Description of the project:

The “Climate ACTT: Action by Civil society in Trinidad and Tobago to build resilience to climate change” project aimed to build the capacity of five civil society organisations (CSOs) in Trinidad and Tobago to internationally accepted levels of best practice in two areas: institutional (organisational) strengthening; and technical capacity to deliver programmes/projects related to climate change adaptation and resilience.

The five CSOs supported were the Caribbean Youth Environment Network Trinidad and Tobago Chapter (CYENTT), Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC), Environment Tobago (ET), the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project (FACRP), and the Turtle Village Trust (TVT). Empowering the selected CSOs with rigorous and transparent institutional processes and up-to-date technical best practices for climate change adaptation and resilience planning helped to address the critical gap in the implementation of climate change adaptation and resilience programmes and in turn, contribute to improving the resilience of communities and the environment to climate change.

CANARI implemented and managed this project in collaboration with Conservation International (CI) and with support from BHP Billiton Trinidad and Tobago through BHP Billiton’s partnership with Conservation International to support the company’s commitments to the environment, biodiversity and the communities in which BHP Billiton operates. CANARI, CI and BHP Billiton served on the Project Steering Committee, which met monthly to review project progress and provide strategic support to project implementation.

Highlights

  • On April 26-29, 2016, representatives from the five beneficiary CSOs participated in a four-day workshop designed to enhance their capacity for assessing vulnerability and building resilience to climate change.  As part of the workshop, participants went into the field and worked in teams to conduct rapid vulnerability assessments to understand how climate change will impact the coastal community of Salybia in north-east Trinidad.  Participants welcomed the opportunity to be exposed to vulnerability assessment methodologies and adaptation strategies, and some indicated that they would like to incorporate them in future climate change work. See here for more.
  • The five beneficiary CSOs implemented practical adaptation projects to contribute to climate change adaptation and resilience building in Trinidad and Tobago.  See here for a summary table of the projects implemented by each CSO. These projects were developed drawing on approaches, tools and methods for communicating effectively and assessing vulnerability and building resilience to climate change which the five CSOs were exposed to during two training workshops under the Climate ACTT project.  CSOs received a small grant under the Climate ACTT project to support them to apply what they learnt to develop and implement a practical climate change adaptation and resilience building project. See here for more.

Key activities and results:

  1. Selection of CSOs: The five beneficiary CSOs were selected in September 2015 based on criteria that they were:
  • focused on natural resource management, environmental protection and/ or conservation;
  • local to Trinidad and Tobago;
  • a legally registered CSO (non-governmental organisation, community-based organisation);
  • not a private sector or professional association or company;
  • working or having the potential to work in climate change adaptation and resilience; and
  • medium to high level in terms of their organisational capacity.
  1. Development of needs assessment tools: Needs assessment tools were developed by CANARI over October-November 2015 to assess the organisational and climate change technical capacity of each CSO. These were based on existing international best practice tools and methodologies and refined to suit the local context in the Caribbean.  For the organisational assessment, CANARI developed a framework to guide detailed questioning under each of the following five capacity areas: planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning; resources/ capacity; governance; management; and stakeholder engagement and partnerships.  For the climate change technical assessment, the semi-structured questionnaire looked at the following areas: education and awareness; policy-influencing and advocacy; research; vulnerability assessments and adaptation actions; planning; and mitigation actions.
  1. Application of assessment tools with each beneficiary CSO: CANARI facilitated focus group sessions with members of the Board, staff, volunteers and interns of the five CSOs in December 2015. The organisational assessment used an appreciative inquiry approach to identify both existing strengths and the areas the organisation wants to strengthen (capacity building needs).  A report was done for each CSO, outlining detailed findings as well as providing a summary of strengths and areas for capacity building.  Recommendations for priority areas for capacity building under the Climate ACTT project were also given.  The climate change technical assessment sought to identify the organisation’s current climate change activities and capacities, its potential climate change activities and the capacities it would need to implement these actions. A report was done for each CSO outlining findings of the climate change technical assessment and providing recommendations for priority areas for capacity building under the Climate ACTT project.
  1. Development of strategy and workplan for organisational capacity building with each beneficiary CSO: CANARI met with each of the CSOs to discuss the findings of the needs assessment and to agree on what were the most strategic areas for capacity building that would help the organisation to build its capacity to be able to effectively deliver its mission. A strategy and workplan were developed for each CSO over March-April 2016, outlining a mix of training, coaching and development of policy documents that would take place under the Climate ACTT project.  The strategy also included identification of targets and indicators to allow for evaluation of capacity built under the project.
  1. Development of strategy and workplan for climate change technical capacity building: The needs assessments revealed that all of the CSOs would benefit from basic capacity building in key climate change technical areas. A strategy was developed in March 2016 recommending that the Climate ACTT project will focus on building capacity of the CSOs in:
  • Understanding key terms and concepts related to climate change (e.g. climate change, climate variability, adaptation, mitigation, vulnerability, causes and impacts, etc.)
  • Strategic and effective climate change communication (education, awareness and advocacy
  • Understanding and/or implementing vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning and actions
  • Integrating climate change within an organisation’s programming.

The workplan identified that two training workshops would be held for all of the five CSOs, complemented by individual coaching to help each CSO to develop a climate change communication plan, a programme to guide how climate change would be integrated into the organisation’s work, and a plan for a practical project on climate change adaptation.

  1. Strengthening of organisational capacity of each CSO: Individual workshops and coaching were provided to each of the five CSOs over the period March – September 2016 as outlined in the strategies and workplans developed. Resource materials were provided to the CSOs to support their capacity building activities.
  1. Strengthening of climate change technical capacity of the five CSOs:
  • A two-day workshop on climate change communication was conducted March 16-17, 2016 for representatives from each of the five participating CSOs.  Participants engaged in discussions and group exercises to identify where climate change fits into their organisations’ programmes, and produced a draft outline of a plan for communication on climate change. See report here.
  • A second four-day workshop on climate change vulnerability assessments, adaptation planning, and practical adaptation actions was held April 26-29. See report here.
  • Each of the five CSOs was coached to complete a plan for communication on climate change.
  • Each of the five CSOs was coached to complete a programme on how climate change was integrated into their organisation’s work.
  1. Development and implementation of practical climate change adaptation projects: Each of the five CSOs was coached to develop a brief proposal for a practical adaptation project. Projects started in August and ran through October 2016.  CANARI provided coaching and technical support with project implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
  1. Toolkit on climate change adaptation for CSOs: A draft toolkit of resource materials used in the two climate change capacity building workshops will be provided to the CSOs. This was piloted by the CSOs, refined and finalised at the end of the project.  The final toolkit is available to the five CSOs as well as other CSOs in Trinidad and Tobago interested in building their capacity to work on climate change adaptation.  See here for the toolkit.
  1. Participatory project evaluation: Using the targets and indicators identified in the organisational and climate change strategies and workplans, CANARI facilitated a participatory evaluation with each of the five CSOs in October 2016 to assess results achieved under the Climate ACTT project as well as lessons and recommendations. A two-day workshop with all of the CSOs was held in November 2016 to facilitate sharing of experiences among the five CSOs and a collective analysis of results, lessons and recommendations from the Climate ACTT project.  This was documented in a final project report.  A policy brief on lessons learnt was also developed.

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For more information, contact Nicole Leotaud, Executive Director, at nicole@canari.org

See related work under CANARI’s Capacity Building and Civil Society and Governance programmes