MDF WRC-00746. Deliverable 4. August2023
Submitted to:
Executive Manager: Water Utilisation in Agriculture
Water Research Commission
Project team:
Mahlathini Development Foundaction(MDF)
Erna Kruger
Temakholo Mathebula
Betty Maimela
Ayanda Madlala
Nqe Dlamini
Institute of Natural Resources (INR)
Brigid Letty
Environmental and Rural Solutions (ERS)
Nickie McCleod, Sissie Mathela
Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD)
Derick du Toit
Project Number: C2022/2023-00746
Project Title: Dissemination and scaling of a decision support framework for CCA for smallholder
farmers in South Africa
Deliverable No.4:Development of CoPs and multi stakeholder platforms.
Date: 04 August2023
2.Process planning and progress to date..........................................................................................6
Smallholder farmers in climate resilient agriculture learning groups............................................7
Communication and innovation.....................................................................................................9
Multistakeholder platforms.........................................................................................................11
2.1GLSCRP_CCA and local water governance inclusion............................................................13
a.CCA Workshop Mayephu.....................................................................................................14
b.Household visits and community baseline...........................................................................19
c.The Mayephu water management system...........................................................................21
d.Household water use case study for Mayephu village.........................................................24
e.Case study of 4 local cooperatives.......................................................................................28
3.Development of CoPs and multistakeholder platforms...............................................................32
3.1Desktop review Policy updated............................................................................................32
3.2Local CoPs.............................................................................................................................40
b.Principles of operation: Learning Groups.............................................................................46
3.3Innovation Platforms............................................................................................................52
a.Open days/ stakeholder engagement and awareness raising..............................................53
b.Water committees...............................................................................................................53
c.CRA learning groups-Water and resource conservation focus.............................................53
3.4Multistakeholder Platforms................................................................................................. 55
a.The Northern Drakensberg Collaborative............................................................................57
b.The Umzimvubu Catchment Partnership.............................................................................60
4.M&E systems for multi-stakeholder climate change adaptation and climate-resilient smallholder
4.1. Introduction..............................................................................................................................68
a.What is an M&E system?......................................................................................................69
4.2Factors to take into account when designing an M&E system.............................................71
b.Context................................................................................................................................. 71
e.Specific considerations for multi-stakeholder platforms for climate-resilient agriculture..77
4.3Monitoring and evaluation of networks and communities of practice................................77
4.4Other potentially useful indicator frameworks....................................................................83
5.Work plan: August- December 2023............................................................................................91
This section provides a brief summary of the project vision, outcomes and operational details.
Vertical and horizontal integration of this community- based climate change adaptation (CbCCA)
model and process lead to improved water and environmental resources management,
improved rural livelihoods and improved climate resilience for smallholder farmers in communal
tenure areas of South Africa.
1.Scaling out and scaling up of the CRA frameworks and implementation strategies lead to
greater resilience and food security for smallholder farmers in their locality.
2.Incorporation of the smallholder decision support framework and CRA implementation into
a range of programmatic and institutional processes
3.Improved awareness and implementation of appropriate agricultural and water
management practices and CbCCA in a range of bioclimatic and institutional settings
4.Contribution of a robust CC resilience impact measurement tool for local, regional and
national monitoring processes.
5.Concrete examples and models for ownership and management of local group-based water
access and infrastructure.
Create and strengthen integrated institutional frameworks and mechanisms for
scaling up proven multi-benefit approaches that promote collective action and
coherent policies.
Scaling up integrated approaches and practices in CbCCA.
Monitoring and assessment of environmental benefits and agro-ecosystem
Improvement of water resource management and governance, including
community ownership and bottom-up approaches.
5.Chronology of activities
1.Desktop review of CbCCA policy and implementation presently undertaken in South
2.Set up CoPs:
a.Village based learning groups: A minimum of 1-3 LGs per province will be
brought on board.
b.Innovation platforms: 3 LG clusters, one for each province consisting of a
minimum of 9- 36 LGs will be identified to engage coherently in this research
and dissemination process.
c.Multistakeholder platforms: Engage existing multistakeholder platforms such as
the uMzimvubu catchment partnership, SANBI- Living Catchments Programme,
the Adaptation Network, etc.
3.Develop roles and implementation parameters for each CoP
a.Village based learning groups: CCA learning and review cycles, farmer level
experimentation, CRA practices refinement, local food systems development,
water and resource conservation access and management and participation and
sharing in and across villages.
b.Innovation Platforms (IP): Clusters of LGs learn and share together with local
and regional stakeholders for knowledge mediation and co-creation and
engagement of Government Departments and officials (1-2 sessions annually
for each IP)
c.Multistakeholder platforms: Development of CbCCA frameworks,
implementation processes (including for example linkages to IDPS and disaster
risk reduction planning and implementation at DM and LM level), reporting
frameworks for the NDC to the CCA strategy, consideration of models for
measurement of resilience and impact (1- 2 sessions annually for each multi
stakeholder platform)
4.Cyclical implementation for all three CoP levels (information provision and sharing,
analysis, action, and review) within the following thematic focus areas: Climate resilient
agriculture practices, smallholder microfinance options, local food systems and
marketing and community owned water and resources access and conservation
management plans and processes. Each of these thematic areas is to be led by one of
the senior researchers and a small sub-team.
5.Monitoring and evaluation: Consisting of the following broad actions:
a.Focus on 3-4 main quantitative indicators e.g.water productivity, production
yields, soil organic carbon and soil health
b.Indicator development for resilience and impact and
c.Exploration of further useful models to develop an overarching framework.
6.Production of synthesis reports, handbooks and process manuals emanating from steps
1-4 withthe primary aim of dissemination of information.
7.And refinement of the CbCCAdecision support platform, incorporating updated data
sets and further information form this research and dissemination process.
Deliverable Title
Target Date
Desk top review for CbCCA
in South Africa
Desk top review of South African policy,
implementation frameworks and
stakeholder platforms for CCA.
R100 000,00
Report: Monitoring
framework, ratified by
multiple stakeholders
Exploration of appropriate monitoring
tools to suite the contextual needs for
evidence-based planning and
R100 000,00
Handbook on scenarios and
options for successful
smallholder financial
services within the South
Summarize VSLA interventions in SA, Govt
and Non-Govt and design best bet
implementation process for smallholder
microfinance options.
Development of CoPs and
multi stakeholder platforms
Design development parameters, roles
and implementation frameworks for CoPs
at all levels, CRA learning groups,
Innovation and multi stakeholder
platforms; within the CbCCA framework.
Report: Local food systems
and marketing strategies
contextualized - Guidelines
for implementation
Guidelines and case studies for building
resilience in local food systems and local
marketing strategies towards sustainable
local food systems (local value chain)
Case studies: encouraging
community ownership of
water and natural resources
access and management
Case studies (x3) towardsproviding an
evidence base for encouraging community
ownership of natural resource
management through bottom-up
approaches and institutional recognition
of these processes.
Case studies: CbCCA
implementation case studies
in 3 different agroecological
zones in SA
CbCCA implementation case studies in 3
different agroecological zones within
South Africa
Refined CbCCA decision
support framework with
updated databases and CRA
Refined CbCCADSS database and
methodology with inclusion of further
viable and appropriate CRA practices
Manual for implementation
of successful
multistakeholder platforms
in CbCCA
Methodology and process manual for
successful multi stakeholder platform
development in CbCCA
Final Report
Final report: Summary of all findings,
guidelines and case studies, learning and
(Feb 2026)
Deliverable4 focusses on design parameters, roles and implementation frameworks for CoPs at all
levels, CRAlearning groups, Innovation and multi stakeholder platforms; within the CbCCA framework.
In addition,work has continued within the three levels of Communities of practice (CoP) and progress
is reported upon in this report.
The intention is threefold, as describe below and shown in the diagram:
Expand introduction and implementation of the CbCCA DSS framework within the areas of
operation of MDFwith a number of different communities. Work with existing communities
as the basis of the case studies in specific thematic areas.
Introduce and implement the CbCCA DSS framework with a range of other role-players
expanding into new areas, including different agroecological zones and
Work at multistakeholder level to introduce the methodology as an option for adaptation
planning and action, both within civil society and also including Government stakeholders.
This is the first step towards institutionalization of the processand will involve mainly working
within existing multistakeholder platforms and networks as the starting point.
Further exploration of the categories of stakeholders and the roles and relationships between
stakeholders is important for the present research brief.
Figure 1: Conceptualization of stakeholder platforms at multiple levels to support CbCCA
Smallholder farmers in climate resilient agriculturelearning groups
This process has been initiatedby continuing and strengthening specificCRA learning groups,which
have been supported by MDF in the past and whohave done well in implementation and building of
social agency. These groups will provide the focus for further exploration of food systems, water
stewardship and governance and engagement with local and district municipalities.
CRA learning group summary:
No of participants
Ezibomvini, Stulwane, Vimbukahlo, Eqeleni, Emadakaneni
Innovation and multistakeholder platforms-
Communication and innovation
Smallholder farmers in CRA learning groups
National Networks e.g. Adaptation
network, Agroecology Network
National organistions e.g., PGS-SA and
Regional forums e.g., Water Source
Areas forums (WWF) Living
catchments Forums (SANBI)
Cluster of LGs within and between
areas learn and implement CRA
These clusters ineteract with external
stakeholders e.g., NGOs, Government
Deparments, Local and District
Municipalities, traditional authorities
and Water Service authorities
Individual farmers in LGs learn and
implement CRA together
LG's set up other interest groups and
committees e.g., water committees,
viallge savings and loan assocations,
marketing groups, livestock associations
and resource conservaiotn agreements
Ozwathini, Gobizembe, Mayizekanye, Ndlaveleni
Mahhehle,Mariathal, Centocow, Plainhill, Ngongonini
Sedawa, Turkey, Mulati, Santeng, Worcester, Sophaya
Ned, Nchodu, Nkau, Rashule, Mzongwana
Table 1: Micro-level CoP engagement: February to July 2023
Note: Collaborative strategies in bold undertaken during this reporting period
Establishing learning groups at
village level
2022/11/25, 12/09
2022/11/15, 11/29,
Limpopo: Sophaya
SKZN: Mahhehle -CCA workshop x 2 days,
Bergville: Eqeleni
EC: Ned, Nkau
Limpopo: Madeira
Midlands: Ndlaveleni
Training and mentoring for
climate resilient agriculture
2022/02/27, 03/28
2022/03/08, 03/17,
2023/04/, 2023/05,
2023/04/21,25, 05/26,
Midlands: Ozwathinicontouring workshop SKZN: Mahhehle tower
EC-Matatiele: Drip irrigation workshops in 5 villages
SKZN: CA demonstration workshops in 3 villages
SKZN: Plainhill Drip irrigation training
Limpopo: Sofaya trench beds
SKZN: Mahhehle tower gardens, poultry production, trench beds
SKZN: Mariathal gardens and experimentation
Bgvl: Madakaneni, Mahlathini gardening training
EC: Ned, Nchodu poultry production
EC: Nec, Nchodu, Mzongwana- Pest and disease control
Limpopo and KZN: trench bedtraining with assembling of tunnels for
45 households across8 villages, including distribution of seedlings,
mixed cropping and mulching learning inputs and drip irrigation
Limpopo: Willows, Sedawa, MametjaSophaya. Bergville-Matwetha,
EmadakaneniNatural Pest and Disease control
Bergville, SKZN: Poultry production: eMadakaeneni, Mjwetha,
Mariathal, Mahhehle,Centocow
EC: Ned, Nkau, Rashule, Nchodu- Soil and water conesration
Cyclical implementation through
mentoring for capacity
development for LG at local level
CCA review and planning workshops
-Bergville: CA review and planning (5)
-Midlands: CA review and planning (3)
-Limpopo: CCA review and planning (4)
CCA prioritization of practices
-Matatiele: 5 villages (Ned, Nchodu, Rahsule, Nkau, Mzongwana
-All areas: garden monitoring, poultry support,tunnel and drip kit
installations,VSLAs monthly meetings
Income diversification and
economic empowerment of
local farmers (LG at local level)
2022/10/08, 11/07,
Market days: monthly farmers markets
-Midlands: Bamshela (Ozwathini)
-SKZN: Creighton (Centocow)
- Bergville: Bergville town
Market exploration workshops
-Midlands: Mayizekanye, Gobizembe
-EC_Ned-Nchodu market day in Matatiele
-SKZN: Mariathal
PGS follow-up w/s Limpopo
SKZN: Mahhehle
VSLA introduction
-SKZN: Mahhehle
VSLA meetings and share outs
-Bergville: 9
-SKZN: Ngongonini (2), Centocow (4)
-Midlands: Ozwathini (6)
Limpopo: (7)
Youth tala table value adding training
Implementation and capacity
development for innovation (3)
and multi-stakeholder platforms
May-July 2023
2023/03/30, 06/02
-SKZN: Centocow P&D control cross visit and learning workshop
-uThukela water source forum: Visioning and action planning Bergville
-Adaptation Network AGM
-Regenerative Agric farmers’ day in BergvilleinclAsset research,
uThukela Water Source Forum, uThukela Development Agency
-Adaptation Network: CCA financing dialogue
-SANBI_gender mainstreaming dialogue
-WRC-ESS: Bglv Ezibomvini, Stulwane resource management mapping
and planning
Bergillve:Stulwnae weeklycommunity resource management
-Okahlamba LED forum
-Farmers X visit between Bulwer (supported by the INR0 and Bergville
around CRA, fodder and restoration
-PGS-SA: market training input: Online training Session 5
-Giyani Local Scale Climate resilience Project: Introduction of CCA
model and local water governance options
Indicator development for
evidence-based indicators, M&E
and handbook development
2023/01/30- 02/03
March-May 2023
June 2023
Limpopo: Focus Group discussionsfor VSLA and microfinance for the
rural poor x 3 (Turkey, Worcester, Santeng)
Garden monitoring:
-SKZN: Plainhill
-EC: 5 villages
CA monitoring
-EC:5 villages
-KZN: Bergville -30, Midlands 15, SKZN 15
-All areas: Poultry production list
-All areas: Livelihoods survey for farmgate sales and asset accumulation
Implementation of sustainable
water management
2023/03/25, 06/15
2023/04/25, 06/01,02,
KZN: Bergville: Stulwane Conflict man and upgrading spring protection.
EC: Nkau: Water walk and meetings for spring protection and
KZN: Bgvl Stulwane_ Engineer visits (Alain Marechal) for scenario
development and follow up planning meetings with community. Set up
committee, work parties and start on quotes and budget outline
KZN: Bglv Vimbukhalo: Governance of communal borehole water
Organisational& capacity
2023/02/09, 02/16
-MDF AGM and organisational capacity development workshop
-Mentoringand planning with new finance officer to implement SODI
financial reporting system
- Internal short learning event for rainfall and runoff results, as well as
soil fertility and Organic carbon
- Mentoringin CCA workshop implementation. Temakholo from
Midlands assisted Bergville team
-Team session on gender mainstreaming
- UKZN- Ecological mapping and use of resource planning Bgvl team
-VSLAs review and discussion re group based rules, BLF updates
- Nutrient analysis for livestock fodder options: facilitated by Brigid
Letty from the INR
-Small business development support planning and Livelihoods survey
-MDF AGM and organisational capacity development workshop
Communication and innovation
A Regenerative Agriculture farmers day was held in Emmaus Bergville on the 23!"of February 2023.
External stakeholder involvement included: Ezemvelo-KNZ Wildlife, Maloti Drakensberg
Transfrontier Park, AGT Foods, PANNAR Seed, Okhahlamba LM, KZN DARD, uThukela Development
Agency, UKZN and UFS, Centre for Water Resources research (UKZN)andWWF among others.
Smallholder farmers from Midlands (30) attended as well as around 180 local participants.
Figure 2: Above: The packed communityhall for the CA farmers‘ open day event in Emmaus, Bergville and A field site visit to
Dlezakhe Hlongwane in Stulwane to interact with the CA trials he has undertaken. Here visitors are viewing his livestock
fodderproductionplots- Lespedeza, short seasonyellow maizeanda perennial grass(tall Fescue).
Tala table youth network value adding training (15-16 March 2023): A youth group consisting of 2
youths per vialgle in 6 viallges are receving ongoing trianing nad mentoring in entrepreneurship and
small bsuniess development linked to the CRA learning groups in their villages in the mametaj-
sekororo region of Limpopo. This is a 2 year process undertaken jointly by AWARD and MDF, and
funded by DKA (German chruch funder).
Th session in March oncsisted of reviewing the market tables already set up and undertakne by the
group and a one day trianing nad dmeosntraiton sesison in value adding. Here the group was divded
into two and each spent time preapring cetraing value added products consisting of sweet chilli
sauce, pesto, vegetalbe atjar, wild melon jam, lemon maramlade and sweet potato bites. Thereafter
the youth were provided with small seed budgets to produce nad sell a vlaue added product at hteir
tala talbes (green tables) in their villages.
Figure 3: The youth busy reviewing thier marketing activities to date
Adaptation network cross visit of 22 farmers engaged in CRA and resource conservation in Impendle
KZN (with support from the Institute of Natural Resources) to Bergville to engage with CRA learning
group activities there (CA, fodder production and restoration activities) on 25#$April 2023
Figure 4: Above left: The group of Impendle farmers on their farmers’ cross visit to Bergville and Above right: Khulekani
Dladla explains to the group his fodder production and supplementationprocesses.
Multistakeholder platforms
To date the research team has participated in a range multistakeholder platforms, networksand
communities of practices (CoPs) towards developing a framework for awareness raising,
dissemination and incorporation of the CbCCA-DSS methodology into local and regional planning
processesand developing methodological coherence for a number of the themes to be explored in
this brief.
In this present period of February to July 2023 the following stakeholder engagement activities have
been undertaken:
ØSANBI: CCA and gender mainstreaming dialogue. Preparation of presentation and programme
– 8-9 March 2023
ØNorthern Drakensberg catchment forum. Online meeting 11#$April 2023 to report back
progress and plan full platform meeting for 23!"May
ØPGS-SA Online morganic market development course: 10 Modules between April-June 2023.
MDF presentation of Module 5: Local farmer’s markets (9#$May 2023)
ØGiyani Local Scale Climate resilience Project. Inclusion of the CCA framework and local water
governance options into the programme. ( 8-11 May and 10-15 July 2023).Progress for this
activity is provided below.
ØFodder and Rangeland management workshop: For 4 villages in Bergville, including inputs
from Working on fire, SAEON, INR and community level experimentation outcomes (21%#July
Conceptual discussion on a range of topics including vulnerability assessments, the role of agroecology
in CCA, methods for monitoring and evaluation of multistakeholder processes, development of
stakeholder platforms and inclusion of volumetric water benefit accounting as a tool for
implementationof integrated water resources management have been ongoing.
The table below outlines actions and meetings to date.
Table 2: Planning and multi stakeholder interactions for the CCA-DSSII research process: August2023
Activity - Description
Asset Research-
Maize Trust, SODI
Regenerative Agriculture farmers’ open day in Bergville
23rdFeb 2023
ESS research - WRC
UKZN research in ecosystem services mapping supported by MDF:
water walks, focus group discussions, planning,eco-champs, spring
protection work in Stulwane, thematic and mapping workshops in
Ezibomvini and Stulwane, local level planning and implementation
23rdSeptember 2022
14thOctober 2022
13,29,30 March 2023
1-30thMay 2023
WWF Water source
uThukela catchment partnership: Stakeholder meetings, online and in
person at OLM board room Bergville (new name: Northern
Drakensberg Collaborative). Development of vision, membership
profile, constitution and core team and full collaborative meetings
29thSeptember 2022
10thNovember 2022
11thApril 2023
23rdMay 2023
SANBI- Living
Social facilitation capacity building workshop Western Cape; M
Olifants’ water indaba: M Malinga, N Mbokazi, H Hlongwane, B
Maimela and E Kruger
Video on local initiatives in catchment management
3rd-5thOctober 2022
30thOct-2ndNov 2022
24thMarch 2023
Climate change adaptation and gender mainstreaming dialogue
presentation and participation
SANBI newsletter- runoff impacts of restoration and CA
8th-9thMarch 2023
4thJune 2023
Adaptation Network
Policy input and AGM
Ongoing input and involvement in the Capacity development working
group: to implement thenew Civil Society OrganisationSkills
Enhancement and Excellence Development (CSO SEED) project,
funded by the Flanders government.Some of these activities include
youth-led participatory videos on adaptation initiatives and some
thematic field visits and exchanges between AN CSO member projects.
