Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change

Designing and Funding Community Based Adaptation Projects

Courses Online are offered every two months. Current offering dates are in the column to the side.
To enroll, simply click on the course links below.
This training program includes a complimentary PDF eBook of the course textbook: ‘A Field Guide to Community-Based Adaptation‘ (a $37.67 value) by Tim Magee, Routledge, Oxford, England.
An Online Certificate Module of 4 Courses
In our online courses participants are actually designing development projects—real projects within communities.
Who Should Enroll?
Are you working in adaptation in areas such as food security, watershed management, agriculture, the environment, sustainable development or DRR? Then this training program is for you.
The training program will present an ‘online field experience’ and lead you through the development of a real Community Based Adaptation project, in real time, in a real village-and leave you with the practical field tools to sustain it.
Learn to Design Adaptation Projects
In climate change courses 341 and 342 you will develop projects on the ground, but projects that focus on a community-based adaptation approach to climate change.
OL 343 and 344 you will investigate the special challenges in your adaptation project and refine your project’s activities. Build sustainability and impact into your project by fully engaging the community. Learn how to launch, manage and hand-over a project whose impact may not be measured in years, but in decades.
Click on the course links below to see their individual syllabi, course fees, and to enroll.
341 Climate Change Adaptation: Designing and Funding Sustainable Community Based Adaptation Projects.  Contemporary methods of developing sustainable, impact oriented projects. Gain practical field experience using evidence-based activities. Develop a real project in real-time.
342 Community Based Adaptation 2: Funding Development Projects.
Embed impact into your adaptation project design with a powerful set of management tools. Log frames, detailed budgets, timelines, compelling fact sheets, a detailed schedule, M&E plans, outcomes and impact. These tools will communicate to donors and stakeholders exactly what you are trying to accomplish and can be used for effective management of the project once funded.
343 Community Based Adaptation 3: The Community Focus.  What does climate change adaptation mean at the community level? What practical tools are available today for communities to use in adaptation? For practitioners who wish to begin working now at the community level to successfully adapt to the challenges that face us.
344 Community Based Adaptation 4: Sustainable Implementation. 
How do you launch and implement a community based adaptation project? The importance of community engagement and project co-management. Developing skill sets for your community to use in the adaptation process. Learning tools: monitoring & evaluation. Community empowerment during project hand-over. Sustainability, follow-up & mentoring.

Resources include links to specialized adaptation sites, practical articles on identifying climate change challenges, and information on adaptation techniques.

Certificates and Certificate
You will receive a course completion certificate upon successful completion of each of the four courses. Upon completing the four courses you also receive a Certificate for OL 340 Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change. Read more about the certificates.

Climate Change Online Certificate. Online course participants are using our courses to develop real, on-the-ground projects with real communities. People from 153 different countries and over 500 organizations have used CSDi online courses to develop projects impacting over 400,000 people.
Development practitioners from 153 countries and 500 different organizations have developed course projects that are impacting over 400,000 people. See a sample assignment and complete project overview from Tanzania.
“Tim. Keep up the good work. I am very grateful for the opportunity I was offered to join the valuable online course six years ago. Due to the assignments related to the course I got in contact with different institutions/NGO’s, communities and individuals. Since then I am involved in more community- based projects, especially with the focus on adaptation to climate change.”
“All the very best and please feel free to contact me if you need any assistance from me.” Usha Satnarain, MSc. Research-Assistant, Programme in Sustainable Management of Natural Resources. Suriname.
“This CBA to Climate change course is fantastic and very relevant to the trends of development sector. Honestly, I’ve had many online courses but this experience is really magnificent. It is highly valuable for preparing a project proposal with a community. It is a fantastic experience for learning and has lots of resources (web links to materials). In the start I thought that it would be very difficult but the approach made it very simple. I learned that preparing climate change adaptation project is now so simple.”
“One thing more: I had a chance to be a speaker in Climate:Red Summit and I shared this course project as an example. The focus of the discussion was to incorporate climate scientific information into risk assessment and program planning. So, that was very good experience to be a speaker at global event.” Ghulam Farooqui, Program Coordinator, German Red Cross, Karachi City, Pakistan.
“Thank you for this course. I believe that it would be great to reach out to students who are deciding what field to pursue in universities. This course would be set a great foundation and give them an idea on what to expect if they were to pursue the climate change field. Mr. Magee provided very constructive feedback with insightful guidance.” Gloria Sengutuvan, IISD—International Institute for Sustainable Development. Singapore & Canada.

