The policy, educational, and scientific significance of this research are interwoven and synergistic because of the multi-stakeholder, participatory approach of the LKCCAP project. The unprecedented challenges to rural livelihoods and to state policy that climate change will bring additional saliency to the analysis we will undertake around the general theme of local knowledge, coping, and adaptation.
The community impacts of the project include direct contribution to the design of effective local adaptation programs to climate change in rural areas of developing countries by developing a methodology that identifies relevant local knowledge and the role of local institutions in its development. This will provide key information on what local institutions and what climate change information local knowledge and adaptation activities. The participatory nature and visual products of the methodology enhance its potential effectiveness. The design and testing of the methodology will occur throughout the project, and culminate in local stakeholder workshops.
We envision a number of avenues through which this research would benefit climate change adaptation policy developed by local, national, and international institutions. In particular, this research will assist policy makers in Africa to incorporate local-level processes into national climate change adaptation policies. We will share the proposed project findings with the Tanzanian National Disaster Management Division and will table policy summaries from this research with the climate change committee and also the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) committee (President’s Office, Ministry of Planning) in order to advise on the integration of climate change adaptation concerns into the PRSP. At the international level, our results and the framework and suite of methods developed will enrich scientific work in other parts of the world at a time when the transition to a new international climate change adaptation policy framework will be coming into force.
Project activities will result in educational benefits in several ways. The development of a web-based teaching and simulation tool will be a major contribution to geographic education related to climate change impacts and adaptations. This tool will be adapted and integrated into existing and new curriculum at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Ohio University (OU), and Michigan State University (MSU). Educational activities in Tanzania will focus on the development of curricular products to be tested and implemented at SUA and UDSM, where our research results on the climate change impacts and adaptation will inform the Biology, Natural Resource Management, and Rural Development program curricula. The curriculum derived from the project is expected to enrich the training of future civil servants in government ministries such as Forestry, Environment, and Agriculture. At the secondary level, the research team is well positioned to make a substantial curricular and teacher training contribution with new information on climate change impacts and adaptation. The project and the online teaching modules will also enrich undergraduate teaching at participating U.S. universities, where project methodologies and results will enhance courses in GIS, Cartography, African Geography, and Women and Environment. Research and methodology products will also be disseminated as scientific articles, project working papers, policy briefs and a version of the PGIS on the project website.