Meetings withAN to discuss capacity building and outline CCA
training for Socio technical Interface NGO in Hammanskraal
13thOctober 2022
1stDecember 2022
7th, 8thFeb 2023
15thMarch 2023
11thMay 2023
15thJune 2023
Quarterly meeting: Discuss mapping of PGS organisations, finalisation
of certificate and use ofseals and logos. Finalisation of smallholder
farm assessment form
PGS-Certification working group
Online market development training: Input into session 5
17thNov 2022
13thFeb 2023
9thMay 2023
The Giyani Local scale Climate Resilience Programme is a multistakeholder research and innovation
process, funded by the Government of Flanders and spearheadedby the Water Research
Commissionwith a focus on the Multiple Use Systems Model, the water-energy food nexus and
indotruction of appropriate technology and innovations into the water use systems of both
community water supply systems and agricultural production projects in the Giyani area of the
Mopani District Municipality(MDM), to demonstrate practical water linked climate change
adaptations at local level.
Programme partners include the Water Research Commission, The University of the Western Cape,
MDM, Department of Water and Sanitation and the local Water Service Authority, the Department
of Agriculture, Local Office of the Premier, COGTA, Traditional Authoritiesand NGO partners
Tsogang, and AWARD among others.
Implementation and innovation options have been designed and are being implemented in 9 sites; 5
community water supply options and 4 agricultural cooperative support options.Innovations to be
introduced include solar systems for boreholes and reticulation, reverse osmosis for water
purification, and also drip irrigation and hydroponic systems for agriculture. Local scale water
treatment options are also being explored.
Mahlathini Development Foundation has joined the team to integrate the CCA framework
developed into this process and provide further thinking and options for local water governance
systems within the water-energy-food nexus aspects of the programme. It wasagreed with the
primary implementers that the focus would be in Mayephu village (communal water supply) and in
the Dzuvadzi youth organic agricultural cooperative (Loloka village), to explore both adaptation
options and local water management and governance.
Okhahlamba LM
Agriculture andLandsummit: MDF presentation and marketing stall:
All Bergville staff, farmers representatives and eco champs
Okahlamba LED forum meetings
OLM support with transport for farmers’ markets and tractors for
field preparation
30thNovember 2022
30thMarch 2023,7th
June 2023
research Centre
Maloti-Drakensberg Climate Change Workshop
Wageningen/UFS: Land futures course - Bgvl
12-14 December 2022
7-10thMarch 2023
Water Research
Commission/ AWARD
Giyani LocalScale Climate Resilience Project: Support forCCA and
8-10thMay 2023
10th-14thJuly 2023
Partnershipand ERS
Nicky McCleod, Sissie
Webinar to review CRA and spring protection implementation and
plan for future projects
Planning for combined spring protection in Nkau and next
8thNov 2022
15thJune 2023
AWARD Derick du
Meeting in Hoedspruit to discuss AWARD’s contribution
Youth induction programmeTala Table network
Planning for CRA learning group expansion, Mametja-Sekororo PGS
2ndNovember 2022
30thJanuary 2023
22ndMarch 2023
8thMay 2023
Karen Kotshky
Learning in M&E interest group meeting. Discussions re methodology
for UCP and Tsitsa project multi stakeholder engagement evaluation
Discussions and MoU development for M&E framework and indicator
11thNovember 2022
15thMay 2023
24thMay 2023
a.CCA Workshop Mayephu
ATTENDANCE: 24 participant (6 men, 18 women)
FACILITATION TEAM:Erna and Betty, (MDF) Thembhani and Basani (AWARD/Tsogang)
The workshop programme was the basic Climate Change Adaptation exploration process, designed
within this research brief and consisted of exploring climate change impacts, agriculture (past,
present and future) and adaptive strategies, both local and suggested to be able to prioritize
adaptation practices in the community. Below are brief summaries of discussions held.
oClimate change impacts
Warmer in winter, allowing planting of tomatoes and beans, less cold.
Generally hotter
Used to just do dryland cropping. Now dryland cropping is too risky need to irrigate.
Climate change due to CO&emissions, depletion of ozone, green house effect. Some people
knew the terms others wanted a bit of an explanation.
Less rain, area is drier.
oPast- present
Relied on rainfall and rivers. Now need to irrigate. Many more boreholes for drinking and
irrigation as the rivers are running dry.
There were dams in the past, now dried up.
Maize yields have decreased significantly.
In the past we ate food form our gardens, now buying from shops.
In the past used manure and compost, now buy inorganic fertilizer and even compost from
NTK and other suppliers.
Used to eat fresh food, now much more processed and unsure of the quality or ‘age’ of food
we buy.
There are now more pests and diseases, and we are forced to use bought pesticides.
Specifically, aphids are now more common, and we make our own brews using sunlight bar
soap mixed with ‘Blue Death’.
In the past we use to dry morogo and meat, but nowadays we just put things in the fridge.
We made a mixture of peanuts and maize into flours to use called Shibugu. Can keep for a
long time and would be put in jars as travel food.
Used to farm for subsistence now commercial even if it is on a small scale.
We used to get morogo up until June and planted around September and October. Now that
has changed not even sure when the seasons are anymore. And so sometimes do not plant
at all. Sometimes just small plots in our gardens now, but when rain starts will go to the
bigger farms.
Rainfall events are more localised it can rain in parts of the village, while the rest is dry.
Now El Ninos seem to be more common. Erna talked a bit about weather systems and
increase in severity and frequency of drought.
Jafta: there is a drop in the water levels of the boreholes from May-June it drops until it
starts rising again in October, but now that isn’t really happening, as the levels have
remained low throughout the year for the past 2-3 seasons.
There was a question about the reliability of weather predictions people can prepare, for
example, one can reduce livestock if a drought is coming. A short input on this was also
Boreholes have become salty in the last few years. On the question of why participants
mentioned that for household boreholes, due to costs people only drill until they first hit
water, for drilling there are also 2'"and 3!"strikes the deeper you go the companies will
remove the cores to show you. Older people think it just happens, as it depends on the
rock where you find the water. Some boreholes that are drilled start out salty, others
become salty over time. One person thought it was due to air pollution.
A short input on groundwater was provided to explain how and why boreholes dry up. The point
that boreholes dry up due to over pumping or become saltier as a result is acknowledged by the
group although it was hard for them to admit this. They felt that climate change has had a much
bigger impact on the groundwater levels than their boreholes
and also that in admittingthis they would need to reduce the
water they are using, which is already too little.
Erna presented a rough diagram showing that over pumping and
reduction of groundwater leads to salinity through less water
being available into which water-soluble salts are dissolved. The
reduction in availability is also due to a reduction in recharge of
groundwater, which generally is at a level of 5-10% of the
annual rainfall. In areas where there is erosion, overgrazing, lack
of soil cover, and over pumping the recharge can not match the
water being removed. In addition, climate change has
considerablyreduced the recharge of boreholes in the area.
Erna also talked to recharge areas around boreholes
(50m,400m) and good practices there no kraals, toilets or
other polluting discharge, erosion control, ground cover, no
grazing, better infiltration, berms, vegetation, etc. It is best to
fence off theseareas and undertake a concentrated effort in
land management to ensure the best possible results.
Erna also presented the water quality results for the Mayephu borehole that was tested
(UWC/Tsogang). (Jovanovic & Maswanganye, November 2022)
Of the parameters, the only one not within the SANS limits for drinking water is nitrate (NO(), which
was measured as 204,65mg/L, and should be <48,7mg/L.The borehole itself is one of three drilled
between 2008 and 2022 below the village, in the grazing area surrounding the village where
livestock kraals are situated. One kraal is within 50m of these boreholes. The water committee has
tried to ask the owner nicely about removing the kraal as they were made aware that this is the
cause of the water contamination. Initially the owner was somewhat resistant. NOTE; As the owner
was in this workshop and in discussions for the need for purification of drinking water and the
potential implications of lower water availability due to the purification, a meeting was held after
this workshop to further discuss the issue. Agreement from the owner was now instantaneous. The
committee further set up a meeting with the contractor and Tsogang the following day to outline
that they would remove the kraal and the built-up manure by hiring a TLB to assist and would then
prefer not to have the reverse osmosis plant, given that their water quality is already within drinking
standards, if this source of contamination is removed.
Participants were also worried that the solar system would provide less water than the present
arrangement. Given the reduction in capacity of the boreholes, presently pumping is undertaken
continuously for 5 days to fill the main reservoir (capacity is around 700000L). This provides around
72 litres per person per day (1940 people in the village). Around 117000L of water is pumped per
day. The solar system is being designed to provide around 22 300L per day (Jovanovic &
Maswanganye, November 2022), from the one borehole where it has now been installed, which is a
20-40% reduction. However, the pump operator explained that this is a hybrid system, and that solar
pumping would be undertaken only when electricity from the main supply is unavailable (ie during
Other suggestions around management in this workshop, which were eventually discounted in
favour of not having the reverse osmosis were:
-Pumping on a separate day for the reverse osmosis and drinking water but participants
acknowledged that this would be tricky as the system would also contain unpurified water
on other days
-Pumping the purified water into 10 00l JoJo tanks. The suggestion was to speak to Mopani
DM about repurposing the two tanks already in the village. People were concerned that
these tanks may be very far away from some of the households.
There are many, many boreholes in this area, not only in Mayephu but also surrounding villages:
Mayephu (120), Mzilela (170), Matotosela (300).
For the individual household boreholes, people haven’t thought much about contamination and
have been only focused on salt and getting water, so haven’t considered that toilets and kraals at
household level could have an impact.
Some suggestions from participants regarding management of this situation included the following:
-Instead of drilling individual boreholes, people should consider sharing between
-Households should be more careful in placement of toilets and should consider joining in
the already existing practice of placing livestock kraals on the periphery of the village.
There are already security team set up in the village that patrol at night to manage the
theft of livestock which is rampant in the area. NOTE: In this regard community
members are aware that people in the village assist the thieves, despite not being
directly involved themselves.
Seasonality diagrams
Because of the reasonably small group of participants this exercise was conducted in plenary. It
consists of looking at monthly temperatures and rainfall patterns in the past and how this has
changed in the last few years.
-Temperature in January are 36 up to 40C, until March
-March temperatures are between 31-34 ᵒC
-April temperatures are between 29-30 C.
-May temperatures are between 24-25C.
-June has cold temperatures.
-August, we have warm temperatures.
-October through December are hot.
-Last year and this year some winter rainfall in June- July, which is unusual.
Changes: Hotter throughout by 3-5ᵒC
Rainfall; Is coming much later. Only
started last year in November. Now
yields are 20x80kg maize (4ha), which is
around 1,6tons/ha. It can be as little as
8 bags, as it was last year. In the past
the yields were double that, at around
3,2tons/ha. Showing a yield reduction
of around 50% in dryland maize. Some
farmers last year had no yield at all. If
you plough after the 1%#rain there is still
a chance, but if you wait for 2'"rain
then the risk is high. Also, much more
problems with pests now.
Figure 5: Above: The seasonality diagram for
temperature developed in Mayephu. The largest
difference has been in temperatures between
January and may, which have increased
according to the participants by an average of
around 4 C.Below: the seasonality diagram for
rainfall and changes.
The habit is to store maize in small structures with grass roofs and closed at the sides with cow dung
which also controls post-harvest pests. Also built off the ground and fires are built underneath to
Local adaptation strategies
-Farm in very small plots. Even in the fields, 1ha at a time and plant each at a different
time, to spread the risk.
-Vegetables are planted throughout the year. It is now possible to even plant beans and
tomatoes at any time and still get a good harvest. In the past it was not possible as
winters were somehow colder. In the small plots pest and disease control is an issue.
Affects us mostly on tomatoes- red spider mite is very common. Aphids in okra.
-Spray pesticides such as Cypermethrin, Methomex and ’Delegate” on tomatoes,
(R7000/l), sprayed after 1%#rain. Note: Delegate ‘s active ingredient is spinetoram, a
neurotoxic insecticide, registered for stored grains and not tomatoes. The other two
pesticides are broad acting contact pesticides and systemic pesticides respectively.
-There are issues with birds (guinea fowl, crows and others) as well as issues with rats
eating crops in the fields.
-Drip irrigation is now being used with ridges and furrows for planting maize.
After comparison of the participants’ understanding of the changes with the scientific or academic
predictions for the area, the correlation between the two is largely clear and very good. The
predicted hotter and drier weather with more extreme rainfall events in summer is well
corroborated by the community level experience.
Principles used in adapting to climate change in cropping include minimising external inputs,
maximising diversity, focusing on soil health and natural soil building techniques, taking care of the
environment, using available water efficiently, and working, planning and learning together.
These are practices that are important in homesteads, fields and the broader environment and
consists of understanding and marking contours in fields and gardens as well as when undertaking
erosion control and rangeland management measures. Further understanding and working with
water movement in a plot, field or catchment is important to control erosion and run-off and
provide for run-on into areas where more water is required or can safely be infiltrated into the soil.
In addition considering sun, wind and aspect in garden ad field planning is necessary.
Understanding soil structure and soil type is also important to be able to know which soil
amelioration practices are appropriate under which conditions. This includes levels of
acidity/alkalinity, levels of organic matter, balance between sand, clay and silt, -Soil structure, run-
off control, contours (made with line levels), also looking at water flow in the yards and fields
(garden layout to accommodate for sun, water and wind).
For field cropping and intensive gardening reducing tillage is an important concept, as this improves
soil structure, soil organic matter, water infiltration and water holding capacity and potentially also
soil fertility and soil health if the necessary crop diversity and cover crops are included in the system.
Including fodder crops and legumes can also be an advantage.
Farmers in the workshop mentioned that they have already thought about conservation tillage, but
they are struggling with finding advice and the correct planters to try out this system.
ACTION: Planned for bringing up a two-row planter end Sept early October to try out in the fields.
Further practices considered included:
-Contour ridges: for better infiltration and can also plan water loving plants such as bananas
on the ridges.
-Diversion ditches and cut off drains in the homesteads: to maximise water infiltration in the
-Furrows and ridges: can be combined with mulching and planting fruit trees.
-Banana circles: for erosion control and inclusion of organic matter in the soil.
-Mulching: is important for controlling evaporation and soil temperature.
-Tunnels: shade cloth structures for microclimate control
-Rainwater harvesting: Either JoJos’ or underground tanks, to store large quantities of water.
-Drip irrigation: also,with grey water.
-Greywater management: bucket drip kits - tower gardens, keyhole beds (bag planting).
-Trench beds: increased organic matter for water holding and fertility.
The next step in the workshop process would be to jointly prioritize practices that participants would
like to try out and set up a process of mentoring and experimentation in these practices. This step
was left over until the following meeting.
b.Household visits and community baseline
Household visits are undertaken to document local best practise options in farming and climate
change adaptation and to interview individual household members to develop a baseline for the
community. A total of 9 households were visited, chosen to represent different levels of water
access in the community; those reliant on communal standpipes, those who additionally have their
own informal yard connections and those also have individual boreholes in addition to the previous
2 options. In addition, we focused on households where productive activities such as gardening and
small livestock production are undertaken. In reality, households who need to rely on the communal
standpipes are not engaged in any multiple use activities, and barely receive enough waterfor
household use especially given the process in the community of only being able to access water for
1 day/week. This is necessitated due to the time it takes to fill the community reservoir and the large
number of households in the community.
The table below summarises the socio-economic baseline information.
Table 3: Socio-Economic baseline for Mayephu Village (GLSCRP):July 2023
Participants with boreholes and yard
Participants with yard taps only
Demographic information
Gender (F)
Average Age
59 years
Household head
No of household members
Dependency ratio
Highest level of education
Primary school
High school
Income (Social grants, employment, agricultural activities
Average monthly income in Rands
R4 288
R3 610
Social grants (% of hh)
Employment (% of hh)
Farming activities (% of hh)
Agricultural activities
Ave size of hh gardens (m2)
Ave size of fields (ha)
Drip irrigation
Flood irrigation
No of livestock
Cattle (% of hh, no of cattle)
83% - 34
67% - 25
67% -19
Fruit trees: Naartjie, pawpaw, guava, orange, lemon, macadamia nut, litchi, moringa, banana, mango, sugar-cane
No of trees
In essence, povertyand lack of access to water has curtailed livelihood options and activities for a
large proportion of the community, significantly. Households who can afford their own boreholes
and infrastructure development have a significant advantage and are involved in household
gardening, livestock husbandry and field cropping (cooperatives with water irrigation infrastructure).
Adaptive strategies employed in household gardens.
Impressive diversity of vegetable crops including for example tomatoes, mustard spinach,
swiss chard, cabbage, kale, lettuce, beetroot, onions, spring onions, green peppers,
pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cowpeas, beans, luffa, cleome (traditional green) and okra.
Planting at different times of the year- tomatoes and beans can now be planted in winter as
well and green peppers can survive throughout the year
Use of furrows for short furrow flood irrigation and drip irrigation in the gardens
Protection of gardens (wind and heat) with barriers of fruit trees and indigenous trees (such
as moringa, marula and mokgogoma)
Irrigation basins for fruit trees.
Use of manure and compost for fertility.
Below are a few indicative photographs.
Figure 6: Above Left to Right: A mixture of vegetable crops in a household garden incl.tomatoes, onions, mustard spinach,
and sweet potatoes. A well-establishedgarden with fruit trees interspersed with vegetable beds and the borehole in the
foreground. A garden border of well-establishedfruit trees paw-paws, bananas and sugar cane and a small goat pen next
to a garden with evidence of garden wastes and greens fed to the goats.
Potential adaptive strategies to be introduced:
Mixed cropping
Liquid manures
In field rainwater harvesting: Diversion ditches, swales, contours, furrows and ridges
Deep composting beds: trench beds, eco0cricles, shallow trenches
Greywater management: tower gardens, keyhole beds.
Legumes, cover crops and fodder crops.
c.The Mayephu water management system
A bulk infrastructure water supply system linked to the Letavi river and 4 other villages (eNondweni,
Shlakathi, Mzilela and Nkashani) was set up in 2007. It worked well until 2016 when, due to drought
and expansion of the Mayephu village population, thisbulk system came under pressure, despite
installation of a booster pump to the village. After 2016 there have been additional pumping
problems due to loadshedding and the village no longer received water form this system, despite
assurances that this should still be possible.
The Mopani District Municipality (MDM) started drilling boreholes as additional and alternative
water supply options, one in2007, one in 2016 and one in 2022, all close together below the village
close to one of the main water courses in the area. These were dug down to 130m depth. The
boreholes pump into the same reservoir initially used for the bulk supply system.
“Initially just one of the boreholes was strong enough to fill 50% of the reservoir in 24hrs”, according
to Mr Jafta?? , the pump operator. Now, only 7 years later, all three boreholes pump continuously
for 5 days to fill the reservoir, which has a capacity of around 700000liters.
The water from the reservoir is reticulate into standpipes along the roads in the village; 60 were
installed around 2008, and another 108 taps were installed in 2017.
There are 365 households with a population of 1940 people (adjusted to 1620 for this study) in the
village. According to Jafta a whopping 300 of these households have made illegal connections either
to taps or directly to Jo-Jo tanks in their yards. This sounds very chaotic, but he asserts that the
distribution between households is in fact generally fair and reasonably even. The practise is that he
opens the reservoir on a Friday afternoon, and by the next day the reservoir is empty. Everyone
spends that day filling all containers, drums, and Jo-Jo in their homesteads to last them for the week
until the following Friday. People have a combination of around for example up to 30x50l buckets,
on average 2-5 210l drums and or 1x2500lJoJo tank (roughly 100 households have Jo-Jo tanks).
In addition, around 150 of the households have their own private boreholes in addition to these
illegal yard connections. Most of these boreholes were drilled before 2007, when people were still
collecting water from the nearby (`1km) Molatsi river, eitherwhen it was in flow in summer or from
sand drilled shallow abstraction sites in winter. It appears that most of these boreholes are
comparatively shallow- between 50m-90m deep and a large proportion have now become very salty.
A local practise to test if the water is too salty for household use and irrigation is to make a cup of
tea with ‘Cremora’. If this milk substitute separates in the cup, then the water has a high level of salt.
The MDM boreholes are not very salty, and this water can safely be used for irrigation. For some of
the private boreholes using this water leads to yellowing and stunting in their crops.
A note on household water allocations: If one assumes the water is spread reasonably evenly across
all households then each household will receive around 2000l of water per week. For a household of
4 people this equates to around 71lper person per day, which is well above the 25lpppd for the ‘free
water’ allocation, but still rather low for multiple purpose use. Foreseeably around 300-350l/ week
can be spared for irrigating small gardens which can only sustain a garden of around 15m&of mixed
vegetable production. See small case study below.
Water allocations in the village is not evenly spread. In particular, all participants who have their
own boreholes also have informal yard connections and use both sources of water. These
households number around 120 (33%) and can sustain both much largergardens (around 200m&),
small and large livestock and fruit orchards (~20-30trees per household). They have access to in
excess of 10000L of water per week, compared to around 3000L/week for households with yard
taps, 180 households (49%) and only around 800L/week for householdsreliant on the communal
standpipes, around 65 households (18%). Clearly the latter grouping cannot be considered to have
equitable access to water. Largely this is based on household vulnerability and poverty and an
inability to provide storage options orafford an informal connection. The community by and large
does not consider it as their responsibility to assist these households. There are a few individuals in
the community who do provide access to water from their own sources to some of these
A note on water quantity: Clearly the groundwater supply in the area is dwindling fast and is
considered to be a combination of both climate change and over pumping of existing boreholes
the increasing saltiness of the borehole water and longer pumping times required attesting to this
observation. In general community members are still hoping for more water to be supplied, despite
also understanding that they are in fact being well looked after under the circumstances.