Enroll now button

This CSDi training program is offered in 4 venues to best suit your needs:

OL 341 Community Based Adaptation 1

Course Syllabus

Week 1. Learn to navigate course website and download the week’s documents.

Week 2 & 3. Read the document on participatory needs assessments and conduct an informal assessment with a few community members to uncover a real challenge. List the needs identified and determine which could be linked to climate change. Organize them into a clearly described challenge—a development challenge that you are going to solve with your project design.

Week 4. We will clarify your project’s challenge, develop a theory of how you plan to solve it, and research 3 adaptation intervention activities that would fulfill the premise of your theory.

Week 5. Research one peer-reviewed paper for each of the three adaptation activities and see if scientists have found evidence that they are effective in solving your project’s challenge. Write a one paragraph summary of the papers’ findings.

Week 6. Share your proposed project concept locally with climate change colleagues to gain feedback and constructive criticism.

Return to the community with your project concept and get their feedback and hopeful buy-in.
Pick one of your evidence-based activities and write a simple one page guide on how a field staff person could implement it.

Week 7. Write a workshop lesson plan for introducing this activity into a community, and then make an illustrated, How-to card to give to community members.

Week 8. Share your project with someone that you would like to sell it to: a donor, your boss, your professor, someone specialized in climate change for feedback.

Lay out your challenge, proposed solution—and the activities that you will implement in launching the project—into a simple matrix that I will supply. This will prepare you for the next course: OL 342 where you will transform your project into something that can formally be presented for funding.

In Summary
From the Ground Up will give you an insight into contemporary methods of developing community-centered, impact-oriented adaptation projects. You will leave the course with practical field tools and develop a range of skills: needs assessments, project design, community workshops, and discovering evidence-based activities. The course is designed to be used as a vehicle for you to develop a real project, in real time, during this course.

OL 342

Course Syllabus
Week 1.
We will take the project challenge, proposed solution, and adaptation activities that you developed in OL 341, and transform them into a simplified logframe.
Week 2.
1. The focus will be on outcomes and impact, how the current world of development sees them. We will see how we can use them to improve the logframe. What are current theories on engaging communities into the process of long-term impact in adaptation projects?
2. We will incorporate outcome and impact statements into the logframe, and begin adding indicators and means of verification in preparation for developing a monitoring and evaluation plan.
Week 3.  We will take the activity list from the logframe and create a budget, and then apply costs to each of the different activities.
Week 4. 
We will take our detailed budget and transform it into a visual timeline/schedule.
Week 5.
1. You will each write a compelling project fact sheet for presentation to donors that is no longer than 2 pages. This concise, quick-to-read document can present a focused message to a donor.
2. Make a list of 2 colleagues, 2 potential NGO partners, and two donors who have expertise in adaptation that you can share this working project proposal with. Make appointments with 1 of them.
Week 6.
1. Share your project informally with a donor, your boss, your professor, someone in the development world for feedback. We will discuss why it is a good idea to visit a donor at this preliminary stage, and why you should wait on writing an actual full-length proposal.
2. We will polish this family of documents by including the constructive feedback, and by making sure that the docs are absolutely parallel to each other. We will then carefully print them out, spiral bind them, and make an appointment with a donor to present your project.

