastoralists and agro-pastoralists.