Presently borehole pumping rates are 2,7l/s and it is estimated that a quantity of 11700l is pumped
on a daily basis from the 3 boreholes. The solar system can provide around 22 300 per day, from the
one borehole where it has now been installed (Jovanovic & Maswanganye, November 2022), which
is a potential reduction of 20-40%. Batteries are being installed, but at the time it was unclear
whether they would provide further pumping capacity as they are also there to power an electric
fence around the installation and potentially the reverse osmosis plant. However, the pump
operator explained that this is a hybrid system, and that solar pumping would be undertaken only
when electricity from the main supply is unavailable (ie during loadshedding).
A note on water quality: Analysis of water samples have been undertaken. Na (mg/l) content of
higher than 30mg/l is considered a limit for good quality irrigation water. The MDM boreholes in
Mayephu have a Na content of ~77mg/l, which is however still well within the range of acceptable
drinking quality water (value of Na needsto be<200mg/l). Of the parameters, the only one not
within the SANS limits for drinking water is nitrate (NO(), which was measured as 204,65mg/L, and
should be <48,7mg/L (Jovanovic & Maswanganye, November 2022).
Guiding principles for community involvement in water management.
1Community members need to be engaged not only in feasibility and baseline assessments and
information provision, but also in the design and implementation phases of a water scheme.
2They need to engage with and negotiate all parameters of the scheme to be able to take
responsibility for further operation, management and maintenance.
3Community members are willing and able to make rational and considered decision around
water use and management if provided with appropriate information on which to base such
4Community engagement needs to be broader than just the committees and operators at all
stages of the discussion: Feasibility, design, implementation, operation and maintenance.
5Committees should in these cases be well represented traditional authorities, local
government councillors, active water users in the areas, such as crop and livestock farmers and
individuals who can represent more vulnerable groups in the village
6Local level governance systems need to be respected but also interrogated in terms of
acceptable levels of provision for equity in access to water within the community. (See notes on
governance and equity)
7In complex programmes suggestions for systems are made, these are refined in the planning
and implementation and yet further changes can occur during the contractual and
commissioning phases. Expectations are raised in each phase and community members often
remember well what was “promised’ at the beginning. This process requires careful explanation
on an ongoing basis. NOTE: the tendency is to not provide detail or make specific ‘promises’ to
avoid the resultant conflict, but the better practise is to explain the changes and difficulties as
the process unfolds, which despite being a lot more intensive has the advantage of also
increasing community level understanding of the issues and problems involved and this level of
transparency builds trust and rapportbetween the role players, as well as a level of
accountability in expenditure.
8Ongoing monitoring of water levels, specifically for borehole schemes, with a coherent system
of reporting is important. In this respect provision of dip meters will be required. Scheme
operators need to have someone to report to who can make decisions regarding use, over-use
and remedial actions that can be taken.
9In general, demand for water is increasing while the environment’s ability to supply water, is
decreasing- and at a rate much faster than can easily be accommodated. Management of
catchments and recharge areas is crucial, but presently not considered. Rangeland
management and livestock numbers will need to be considered much more seriously.
Local level governance and equity
At community level arrangements are more often than not already in place, although they would be
considered informal. Often these arrangements will not fulfil the requirements of the Water Service
Authorities but provide for a level of stability and equitywithin the community.
Water committees are voluntary structures and members do have a certain level authority within
the community but are not able to effectively police any rules. They cannot control or
officially/legally enforce any of the rules agreed to be the community. Assuch informal
arrangements are developed. Often it relies on community members contributing in time and in
small regular payments to an agreed activity, such as water infrastructure maintenance or borehole
pumping costs for example. The committee keeps records of those community members who pay
and those who do not. Generally, those community members who resist the rulings or do not pay
are considered not to be part of the process and their opinions or complaints or difficulties are then
not taken into account.
At village level this is a manageable beneficiation system and can allow for a stable and ongoing
operational system, without too much conflict. There is however a chance that vulnerable
households and individuals are excluded from a service which should benefit all community
members. Households with very high levels of poverty are more often than not also households
where members engage in socially high risk and unacceptable behaviours, which ostracises them
from the rest of the community. Other prejudicesmay also surface, especially around unmarried
women with children and ‘foreigners’.
-Understanding and acceptance of local level governance arrangements, which can be locally
managed is important.
-Institutional engagement in punitive measures for those who have informal or illegal
connections is unlikely to have a positive outcome.
-Engagement of the governance committees and community as a whole in being more
equitable in terms of their access arrangements is important.
-Hoarding of water and water provision options, by those households which can afford it and
have power within the community should be dissuaded. Here, a user pays arrangement can
potentially be negotiated. At the very least, they should not have more accessto communal
water than everyone else in the community.
-Payment for water use in excess of an agreed amount, can be used towards setting up a
community level fund for maintenance and operations.
Security concerns
In Mayephu, as in other villages and communities in South Africa there has been a huge upsurge in
theft and lawless behaviour, a situation which is very hard for communities themselves to manage
and almost impossible for the state. Local security arrangements are being more commonplace. In
Mayephu for example there are already 24hr patrols in place to monitor livestock. Livestock theft in
the area is rampant, often undertaking by groups from outside the village, but likely assisted by
individuals form the area. The livestock association has divided itself up into small patrols who are
on duty for a day or night shift and these patrols are rotated within the association’s membership.
The suggestion is that a similar process should be instituted for patrolling the Solar power borehole
installation initially and that the fees paid to the water committee could in time be used to employ a
guard. Committee members have provisionally suggested R20/household per month for this service.
They believe that this process would work in Mayephu, given that they already have the livestock
guarding process, with monthly individual payments of R10/livestock owner as an existing example.
Local savings groups
There are no broad-based local level savings groups in this village. Even the well known stokvels
which are very common across South Africa do not exist here. There are however local savings
arrangements for households to assist each other with funeral arrangements, which is basically a
rotational system of contributions towards funeralsmade by a group of individuals.
d.Household water use case study for Mayephu village
Multiple Use Services (MUS) for water are systems designed to supply water and for provision of
water services in rural areas (Van Koppen, et al., 2009). They are based on both infrastructural and
governance components as an enabling environment for the delivery of secure and reliable water
resources and the integration of multiple water users (domestic, irrigation, livestock etc.). Multiple
sources of water, with multiple storage options, provide water for multiple uses at community level.
Combining MUS with alternative sources of energy is a promising option to reduce environmental
impacts and costs.
Under the GLSCRP (Giyani local scale climate resilience project), a joint innovation development
process funded by the Flanders Government, managed by the Water Research Commission and
implemented by the University of the Western Cape, Tsogang and AWARD, among others, MUS
systems are being piloted for local scale supply and community level management of water
resources. The aim of this process is to investigate the technical, socio-economic and environmental
feasibility for the establishment of Alternative Water Source (AWS) systems, different groundwater
options and Multiple Use Water Services (MUS) in rural communities of Greater Giyani Municipality
(Limpopo) in order to provide a secure water source for domestic and agricultural purposes
(Jovanovic & Maswanganye, November 2022).
Mayephu Village is one of the prioritized communities for village level water supply, using
groundwater, solar electricity for pumping and potentially reverse osmosis for purification of
drinking water. Livestock drinking troughs were also included in the planning, using the 3 existing
community level boreholes.
Description of existing water infrastructure
Mayephu village is in Dzumeri in Giyani and falls within Ward 27 of the Mopani District Municipality.
There are 365 households in the village with a total population of 1940 people.
Water for the village was provided through a bulk supply scheme from the Letavi River until around
2007, when water shortages started to make this supply unreliable. Subsequently due to a
combination of climate change, infrastructural inefficiencies and load shedding the supply became
very unreliable. The system has now been completely replaced by 3 community level boreholes,
installed in 2007, 2016 and 2022 respectively to supply water and also to increase water availability
due to the ever-increasing population in the village. Water is pumped to the village reservoir and
reticulated via roughly 108 communal standpipes.
There are a number of private household boreholes in the village, estimated at around 120
boreholes in the village. Many of these were drilled before the bulk water scheme was introduced in
the area.
In addition, there are two cooperative farms on the outskirts of the village:
-Emvuleni Primary Agriculture Cooperative (5ha), with 2 boreholes, of which only 1 is active.
The 1%#borehole was drilled in2013 to a depth of 80m but has now become salty. The 2'",
now in operation is 120m deep. The cooperative has 5 members and employs around 8
people. 3Ha of the area is under drip irrigation.
-Mayephu crop agricultural cooperative (4ha), with 1 borehole reticulated to 2 JoJo tanks,
supplied with a diesel pump. The cooperative has 4 members who do the cropping
themselves and presently have roughly 1ha under drip irrigation.
Water use in thevillage
The water supply system has been developed to fill the village reservoir (700000L) once a week.
Pumping is continuous for 6 days, to achieve this. Taps are then opened on a Friday afternoon. By
the next day the reservoir is empty, and pumping begins again.
Water allocation and operation is managed by a water committee, consisting of 15 members, which
includes a pump operator, employed through the MDM. The traditional and ward councils are also
represented, as are the cooperatives and the livestock association.
Households have adapted to this system by collecting their water for the week by having containers
(25L), drums(210L) and JoJo tanks (2200L), which they fill either from the standpipes, or from
informal tap connections in their yards. It is estimated thereare close to 300 of these ’informal’ taps
in the village.
Generally, there are 4 household types in the village:
1Those with only 25L container storage options (roughly 700L/week) equivalent to 18,9L/pppd
2Those with 25L and 210L drum storage options (roughly 1400L/week) equivalent to
3Those with containers, drums and JoJo tanks (roughly 3000L/week) -equivalent to 80,9L/pppd
4Those with all of the above and their own boreholes (roughly 3000L/week plus roughly 2500L-
5000l/week from their own systems)- equivalent to 200L/pppd
This infrastructure is expected to be provided by the households themselves and access to water
relies entirely on what each household can manage.Water is used for household purposes, keeping
of small livestock (chickens and goats) and household gardens.
In reality, it is only those households in the 4#$group, with their own boreholes who have managed
to maintain reasonably sized household gardens (200-400m&). For households in the 3!"group, with
JoJo tanks filled from the communal system roughly 30% have much smaller gardens (20-100m&).
The households in groups 1 and 2 are not active in productive activities. Below, examples for each
group are provided from a village level walk undertaken.
Group 1 < 20L per person/day allocation
These households are extremely vulnerable and poor, consisting in the most part of woman headed
households, pensioners, ‘foreigners’ or new entrants into the village. These households do not have
access to their own yard taps and use the communal standpipes. Around 17% of households are in
this category.
Group 2 <40L per person/day
These households seem somewhat more
secure and a proportion of them do
undertake productive use in the form of
very small gardens in their homes. They
do have yard taps.Around 25% of
households are in this category.
Households in this categorycan at best
supplement their household food supply
to a small extent butdo have enough
water for general household use.
Figure 7: Right and far right: Households with yard
connections, containers, and drums for water
provision, of which a proportion have very small
gardens (20-100m2).
Group 3 < 90L per person/day
This group functionally is very similar to group 2, with either now productive activities or very small
household gardens, which are generally slightly larger than the Group 2 participants averaging
around 200m&. Around 24% of the community fall within this category. A few of the participants do
have small livestock in the form of traditional poultry.
Group 4 >200l per person/day
Households in this category have
small livestock (chickens, goats) as
well as well established, thriving
household gardens. In addition,
participants in this group have small,
but diverse fruit orchards.
Figure 8: Right to far right. Example of a
household borehole with storage tanks, a goat
enclosure and a chicken house at different
households. Insert is of a traditional laying
box, with eggs.
Figure 9: Above left to right: Household gardens with a wide range of crops (mustard, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, marrows,
spinach etc) and examples of small orchards (citrus, bananas, paw-paws, macadamia nuts, sugar cane avocados, mangoes
and litchis)
Irrigation practices in the gardens consist mainly of hosepipes and buckets irrigating into adaptations
of short furrow irrigation, or drip irrigation. All householders interviewed are very aware of salinity
issues in their water and management practices and have already adapted their crop varieties,
watering regimes and soil management to accommodate for this. The use of ridges and furrows is
further considered a good practise in this regard. There is however potential for mulching,
intercropping and methods of incorporating soil organic matter, to further assist.
There are some beautiful
examples also of integration
of traditional crops such as
Cleome, pumpkins and
gourds and Luffa forexample
into the gardening systems.
Figure 10: Left to right; traditional
crops- pumpkins/gourds, cleome
and Luffa.
There is a clear progression
from no productive activities
to household gardens, to
further inclusion of small
livestock to inclusion also of
fruit trees, depending on the
amount of water consistently available to households. It indicates that these communities are
intrinsically aware of water demand for productive activities and would undertake a much larger
range of activities if water wasn’t limiting. In addition, drylandfield cropping, which was a common
practise in the past, has become unviable under the present climatic conditions. It has become too
dry and hot to produce dryland maize and is now risky even for traditional crops such as sorghum,
cowpeas, jugo beans, ground nuts and pumpkins. For the latter people will still take a chance and
plant these crops when reasonable amounts of early summer rainfall is in evidence.
e.Case study of 4 local cooperatives
The table below provides a summary of the operations of the 4 agricultural cooperatives visited
around Giyani. Two of the four are to receive support from the GLSCRP.
Matsambo Ngamba
Duvadzi youth organic
agricultural cooperative
Mayephu crop
Location and
Dzumeri :3 and 8
labourers (Mrs Delina
Loloka: 1 and 9 labourers
(Mr Patrick Sukhela)
Mayephu, 4 (Mr
MIringo Ndleve)
Mayephu: 5 (Mr
Dnaile Mnisi)
Size and area
2ha under production
2ha’s under production at a
1ha under production
3ha under production
Not making much
profit, just maintaining.
Pumping costs can be
high due to
Income of ~R16 155/ month.
Expenses include labour,
electricity, seedlings,
fertilizer, pesticides,
equipment, packaging, fuel
and transport.
Actual profit low.
No real income made
to date.
Water source
Presently 1 operational
borehole (of 2), with
electrical pump
Presently 1 operational
borehole (of 4) Electricity
for pumping. Present
borehole is 120m deep, but
still salty
Presently 1
operations borehole
(of 2). Still pumping
with fuel.
Presently I
operational borehole
(of 2). The 1stbecame
too salty and a
deeper borehole was
Pumping of borehole
for 3hrs per section, on
Pumping of borehole for 3hrs
per section, on alternate days
Pumping of borehole
for 3hrs per section,
Pumping of borehole
for 2.5hrs per section,
alternate days
(50mx30m plots). Drip
(50mx34m plots). Drip
on alternate days
(50mx30m plots).
Drip irrigation
on alternate days
(50mx30m plots).
Pumping for
5hrs/day. Drip
Switched to stronger
less salty borehole
(tried 10x before
managing to get 2
working boreholes).
There is a 5000L JoJo
storage tank.
River water is less than
borehole water, but much
better quality for crops.
2x10000l JoJos for
drip irrigation system.
Bought own pressure
pump for the system.
Originally pumped
from a nearby river,
but that ran dry in
_After planting
seedlings, hardens
them for around 10
days before irrigation,
to also reduce weed
infestation (
2ha under production.
Rotates crops. Uses
manure and crop
residues alongside
Put between 0,5 to 2ha under
production depending on
resources and rest the rest of
the field. Rotate crops. Uses
manure and crop residues
alongside fertilizers
Organic. Make
compost from chicken
manure, sawdust,
grass and weeds and
use that on the beds.
Rotates crops. Uses
compost alongside
Ploughing before
preparation of furrows
and ridges and laying
drip irrigation lines
Ploughing before preparation
of furrows and ridges and
laying drip irrigation lines
Ploughing before
preparation of
furrows and ridges
and laying drip
irrigation lines
Ploughing before
preparation of
furrows and ridges
and laying drip
irrigation lines
Crops planted
Maize, tomatoes,
spinach, baby marrows,
okra and green pepper.
Ground nuts and jugo
beans in summer
Onions, mustard spinach,
Swiss chard, butternut,
ground nuts, tomatoes, okra,
kale, rape, chillis, green
Onions, beetroot,
maize, okra,
butternut, tomatoes
Tomatoes, onions,
baby marrows, okra,
green beans, mustard
spinach, Swiss chard,
green peppers and
-No issues mentioned.
Used dryland cropping of
maize, cowpeas and
groundnuts to prepare plots
for irrigated winter cropping
(provision of organic matter)
not possible since 2016 due
to CC
Monkeys, diseases in
tomatoes, cost of
fuel, labour
constraints, locals
can’t afford
competitive prices
Poorly fenced
livestock invasions
Diseases are very
No water storage
facilitieshave to
pump and irrigate
-Herbicide for burn
down prior to planting,
for residue retention
-Fertilizer application
through dripper lines
- 3 -year rotations, done
in a planned system.
-Butternut as a rotation crop
has worked well
-Use of manure (3t/ha) in
combination with crop
residues and fertilizer has had
good results building up his
herds of cattle, goats and pigs
for this purpose)
-Organic farming
zero use of pesticides
and use of OPV seed
-Use of wate water
from treatment plant
for watering mangoes
and flowers
-Planting lucerne
-Fencing larger area and
including livestock in the
-Hybrid water source to incl.
borehole and shallow wells
from nearby river
-Fruit: mangoes, bananas,
-Mulching, close
spacing and mixed
cropping, to further
manage salinity issues
-Bird resistant sorghum
-Summer cover crops
-Mulching, close spacing and
mixed cropping
-Mulching, close
spacing and mixed
-Improved organic
matter and crop
-Mulching, close
spacing and mixed
- Improved organic
matter and crop
Supply via CP Minaar
transport to JHB and CT
fresh produce markets.
Presently looking for
more local markets, as
prices at fresh produce
markets only
determined after
delivery, but transport
costs paid upfront.
Leads to heavy losses at
No longer sells to fresh
produce markets in major
centres. Focusing on local
sales to PnP, Savemore and
Boxer. Sells 2-3x/week.
Local sales only;
school feeding
scheme, Tzaneen
lodge, local traders
Supply via CP Minaar
transport to JHB and
CT fresh produce
markets. Maintains a
fresh produce stall
along the main road
DoA and other
-Hydroponics unit (2
units of 3000 planting
stations each),
-Toilets and on site
Has put in grant proposals
annually for the last 4-5
years- but with little support.
DoA forgot about his
proposal last year.
-GLSCRP- Solar pumping, drip
irrigation. NOTE: Mr Sukhela
has requested solar on a
different borehole to the
plan and insists on the need
for a shallow well to be
linked into the system as
Can not put in a grant
request as
registration of
borehole cannot be
completed without
DoA support- which is
not being provided.
Note: They need
support for borehole
registration. Soil
sample results have
not been returned by
Some previous
support from DoA-
with borehole and
irrigation. No support
at present.
1.Except for the Mayephu Crop Cooperative, none of the other 3 farms actually operateas
cooperatives. Two are now family concerns and the other is managed by 1 remaining
member of the cooperative.
2.Changing from diesel powered to electrical borehole pumping systems has enabled
cooperatives to make an income rather than barely managing to pay costs. The Mayephu
crop cooperative is still relying on a diesel pump, which costs them around R600/ week
and precludes them from making an income. Patrick from Duvadzi has been able to realize a
profit since switching to electricity and is now able to consistently pay his labour and expand
his area of production from 0,5ha to 2ha at a time.
3.The LEDA training in finances, business management and marketing has been beneficial to
cooperative members who are now using some of the information to improve their
operations. There has not been much positive feedback regarding these trainings for
community members in general however. Patrick was of the impressions that there needs to
be follow-up after trainings and even tests to ensure that participants are learning and
implementing information. Trainings by themselves are not very useful.
4.Generally cooperative members are well informed in terms of their soils, water management
practices, crops and cropping practices. All displayed an impressive knowledge of
requirements, and problem-solving ability with new pests and diseases as well as new
climate constraints being experienced.
5.On all 4 cooperatives members are already taking steps to manage salinity and salinisation
of their soils using drip irrigation judiciously, making use of furrows and ridges to avoid salt
build up in crop rooting zones, growing crops that are more tolerant to salinity, managing
boreholes not to over pump and using organic matter in their soils.
