Preparing for the future in Uganda: understanding the influence of development interventions on adaptive capacity at the local level

Research reports and studies
October 2011
Lindsey Jones, Frederik Ayorekire, Margaret Barihaihi, Anthony Kagoro, Doreen Ruta

Uganda faces the challenge of responding to rapidly changing climate and development pressures. At the local level, many communities do not have the tools, resources or capacity to adapt alone, and will require assistance and support from government and other development actors. Though most development interventions do not seek directly to address issues of climate change, the impacts of project support are likely to influence the ability of people and communities to respond and adapt to changing climate and development pressures. Yet, few development actors have considered how their interventions are influencing communities’ adaptive capacity, and what can be done to further enhance it.

This research report by the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA) seeks to explore how existing Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Social Protection and Sustainable Livelihood interventions impact on adaptive capacity at the local level in Uganda.

It does so through use of the Local Adaptive Capacity framework (LAC), which depicts adaptive capacity as being composed of five interrelated characteristics: the asset base; knowledge and information; institutions and entitlement; innovation; and flexible, forward-looking decision-making. Primary and secondary data have been gathered from three research sites in Bundibugyo, Kotido and Gulu districts.

Using the LAC framework, research findings document how development interventions are making strong contributions towards strengthening ‘the asset base’ and supporting ‘institutions and entitlements’. However, significant potential exists for development interventions to maximise their contributions through small changes to programmatic and operational activities. In particular, there is a need for development partners and government to focus on supporting the characteristics of ‘innovation’, ‘knowledge and information’, and ‘flexible, forward-looking governance’.

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