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Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Climate-Smart Approach Engages Communities, Empowers Individuals


The effects of climate change can be felt throughout the developing world as countries face changing and often deleterious weather patterns, decreased agricultural productivity, rising food prices, food shortages, transportation difficulties and even heightened risk of conflicts. These effects have a severe impact on communities that are the least equipped to deal with new challenges.


Since our inception as an international development organization, ACDI/VOCA has worked with smallholder farmers around the world to help them break out of poverty by using practical, sustainable results-oriented techniques. Our response to climate change continues this tradition of holistic, coordinated efforts that engage all sectors of a community. Environmental sustainability is intrinsically linked to our agricultural development and food security roles, and, given its pervasive impact, is crucial to achieving most development goals.


Climate Change Adaptation Approach

ACDI/VOCA’s approach to climate change adaptation seeks to minimize vulnerability and exposure, and to maximize adaptive capacity.


Vulnerability Reduction: ACDI/VOCA reduces a community’s sensitivity to climate change by promoting climate-smart agriculture. Our extensive training and education programming to enhance smallholder productivity disseminates technologies and techniques to address climate change and strengthen natural resource management.

  • In Kenya, we provided practical, hands-on training for smallholder farmers in conservation tillage to maximize harvests, increase profits and prevent soil loss.
  • In India, ACDI/VOCA worked with rural producer groups to develop organic fertilizers and to have their production organically certified, giving them a competitive advantage in regional markets.

Exposure Mitigation: ACDI/VOCA takes deliberate steps to measure and plan around a community’s exposure to climate change. In the design and workplan stages, we use a variety of tools and data to ensure that we are designing programs that will withstand changes in climate. In addition, disaster risk-reduction measures that focus on slow-onset hazards are an integral part of ACDI/VOCA’s climate change adaptation strategy.

  • In Jamaica, our agricultural development program promotes environmentally sustainable practices that tie economic incentives to protecting local biodiversity. In addition, we conducted a climate vulnerability assessment that recommended monitoring and evaluating climate change activities as well as adaptation strategies and corresponding indicators based on a livelihoods framework approach.
  • In Bangladesh, our program has a comprehensive disaster risk-management component that will reduce communities’ risk to slow- and rapid-onset hazards as well as build resiliency through adaptation strategies, early warning systems and disaster preparedness. Disaster management committees will develop and implement community-driven disaster management plans that integrate issues of gender and social inclusion of women, children, the elderly and disabled.
  • ACDI/VOCA developed an early warning system for Haiti’s Southeast Department, designed to create linkages between local authorities, community leaders and the Comité National de Sécurité Alimentaire to predict, identify and respond to slow-onset emergencies (e.g., droughts) and rapid-onset emergencies (e.g., hurricanes). Early warning bulletins provide rainfall data, prices for selected markets and relevant agricultural information as well as malnutrition and other morbidity information from the Ministry of Health.

Adaptive Capacity Strengthening: ACDI/VOCA builds the adaptive capacity of a community through several methods. A changing climate can create opportunities for new agricultural products and services, and ACDI/VOCA is well-positioned to help smallholders respond. Additionally, ACDI/VOCA builds the capacity of communities for long-term climate change planning through our CEDAR (Communities Empowered for Disaster and Adaptive Resilience) approach.

  • In Tanzania, ACDI/VOCA helped coastal villagers in the Tanga region to raise their incomes by sustainably using and managing their community’s natural resources. Mariculture initiatives focused on high-earning, globally valued projects, including seaweed farming activities and mud crab fattening projects. By transforming coastal villagers from casual laborers into entrepreneurs and fostering community stewardship of resources, the development program drew together the goals of conservation and poverty alleviation.
  • In northern Afghanistan, ACDI/VOCA helped rural communities to develop microhydropower plants, harnessing renewable energy from small streams. Before, those who could afford generators would spend at least $2 per day on fuel. Now this money can be spent on such things as farm equipment, seeds and children’s education.

PDF version (468 KB).


Learn more about our Communities Empowered for Disaster and Adaptive Resilience (CEDAR) approach.


Learn more about our disaster risk reduction approach.




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