6.New and quite devastating disease of tomatoes and baby marrows has been noticed in the
area this season. It started last s eason but was not too widespread in the beginning. A
number of pesticides have been used to spray the tomatoes to counteract this disease, but
to little effect. Farmers were unable to identify the disease. An internet search has identified
3 whitefly transmitted tomato viruses that have
been increasing dramatically in the Limpopo
province, namely: Tomato chlorosis crinivirus
(ToCV), Tomato torrado virus (ToTV) and Tomato
curly stunt begomovirus (ToCSV)(Moodley, Gubba,
& Mafongoya, 2019). These viruses diseases are
also hosted in a number of weed species. The
marked edge effect of these diseases is indicative
of whitefly populations ‘flying’ in from other
locations- most likely ZCC tomato farms in the
Figure 11: Right and far right: Virus diseases on tomatoes and baby
marrows at the Mnisi cooperative in Mayephu. The results have been
devastating with total crop failure in both crops.
Patrick from Duvadzifarm, has already decided not to
plant tomatoes for the foreseeable future and is concentrating on leaf crops. He has made a
decision not to plant crops that have a long turnaround time (cabbages and onions) and can only
be harvested once, in favour of crops that allow for multiple picking.
7.All cooperatives are aware of mulching and the potential benefits but have found that the
competition for grass from livestock has made this practise untenable.
8.All cooperatives have contributed significantly financially in terms of the infrastructure on
their farms and aim to maintain any further granted infrastructure to the best of their
abilities. Financial contributions on their part in terms of operations and maintenance is
Below are a few indicative photographs
Figure 12: Above Left to Right: Beautiful mustard spinach at Duvadzi farm. Packingfor the localmarketstall at Emvuleni
Coop. We3ll tended onionsat Mayephu crop Coop and well-tended, mulched tomatoes at MatsamboNgamba Project.
Update to desktop review of South African policy and implementation frameworks and
stakeholder platforms for community-based climate change adaptation (Cb-CCA)
By Karen Kotschy, July 2023
This document seeks to update and deepen the review submitted on 1 August 2022, WRC
Deliverable No.1, entitled“Desk top review of progress and present implementation of South African
policy and implementation frameworks and stakeholder platforms for CCA”. It provides a more in
depth focus on policy and discussion of further potential frameworks.
The South African policy context
The Climate Change Bill (B9-2022) was tabled in Parliament in February 2022 by the Department of
Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, and is currently undergoing extensive public consultation. It
has generated wide interest, with approximately 13 200 written submissions received so far by
While the Bill has been under development for some time (since 2018), the pending
promulgation of the Bill into the Climate Change Act will form the first legal framework for South
Africa’s response to the impacts of climate change, and will formalise therequirements for
provincial and municipal structures to develop climate change needs analyses and implementation
plans. It also provides for the establishment of some important climate-related multi-stakeholder
forums (see Section 4 below).
The following principles for the interpretation and application of the Climate Change Act are
congruent with community-based climate change adaptation:
Principle 3(d): a contribution to a just transition towards low-carbon, climate-resilient and
ecologically sustainable economies and societieswhich contribute to the creation of decent
work for all, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty. While this is most often
considered in terms of the “just energy transition” away from coal and towards renewable
energy sources, it applies equally well to CCA by smallholder farmers.
Principle 3(f): the need for decision-making to consider the special needs and circumstance
of localities and people that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate
change, including vulnerable workers and groups such as women, especially poor and rural
women, children, especially infants and child-headed families, the aged, the poor, the sick
and the physically challenged.
The Climate Change Bill specifies that national adaptation objectives must be set up and
incorporated into all relevant national planning instruments, policies, and programmes, along with
indicators for measuring progress towards achieving the national adaptation objectives. The Minister
must collate, compile and synthesise information relevant to the achievement of the national
adaptation objectives and thereafter publish a Synthesis Adaptation Report for consideration by
Cabinet and to be used in nationaland international reporting processes.
A policy area which has gained much traction recently in South Africa is Ecosystem-based
adaptation(EbA) which is an area in which the DFFE is active. Ecosystem-based adaptation is
defined as “sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems, as part of an
overall adaptation strategy that takes into account the multiple social, economic and cultural co-
benefits for local communities” (Convention on Biological Diversity, 2010). The rationale for EbA is
laid out in the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS), under the key message
“Adapting to build a strong South Africa” (DEFF, 2019a). The recent comprehensive review of CCA
approaches and conceptual frames by Singh et al. (2021), includes EbA as one of the 11 key
approaches/frames. How EbA articulates with related approaches such as community-based CCA,
community-based natural resource management and disaster risk reduction is nicely covered by
Aronson et al. (2019).
EbA has potential for use as a theoretical and policy framing for work with smallholder farmers in
South Africa, because:
It integrates ecosystem stewardship, natural resource management and climate change
adaptation, all of which are important aspects of smallholder farmers’ activities.
It has potential to create a bridge between smallholder farmers and other stakeholders within
multi-stakeholder platforms in rural landscapes (e.g. those concerned with biodiversity
protection, water resources management and economic development).
It is a concept that opens the door to new funding streams (Aronson et al., 2019).
Municipalities in the upper Thukela catchment have been identified as priority municipalities for
EbA, with Okhahlamba Local Muncipality featuring at number 1(DEFF, 2019b; Figure 1). This
could provide an additional entry point through which to engage municipalities in the project
CoPs and multi-stakeholder forums, although it is acknowledged that these municipalities are
small and severely lacking in capacity(Okhahlamba, for example, does not have any
environmental management staff).
The following criteria have been defined for any activity, initiative or strategy to qualify as EbA
(FEBA, 2017):
EbA should reduce social and environmental vulnerability to climate change.
EbA should generate social benefits and support the most vulnerable.
EbA should restore, maintain or improve ecosystems and biodiversity.
EbA should be mainstreamed into policies at multiple levels.
EbAshould support equitable governance and enhance capacities.
A final area of policy is provincial and municipal government climate adaptation policy. The Climate
Change Bill requires MECs and mayors of metropolitan and district municipalities to undertake a
climate change needs and response assessment for their province, metropolitan or district
municipality, and a climate change response implementation plan, which will form part of the
Integrated Development Plan (IDP). The time frames for developing these plans have been delayed
because of the delays in the passageof the Bill through Parliament (in part due to COVID-19). The
disconnect between what is expected of provincial and district structures and their ability to meet
the requirements has been covered in the previous review. However, at some point in the near
future these requirements will become legally binding, and the provincial and municipal climate
change plans will be relevant policy documents with which this work should engage.
CCA tools and frameworks
Figure13: Final prioritisation of local municipalities based on the biome-level EbA score. The selected local municipalities
represent the topquartile of EbA scores (i.e. local municipalitieswith high EbA potential). Local municipalities are
classified into seven implementation scenarios based on high values (top quartile)for risk of ecosystems being lost to
human development; biodiversity importance and vulnerability of ecosystems to climate change.Source: DEFF, 2019b.
Two important national information portals are the National Climate Change Information System
(NCCIS) and the National Climate Change Response Database(NCCRD). The NCCIS is hosted by the
DFFE and can be found at
The NCCIS is intended as an overarching portal for climate change information in South Africa, with
an intention to develop linked provincial sites in due course. The NCCIS offers a series of decision
support tools to inform policy and decision-making. These include the National Climate Change
Response Database, as well as the Let’s Respond Toolkit (see Table 1), the CSIR Green Book’s Risk
Tool, the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas (SARVA 3.0), and various other data collections
from the South African Weather Service, SAEON and SANBI related to climate change.
The NCCRD is a database of climate change adaptation and mitigation projects or interventions.
Although the catalogue of adaptation projects is still rather small, users are encouraged to add their
projects as a way of incorporating what is happening on the ground into national adaptation
reporting, monitoring and evaluation. The activities under the current WRC project and related work
should be submitted on this platform.
At the level of local government, a fair amount of support for climate change integration is available,
through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), the South
African Local Government Association (SALGA), NGOs such as ICLEI, and tools such as the Let’s
Respond Toolkit and the Green Book (Table 2). Further guidance on embedding climate change
adaptation within local government is provided by AWARD (2020).
Table 4: Local government climate change support organisations and tools.
SALGA: Environment and
Climate Change within
the Municipal Services
and Infrastructure
SALGA advises and supports municipalities in the drive to deliver on services to
communities. SALGA's National office is based in Pretoria with offices in each of
the nine provinces. SALGA has eight directorates and several working groups.
They provide specific advice to councilorson their role regarding climate
CoGTA is supporting integration of CC into municipal planning. A recent analysis
of 2021/22 IDPs shows there is still not adequate mainstreaming of CC despite
support by SALGA and the Let’s Respond toolkit. They are trying to promote
common thinking on support among SALGA, CoGTA, DFFE and DARDLEA. They
suggest a planning process for CC similar to the IDP process.
CoGTA wants standardisedKPIs and targets for CC in the District Development
Model (DDM) “One Plan-One Budget”. They want to “develop a culture of
performance management”, including evaluating IDPs on the process followed
for CC.
Provides various CC support to municipalities, directly and through SSA
Covenant of Mayors (36 countries in Africa) e.g. GHG inventories, RVAs,
training, peer exchanges, tools, resources, unlocking climate finance. Developed
Phase 1 Just Transition Strategy (under Urban-LEDS project).
Green Book (CSIR, 2019)
An online planning support tool that provides quantitative scientific evidence on
the likely impacts of climate change and urbanisation on South Africa’s cities
and towns, as well as presenting a number of adaptation actions that can be
implemented by local government to support climate resilient development.
The Green Book was co-funded by the CSIR and the International Development
Research Centre (IDRC), between 2016 and 2019. The CSIR has partnered with
the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) and co-developed this
product with universities, government departments, NGOs and other peer
It provides evidence of current and future (2050) climate risks and vulnerability
for every local municipality in South Africa (including settlements) in the form of
climate-change projections, multidimensional vulnerability indicators,
population-growth projections, and climate hazard and impact modelling. Based
on this evidence, the Green Book developed a menu of planning-related
adaptation actions and offers support in the selection of appropriate actions
from this menu to be integrated into local development strategies and plans.
Let’s Respond Toolkit
(Sustainable Energy
Africa and Palmer
Devlopment Group,
The Let’s Respond Toolkit (DEA and GIZ) has been developed to integrate
climate change risks and opportunities into municipal planning, building on the
initial LTAS research process and providing an online resource of information as
well as tools to respond to climate change at a local level as part of the Local
Government Climate Change Support Programme (DEA, 2017). It includes a
vulnerability assessment toolkit, climate change response plan templates and a
stakeholder engagement toolkit.
Multi-stakeholder platforms for CCA
The Climate Change Bill mandates the establishment of provincial and local government climate
change forums. Existing Premiers’ intergovernmental forums are to act as Provincial Forums on
Climate Change, to both coordinate and report to the President’s Coordinating Council on climate
change activities in their provinces. Similarly, municipal district intergovernmental forums are also to
serve as Municipal Forums on Climate Change, and are expected to coordinate climate change
action in their districts and report to the Provincial Climate Change Forum. Technical support
structures may be established if needed. These provincial and municipal forums on climate change
are inter-governmental forums in that they are intended to bring together officials from different
government departments to address climate change in a cross-cutting way. They are not, however,
true multi-stakeholder platforms.
While some provinces and municipalities do have effective climate change forums (e.g. the forum
coordinated by DARDLEA in Mpumalanga), most of these are yet to be established.
The Presidential Climate Commissionis an important national multi-stakeholder forum provided for
in the Climate Change Bill, and which is now operational. It includes representatives from civil
society, business, government and organised labour, with the purpose of advising, monitoring and
evaluating progress towards the country’s adaptation goals.
At District Municipality level the Disaster Management Advisory Forumsalso act as multi-
stakeholder forums for climate change response. These forums comprise all the relevant
stakeholders and role players in disaster risk management in the municipality, including non-
governmental and community-based organisations, individuals or groups with special technical
expertise, representatives of the local municipalities in the district and representatives of
neighbouring district municipalities. Forums must meet at least four times a year and must include
the following members:
Designated focal points in municipal departments and entities who are involved in the
management of disaster risk or the administration of any other national legislation
aimed at dealing with an occurrence defined as a disaster in terms of section 1 of the
DM Act, including the district and provincial Disaster Risk Management Centres.
Experts in disaster risk management
Heads of neighbouring disaster risk management centres.
Representatives of each of the local municipalities within the district, as follows
(chairpersons of disaster risk management coordinating structures in local municipalities,
municipal managers).
Local representatives of national and provincial organs of state and local emergency and
essential services (health, emergency medical services, safety and security)
Regional/local representatives of other relevant national organs of state (Departments of
Agriculture, Education, Health, Home Affairs, Social Development, Water and Sanitation.
Regional Tourism Boards
Parastatals providing essential services (airports, ESKOM, SAFCOL, SANParks, SANRAL, SAWS,
Transnet, Telkom)
Representatives of organised business.
Representatives of organised labour.
Representatives of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).
A representative of the Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa (DMISA).
Non-governmental and community-based organisations and other relevant role players
such as Councils of Traditional Leaders, the South African Council of Churches (SACC),
Agricultural and farm workers’ associations, South African Red Cross Society
Representatives of institutions of higher learning, including universities, colleges and
scientific and research centres
Representatives of the media.
As can be seen from the above list, the DMAFs are significant multi-stakeholder forums which also
include role-players from the agricultural and water sectors. Besides disaster response and
preparedness, their role includes development and maintenance of disaster risk management
information and communication systems, including early warning systems which often include
climate-related information. They are also meant to “assist, by means of focused, integrated and
holistic risk reduction strategies within the broader context of sustainable development, with the
creation of resilient individuals, households and communities who are alert and self-reliant”,
speaks to a more proactive, adaptation-type approach rather than simply a reactive disaster-
response type approach. While the functionality of these forums will vary across districts, and not all
of the stakeholders will be relevant to adaptation initiatives, they do provide an already-established
forum within which adaptation issues could be included and relevant stakeholders engaged.
Catchment Management Forums(CMFs) are public forums under the national Department of Water
and Sanitation, specifically focused on water resources management. They may be established for a
river catchment or portion of a catchment. Their role is to provide stakeholders with relevant and
up-to-date information, to provide advice and input into water management processes, to
implement decisions and to act as a watchdog (AWARD, 2014). CMFs are required to identify and
secure the participation of relevant stakeholders. While CMFs are important where they are well-
established and functional, they are more relevant for integrating climate change concerns into
water resources management and for water-related climate change adaptation. However, they can
also serve as a means of identifying and engaging relevant stakeholder for agriculture-related
community-based CCA.
Another relevant type of regional-level forum that is gradually becoming more widely established
across the country is multi-stakeholder catchment-based forums known variously as catchment
partnerships, water source partnerships or water funds, which aim to bring a variety of land and
water users together to facilitate integrated management of land and water. Such partnerships have
been established in many catchments, including the uMzimvubu (the Umzimvubu Catchment
Partnership), the uThukela (the newly formed Northern Berg Collaborative), the uMngeni (the
Umgeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership) and the uMKhomazi (the uMkhomazi Working Group).
The Living Catchments Programme has provided significant funding (DSI, WRC and SANBI) to support
such partnerships over a ten-year period (2015-2025) in selected river catchments.
However, these
partnerships are also often led and resourced by NGO and civil society partners rather than
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Patel, S., Huq, S., Musa, M., Rahman, F., Gupta, S., Dolcemascolo, G. and Mann, T. (2021).Principles
for locally led adaptation: A call to action. Issue Paper, January 2021. International Institute for
Environment and Development (IIED), with SDI, BRAC, ICCCAD, Women’s Climate Centers
International, and the Huairou Commission.
Tsitsa Project, Kotschy, K., Cockburn, J., Conde-Aller, L. and Rosenberg, E. (2021). Participatory
Monitoring, Evaluation, Reflection and Learning (PMERL): Building a Participatory and Sustainable
System for Evaluating Impact. Tsitsa Project Practice and Policy Brief #5. Department of
Environmental Science, Rhodes University.
Zembe, A., Nemakonde, L.D. and Chipangura, P. (2022). Policy coherence between food security,
disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in South Africa: A summative content analysis
approach. Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies, 14(1): a1173.
The focus for the local individuals and groups is on co-creation of knowledge, social learning and
innovationrelated to climate change adaptation. To increase the impact of knowledge, we need to
move beyond a focus on knowledge products (on the infomediary and knowledge translation end of
the spectrumin the diagram below), to “knowledge activities” that revolve around the creation of
strong, lasting, and reflexive relationships between the science and policy worlds and beyondfor
collaborative co-construction and synthesis processes.
There is aneed for an engaged approach that sees knowledge users as partners in defining the
questions, interpreting the answers, and contributing their expertise and learningand provides a
more multifaceted appreciation of climate change in which relationships, power dynamics, trust, and
conflict management are as important as access to accurate information in moving towards climate
Many sources of knowledge (local, experience-based, indigenous, scientific) are relevant in the
adaptation decision-making and implementation context. The role of a climate knowledge broker is
as a facilitator of change, to ensure better decisions are taken (based on evidence, including multiple
perspectives) and that these are effectively implemented for a more climate-resilientfuture.
Figure 14: Spectrum of knowledge broker roles, adapted from Harvey et al. (2012) and Shaxson et al. (2012)(Scodanibbio,
Cundill, & McNamara, 2023)
The concept of Communities of Practice(CoPs) to engage, understand and move towards action, as
well as exchanging of lessons learned is one way to do this (Phipps & Morton, 2013).
Communities ofpractice (CoPs) are groups of people
who share a concern or a passion for something they
do and learn how to do it better as they interact
regularly. They oftenfocus on sharing best practices
and creating new knowledge. Interaction on an
ongoing basis is an important part of this.
There are different ways in which to implement and focus CoPs at a local level. Below are a few
CoP and Learning Networks:
Community learning networks are connections formed and maintained by local people with the aim
to share information and support each other’s learning. They are generally called learning groups or
social support groups. These networks are important in bringing together local people, development
practitioners, researchers and other role players to access and share resources and information that
can encourage communities to take up improved practices. Most importantly, community learning
networks are an effective way for local people to share experiences and assist each other in
understanding and implementing new practices (Steeples & Jones, 2002). Community learning
networks have similar features to CoPs butmay include wider platforms of learning and sharing such
as community engagement forums, information days and farmer to farmer learning through cross
visits. These networks are connected through shared practice and are capable of sharing knowledge
and identity. In the context of climate smart agriculture practices, these platforms provide farmers
the opportunity to share their experiences on the practices implemented to mitigate the effects of
climate change.
Role of facilitator/innovation broker(Turnhout, Metze, Wyborn, & Klenk, 2020), (Butler, et al., 2022)
Create bridges and foster a mutual understanding and over time, trust across a plurality of perspectives
and actors. In so doing, encourage the identification of shared interests and agendas, and promote a broader
understanding of these complex dynamics.
Nurture and create space for more collaborative and transdisciplinary decision-making processes, grounded
in political and social realities. Deliberately acknowledge and address power dynamics and consider the
empowerment of more marginalised actors as a core goal.
Develop, utilise and facilitate the use of interactive, experiential, solutions-oriented approaches.
Undertake a suite of related, complementary activities to encourage change, evidence-based decision
making and action.
Approach knowledge brokering as an adaptive, circular process that needs to be strongly driven by reflection
and learning.
Challenge the constant drive toward disciplinary refinement as the only goal of researchand promote a
systems perspective.
Create broaderawareness.
Showcase the importance of collaborative decision-making spaces as places that can lead to the cocreation
of more sustainable, inclusive and effective solutions than those developed top-down.
Essential elements of a CoP:
-Share experiences and know-how
-Discuss common issues and interests
-Collaborate in solving problems - Analyse
causes and contributing factors
-Experiment with new ideas and novel
-Capture/codify new know-how
- Evaluate actions and effects
- Learning
CoP and Farmer Field Schools:
Farmer Field Schools (FFS) are hands-on practical learning schools based on adult education
principles and experiential learning. FFS provide a platform for farmers to convene, make field
observations, relate those observations to the ecosystems and apply previous and new information
to make informed decisions. FFS is implemented through groups with a common interest to
investigate a certain topic. Topics can include IPM, organic agriculture, crop production and animal
husbandry amongst others. In FFS, whatis meaningful is decided by the farmers through exploration
and discovery, learning is a result of experience, learning is an evolutionary process and each person
has a unique experience of reality. Group managed trials are at the heart of FFS as the learning space
is in the field where the trial is conducted (Duveskog, 2013).
CoP and Participatory Innovation Development (PID):
Local innovation is the process by which people find new and improved ways of doing things and
take initiative to try out these new practices using their own resources. They may be doing this as a
way of exploring new possibilities and discovering alternatives to coping with changes in their
natural resource base, asset availability or other socio-economic contexts which may be a result of
changes in policy, natural disasters or other external factors. Through these processes of exploring,
experimenting andadopting new practices, people come up with local innovations that were
developed and are understood by them. Local innovation can take place at an individual level,
through groups or may include the community at large (PROLINNOVA, 2009). The emphasis is on
people being actively involved in discovering and exploring new ways of doing things. Participatory
Innovation Development which can also be referred to as farmer led joint research is a process
whereby local people work together with researchers and development practitioners to investigate
possible ways to improve their livelihoods. Research in this context entails going beyond on field
trials but also looking at the value chain, community relationships and ways to manage communal
resources. With the current global issue of climate change, PID is of significant importance in helping
farmers explore ways of adapting and improve the resilience of their farming systems through
improved climate smart practices such as those encompassed in conservation agriculture
(Wettasinha, Wongtschowski, & Waters-Bayer, 2009).
