A few weeks ago I travelled to Kenya where we are delivering a climate change adaptation project in partnership with GIZ (the German Development Agency). The goal of the project is to train approximately 10,000 vulnerable Kenyan smallholder farmers in the most appropriate adaptation techniques to increase their resilience to climate change. A lot of the training focuses on good practice farming and will help the farmers to secure sustainable livelihoods while improving their social and environmental performance.

The first part of the project focused on working with climate change modellers and key stakeholders in the Kenyan tea industry to understand how climate change is likely to affect the tea sector over the next 40 years. Now we know which areas are most likely to be affected, we have turned our attention to developing the right materials and training approaches to support the identified smallholders.

Partner - Africa AssociatesOne of the main purposes of my Kenyan trip was to support the development and delivery of a one-day ‘train the trainer’ event. Together with a local consultancy (SMS Ltd) that specialises in climate change training for the agricultural sector, we trained a pool of trainers from the organisation Partner Africa who will ultimately deliver the training to the Kenyan smallholders. Because the climate change training was added to another Partner Africa training event it meant that staff from other African countries were also trained. This means that if the climate change adaptation training is scaled up outside of Kenya, the local resource is already in place to ‘roll-out’ the training.

A Partner Africa associate during a brainstorming exerciseThe training day for the Partner Africa associates was really successful and a great experience. To help them grasp some of the concepts we used a lot of analogies with everyday life to make it easier for them to relate to. Because some of these were based around marriage and relationships you can imagine there was a lot of laughter, even though they were being used to make a serious point. I’m very confident the trainers left the session feeling a lot more comfortable about discussing climate change in relation to tea.

We're planning a more intensive climate change training event for the beginning of 2012 that will focus on the  adaptation toolkit that’s currently being developed, but more about that in my next update.