Ja’s Adaptation Fund project marches on
FROM the climate risk atlas being developed for Negril to training in disaster risk reduction (DRR) techniques for communities, Jamaica's Adaptation Fund (AF) project is progressing.
This is despite the cancellation of component one that should have seen the installation of breakwaters in Negril and the need for an extension from March 2016 to September 2017 the request for which was approved by the AF Board in April.
The focus now is on the two remaining components of the project:
• Enhancing the Climate Resilience of the Agricultural Sector by Improving Water and Land Management has a price tag of US$2,503,720 (component two); and
• Improving Institutional and Local Level Capacity for Coastal and Agricultural Adaptation and Awareness Raising for Behaviour Modification (US$785,500) of the US$9,965,000 project (component three).
So far, more than 150 community members, including 41 community leaders, have benefitted from the DRR training even as work on the atlas is nearing completion.
Individuals in benefitting parishes among them Clarendon, St Mary, St Thomas, Trelawny, and Westmoreland have also been trained as first responders.
"We have tried (too) to build institutional capacity. In RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority), we have trained 30 persons who are trainers themselves to carry out the farmer field schools methodology in terms of the land husbandry aspect," programme manager Shelia McDonald-Miller told The Gleaner.
"We have also developed a land husbandry curriculum for water management as well as land management. It is already printed and disseminated to the parishes for the climate smart training at the local level... RADA and its wider extension network will take care of the training of the farmers in the climate smart methodologies," she added.
The project has also worked with a dozen schools in some of the training to which farmers have been exposed.
Crucial for the project is also knowledge management.
"The knowledge management relates to how we ensure that we document the lessons and the experiences, both the good and the ones that need improvement... We are making strides and I would like to see us intensify as implementation proceeds," McDonald-Miller noted.
"The development of the farmer field school manual is an important element of knowledge management. It is documenting a methodology that has been tried and proven in this project and incorporated into the training of the extension personnel," added Claire Bernard, deputy director general - director, sustainable development and social planning at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).
"Another element is by sharing... the lessons learnt and pitfalls and lessons from the pitfalls being incorporated in the design of other projects," she added.
On the requested and approved extension, Bernard said: "We would certainly have preferred not to seek an extension, component one notwithstanding."
"If we take out component one, which has been problematic since 2014, we would have hoped to have completed component two. But project implementation has its challenges and when you are doing novel work, there are times when you have to step back and do a bit of retracing and all of that," she added.
Among the reasons for the delay, as reflected in the application for extension to the AF Board and available on the AF website, are:
• Lower than required level of project readiness by executing entities, particularly in the first year of project implementation;
• scope change and small adjustments in programme design;
• back-to-back periods of severe and prolonged drought which led to extended delays on some agriculture activities; and
• the realisation of some probable risks at levels above those anticipated, including "the readiness of some communities for the project, demands on staff resources of partner agencies, especially field staff and generally low absorptive capacity."
These factors notwithstanding, Bernard said: "We think we are track to complete within the time frame of the extension."
McDonald Miller, for her part, said there was no
question of the project, once completed, contributing to Jamaica's climate change readiness.
"We certainly would want to believe that the project remains relevant to the country's development framework, and we are making an important positive difference in the lives of our stakeholders and target communities, and that is the whole objective, to improve the lives of the vulnerable, and that there is steady progress being made in that regard," she posited.