CoP and Community Savings Groups:
Community savings groups have been around for a long time and are prevalent in villages is in Africa,
Asia and Latin America where banking services are absent. Savings are also called rotating savings
and credit association (ROSCAs’), savings and credit groups (SCG’s), village savings and loans
associations (VSLAs) and “merry go round” and they all have similar objectives. Community managed
savings and credit groups are a convenient way to save money, gain access to small loans, obtain
emergency insurance and ultimately gain a means of livelihood in order to build economic
empowerment. Savings groups are self-managed and respond directly to unmet financial services of
the rural poor residing in remote areas (Seifert, 2016). In South Africa, savings groups have gained
popularity in over the years, due to their convenience, financial security and ease of access. Financial
exclusion from the mainstream economy has led to the development of community based solutions
for the black population through savings groups where women make up the bulk of the members
(Mathebula, 2014). Community savings groups provide a platform for farmers to learn skills on
financial management, create networks for future business opportunities and improve/expand their
existing enterprises. In this way, they can form an essential component of a community learning
Community of Practice in Stakeholder Engagement:
Communities of practice can play a significant role in linking practitioners, knowledge producers and
policy processes to analyse, address and explore solutions to problems. There are three ways in
which CoPs can link knowledge, policy and practice:
Firstly, they can encourage collaboration between researchers, and practitioners.
Researchers can capitalise on knowledge by practitioners to ensure that the problems they
are working on are relevant. CoPs create an environment for reflection, interpretation and
Secondly, CoPs can be useful in creating an environment where researchers can work
together to influence policy.
Lastly, CoPs can play a role in involving policy makers in knowledge generation, seeing that
the domains of research and policy are interlinked by complex social networks.
Other ways in which CoPs can be useful to development practitioners, policy makers and researchers
are when emphasis is placed on fostering learning, rather than trying to control CoP’s. Organisations
can focus on facilitation not technology, understand members’ needs and capacities, recognise the
two faces of communities as some communities can reject new ideas and practices and finally they
need to be sensitive to the different stages of CoP development (Hearn & White, 2009)
The real challenge of communities of practice is to develop the community and the practice
simultaneously. Community development refers to the development of skills of the people involved
in coordination, facilitation and knowledge management of the community. Development of the
practice entails that resources, information and knowledge are captured and enhanced over time. A
community of practice has flexible boundaries, meaning that membership involves whoever is
interested in the practice, members participate in different ways and to varying degrees(Wenger,
Communities of Practice; Thinker, Learning as a Social System, 1998).
In this research process the village-basedclimate resilient agriculture(CRA)learning groups are the
local CoPS and have been developed as a facilitated process of locally led adaptation(LLA).
The following principles of LLA (Coger, et al., 2022)have been incorporated into this process:
1.Devolving decision making to the lowest appropriate level
2.Addressing structural inequalities faced by vulnerable and marginalized groups including
women, youth, childrenandpeople living with disabilities.
3.Providing patient and predictable funding that can be accessed more easily: Supporting long-
term development of local governanceprocesses, capacity, and institutions.
4.Investing in local capabilities to leave an institutional legacy for adaptation initiatives over
the long term.
5.Building a robust understanding of climate risk and uncertainty.
6.Flexible programming and learning: Enabling adaptive management.
7.Ensuring transparency and accountability.
8.Collaborative action and investment.
Shamminet al. (2022) highlight community-based initiatives as promising approaches to lessen
the impacts of climate change while empowering people and bolstering community resilience. Local
innovation and agency are critical complements of these programs in fostering sustained community
resilience. They posit that community-based approaches with direct engagement of the vulnerable
population, and which are adequately supported by international agencies, national and local
government, academics, experts, and nonprofit organizations, have the potential to develop locally
relevant, culturally appropriate, and sustainable solutions. The authors adopt a “holistic approach to
designing community-based adaptation programs that builds on past approaches while maximizing
opportunities presented byrecent
developments in SDGs, resilience
principles, and disaster risk reduction
(DRR) initiatives” (p.12).
According to Shammin et al. (2022),
community-based CCA can include
activities in the following six broad
categories: livelihood diversification,
capacity building, ecosystem integrity,
resource management, microfinance
and insurance, and infrastructure.
The kind of Cb-CCA model described by
Shammin et al. (2022) is very similar to that envisaged in this project. It outlines features of the
context, the process followed, and the outcomes, shown in in the figure below. It is a flexible model
where programs may be initiated by the community, the government, or NGOs.
Solutions are developed in contextby integrating indigenous knowledge, scientific information and
global experiences. They focus on supporting livelihood opportunities, and they are governed at the
community level, making use of existing social capital and other complementary programmes.
Figure 15: Classification of community-based adaptation activities.
Source: Shammin et al. (2022).
Figure 16Community-based adaptation framework for climate adaptation and community resilience. Source: Shammin et
al. (2022).
The processwould include participatory solutions and iterative learning at the local level,
complemented by transformative action at national, regional, and international scales. Monitoring
and learning are a key part of the process. The scope would consider the impacts of climate change
alongside poverty, ecological integrity, gender equality, and other development priorities.
The outcomesinclude proactive planning for maximising Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)
attainment and disaster risk reduction, which allows CCA activities to tap into and find synergies
with these cross-cutting imperatives.
The CRA learning groups provide a voluntary platform for community members to explore the
impact of climate change on their resources, their livelihoods and farming systems, incorporating a
wide range of perspectives (scientific, local and traditional). The cyclical process of innovation is
shown below outlining also how the CRA learning groups become the central point for development
of further focus areas and social organization and interact with external stakeholders.
Figure 17: CRA learning groups and relationship building with local and external stakeholders.
Human-centered design (HCD), an empathy-driven approach to innovation that focuses on user
needsand offers promise for the rapid design of innovations and practices for implementation has
been linked to the adaptive planning process. This provides the cyclical backbone of the facilitation
process of observation, analysis, ideation, co-creation of testable solutions, and implementation for
the community-based climate change adaptation.
Local innovation in agriculture and natural resource management goes beyond technologies to
socio-organizational arrangements such as new ways of regulating the use of resources, new ways of
community organization, or new ways of stakeholder interaction.It is a process in which farmers and
other stakeholders engage in joint exploration and experimentation leading to new technologies or
socio-institutional arrangements for more sustainable livelihoods. This action-oriented approach
promotes engagement in aprocess that strengthens the capacities of agricultural services to support
community-led initiatives (Hartmann, 2009, Wettasinhaet al., 2009).
CCA impact
strategies and
and evalu.on
Wa rdcommi7ees
Local Municipality
clusters ofLGs
Associa/ons and
One of the leading authorities on the processof
participatory innovation developmentis theCentre for
learning on sustainable agriculture - ILEIAbased in the
Netherlands. ILEIA has described PID as “a process
between local communities and outside facilitators
which involves:
Gaining a joint understanding of the main
characteristics and changes of that particular
agro-ecological system.
Defining priority problems.
Experimenting locally with a variety of options
derived both from indigenous knowledge …
and from formal science, and
Enhancing farmer’s experimental capacities
and farmer-to-farmer communication”
(Reijntjes, Haverkort, & Waters-Bayer, 1992).
The methodological process of ensuring knowledge co-creation and innovation development in and
beyond these CRA learning groups entails three broad facilitated interventions. This entails
analysing the present situation, identifying intervention options and processes and implementing
these and building improved systems and social agency. This is also a cyclical process where learning
and implementation can be strengthened and deepened over time.
The overall outcomes of such as process are expected to be:
ØImproved participatory decision making to support implementation and innovation.
ØImproved governance - new community-based structures
ØImproved governance improved rules and logistics within community-based structures.
ØImproved governance- coherent collaboration with stakeholders and role players.
The process with steps outlined are shown in the diagram below.
To summarise the PID steps
1.Getting started (getting to know
each other);
2.Joint analysis of the situation the
problems and opportunities;
3.Looking for things to try to improve
the local situation;
4.Trying them out in community-led
participatory experimentation;
5.Jointly analysis and sharing the
results; and
6.Strengthening the process, often
through improving local
organization and linkages with
other actors in R&D, so that the
PTD process will continue.
MDF WRC-00746. Deliverable 4. August2023
Joint analysis
Joint decision making
Focus group discussions and
mapping: socio-ecological
Present situation in land use and
management, including needs and
issues (emerging from discussions)
Focus group discussions/ Thematic
workshop: CC, resource issues
(erosion, alien invasion, wetlands
and rivers, water access, grazing
Socio-ecological mapping: Impact
of human interventions and
climate on the environment
Adaptive planning workshop using
layered socio ecological maps
(expert and community combined)
Management plan for water and land
Village walks for detailed
resource discussions and
mapping (key informants)
Community workshops on CC impact
(social, economic, farming,
resources). Adaptive strategies
(communities and stakeholders
CC impact and adaptive strategies
Expert ecological mapping
(GIS)inclEIA, Veld assessment,
water resource survey etc.
(with key informants)
Prioritization of adaptive measures,
and practices -
Village based learning groups
Further social organisations
develop (including marketing,
microfinance, water livestock etc.)
Linked youth groups in resource
management and enterprise
Experimentation with new practices
and innovations in Climate resilient
agriculture (Individual smallholders
and support organisations)
CRA experimentation and
Iterative experimentation with
CRA practices to tackle more
complex issues,
Improved land use and coordination at
community level
Seasonal review and re-planning
Stakeholder engagement -
innovation platforms and
multistakeholder forums etc
Focus group discussions,
individual interviews
Local structures and decisions made
by them, including factors that
influence individual and community
decision making (emerging from
Thematic focus areas: water access
and management,livestock and
grazing management, natural
resources management,
Learning group discussions and
prioritization of urgent issues
Committees discuss, plan,and
implement (with support)
prioritized actions in thematic
Community level structures develop
for improved governance- with
broader and equitable community
involvement linked to local and
traditional authorities
Further engagement with
stakeholders for expanded
implementation options around
water and resources management
LGs, committees,and community
structures engage in resource
management projects with a range
of stakeholders
ØImproved participatory decision making to support implementation and innovation.
ØImproved governance - new community-based structures
ØImproved governance improved rules and logistics within community-based structures.
ØImproved governance- coherent collaboration with stakeholders and role players.
Figure 18:Methodological process for innovation and social agency development within CoPs
Collect and
options and
Build improved
systems and
social agency
MDF WRC-00746. Deliverable 4. August2023
b.Principles of operation: Learning Groups
Starting the process.
Community entry is a process of initiating, nurturing, and sustaining a desirable relationship with the
community, to secure and sustain the community’s interest. It helps to gain support from the
community leaders, establishing a good working relationshipin all aspects of a programme. The
mode of entry into a community determines the success or failure of the project. The success of a
facilitated change process is dependent on the relationship created during the entry process,
therefore it is paramount that community entry should be carried out in a way that will maximise
participation, reduce community conflict and enhance the sustainability of projects.(Neighbours
Initiative Alliance , 2018)
The general steps for community entry are by now well known. In the communal tenure areas,
permission for entry needs to be obtained from either or both the traditional authorities and the
local ward council authorities and then broad-based community meetings and conversations
introducing the particular process are required prior to starting an initiative.
It is important in the early stages to inform the local authorities, but not necessarily to expect them
to manage the community engagement process. More often than not these authoritiesare partisan
and prejudiced in favour of processes that can benefit them directly. Thus, conversations need to be
held widely in the community.This can be done through interviews with individuals (vocal persons
and community leaders), focus groups discussions (groups in community including farmers’
organisations, development committees, church groups, feeding schemes and the like), mapping
(initial transect walks followed later by more detailed mapping), or house to house calls.
Introductory meetings are held to outline the project/process, the expectations and potential
outcomes and benefits and overall timing of the interventions. Here it is important to clearly state
what specific benefit is foreseen for the communityand what is expected of them in return,but to
be sure not to make unrealistic promises or share overall budgets at this stage- as it causes very
unrealistic expectations and also potential conflict later in the day.
Community consultations are also very important. For example, instead of imposing strategies on
communities, suggestions of the best strategies come from the community. This is because the
community understands its issues and most times have the best strategies to tackle the issues. The
communities will also share what their priorities and needs are.
Once the entry process has been established a broad-basedinvitation to as many community
members as possible, focusing on those who are active in farming and land use, is made to kick start
the process. Involvement of all community groups and stakeholders that benefit from the water
system or project will build relationships which will bridge gaps between barriers that become ‘sticky
subjects’ for manyprojects and process.
Participant selection
Once the processes have been introduced, the initial situational analysis workshops are conducted.
These are still open to the whole community, with an emphasis on the thematic process of the
intervention, in this case climate change and adaptation. It is best to start with a community level
analysis of climate change issues, adaptive strategies and options and adaptive practices that can be
prioritized and to start on learning and interventions, before embarking on detailed analysis and eco
system servicesmapping, as the latter initially entails many smaller processes (focus groups village
walks, mapping etc) that can be onerous for community members if the context within which they
are doing this is not well defined. Participants need to appreciate the ’why’ of these activities,
beyond just gathering information for outsiders.
This also allows for setting up of a CRA learning group, where participants learn and implement
together in a way that assists in building coherence and cooperation, which makes subsequent
participatory mapping and analysis a whole lot easier and more productive. It also allows for a
natural or organic participant selection process, based on interest and need and negates the
necessity for outsider stipulation of criteria for participation to a large extent.
Having said this, discussing criteria for participation at a community level with input form the
facilitation team is also a requirement. It helps to provide focus, but also to keep the group open to
new membership in the longer term and to allow for conscious involvement of more vulnerable
community members and groups.
There is a trend in these kind of groups for people who have been active since the initiation of the
group to try and exclude people who want to join later, mostly on the basis of effort and time. This
also related to certain prejudices in the community against particularly vulnerable community
members as they are often seen as taking resources from the group rather than contributing to the
joint efforts. These issues need to be facilitated in the group to ensure a willingness to bring on
board new people and mentor them through the processes and to also allow for vulnerable
individuals to engage.
Criteria for selectingand working withparticipantsin CRA learning groups havebeen suggested by
thesenior MDFfield work team as:
A need to focus on household level- rather than group-basedprojects such as
community gardens or cooperatives.
Community members self- select to be part of a CoP using a list of criteria that they have
been involved in setting up.
Participants should already be actively involved in Agriculture.
Participants should be selected in geographical clusters so that they are reasonably close
to each other to facilitate their interaction.
Choices for participants should be gender inclusive.
The gardens/fields should be fenced: With regard to this criterium, they felt it is a good
idea for the experimentation side of things but can cause issues of giving preference to
better resourced individuals in the community. Sometimes these individuals are also not
that keen to usetheir fenced land for the implementation.
It would be an idea to set up a CoP that is open to all smallholders/ producers buthave
central group or person such as a local facilitator, who liaises and organises, to divert
power from the research team. CoPs need to become strong enough to help members
address issues. These CoPs are also engaged in self-monitoring andcollecting and
analysing data,according to the principles of Participatory Action Research.
There should be a selected numberof participantsfor inputs/data collection per site. It
does not have to be everyone involved as long as the criteria for receiving inputs and
doing data collection are clearly set out and are acceptable to the broader CoP.
It is a good idea to map all the stakeholders involved with the CoP and to recognise the
contribution of other organisations in the community so that different organisations
do not work at cross purposes in one area.
It would also be an idea to create a participatory landscape map (with photos) such as
a transect walk, that represents the system, the issues, the adaptation and the successes
of the CoP (pers comm M Dlamini, T Mathebula 2022).
CRA learning group chronology of activities.
The learning group process is initiated as a series of workshops and individual discussions to elucidate
the local context, needs and issues in the community and motivation for action (Kruger, 2021).
In these community level workshops/dialogues facilitation tools have been designed that can assist in
the analysis. A number of different tools have been designed for the following explorations/workshop
activities: Differentiating between weather and climate change, unpacking changes in the
environment and livelihoods, assessing those most affected by climate change, exploring impacts of
climate change and exploring current practices and adaptations already being implemented to
respond to these changes.
Below is a chronology of steps or processes to be undertaken at community level, assuming there is
already some levelof relationship and interest. These steps work towards building a CoP /learning
ØUnderstanding climate change and impact (academic understanding, community
understanding, including the climate change impact map and seasonality diagrams)
ØClimate change and agriculture (farmers’ roles and responsibilities, current
ØChanges, reasons and responses (what are we doing already, what do we think we can do that
will help, willingness to change)
ØDiscussions around change (most important problems,what do we foresee in thefuture based
on what we are doing, effectiveness of our adaptation responses)
ØWho do we want to work with (outside organisations, local institutions, learning groups, other
community organisations? Are there new relationships or new ways of working together that
can help)
ØIs anyone doing new and interesting things (local innovations to consider what has been
tried and how well has it worked?)
ØPrioritisation of adaptive measures:
oReality map (present agricultural practices and impact).
oWalk about in village.
oDesktop review for appropriate practices or to research practices suggested by
oFocus group discussions.
oPrioritising (defining criteria).
oPractices that mostly match criteria (short visual introductions for likely doable
practices in the area, introduce about 5 practices facilitator’s judgement call) Link
to local practices.
oRanking exercise linking criteria to practices.
oLearning group members choose practices they would like to implement or
experiment with. This could mean:
§Subgroups dealing with different topics (e.g.,gardens, fields livestock)
§Whole learninggroup doing practices in succession (e.g.,start with gardens
§Defining a chronology of activities e.g.,start with trench beds and mulching,
then implement diversion ditches and stone bunds etc.
§Individuals choose an initial set of 5 practices for example and then upon
review decide how to build on that in a following season.
ØImplementation/trying out new ideas: training and mentoring, demonstrations, cross visits,
specialist supportand
ØMonitoring and review: Participatory development of indicators, evidence based qualitative
and quantitative indicators, citizen science, seasonal review and re-planning sessions.
Figure 19: A diagram outlining different sets of activities undertaken in a CRA learning group
This approach takes cognisance of the complexity of introduction of CRA into a farming system,
including working with smallholder farmers as partners in the knowledge co-creation process
through on-farm research and experiential learning, as well as embedding the process into the
existing socio-political environments and economic value chains
In the smallholder context introduction of CRA into the farming system requires the design,
introduction and facilitation of a reasonably complex IS (innovation system) approach by the
implementers, and of practice, labour and resources (including natural and financial resources) by the
farmers that havesystem wide implications.A strongly participatory facilitation process is required to
ensure synergies across the activities and the knowledge co-creation crucial to the success of the
Interested individuals in a local area or village come together to form a learning group. A number of
farmers in that group then volunteer to undertake on-farm experimentation, which creates an
environment where the whole group learns throughout the season by observations and reflections of
the trials’ implementation and results. They compare various CRA treatments with their standard
practices, which are planted as control plots. This provides an opportunity to explore all aspects of the
Awareness raising and
Access to Informa2on
Market Based
and Training
visits, conferences,
popular ar5cles
Saving and Loan
Associa5ons, farmer
centres, group based
access to equipment
and infrastructure
intercropping, crop
rota5on, cover crops,
Learning groups;
workshops, field
Stakeholder interac5on,
and ver5cal scaling
cropping system, its socio-economic context and feasibility, as well as the grain and legume value
chain in the area. They work together to share labour and equipment, set up Village Savings and Loan
Associations (VSLAs), do bulk buying, set up farmer centres and arrange for localprocessing and
marketing options. They bring new farmers interested in CRA on board throughout the process.
This process allows also for longer term monitoring and research into biophysical and socio-economic
changes in the areas of operation.
Horizontal expansion (scaling out) from village nodes to surrounding farmers and villages in the area,
working with organised farmer groups (or IPs)in collaboration with stakeholders in the region has
shown great promise for expansion of interest in and longer-termsustainability of the implementation
of CRA practices among smallholders. It means that a number of villages in close proximity become
involved and this provides an opportunity for organising farmers around issues in the value chain such
as bulk buying, transport, storage and marketing. It creates an option to set up farmer service centres
at central nodes that can provide easy access to inputs and services. The model also provides for
learning over a period, which has proven essential to allow each participant farmer to experiment with
and master/adapt the CRA principles for at least 4 years. The more experienced farmers become
mentors to the new entrants,and some undertake the role of local facilitation and support to their
villages and groups. It also provides a platform where other farmers and interested parties in the area
can engage and become involved. (Smith, Kruger, Knot, & Blignaut, 2017)
Facilitation considerations
The results of a focus group discussion undertaken with 8 of Mahlathini development Foundation’s
field staff on July 3!"2023 are presented in summary below. The discussion centered around the
following questions:
1.Field based understanding of the terms participation and gender mainstreaming
focusing on learning, skills and knowledge development and changes in value
systems of facilitators.
