Zambian climate resilience pilot wins international accolade at global Climate Adaptation Summit 2021

The “Strengthening Climate Resilience in the Kafue sub-Basin”, or SCRiKA Project, has won the African Water ChangeMaker People’s Choice Award for innovation in climate adaptation, at the 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Netherlands online on 25-26 January.

SCRiKA is one of the Zambia Pilot Programmes for Climate Resilience’s flagship projects, whose objective is to strengthen the adaptive capacity of rural communities to better respond to current climate variability and the long-term consequences of climate change in Zambia. The project is led by the Ministry of National Development Planning and financed by the Climate Investment Fund, through the African Development Bank.

“SCRiKA has been providing vulnerable communities with water points powered by green energy, solar, as access to the hydroelectricity grid is precluded by their remote location. The SCRiKA-supported water points are used for agriculture, household drinking, and sanitation,” said the SCRiKa team.

“This has facilitated the communities’ change of mind-set from over-dependency on rain-fed monoculture-type of agriculture (growing mainly maize as staple food), and provided diversity towards horticulture and growing of other cash crops outside the rainy season,” said the winning team.

“The peasant farmers are now able to have enough food for their homestead, as well as sell the excess, thereby improving their livelihood. SCRiKA is implemented in 11 districts in Central, Southern, and Lusaka Provinces and heavily relies on partnerships and coalitions among the public sector, private sector, and NGOs.”

The African Water ChangeMakers People’s Choice Awards were introduced at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021, during the special event on Accelerating African Innovation. The awards showcase the specific challenges of climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa, and introduce innovative ways of financing community-based adaptation interventions in vulnerable areas through diversification and intensification in agriculture and technological innovations at the community level.

The main criteria for judging was determining how the entrants’ decisions have increased climate change resilience and enhanced African skills, economies, or ecosystems for a climate resilient future. Three finalists for African Water ChangeMakers People’s Choice Awards were selected by an expert jury, who were then presented to the public for voting.

The African Water ChangeMakers People’s Choice Awards are a parallel award process to the Water ChangeMakers, a global award introduced in 2020 by Global Water Partnership to make visible the teams and individuals who are building climate resilience by changing water decisions.

“Africa’s vulnerability to the devastating impacts of climate change and its constrained ability to adapt have been well documented and discussed. What is discussed less often is the innovation, determination, and resourcefulness that lies inherent in our continent’s people,” said Professor Amadou Hama Maiga, Chair of Global Water Partnership West Africa, who introduced the African Water ChangeMakers People’s Choice Awards finalists at the Summit.

“The African Water ChangeMakers represent creative initiatives, which have pushed the boundaries beyond “business as usual” – because during extraordinary times, business cannot continue as usual. In summary, these stories demonstrate Africa’s vast adaptive capacity, which can be unlocked and harnessed, once we commit to decisive, swift, and perhaps most importantly – collaborative – action,” he added.

Further information on all three finalists in the African Water ChangeMakers People’s Choice award is available through this link.

All three African Water ChangeMakers People’s Choice finalists will continue to contribute to various events, publications, and tools throughout the year, so that others can learn from their exemplary experiences.

Further information about Strengthening Climate Resilience in the Kafue sub-Basin (SCRiKA Project) submission to the Water ChangeMaker Awards available through this link.