In Summary
This course will take the adaptation project concept developed in OL 341 and transform it with a powerful set of management tools into a project for presenting to donors. Logframes, detailed budgets, and compelling fact sheets: these tools will communicate to donors, staff, and stakeholders exactly what you are going to accomplish, and lead the effective management of the project once funded.

OL 343

Course syllabus

Evidence based activities bar chart Week 1: Evidence. Review: What is climate change? What is adaptation to climate change? How can we determine if our community’s challenges are linked to climate change? We’ll interview local organizations to see who is doing what and/or review climate data to see if change is occurring – and which challenges are most prominent locally.
Defining desertification illustration Week 2: Definition We’ll compare our project challenge to the challenges local evidence is revealing. Where do we fit in? Is our project linked to climate change? What are the current CC hazards and future CC challenges? We’ll accurately define the local context. Schedule a Participatory Adaptation Workshop.
Participatory community workshop clipboard Week 3: Design a Participatory Community Workshop to share information, collect local knowledge and to learn about community vulnerability, adaptive capacity & traditional strategies; develop a Baseline Survey to better understand pressing local adaptation needs. Download and adapt a Workshop Lesson Plan.
Community members and earth Week 4:  Community. Lead the participatory workshop and introduce adaptation concepts. Present a range of potential community-based adaptation measures. Encourage feedback: What needs and perceptions did community members express? Start the buy-in process. Conduct the Baseline Survey.
Kitchen gardens as an adaptation technique Week 5: Project Refinement. Use the community feedback & baseline results to incorporate adaptation activities into your project designed to strengthen resilience. Research scientifically-based best practices and solutions to the community’s special problems. Can these work alongside and/or support local strategies?
Community members giving feedback Week 6: Feedback and Ownership. Incorporate your refined strategies into your project logframe, budget and schedule. Return to the community for feedback on your design. Show how CBA strategies can enhance poverty reduction, livelihoods and disaster risk reduction.
Trees and sustainability Week 7. Sustainability. Plan and organize a workshop to develop a community-based project team. Prepare a presentation that uses appropriate knowledge transfer techniques. Partner with experts in the adaptation specialties you intend to offer to the community.
Children will become leaders Week 8. Leadership. Team Building Workshop. Develop a community-based planning and oversight committee – the community team that you will partner with. Examples could be a committee on water, disaster preparedness, flood control, soil restoration, reforestation, agriculture, or alternative livelihoods.

OL 344

Course syllabus

Project management matrix Week 1: Project Management – the community perspective. Managing a project whose outcomes are projected in terms of decades needs to be carefully planned. If we play too large a role in the project process, it will make it more difficult for the community to take over when we leave.
Engaging community members Week 2: Engaging the community in project launch. If we’ve planned the project properly the community will think that this is their project and that we’re just there to provide the service they requested. We need to maintain that relationship in order to ensure that the community is fully engaged in the process.
Skill set: community gardens Week 3: Skill Sets. Design a family of workshops on the solutions your community will use in the adaptation process.  The solution activities we select need to be able to be implemented by a broad range of people types.  These workshops will provide the community with all the information that they need to continue these activities for decades.
Project launch clipboard Week 4: Project Launch. Lead the participatory workshop and introduce the community-based adaptation skills designed to address the community expressed needs. Continue to  encourage community feedback to develop lessons learned and to continue building community ownership of the process.
Community Week 5. Learning tools: Monitoring and evaluation. In the last course we conducted a baseline survey. We now need to do two things: determine what information we’re looking for in order to evaluate short-term outputs and long-term impact, and manage the process of collecting this information.
Community empowerment handshake Week 6. Community Empowerment: Project hand-over. Our 3 years is up, our budget spent & it’s time to leave. Have we empowered the community to take full control at this point?  Have we worked with them to identify milestones that will allow them to stay on track? Can we provide follow-up without taking the project back? Have we introduced supporting partners where they can seek future technical support?