-Facilitators need to be pro-active and creative and able to think on their feet.They need to
understand themselves before being able to understand others.
-Working with people is often chaotic and facilitators need to learn patience in staying with
people through their arguments and immediate concernsandneed to learngood listening
skills to distill pertinent information and needs.
-In communities, things take time to change. It also takes time for facilitators to grow into
their roles.
-Facilitators need to learn ways of managing conflict.
-They need to understand how people at community level are using their power and the
impact this has on other people in the community.
-They need to stive for fairness, but not immediately discount opinions and approaches that
appear conservative, authoritarian or ineffective. This can take a toll on a facilitator’s energy
and motivation.
-The infield cycle of sharing information and skills and helping younger facilitators is
important and the best way to learn, as formal training in facilitation skills is hard to achieve
-Facilitators need to be sensitive to community members as they go through many hardships.
This is often a very emotional process and can be draining and lead to burn-out.
-As a young woman in a facilitation role, one has to learn to stand up for yourself and stick to
your convictions and not be intimidated by dominant men in the community.
-Respect is a two-way street.
-Facilitators need to be emotionally strong, and this work helps to make on stronger.
-Time management.
-Social and listening skills.
-How to navigate chaotic situations.
-Communication, public speaking and facilitation.
-Being sensitive and respectful to each other as staff.
-Striking a balance between peoples’ development and holding their hands.
-Technical skills related to water resource management. Examples are assessing stream flow,
strength of springs, water quality and condition of natural resources and also things like how
tanks, couplings, valves and piping work as well as map reading, taking GPS points and the
-Learn to always find new ways of doing things. Once you start to relax into what you already
know, you become less effective.
-After some time the philosophical underpinning of water and resource conservation become
part of how one sees the world and you become a lot more sensitive n noticing issues such
as bad land use management practices, water flows that can cause erosion, veld condition
and the like.
-Being grounded and humble.
-Being prepared to acknowledge and correct mistakes.
-Understand your own weaknesses and how they impact on others.
Somechallenges that have been identified in using participatory approaches include the following
(Stringer et al, 2009):
They do not take place in a power vacuum: when previously marginalised groups are
empowered, conflict may arise with existing power structures which has not been
anticipated or planned for and may not be managed successfully.
Insistence on consensus can discourage minority perspectives from being expressed,
creating - ‘dysfunctional consensuses.
The perception of co-ownership in the project may raise participants’ expectations; if the
project team does not fulfil this suspicion, cynicism and distrust may take root.
Participants may lack the technical knowledge to participate at some levels, if required to
make decisions or engage in debates they could feel forced into areas where they aren’t
These challenges should be taken into consideration in the planning and implementation of this
project to optimise the possibility for meaningful participation.
Innovation platforms aim to counter weaknesses in innovation systems by building interaction
amongst different kinds of actors and their organisations, promoting change in practices,
institutions,and policies and to effectively deploy available human and financial resources to solve
problems and capitalise on opportunities (Davies, et al., 2018). Regardless of whether innovation
platforms are established at local or higher levels, they can explore technological, organisational,
and institutional solutions, making them ideal for addressing problems in an integratedmanner
(Schut, et al., 2019). In a way, the formation and operation of innovations platforms is an
organisational or institutional innovation in itself. It entails changes in ways of collaborating,
interacting and in relationships between actors and organisations to overcome obstacles and
improve the impact of their collective action.
In general terms, innovation platforms are useful when (1) persons or organisations that represent
different socio-economic backgrounds, interests and perspectives have a stake in a particular
problem or solution; (2) multiple persons or organisations wantor need to experiment jointly on
aspects that they cannot solve individually or that benefit from synergies; (3) new solutions require a
combination of new technologies (technological innovation), effective collaboration (organisational
innovation) and/ornew rule, funding and incentive structures (institutional or policy innovation) and
(4) actors and organisations are willing to share knowledge, resources, benefits and risks, as well as
sufficient common interest and trust to engage in collective innovation to address a common
challenge(Buerkler, 2013). These conditions are also frequently mentioned in relation to other types
of multi-stakeholder approaches such as public-private partnerships.
The functions of Innovation platforms have been characterised as shown (Hounkonnou, et al., 2018)
in the table below.
a.Open days/ stakeholder engagement and awareness raising
The Conservation Agriculture(CA) farmer levelopen days, and CA forum under the auspices of Asset
Research and the Maize Trust’s smallholder farmer innovation programme (SFIP) as well as the
KZNDARD CA forum meetings and events are examples of combined farmer, organizational and
institutional level events meant to share information on innovation development for awareness
raising and implementation. These are a combination of bottom-up (farmer level open days) and
top-down(KZNDARD research station open days) events which also include a wide range of role-
players including the private sector and academic institutions.
b.Water committees
Focus will be provided here in Deliverable 6(2024)
c.CRA learning groups-Water and resource conservation focus.
The Innovation platform here consists of a range of role players working together with the
community to develop and implement water and resource conservation actions:
Academic partners; UKZN- CWRR (Centre for Water Resources Research) and SAEON (South
African Environmental Observation Network)
NGO partners; INR (Institute of Natural Resources) and MDf (Mahlathini Development
Foundation) and
Institutional partners; TA’s (traditional Authority), LM Ward Councilors (Local Municipality)
and LED units (Local economic Development).
The table below summarizes work done with the Stulwane and Ezibomvini learning gorups in
developing a participatory mapping of the resoruces and resource management plans to be
undertaken by the communties and their partners.
Table 5: Local resrouce management plans for Ezibomvini and Sutlwane communities Bergville, KZN. March 2023 (MDF-
Local resource management areas for improved eco system services- Community defined
Key Area
Management required
Grazing areas
-Livestock feed
and water,
medicinal plants,
Restoration and management.
-Clear Lantana and use poison after cutting to stop
-Rotational grazing
-Control wildfires and make firebreaks. Storage drums
for emergencies with fire one can use
-Explore financial benefit grant/incentive
-Monitor and manage nutrition of veld (erosion
control, overgrazing control, removal of poisonous
weeds, re-seed of palatable species)
-Awareness raising in the community and for livestock
-Eco-champs to do clearing
-Dip tank committees and livestock
-Better community collaboration with dip
tank committee as well as TA and
-Community workdays
-Reeds (incema)
-Food and water
for cattle, also in
-Medicinal plants
-Fire retardant
Small management changes to manage condition of
-Fencing to ensure good condition and make drinking
troughs for livestock
-Awareness raising on wetlands functions and
-Replanting important species into wetlands; then
someone needs to police this and ensure people
don’t just harvest everything
-TA involvement and ‘landowners’ in
wetland areas to outline rules and
-Community as a whole to follow these
-Local water and land use committees to
undertake specific actions related to water
access and management
-Runoff and
flood water
-Improved water
-Fertile soils with
-Protection and restoration of important medicinal
species for sale: Stop people with big bags who come
in and take for selling
-Avoid pigs coming in as they mess things up
-Avoid fires and burning
-Livestock inclusion managed e.g. allow them in at
certain times only. Or maybe make camps and move
them. Or allow them to graze on the edges. Or cut
and carry feed.
-Issues around rights around use of water
and important medicinal plants need
further interventions
-Suggestion: talk to livestock association
then bring their comments and
suggestions to the water committee to
continue the conversation and include all
Erosion control
-To ensure
availability and
quality of water
and soil
-Awareness raising and outline of responsible actions
to enforce
-Avoid expanding of minor erosion into dongas.
-Prevent siltation and pollution.
-Allow re-vegetation, naturally or through re-seeding
-Prevent run-off
-Check dams, brush packs, stone packs,
-Prevent livestock from causing further damage
-Control wildfire- make fire breaks
Storage drums for emergencies with fire one can use
-TA and livestock committees to
undertake some actions
-Eco champs to assists
-Some actions and contributions from
community as a whole (e.g. loan of
tractors, small financial contributions
-External support
-Continued support from UKZN and MDF
in mapping, planning, proposal
development, community structures and
Alien trees
poplar, and
plantations, and
Small changes
-Promote better management by ‘owners’
-Cut down and poison lantana and encroaching
-Ensure management of wattle patches
-Remove trees from water sources and streams in all
-TA, Nkosi and ‘owners” encouraged to
undertake management activities as trees
are useful in the community and cannot
just be cleared.
Springs and
-Water provision
for drinking,
construction and
-Water quality
and quantity -
Issues are floods,
children use as
toilet, litter
Protection, restoration, and management must
protect the water sources to ensure supply.
- Should protect water so that livestock don’t disturb
the sources
-Protect the springs; with fencing and the ditches
above to avoid water from flowing in overland and
contaminating these springs.
-Check water quality.
-Remove eutrophication.
-Check springs regularly.
-Drinking spots for livestock
-Community awareness and education and for
-Maintain the water infrastructure that is there.
-Avoid doing laundry in the water sources and
keeping them clean, no pampers, no urination, no use
as toilet, no dumping of dead animals.
-Protect springs with pipes to be able to irrigate the
gardens (reticulation to taps)
-Also use grey water for irrigation.
- water harvesting and use.
-Make sure children don’t play around the water
sources… or pollute them
-Big issue
-TA, local municipality, water committees
and localised groups of people using
specific water sources to work together on
access and management plans and
-Community must come together and
make rules and regulations re hygiene and
-Those that are involved should talk to
others and ensure they also learn - involve
the TA councillors and Nkosi….
-Asking Mahlathini to help with fencing
and funding for water access
-Day to day activities of cleaning springs,
digging furrows to reduce contamination
to be done by locals
-Dig refuse pits for disposal of waste in
each locality
-Awareness raising and communications
-Involve schools
-Eco champs to assist with spring
protection and management and schools’
Below are a few indicative
pictures of implementation by
community members.
Figure 20: Right top; Community
members in Stulwane (Bergville) working
together to clear wattle in local water
courses and Right bottom: Soil
conservation structures constructed in
Stulwane by community members on a
voluntary basis.
Multistakeholder platforms are an example of CoPs and innovation platforms that specifically
undertake to involve multiple stakeholders both horizontally and vertically.
The intention here is to distill the best practices options in setting up and managing multistakeholder
platforms looking at guiding principles, roles and responsibilities, long term sustainability and MEL
(monitoring, evaluation and learning) options.
Two cases are being explored:
ØThe Northen Drakensberg collaborative: The establishment of a multistakeholder platform
in the Northen Drakensberg Wate Source Area around water and resource management.
The focus here is on the principles, processes and best practise options for initiating a
multistakeholder partnership in a highly contested space and
ØThe Umzimvubu catchment Partnership: This is a long standing, successful multistakeholder
platformand provides a case for analysing principles and practise in long term sustainability
and effectiveness of such platforms, as well as MEL aspects.
For both these platforms, engagement is ongoing, and the cases are being developed over time, to
encompass a range of elements required in complex processes. This report provides a continuation
of aspects explored in Deliverables 2 and 3 of this research brief.
Other learning about the functioning of multi-stakeholder platforms can be gleaned from such
partnerships (past and present). such as the RESILIM-Olifants Program,and the Tsitsa Project(Tsitsa,
Kotschy, Cockburn, Conde-Aller, & Rosenberg, 2021)Key learnings about multi-stakeholder
platforms contained in Pollard et al.(Pollard, Retief, & Clifford-Holmes, 2020)and (Kotshcy &
Pollard, 2022)include:
Relationship-building is important (and takes time).
Crises often act as catalysts for collective action. If carefully considered, and supported by
evidence, they can be a useful entry point and can help to prevent a perceived lack of action
and implementation, from which many participatory forums suffer.
Systems thinking is an important framework for the collaborative management and
governance of complex socio-ecological systems.
A style of practice that is adaptable and flexible is able to deal with uncertainty and builds
the capacity to adapt to change.
Multi-stakeholder forums should be seen as embarking on a collaborative learning journey,
where what needs to be learned is not necessarily apparent at the start. Attention to how
learning happens and how to support learning that enables growth and progress is
foundational. They need to collectively figure it out what to do through practicing,
experimenting, learning and adapting. A practice is produced over time by those who
engage in it, as is a community of practice.
Participatory modelling (conversation-based) approaches and causal loop diagrams can be
useful for deriving a systemic, collaborative picture of risks and underlying drivers and
Learning exchanges can be very successful as a way to foster interest, exposure and action.
For institutionalisation of systemic, social learning to occur (i.e. for practices, processes and
tools to be embedded), stakeholders need to be involved from the start. This does not only
mean attendance at workshops and training events, but rather a facilitated expansive
learning process (see Figure 6).
Figure 21Expansive learning cycle. Source: Pollard et al. (2020
Learnings specific to monitoring, evaluation reflection and learning (MERL) for multi-stakeholder
platforms(Tsitsa, Kotschy, Cockburn, Conde-Aller, & Rosenberg, 2021), (AWARD, 2019)include:
When designing and also when monitoring and evaluating, both processes and outcomes
should be considered.
Participatory, learning-focused MERL can be a powerful tool for building collaboration, a
common vision and a strong basis for ongoing strategic adaptive management. Different
possible levels of inclusion of stakeholders within MERL processes are shown in Figure 7.
An approach that includes and capacitates local residents brings multiple benefits including
motivation, agency, capacity to participate in collective action, and changes in power
Participation and inclusivity must be explicitly planned for and appropriate capacity
developed. Monitoring practices and tools must be developed to support this.
Reflection practices do not emerge spontaneously; opportunities for reflection and sense-
making need to be specifically designed and prioritised. They need to be cultivated with
patience and consistency.
A coordinating entity with secured long-term funding and strong partnerships should be
prioritised, to act as a hub to manage knowledge, coordinate MERL activities, and to further
strategic investment in the region.
Resources must be allocated to support MERL personnel as well as MERL processes that
involve other stakeholders.
The MERL needs and purposes tend to change over time and the system needs to adapt.
Appropriate resourcing therefore means not only an adequate budget, but a flexible budget.
In addition to a responsive design, a successful MERL system requires a responsive
disposition from implementers, funders and stakeholders alike.
a.The Northern Drakensberg Collaborative
The process towards establishing a strategic water source partnership (SWSP) in the Northern
Drakensberg was initiated in May 2021, under the auspices of theSANBI Living Catchment Project
(LCP), which aimed at convening stakeholders towards ensuring water security in the Upper
uThukela. Since then, there have been a number of meetings aiming at bringing a diversity of
stakeholders together, enabling knowledge sharing, developing a shared vision and encouraging
collaboration towards establishing a catchmentpartnership.
The convening team, under the auspices of the WWF is led by the Institute of Natural Resources
(INR), in collaboration with the Centre for Water Resources Research (CWRR) at University of
KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Mahlathini Development Foundation (MDF). WildTrust and the
Southern African EnvironmentalObservation Network (SAEON) and the Expanded Freshwater and
Terrestrial Environmental Observation Network (EFTEON) have been core partners in coordinating
field activities and stakeholder engagements.
Thus far, a total of 112 stakeholders have participated, representing nearly 60 organizations, groups
and communities from policy and government, operators, financial actors, interest and influential
groups and users.
A value proposition and vision has been outlinedElements of the vision statements include:
-Collaboration among stakeholders.
-Empowered communities through ownership and stewardship.
-Protection and conservation of the environment and water sources.
-Functioning water infrastructure.
-Environmental education and awareness.
-Socio-economic growth.
-Fair access to clean water
The joint vision for the catchment is agreed as follows:
“Integration of different entities to conserve and utilize the landscape and its water, cultural and
other natural resources fairly as well as to empower its people, build resilience and achieve
sustainable socio-economic growth.”
In viewing the vision as a long-term objective for the Upper uThukela Catchment, participants of the
latest workshop identified top actions and activities needed to achieve the vision. The actions and
activities were categorized according to the various parts of the vision statement (Table 1).
Table 6: Examples of actions and activities identified by participants towards achieving the catchment vision.
Collaboration and
integration of
- Spatial and non-spatial stakeholder mapping including where activities and projects take place
- Situational analysis, including socio-economic status, education and needs for empowerment of
- Promote and encourage the political will from the authority and buy-in from the beneficiaries
of projects
- Ensure involvement of more stakeholders, and the most relevant entities (Communities,
traditional leaders, NGOs)
- Identify roles and responsibilities and stakeholders' level of influence
- Data and information sharing (database, webpage, stakeholder engagements)
Conservation and
use of water,
natural and
cultural resources
- Projects and skills development related to spring protection and development, invasive alien
plants and bush encroachment, restoration activities, grazing management, fire management,
nature conservation, environmental education
- Identify and understand the significance of cultural resources
(awareness and
capacity building)
- Facilitate training and capacity building
- Environmental education in schools
- Community based conservation efforts
Resilience to
climate change
- Climate change education
- Empowerment around the green business value chain (e.g. in relation to charcoal and alien
clearing practices)
- Community-based climate change adaptation activities
Sustainable socio-
economic growth,
local livelihoods
- Increase livelihood options: animals, crops and poultry
- job creation through working for water programs etc
- Empower the beneficiaries (without dependency on external factors)
- Long term project funding
- Ecological infrastructure investments
- Communities’ contributing to tourism to benefit from the resources in the catchment
The biggest lessons and learnings for participants were the importance of inclusivity and diversity for
fruitful collaboration, knowledge about the variety of projects and activities in the catchment and
the important connections between water, land and people. Some key stakeholders are still not
present during the meetings, despite their crucial role and authority around water distribution and
allocation. uThukela District Municipality, uThukela Water, the Catchment Management Agency,
Department of Water and Sanitation, Department of Agriculture, land reform and rural
development, local political leaders, traditional authorities, the forestry industry and the private
sector. The convening team will continue making efforts to engage with these stakeholders to
ensure their participation in upcoming meetings.The figure below outlines the present framework
developed for the partnership.
Figure 21: The Northern Drakensberg Collaborative vision, principles and Actions: May 2023
Based on feedback from participants at various engagements, we can summarise the key benefits
andservices of the partnership, as:
• Networking providing a vehicle for different stakeholders to engage with each other.
• Monitoring allowing for monitoring of activities of the partners, service provides as well
as the
partnership itself.
• Reflection allowing partners to reflect on their own and others’ interventions within the
• Co-learning through exchange visits, presentations and sharing of materials, partners can
• Fundraising providing opportunities for partners to fundraise collectively rather than
competingfor available resources.
• Sharing of information and experiences.
Co-implementation of interventions aimedachieving the goals and vision for the
• Lobbying for improved services, or for preventing activities that can impact negatively on
thecatchment and its residents.
• Supporting research the partnership will provide access to the landscape for researchers
whilealso ensuring that local residents are treated with respect and receive feedback on
In order for the partnership to achieve its purpose and provide the range of anticipated services and
benefits, partners also have to do the following:
• Commit be willing to commit their time, energy and knowledge to the partnership.
• Collaborate be willing to collaborate with others in a respectful, transparent manner.
• Participate be willing to participate in activities such as exchange visits and meetings.
• Share be willing to share knowledge and experiences openly and honestly.
• Resource be willing to contribute human and other resources for a functional
Next steps include formalizing the structure of this partnership/ forum. It will be necessary to
confirm that nature of the partnership and the type of agreement that partnersare able to commit
to, such as a memorandum of understanding (MoU). These aspects may changeand develop over
time as the partnership and its membership grows. The funding model also needs tobe considered,
whether the partners see it as part of their current activities in the catchment orwhether it needs
additional resources to be fully functional.
b.The Umzimvubu Catchment Partnership
Written by Nicky McLeod and Sissie Matela (ERS): Based on a reflection of processes and experiences by the
authors as catchment convenors in the upper Umzimvubu landscape. This has included serving as the
secretariat of the Umzimvubu Catchment Partnership (UCP) for 10 years since co-founding it in 2013, as well as
the co-coordinator of the SANBI Living Catchments Project for the Umzimvubu Catchment from 2018 to 2023
Previously we considered an external evaluation of this partnership, as a means to outline successes,
failures and best practice options for sustainable multistakeholder platforms. In this report we will
focus on governance guidelines for the development of Communities of Practise (CoPs) and
multistakeholder platforms, to contribute towards Aim 1 of this research brief: Create and
strengthen integrated institutional frameworks and mechanisms for scaling up proven multi-benefit
approaches that promote collective action and coherent policies.
What exactly is a community of practisein this context?
The common consensus is thata Community of Practise(CoP) are groups of people who share a
concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they regularly interact.
CoPs are not a new concept. People have been coming together to solve mutual problems for
centuries: think medievalguilds and artisans’ groups.
They appear to belargely informal, unstructured groups, which typically have a core of participants
whose passion for the topic energizes the interested community and who provide intellectual and
social leadership(Wenger & Snyder, 2000). Motivations for convening a community of practice are
many, but at the most fundamental level, a group of people come together driven by a shared
learning need or common challenge. CoPs may be seen by some as a social soft skills fad or short
trend, but researchers have found them to have had profoundly positive effects on organisational
performance in banks, car manufacturers and state agencies (Wenger & Snyder, 2000). Their
primary output, knowledge, is intangible and difficult to measure.
