ICT4resilience to climate change in Gran Chaco

An older man from Argentinian background learns how to use a mobile app containing a climate warning system and learning modules for agriculture and water harvesting. The app is visible on the phone showing different kinds of seeds.

Country: Argentina
Organisation: Asociación Cultural para el Desarrollo Integral
Support area: Conserving biological diversity
BMU funding: 101,532 €
Project start: 01/06/2021
Project end: 31/05/2022
Website: http://www.acdi.org.ar

In the Gran Chaco region, high deforestation rates and the effects of climate change are increasingly challenging the livelihoods of the 7.5 million inhabitants. Smallholder farmers are threatened by significant agricultural production losses due to water scarcity, flash floods, and soil erosion.
This IKI Small Grants project supports around 1.000 families in eight provinces in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay to strengthen their resilience and better adapt to the impacts of climate change. Each family participates in technical field trainings on agroforestry, water conservation and -harvesting. The project also develops a mobile app “Kokue” containing a climate warning system that will help farmers to share local knowledge and experiences and make informed decisions.

INITIAL SITUATION

The Gran Chaco is a great plain in South America with an area of more than 1.000.000 km2. The region is located between the Andes and the rivers of Parana and Paraguay – extending from southern Bolivia through Paraguay to Northern Argentina. It is the world’s largest contiguous dry forest area, home to various indigenous people and characterized by a rich biodiversity. Although parts of the Chaco have long been used for agricultural purposes, the region is increasingly endangered by human interventions. Deforestation, soil degradation and climate change are threatening the ecosystem and the livelihoods of the local population. Recent vulnerability studies assume, that extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and the associated soil erosion will continue to increase over the next decades. As a result of the effects described, livelihoods of smallholder farmers are threatened by agricultural production losses, as is the cultural heritage and biodiversity of the region.

TARGET GROUP

The project addresses 1.090 rural families (at least 5.000 individuals) in six provinces of the Gran Chaco region. Most of the selected project communities have only limited access to clean water, adequate nutrition, appropriate housing and education. The residents of the target communities are predominantly smallholder farmers who are dependent on agricultural production for food security and generation of income. Some of the families belong to indigenous groups such as Creole, Wichis, Qom, Moqoit or Comleéc. In the indigenous communities of the Gran Chaco, it is usually the women who take care of home gardens and feeding their families. Men often move for weeks or months to other places in order to do occasional work on plantations or on construction sites. For this reason, local women are the best agents of change for an agroecological transformation of smallholder farms in the project area (estimated recipients: 68% women and 32% men).

APPROACH AND ACTIVITIES

The project aims to improve the adaptive capacity and resilience of selected rural communities in the Gran Chaco region to the impacts of climate change.
Agroecological approaches are promoted in home gardens and combined with additional activities for improved organic soil management, water conservation and -harvesting as well as traditional agricultural practices. Capacity building at the local level plays a key role in the project implementation. The beneficiaries improve their knowledge through the combination of technical field trainings with ITC application and services. Additionally, the information and knowledge gap at the local level is bridged by introducing a mobile app “Kokue” to local farmers. This app will provide useful information regarding the promoted agroecological practices. It will also include a climate warning system, providing local farmers with important weather information during the production period and promoting the exchange and commercialization of seeds and agricultural products. In addition, the mobile app will be updated as the project progresses, and features will be adapted to users’ experiences and needs. Such features may include nutrition recipe books, a marketplace for exchanging seeds and agricultural products, or examples of best practices in biological control for crop protection.

The project activities aim at overcoming rural isolation, reduce high mobility costs and facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge. Additionally, the promoted sustainable agricultural practices help to preserve biodiversity, protect natural resources and improve food security and income for rural and indigenous communities.

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT

IKI Small Grants supports ACDI in its organisational capacity development with:

  • Trainings on digital solutions, design thinking and ITSCs
  • Introduction of (new) methodological approaches in the organisation and design of good practices in the association
  • To foster a culture of innovation,
  • To find/define a good balance between experimentation, operation and business model

ABOUT THE ORGANISATION

The “Asociación Cultural para el Desarrollo Integral (ACDI)” is an Argentinian non-governmental organisation, established in 1990 and based in Santa Fe. ACDI is implementing development projects in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. It promotes socially and economically sustainable development in rural and urban areas. The organisation works in various sectors with a strong focus on capacity development and strengthening organisational structures on community level.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

The following video offers a glimps about the features of the app “Kokue”. The video is available in Spanish with English subtitles.

 

In the second video, a woman working in her home garden offers insights into the benefits of the app. The video is only available in Spanish.