Local Knowdelges and Food Security in the Sahel
The project’s purpose is to reinforce the implementation of climate change solutions in the Sahel. These adaptations and resilience initiatives draw from the knowledge, skills and expertise developed by local populations: those with first-hand expertise on climate change and food security. The project uses a participatory and practical approach that centres local knowledge to identify solutions for adapting to climate change that are inclusive of women and rural youth and respond to the needs of West African family farms.
We distinguish three different dimensions of a climate change adaptation solution: its construction or implementation, which refers to the installation or implementation of the technology according to defined technical characteristics; its enhancement, i.e. how the technical tool actually translates into an improvement in people’s resilience to climate change; and finally the scaling up of the technology, understood as its replication either “horizontally” or “vertically”, so that its impact reaches more people or larger areas.
With regard to the public policy frameworks in which this study is embedded, in addition to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (particularly Goals 1 and 2), it takes into account the UN Decade of Family Farming global action plan, which places family farming and family production models at the centre of interventions, those that feed the majority of the world’s population and which correspond to the largely dominant mode of production in the Sahel. Placing family farming at the centre of interventions means recognising the multi-dimensionality of small-scale producers (as economic, ecological and cultural actors) and understanding the farm as a complex productive unit. Finally, even if adaptation to climate change and food security respond to distinct intervention logics, the two phenomena are closely linked, especially in West Africa, where populations are largely affected at the same time by food insecurity and vulnerability to climate change. In this regard, this study assumes that adaptation to climate change protects food security, but that food security in itself makes people less vulnerable to the complex impacts of climate change.