Some experiences from the Umzimvubu Catchment Partnership (UCP) as a CoP
The Umzimvubupartnership emerged from humble beginnings in 2013 to become ‘’one of the most
reliable success stories of collaborative catchment management in the country’’ (Emily Botts, SANBI,
2023, pers. comm). It is lauded internationally as a model for how partnerscan work together for
the overall health of a river catchment, its biodiversity and its people (Samir Randera-Rees, WWF,
2023, pers. comm). The UCP has also been included in global studies on what ‘green jobs’ really
mean and what Nature-based solutions can look like. In 2016, the partnership received the award of
“hotspot heroes” at an event in Hawaii, and its convenors (the authors) received the WWF Living
Planet Award in 2019 for their contribution to helping people and environment living in harmony.
The UCP exists as a platform, not a project. It is unregistered and informal apart from a
Memorandum of Agreement, which is not legally binding. It is in essence a voluntary collective of
stakeholders around a commonly agreed vision.
Table 7: Outline of the UCP vision, purpose and operational geography
‘Purpose / mission’
UCPP exists to be a co-created platform for
proactive networking, sharing, learningand
mobilising resources and knowledge through
Tagline:Together we do more for people and
environment in the Umzimvubu catchment”.
The UCPP vision is for healthy
resilientecosystem function in
the uMzimvubu Catchment
providing services and benefiting
local and downstream people.
The land area (belonging to and
used by people) from which
rainfall drains into the
uMzimvubu River, from source to
sea, along its undammed length.
The UCP is seen by many as a community of practise (CoP), as well as a water source partnership
(WSP), or a catchment management forum (CMF). UCP members like to see the partnership as all of
these, but none of them in a restrictive sense. It is a multi-stakeholder platform in the true sense,
representing a wide range and hierarchy of stakeholders. Snorek et al(Snorek, et al., 2022)
recognised that the Umzimvubu partnership has cultivated meaningful relationships with trust and
shared values based on a communal ethic for environmental and community stewardship.
Although the driving local NGOs are independently supported by donors and the private sector, they
work in close collaboration with the Matatiele local and Alfred Nzo district Municipalities, as well as
Traditional authorities and regional Environmental Affairs and Water and Sanitation authority
representatives, to ensure alignment with IDPs and broader national legislation, policy and strategy.
These NGOs implement individually with support from their own donors and grants, as well as in
joint ventures and partnerships to pool resources and for implementing state programmes such as
EPWP and CWP which can be administratively burdensome if done alone. Government recognises
and endorses these programmes through flagging them as examples of good practice whichthey
visit frequently with potential donors.
The partners meet quarterly to share progress and opportunities, tackle challenges, and collaborate
towards their common vision through partnering on implementation of impact-focussed projects
such as water supply, alien plant management, rangeland restoration, waste management and
involvement of youth in value chains. UCP also facilitates increasing research in the upper
catchment, through active engagement with local and international academic and research
institutions, highlighting the real research needs in the area which can benefit lives and help secure
the landscape and biodiversity more effectively.
In conjunction with its quarterly gatherings, the UCP hosts field learning exchanges at active project
sites such as spring protection and livestock auctions, as well as hands-on environmental events
linked to Wetland and Youth day and Water week, with a growing focus on youth involvement and
building meaningful green value chains to drive the sustainability agenda and move towards the
Although the value and products or CoPs are difficult to determine and express, the core local
implementing NGOs have brought more than R75 million into the Matatiele area in the last 3 years,
employing more than 35 permanent staff, and up to 900 village-based contract beneficiaries at
various times. The value of the landscapes and the resources they support are manifested in the
livestock supported and the monetary value accruing from sales of the livestock, up to R40 million
since 2013, and the increasingnumber of livestock farmers voluntarily signing conservation
agreements. The cumulative impact in the catchment of ‘doing better together’ is evident when this
bigger picture begins to emerge.
What has been noted by the authors and convenors, in discussions over the years, is how the
passion fuelling the effort from the ground up differs between structured, sometimes stifling, top-
down approach from state systems and institutions to community initiated and led institutions born
of a desire to solve specific issues close to and affecting their lives. While the innovation and
resourcing from national level downwards through the ranks of state hierarchy appear to diminish
energy and effectiveness through highly structured processes for controlling state assets, the
opposite appears to happen when organically derived groups champion a process. This has been
noted in formal external evaluation of the UCP andis discussed later in this section.
Several smaller, theme-based CoPs have emerged from the collaborative nature of the UCP as a
platform for learning and sharing. These have had a shorter lifespan and include a focus on issues
such as alien plant control, water security, stewardship, youth mentoring, tourism, waste
management and rangeland restoration. The short case studies below outline some of the essence
of each CoP, which help to draw guidelines for the development and sustaining of effective multi-
stakeholder platforms.
The Maloti Thaba Tsa Metsi protected area forum:
This ‘’collective’ grew out the common desire to steward the Umzimvubu watershed more
effectively, and to support better governance by the land rights holders rather than by an external
state conservation entity. The institutional arrangements of the Maloti Thaba Tsa Metsi, as a
voluntary organisation, were determined by the agreement and rules established by the members of
the organisation under the guidance of the Umzimvubu Catchment Partnership. These arrangements
include things like the decision-making process, membership requirements, the roles and
responsibilities of members, and the mechanisms for dispute resolution. These arrangements were
designed to support the goals and objectives of MTTM in their work related to livestock and range
management, and livelihoods in the mountains, the Umzimvubu River tributaries and its catchment
The broader landscape of institutional arrangements that shape community-based institutions on
communal land includes laws and regulations, cultural norms, political systems, and economic
structures. These institutions can either support or hinder the development and success of
community-based institutions like the UCP-supported Maloti Thaba Tsa Metsi protected area forum
(MTTM). Understanding and considering the interplay between these broader and community-based
institutions is essential to promote effective and sustainable community development.
Two smaller sub-CoPs have emerged from this stewardship community of practise which support the
greater stewardship vision, namely:
A core technical team comprised of support agencies including Eastern Cape Parks, local
NGOs, Municipality, CONTRALESA and relevant departments with conservation mandates,
and which provides strategic guidance within national legal frameworks, as well as
fundraising support and logistical support for the unfurling of the stewardship process
The MTTM voluntary association, formed as a management authority as required by
legislation for protected areas, comprising two representatives of each of the participating
Traditional Authorities, and which is establishing a management committee.
The journey has not been easy andhaving the core technical team as a ‘sub CoP’ supporting the
greater process has helped navigate challenging terrain and to weather some of the storms which
could have derailed or wrecked the MTTM ship.
The Wattle & Alien Task Force (WATF)
Championed by local implementing NGOs, stakeholders from the Department of Environment
(DFFE), SANBI, charcoal producers, Traditional and local Leadership, WWF, plus research and
implementing partners spent three days in late 2021 unpacking the common problems facing alien
plant management in the region. The common agreement was that they all want improved resilient
livelihoods and healthy ecosystem functions, and that all have different complementary roles to play
to achieve this collectively. This effort needed to extend beyond a formal funded project, and across
different spheres and hierarchies of the state. Despite spending billions of Rand on alien plant
control since the mid-1990s, the infested area has expanded, which indicates that solutions have not
yet been found using current approaches.
After spending some time seeing NGO-run projects in the field and engaging in many hours of
heated debates, the group agreed that its core objective is to collectively devise, implement and
learn from better practises to manage alien plant expansion, as part of restoring the natural
grassland and ecosystem functions, which form the vital ecological infrastructure of our watershed.
Despite being a diverse set of role players, they have a common problem and aspirations which
extend beyond their sometimes-restrictivemandates and resourcing. They agreed to tackle issues
including how to foster high Norms and Standards to meet state requirements, pursuing cost
effectiveness, equitable participation, technical best practise, policy influence, reality checks from
field experience, long term affordability through market linkages, grabbing opportunities, exploring
livelihood benefits form green business value chains, etc.
At a stage, a key market player closed, and the CoP was hugely valuable in helping navigate the
fallout created by this event. Experienced facilitators from SANBI assisted with open discussions
tackling difficult issues: such support mechanisms would otherwise not have been in place without
the presence of this CoP.
The UCP Knowledge and Research Hub
The implementing-focused work in the upper Umzimvubu and lower catchment areas has been
innovative, impactful and deeply relational building. This has garnered interest from researchers
across a spectrum of developmental, social and ecological issues, generating more than 16 research
projects. Although the content of each is excellent and relevant, there has been limited co-
ordination between these efforts, resulting in duplication, research fatigue and a perception that
research is extractive and not aligned with catchment needs. Sometensions have emerged between
the realms of academia and practise, and the UCP secretariat felt the need to bring this disparate
community together to harness the opportunities it presented. These were seen to include the
collation of a ‘knowledge hub’ and to foster catchment-driven, longitudinal research which benefits
a more holistic approach to life in the catchment.
The catchment convenor for the SANBI Living Catchments Project (LCP) has nudged and cajoled a
range of role players to apply their energy to what an effective knowledge hub and ‘living lab’ could
and should look like. Interestingly, an effort was made in 2016 to establish a Research Core Group,
which produced an ‘Impact-oriented Research Programme’ in 2017 andwas championed by a
technical partner resident in the catchment. That partner’s capacity to participate has changed,
leaving a gap in the research focus.
A key principle emerging from the recent research think-tank, hosted as part of the UCP’s 38#$
quarterly gathering in late February 2023, was that “if we are to generate credible, socially
acceptable research that responds to the real needs of communities, we need clear rules and
guidelines, and clarity on how UCP partners relate to that research”. This CoP has risen to that
challenge and is generating a typology of rules.
Other emergent ‘properties and products’ of the UCP CoP as a multi-stakeholder platform
collaborative include more than a dozen highly interactive field learning days, a printed and online
‘spring protection guide and toolkit’, a rangeland toolkit which iscurrently under revision, and a
strong youth deployment approach which is being written up in a best practise approach handbook
in another WRC report.
CoPs as strong, safe social spaces for fostering collaboration & co-learning
The functioning of the UCP as a voluntary alliance has fostered a lot of transparency and openness in
the interactions within and between stakeholders. There is a huge role to be played by conveners in
ensuring that they connect stakeholders that need to work together, disseminate information, and
bring them into the conversation of ecological infrastructure and social inclusion. The organically
formedcommunities practice were not prompted by government but rather by a diverse set of
actors recognizing each other’s complementary strengths and weaknesses in tackling a common
The SANBI Living Catchments Project (LCP), which is largely focused around enabling enhanced
water governance through improved multi-stakeholder collaboration across the built and ecological
infrastructure nexus, provides further opportunities to strengthen relationships and share lessons
learnt in a more structured manner, through requiring reporting on CoP progress. This catalyzes
some deeper thinking around that the value of the CoP really is, and what a process would look like
without it.
These locally actioned but nationally endorsed and guided platforms like the LCP and the active
convening of Water Source Partnerships by WWF, have huge potential to influence state approaches
to collaboration, for example the ‘Working For’ programmes under the DFFE’s Natural Resource
Management Programme, and extension services thinking. The DFFE provincial and national officials
have been active participants in the UCP’s Wattle and Alien Task Force (WATF) and field learning
days, providing a two-waylearning opportunity.
What is the impact or value of a CoP like UCP?
A state official once bemoaned the struggle of having to form a Catchment Management Forum
(CMF) which was dragging its heels and would not, despite his best efforts, come to life. He felt it
was an almost artificial construct which doesn’t have the spark which the UCP voluntary gatherings
do andwas curious about HOW the UCP CoP came together and continues to function. An external
evaluation by a donor of their investments in the catchment revealed some answers to the official’s
curiosity, as well as to our own questions: why doesthe UCP continue to attract interest and
Partners within the UCP community of practice indicated some of the following reasons for
continued involvement in the platform, which they saw as benefits:
-The shared values and shared way of working, which members described as respectful,
participatory, transparent and culturally appropriate were important enablers of success
because they produced a consistent approach and message and reduced conflict between
partners However, some government partners felt that government was still a long way
behind in term of effective stakeholder engagement
-The UCP network provides opportunities for sharing information, networking and staying
up to date with what is happening in the landscape
-Learning opportunities associated with field trips and discussions in informal settings help to
tackle challenging issues in a safe manner
-The CoP provides a visible way of scaling up the work, reaching more people and more
areas, and attracting more funds into the area
-Partners feel a strong sense of shared values and a shared way of working.
-Pride in work that isrespectful, participatory, transparent, and culturally appropriate
-Warm, welcomingand informal relationships help one feel supported and comfortable to
ask for help if needed.
Other emergent properties and observed benefits of a community of practise included:
ØSpring protection work led by a local NGO and funded by WWF led to co-learning between local
implementing NGOs and community members involved in the construction and aftercare. The
process involved innovation because the spring protection structures neededto be adapted for
each context (geography, spring characteristics, community needs, available resources etc.)
rather than simply constructed according to a blueprint. The social learning that happened
through this process was captured in the UCP Spring Protection Guide produced by the partners.
ØThe design of the rangeland management model currently in use has been emergent. It is not
owned by any one person or organisation but was developed collaboratively through
experimentation and addressing gaps as they became apparent. Some of this learning is
encapsulated in the Conservation Agreement Tool.
ØA charcoal business model was also developed iteratively through experimentation, like the
rangeland management model. Innovations included the FSC certification, the creation of a
marketing social enterprise, refinement of a kiln design, the “rent-to-buy”facility.
ØMany of the participants of the evaluation interviews and of these CoPs felt that there was a lot
of learning which was difficult to capture and that this learning has not yet been adequately
described for sharing with others(Kotshcy & Pollard, 2022).
Figure 22: members of UCP from five different organisations spanning local and national, municipal, parastatal, civil and
communal, gather to undertake a biodiversity assessment. Their common passion is plants and mountain conservation.
Emerging governance guideline considerations for Multistakeholder platforms
The authors have had the privilege of engaging with local, national, national, continental and global
communities of practise in a variety of thematic areas over the last decade, including WASH (water
and sanitation for hygiene), waste approaches, NGO leadership support, stewardship approaches,
and forums for community-led conservation. Size does not matter. What does matter is some
essential ingredients for a successful Community of Practise to emerge, survive, thrive and have its
desired impact, and theseinclude:
ØCommon challenges and visions
Unpacking this a little further in terms of some basic guidelines to share from the lessons in the
Umzimvubu catchment, the following is relevant:
A CoP needs an energetic convenorwithout an enthusiastic champion or driver, the CoP can
start up with passion, and then fade away. A key factor for sustaining the UCP as a living CoP has
been active, attentive ‘convening’ by a dedicated secretariat who provides a networking,
communication, central hub function, along with supporting logistics and information sharing.
CoPs need a missiona group of passionate people gathered around a common cause is the
spark required. Often a crisis can spark response and amazing things happen.
Cops often emerge best organically from the ground upthis often means they are under
resourced, as they are unplanned, and this is where real support and resourcing should be
focussed. Follow the passion.
The impact or value of a CoP is hard to measureusing non-traditional measures and stories of
change is a good way to see their impact, rather than standard quantitative metrics which may
not show any real impact as they are an inappropriate form of measurement.
CoPs often appear disorganised and unstructured the French revolution’s lack of systems and
communication drove the English military crazy butwas in fact the breakthrough which helped
win the war. In the same way, CoPs should not be forced to regulate or conform with a
predefined structure as it can stifle their innovation and passion. This does not propose anarchy,
but rather an allowance for innovation to emerge in a welcoming space.
These platforms have the huge advantage of being voluntary (i.e.,not enforced and thus not
needing heavy regulation) as well as focussed on what really interests and affects the participants.
Solving stuck problems by viewing the elephant in the room from all angles has become much easier
with a diverse group with a common goal. A CoP can create a safe space, where unlike a formal
workspace or committee, innovation can occur with limited external pressure, and where common
issues can be tackled togetherwith people who understand these issues, and may have different
perspectives for approaching, and possibly solving it. This approach has great potential for
contributing towards meeting the first aim of this project, to ‘create and strengthen integrated
institutional frameworks and mechanisms for scaling up proven multi-benefit approaches that
promote collective action and coherent policies. CoPs can help to effectively integrate and scale
meaningful community-based climate smart agricultural approaches if the real intrusted and
affected parties are a core part of the practise.
Snorek et al (Snorek, et al., 2022)have summarized best practice in multi stakeholder forums from
the UCP case study as being:
1.A social network structure: Connection of actors to facilitate collaborative
governance and natural resources outcomes.
2.Norms of trust and reciprocity
3.A core-periphery network model: Highly connected core nodes or role-players
interact with a larger sub-set with fewer linkages. This conserves network
functioning over time, provides stability and cooperativeness and facilitates
coordinated network responses through multiple pathways.
4.Periphery actors are kept on board through boundary acting: these actors serve as a
bridge between disparate groupings, provide social learning opportunities across
boundaries and support navigation of intercultural and cognitive barriers between
heterogenous groups, allowing for continuity in governance.
5.Generally leadership is information and based on relational value, which are
important in contested spaces characterized by multifunctionality. This avoids
structural and hierarchical problems.
6.Based on ethics of care: This is rooted in relationality, collective well-being and
subjective situated types of knowledge thus solidarity and respect. In addition,
1.There are no single right answers.
2.Accountability through relationships is cultivated and
3.Requires being open to emotion and some level of vulnerability.
By Karen Kotschy, July 2023
In this project (WRC DSSII 00746), the term multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) is used to describe
partnerships consisting of different groups including local and national government, Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), private sector, academia, and local
people and communities, all working together towards a common goal.
Partnerships to enable effective climate adaptation (climate-resilient agriculture or CRA) for
smallholder farmers are conceptualized on three levels: Micro-, Meso- and Macro-levels (Figure 22).
This document focuses on considerations for building a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system
that is appropriate for the context (agricultural adaptation processes in multi-level stakeholder
networks in complex social-ecological systems), and is coherent across micro-, meso- and macro-
Innovation and
multistakeholder platforms-
Communication and
Smallholder farmers in CRA
learning groups (LGs)
National Networks e.g. Adaptation
Network, Agroecology Network
National organistions e.g., PGS-SA
Regional forums e.g., Water Source
Area forums (WWF) Living Catchments
Forums (SANBI)
Cluster of LGs within and between
areas learn and implement CRA
These clusters ineteract with external
stakeholders e.g., NGOs, Government
Deparments, Local and District
Municipalities, traditional authorities
and Water Service authorities
Individual farmers in LGs learn and
implement CRA together
LG's set up other interest groups and
committees e.g., water committees,
village savings and loan assocations,
marketing groups, livestock associations
and resource conservation agreements
Figure223: Micro-, meso-and macro-level multi-stakeholder platforms for climate-resilient smallholder agriculture in the project
(from Deliverable 1)
a.What is an M&E system?
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems include, at minimum, a monitoring component through
which data are collected to track project progress and record outputs and achievements, and an
evaluation component through which the merit of these achievements isassessed. In the
development sector, these two components typically look as follows:
Monitoring: A monitoring framework is designed to collect quantitative (or less often,
qualitative) indicator data based on the planned project objectives, activities, outputs and
outcomes. These data often need to be reported to project funders or higher-level
institutions as evidence that progress is being made.
Evaluation: Evaluation processes are typically carried out by external experts, at the end of a
project or initiative, and possibly also mid-way through, to determine its effectiveness,
efficiency, value-for-money and sustainability. Additional data are collected (besides the
monitoring data) to inform the evaluation, often from project reports and other documents,
interviews and site visits.
A third component that is often mentioned as part of M&E systems, is learning.
Learning: Most M&E frameworks will say that they intend to promote learning. However,
the details of what type of learning is expected, by whom and when, are often not specified.
Learning is most commonly stated to be important for developing “best practice” guidelines,
allowing upscaling of successes, and sharing knowledge with other projects, practitioners or
institutions. This implies a kind of learning that is focused on documenting and
communicating successes which is most easily done at the end of aproject. Learning may
(less commonly) also be considered important for facilitating ongoing adaptive management
and responsivity to changing conditions, or as part of a capacity development process.
Monitoring and evaluation that places particular emphasis on learning is often referred to as MEL
(monitoring, evaluation and learning), or MERL(monitoring, evaluation, reflection and learning
which specifies reflection as an important process to enable learning).
A fourth component that may be included or emphasised is planning.
Planning: The planning component is usually added to indicate a specific desire to integrate
monitoring, evaluation (and possibly learning) processes into planning processes, for
example within an organisation, usually for the purposes of strengthening the use of M&E
data or recommendations and strategic adaptive management.
The acronyms PME(planning, monitoring and evaluation) and PMEL(planning, monitoring,
evaluation and learning) foreground the planning component. This is reflected in the South African
national Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation’s name (DPME). Integration into
planning processes is important because without it, M&E becomes disconnected from management
and decision-making and is not acted upon or prioritised, even if effective learning is taking place
among other actors in the system.
