Addressing climate vulnerability and farming system challenges with local agroecological knowledge
Landslides and floods in the aftermath of extreme weather events are already a challenging reality for rural communities in northern Chin State and Sagaing Region and will likely be more common in the future – in effect of global climate change. Many rural communities in Myanmar were devastated by the impacts of extreme weather events during the 2015 monsoon season. These events caused the loss of lives, and destruction of villages, rural infrastructure and croplands of small scale farmers. Already poor and food insecure households were thus thrown into crisis. Rural development actors work to address these challenges; supporting communities to recover from natural disaster impacts, reduce vulnerabilities and thus build long-term resilience to climate change. But to design successful development interventions, initiatives require detailed insight into the realities of rural livelihoods and farming conditions in target communities. Targeted project activities need to build on detailed knowledge about local social, economic and environmental contexts, climate vulnerabilities, and farming system challenges. Yet, such knowledge is not often readily available to development actors in Myanmar. Instead, organisations have to find rigorous and efficient approaches to generate the required information themselves. This brief presents such an approach, and insights from a research collaboration between Ar Yone Oo – Social Development Association (Myanmar) and Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden). These organisations partnered in 2017, to document lessons from Ar Yone Oo’s STRONG project activities for disaster affected communities in northern Chin State and western Sagaing Region . The initiative also conducted participatory research, to assess climate vulnerabilities and farming system challenges that project beneficiaries encounter. Insights from this collaboration can inform inter-organisational learning and knowledge sharing for rural development and agroecological initiatives in Myanmar, and across the region.