Exchange to Change Sept 2016 - Page 7

interview our questions in an understandable way. First, I didn’t have any experience with the local residents, and second, we are working in a minority area, so they speak a different language and not everyone speaks the national language so well. Zerihun: In this research project, I examine how smallholders perceive current climate variability and how they respond through local adaptation measures, which can serve as useful input for integrated and sustainable adaptation strategies. What is the most fun part of the project? What was the most fun part of your research project? Chi: I led two focus groups myself, where we had women come together and speak about the challenges they face. In the beginning, these women were very shy and very reluctant to speak out. But as I started the discussion, the women became more vocal and started to give their ideas and feedback. In the end, we had a very active discussion and everyone was very open and freely gave their opinions. If you had the power to decide on one concrete climate change action - what action or measure would you take? Chi: This is an ongoing research project, so we don’t have the final results. But based on what we have seen so far, I think it is very important to provide training and financial support to enable rural farmers to adapt to climate change. So if I had the power, I would train farmers in rural areas and support them financially. Zerihun Berhane | Climate Variability and Livelihood Diversification in Northern Ethiopia – A Case Study of Lasta and Beyeda Districts Can you summarise your research project in one sentence? Zerihun: Learning from farmers some interesting indicators of climate variability and change. For instance the number of days it takes for a local bread to grow mold is such an indicator. This may seem simplistic but actually is very important to see the effects of climate change at the local level. What result(s) do you think was important in your project? Zerihun: The agricultural sector is crucial in Ethiopia—it employs 85% of the population. Climate change will have a harsh impact on agriculture and thus food security. Ethiopia has already been affected by climate variability and has for decades experienced a series of extreme weather events like droughts. My project thus assessed to what extent livelihood diversification can serve as an adaptation strategy. In particular, I wanted to find out how smallholders’ perceptions of climate variability correspond with meteorological data, as well as how existing diversification strategies could be a suitable basis for long-term adaptation to climate change. If you had the power to decide on one concrete climate change action - what action or measure would you take? Zerihun: Since we seem to be unable to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in the short term, I think that we should build on current autonomous adaptation measures, that is, measures that local people and smallholders in vulnerable countries like Ethiopia are already taking. That is a cost-effective and efficient way of adapting to climate change. Moreover, adaptation measures should be integrated with social protection to enhance the resilience of people to the impacts of climate change. If you want to find out more about Zerihun’s research, read more at: https://blog. climate-variability-and-livelihooddiversification-in-northern-ethiopia-a-casestudy-of-lasta-and-beyeda-districts/ Weldegebriel, Z. B. and Prowse, M. (2016), Climate variability and livelihood diversification in northern Ethiopia: a case study of Lasta and Beyeda districts. The Geographical Journal. doi: 10.1111/geoj.12178. Exchange to change September 2016 7