The above overview identified four components that may be included, in various ways and to
varying degrees, in an M&E system. What is included, and how the different components relate to
and inform each other, is the M&E system. By way of example, Figure shows AWARD’s MERL system
for the RESILIM-O program, a seven-year resilience building program in the Olifants River catchment
in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Mozambique.
Learning does not appear in a particular box in Figure because it was deliberately embedded across
the whole system. Both quantitative and qualitative monitoring data were collected, with the
qualitative data being in the form of reflective “back-to-office” reports which were designed to
stimulate reflection by the staff involved on the significance and implications of project events such
as workshops, meetings, training events and site visits. This both promoted learning and provided a
rich source of data for reporting and evaluation purposes. Evaluation was carried out in an ongoing
way, through small case study evaluations, and larger synthetic meta-evaluations. Learning was
enabled here by including project implementers/staff in the evaluation process, to allow them to
make sense of the data and develop their own evaluative thinking capacities. Both monitoring and
evaluation data informed the annual work planning process, where staff would reflect on what these
data meant for their project theories of change, targets, and plans for the following year. Learning
was also enabled through other specially-designed reflection opportunities (green box). Sharing of
lessons and insights, and overall summative evaluations (“synthesis”), were carried out after the
program came to an end by the core MERL team, program managers and external evaluators.
Figure24: Components of theRESILIM-O MERL system
When designing an M&E system, the following three general factors should be taken into account:
The context in which the system is to be applied
The intended purpose of the M&E system
Practical factors related to how the system will be implemented
These will be considered below in relation to the WRC project.
Much has been written about the need for monitoring and evaluation designs to take into account
the complexity of the social-ecological contexts in which programs are implemented (e.g. Bellamy et
al., 2001; Patton, 2008, 2010; Funnell & Rogers, 2011; Pringle et al., 2011; Douthwaite & Hofecker,
2017; Hertz et al.2021; USAID, 2021). Features of complex systems are well documented (Preiseret
al., 2020) and include high levels of relationality or interconnectedness, ‘radical’ openness (making
them difficult to bound), profound contextual influences, dynamism, adaptive capacity, emergence,
complex causality and non-linear pathways of change.These features have implications for the way
in which progress and success can or should be monitored and evaluated. The table below
summarises the implications of complex systems features (as identified by Preiser et al., 2018) for
monitoring and evaluation.
Table 8: Features of complex social-ecological systems (SES) and their implications for M&E. Source: Kotschy et al.
Features of complex SES (Preiser et al.
Implications for monitoring and evaluation
Constituted relationally
Process-dependent interactions on
multiple scales result in networks of
interactive relations.
Complex systems are defined more
by the interactions among their
components than by the
components themselves.
Multiple activities and role players will be linked to outcomes; it is often
difficult to attribute change to the actions of individual stakeholders.
Different stakeholders have different interests and criteria for success of an
intervention, and different ways of making sense of past events.
Social complexity is often not easy to see or understand from the outside,
and simply listing the stakeholders is not sufficient.
Since interactions are structured by processes, there is a need to evaluate
process, such as processes of social learning, participation, relationship-
and team-building, planning, learning, innovation, sharing of information,
capacity development and collaboration.
Radically open
All systems exhibit hierarchy in that
every system is part of a wider
system and is made up of sub-
systems. Systemic interactions
generate effects that have impacts
across scales and domains.
How we describe (or identify)
systems is a function of our
individual points of view.
System boundaries need to be chosen and assumptions clarified.
Evaluators may need to go beyond their areas of expertise, or to work in
transdisciplinary teams, to identify and evaluate impacts and influences
beyond the chosen system boundary.
Need to link across multiple scales e.g. international, national, local. There
are often long time lags between actions and outcomes or impacts.
The identity and functions of
complex systems are defined by the
context in which they exist.
Evaluators need to understand context, and often need help to do so, or
they need to be embedded in the context themselves.
Cause-effect mechanisms interact dynamically with the context and so
need to be evaluated in a context-sensitive way.
Complex systems have self-
organising capacities and can adjust
their behaviour as a response to
changes in their environments.
Ongoing learning is vital to guide the strategic direction of interventions.
Monitoring, evaluation and reporting processes must stimulate as well as
adequately capture and share learning.
Evaluation needs to provide timeous and effective feedback to enable
appropriate responses and adaptation.
Over the life of a program, the focus and methods of evaluation may need
to change. Initially a more open-ended and developmental approach is
required, that progressively becomes more focused while retaining the
system gaze.
People have multiple motivations for changing their behaviour e.g. people
don’t only respond to climate when adapting. Maladaptation is also
Transformation is also possible.
Non-linear dynamic processes and
feedback loops can dampen or
amplify perturbations. Small
changes can have significant,
cascading effects resulting in
multiple modes of system-wide
reorganisation or regime shifts.
Shifting baselines and contexts. Stakeholder interests and criteria for
success change over time.
Power and politics are pervasive within social networks and can exert
strong influences on the potential for change in a system.
Patterns and effects are inherently uncertain and cannot be accurately
predicted. There is a possibility of unintended consequences (positive or
Complex causality
Through the interaction of the
individual components, novel
qualities and phenomena emerge.
Hence, the whole is more than the
sum of its parts, meaning that
systems cannot be understood, nor
their behaviour predicted, based
solely on information relating to the
individual parts.
It is difficult to link causes and effects, and there are multiple complicated
pathways and mechanisms that interact dynamically with the context.
Pathways to impact are often non-linear. Multiple outcomes and
confounding factors are present.
It is difficult to measure non-events or damage avoided.
Many outcomes of interest cannot be adequately captured using simple
quantitative measures.
The WRC project is being implemented in a social-ecological system where multiple actors interact in
different ways to adapt smallholder farming systems to the impacts of climate change. In addition to
the complexity of interwoven social, natural and economic systems operating at different scales,
climate change is particularly challenging because it is not an immediate event, but is associated
with uncertainty at various levels. It also involves“complicated science” and no clear “enemy” yet
has significant potential costs and requires people to rethink how they live (Kotschy et al., 2019). In
this context, an M&E system needs to help people to figure out how to make sense of this threat
that our brains are not equipped to deal with, to figure out who should be doing what, where, when,
and how to enable effective adaptation, and also, why they should care about it when they have so
many other important things to do. M&E systems designed for use by project stakeholders therefore
need to take into account the considerations in the table above.
The context in which the M&E system is to be applied to some extent determines the purpose of the
system. For example, in complex contexts, it is important that the M&E system enables ongoing
learning and strategic adaptive management, and that it is able to detect emergent and unexpected
outcomes as well as those that were planned at the beginning of the project. Likewise, M&E for
climate change adaptation needs to be oriented towards learning, because adaptation is essentially
about an uncharted process of change, and effective change requires us to learn to do things
differently, or indeed, often to learn to do different things. Learning in fact underpins adaptation;
thus, designing for adaptation requires designing for learning (STAP, 2017).
M&E systems typically have multiple purposes. For example, the three primary purposes of the
RESILIM-O MERL system were accountability, learning and sharing (Figure 23).
In the RESILIM-O program, the MERL system was iteratively designed in an emergent way. Time and
resources were devoted to allowing experimentation with MERL during the first two years of the
program. Ongoing reflection, writing and discussions with other practitioners by the MERL team over
a period of 7-8 years helped to identify what the key elements of the approach were, and how these
related to experience elsewhere. Much of that learning is captured in this document and the
associated references.
An important question is who defines the purpose of the M&E system and who is involved in its
In learning-oriented MERL systems, it is important to consider who will participate in the MERL
system and how they will do so, because participation enables learning. In the Tsitsa Project, the
Figure23: Multiple purposes ofthe MERL systeminthe RESILIM-O program
MERL system was explicitly designed to be participatory as far as possible, involving residents in
indicator and theory of change development, collection of social and biophysical data and reflection
events. Other stakeholders such as the DFFE, NGO and university partners were also involved in data
collection and reflection processes (Tsitsa Project et al., 2021). This participatory focus led to the
M&E system for the Tsitsa Project being referred to asPMERL: participatory monitoring, evaluation,
reflection and learning.
The following was learned from the Tsitsa Project experience (Tsitsa Project et al., 2021):
Participatory, learning-focused MERL can be a powerful tool for building collaboration, a
common vision and a strong basis for ongoing strategic adaptive management.
An approach that includes and capacitates local residents brings multiple benefits including
motivation, agency, capacity to participate in collective action, and changes in power
relations and accountability structures. Participation makes M&E more inclusive and can
thereby contribute to equity and transformation. It can also increase the “downward”
accountability of stakeholders towards residents.
However, participation requires capacity building, proper planning, paying attention and
creating the conditions to enable proper participation. This approach is therefore more
time-consuming and costly than “expert-driven” M&E, and requires more and different
resources. For example, monitoring practices and tools must be developed to support a
participatory approach, materials may need to be developed in multiple languages, and
capacity building and culturally appropriate facilitation skills are required.
A useful exercise when planning who should be involved and how is to complete a table similar to
the following, as suggested in a handbook produced by Cape Action for People and the Environment
Steps in the M&E process
Who should participate?
When will this happen?
1. Develop the M&E plan
2. Gather the information
3. Analyse the information
4. Act on the analysis
Different possible levels of inclusion of stakeholders within MERL processes are shown in the Figure
below.(Kotschy et al., in preparation).
In order to be useful and to achieve its intended purpose, an M&E system needs to be practical to
implement with the time and resources available.
While learning is particularly important in complex social-ecological systems, a number of reasons
have been identified in the literature for why M&E often does not optimally support learning in
practice (see Appendix 1in this section). The table below summarises how AWARD addressed these
practical issues in the RESILIM-O program to create a MERL system that actually did enable learning
in multiple ways.
Table 9: Overview of how AWARD’s MERL system for the RESILIM-O program embedded learning into
M&E practice. Source: Rosenberg et al. (unpublished)
M&E practices that inhibit learning
How these issues were addressed by AWARD in RESILIM-O
Program logic models don’t take complexity into
account and therefore do not prioritise learning.
Logical frameworks or theories of change are used
only at the beginning of the program to lay out
how things are expected to unfold; not revisited or
Iterative development of a program theory of change in the
exploratory phase of the project (first 2 years), with explicit
efforts to take complexity into account and to prioritise
Regular (annual) reflection on sub-project theories of change,
based on monitoring data, experience and case studies, with
modification if necessary.
The accountability agenda crowds out learning.
Reporting does not meet the needs of program
implementers and is seen as a burden.
Negotiation between AWARD and USAID created space and
allowed sufficient resources for M&E and learning activities
throughout the program. AWARD’s leadership prioritised
learning and built it into as many parts of the program as
Figure24: Levels of stakeholder inclusion within M&E. Source: Kotschy et al., 2023 (in preparation)
B2O reports used as a concise way of capturing relevant,
evaluative information, which promoted collaborative
reflection processes that were useful and enjoyable for staff.
Monthly reports drew together the reflections from the B2O
reports. These were compiled collaboratively on a day set
aside each month for this purpose, using a template that
promoted reflection on successes and challenges.
Reporting to the funder (done by the MERL team) combined
quantitative and qualitative data.
Separation of monitoring and evaluation.
Monitoring and evaluation performed by
designated M&E staff and/or external experts with
little involvement by others in the organisation.
Evaluation done by external experts and often only
after the program has ended.
Integration of monitoring and evaluation, through a
Developmental Evaluation approach and semi-internal, semi-
external MERL staff. All staff were involved in reporting as an
activity that both provided monitoring data and promoted
reflection. Reflection onoutcomes and collaborative setting of
targets by teams during annual work planning also helped to
integrate monitoring and evaluation.
Quantitative indicators over-emphasised, which
promotes single loop learning only (how to set
targets better, how to make sure you meet targets,
how to work within the given system).
Narrative data either not collected, or not in a
form that is easily used for evaluation (e.g.
meeting minutes or presentations that are not
reflective or clearly linked to the aims of the
project). It is therefore often difficult to see how
different aspects of the work fit together, go back
and answer future questions that may arise, or
capture unintended outcomes or failures.
Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected,
qualitative data and written reflections were valued and
Double and triple loop learning was promoted through a range
of regular reflection activities (B2O reports, monthly reports,
monthly RESILIM-O days, “month in pictures” meetings,
quarterly reflection on quantitative data, shared learning
events, and attendance at conferences and other events
(followed by reflection through B2O reports).
M&E seen as a purely technical function
M&E seen as an organisational development and strategic
adaptive management function. It involved a combination of
technical, management and strategic advisory staff, who
advocated for M&E use within and beyond the organisation.
Learning treated as equivalent to knowledge
After some initial experimentation (and conflict), AWARD
managed to balance the need to communicate successes with
the need to document learning (and failures) within its
reporting. The Developmental Evaluation approach ensured
that learning took place throughout the program and was not
restricted to sharing of “lessons learnt” at the end.
M&E not functionally integrated with planning and
decision-making processes.
Evaluation of whether M&E processes are
achieving their intended purpose is seldom done.
MERL was thoroughly integrated into annual work planning
processes (collaborative revision of and reflection on theories
of change, objectives and targets) and strategic decision-
Evaluation was done informally during regular MERL team
meetings and more formally through reflection events (e.g.
RESILIM-O days, Reference Group meetings), “meta-
evaluations” and conference presentations and papers.
The RESILIM-O program had three important enabling factors: it was a seven-year program
relatively long in project terms, had flexible grant funding not based on predefined deliverables, and
had sufficient funding to invest in MERL personnel. Spending onMERL was approximately 10% of the
total budget and the following personnel were employed:
One full-time MERL officer (Honours level)
One part-time MERL manager (PhD level, 10-15 days per month)
One part-time MERL adviser (PhD level, 1 day per month)
In the TsitsaProject (a five-year project which also had reasonably flexible funding), the PMERL
function was performed by the following people:
Around 15 citizen monitors (matric level or lower)
Four monitor managers (Masters to Postdoctoral level) and one NGO which performed the
administration and management of the monitors (Lima Rural Development Foundation,
which employed a community facilitator and a project manager)
One part-time PMERL coordinator (PhD level, 10 days per month)
One full-time knowledge and learning support officer (Masters level)
One full-time capacity development coordinator (PhD level)
One part-time knowledge and learning coordinator (PhD level, 5 days per month)
One knowledge and learning/PMERL adviser (PhD level, 1-2 days per month)
Where the time and resources available are more constrained, the ambitions in terms of learning
and participation will need to be downscaled. An important point is that effective MERL or PMERL
does require people, whether part-time or full-time, who are paid to implement and iteratively
improve the design of the system. One of the biggest mistakes in practically implementing MERL or
PMERL is designing an over-ambitious system and then assuming that it can be implemented as an
extra (unfunded) function by staff whose time is already fully allocated.
Another important consideration is the skills, attitudes and values required by MERL personnel.
Rosenberg and Kotschy (2021) identified the need for technical, relational and transformational
competencesfor successful implementation of MERL systems in complex social-ecological systems
(see Appendix 1 in this section).
e.Specific considerations for multi-stakeholder platforms for climate-resilient
This section focuses on specific considerations for M&E of multi-stakeholder platforms for climate-
resilient smallholder agriculture.
As shown in Figure 22, the WRC project envisages networks or communities of practice (CoPs) at
three levels, which together facilitate experimentation, learning, awareness-raising and upscaling of
climate adaptation support systems for smallholder farmers in South Africa. It is important that the
M&E approach and the indicators used are coherent across these three levels.
The work of networks and communities of practice (CoPs) often goes unrecorded, unmeasured and
unnoticed. However, several evaluation methods are available to make this work visible.
Social network analysis
Network analysis software (such as Gephi and many others) can be used to represent networks or
communities of practice graphically and to calculate various statistics which can be used to describe
the network and quantify changes over time. For example, inthe Sabie River Water Stewardship
project, thecatchment partnership-building work was evaluated by comparing the stakeholder
network ‘before’ and ‘after’ the project (Figure 26and Error! Reference source not found.). Nodes
in the diagrams (circles) represent organizations, and the edges (lines) represent the relationships
between organizations, weighted according to the strength of the relationship. Nodes are sized
according to ‘betweenness centrality’, a measure of their importance in connecting different parts of
the network. Data were collected through interviews with participants butcan also be done using
Analysis of the networks in the two figures below,showed that the project strengthened the
relationships between stakeholders, as seen in the average number of connections per node (the
‘degree’ of the network) and the connectivity of the network (the average path length). Different
colours on the diagrams indicate clusters of stakeholders that are more closely connected to each
other than to others in the network (the ‘modularity’ of the network). A high modularity indicates
clusters of stakeholders that are closely connected to each other but poorly connected to others
outside of their cluster. At the start of the project, the agricultural, water and supporting NGO
stakeholders were relatively poorly connected (in tight clusters), but after the project the tightness
of the clusters was reduced, suggesting that the project facilitated better connectivity between
these different groups of stakeholders. This can also be seen by visual comparison of the two
Figure26: Stakeholdernetwork at the startoftheSabie River WaterStewardship project.
Figure25: Stakeholdernetwork at the end of theSabie RiverWater Stewardship project
The Value Creation Framework (VCF) (Wenger et al.,2011; Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner,
2020) is an evaluation framework that is especially useful for assessing value created through
collaboration and social learning in networks and communities of practice. It links the processof
engagement in networks to eventual outcomessuch as changes in practice, which often follow later.
Networks and communities of practice refer to two aspects of social structures in which learning
takes place (Wenger et al., 2011). The network aspect refers to the set of relationships, personal
interactions, and connections among participants - a set of nodes and links with affordances for
learning such as information flows, helpful linkages, joint problem solving and knowledge creation.
The community of practice aspect refers to the development of a shared identity around a topic or
set of challenges. Itrepresents a collective intention however tacit and distributed to steward a
domain of knowledge and to sustain learning about it. For most groups, however, the two aspects
are combined in various ways. A community of practice usually involves a network of relationships.
And many networks exist because participants are all committed to some kind of joint enterprise or
domain, even if not expressed in collective terms. It is important to recognize that the value of
communities of practice and networks has both short-term and long-term aspects (Wenger et al.,
2011). Learning that takes place in a community/network is often applied later in other situations,
such as in a project team in which a member participates.
The general underlying theory of change behind the VCF is as follows: CoP members participate in
activities that generate interest or excitement or deliver some tangible benefit (immediate value).
This participation develops insights, skills, relationships or strengthens participants’ resolve
(potential value). Members apply these insights, skills and relationships to benefit their individual
and collective work or do something new (applied value), leading to new, hopefully improved,
practices and outcomes (realised value). Learning occurs in various ways throughout this process,
Figure 27: Value Creation Framework. Source: Wenger-Trayner (2014).
and may include reframing of issues and questioning of fundamental assumptions (reframing value
renamed as ‘transformative value’ in the newer version of the framework).
The context in which the above processes play out is important. Enabling and strategic value
describe aspects of this context. Strategic value refers to the clarity of the strategic context and the
ability of CoPs to engage in strategic conversations aboutthe value they create. Enabling value refers
to the support processes that sustain the life of CoPs, including internal leadership, external support,
resourcing and technology. Ongoing conversations that align strategic and enabling value with CoP
activities as they change over time are seen as a key element for sustaining learning (Wenger-
Trayner, 2014).
Value creation data can be presented in narrative form, in the form of a summary table (which can
include links to the original data sources), or in more graphical form as a “value creation matrix”
which provides a concise overview the value creation stories told by different stakeholders (see
illustrative example below)
The Value Creation Framework has been used to evaluate networks formed during the RESILIM-O
program, and water source partnerships in the Sabie and uMzimvubu catchments (Kotschy and
Pollard, 2021 and 2022).
A similar approach using network evaluation and a technique called Ripple Effects Mappingwas
described by Medley-Daniel and Troisi (2019). This was used in the Fire Adapted Communities
Learning Network in the United States to evaluate both the success of the network and the fire
adaptation results it is enabling.
A “three pillar” evaluation model was used, which involved:
Measuring connectivity using Social Network Analysis
Gathering anonymized quantitative data on the network’s health using a custom scorecard
Describing some of the network’s intermediate results and impacts with Ripple Effects
Mapping (REM) and case study processes.
Figure28: Illustrativeexample of avalue creationmatrix showing value creation stories. Source: Kotschy and Pollard (2021)
Like this WRC project, the Fire Adapted Communities network relies on the concept of multi-scalar
networks at three levels:
Level 1: Build local networks for experimentation
Level 2: Build networks for scaling out so that local innovations can spread, inspire, and learn
from others
Level 3: Build networks for scaling up so infrastructure and policy to support innovations can
be developed
The following reflection is provided on their evaluation process
“Starting the process by measuring “collaboration” obscured our ability to see the impacts FAC Net
was having on the individual practitioners and their local work (Levels 1 and 2). Instead, we
determined that measuring who was influencing each other would reveal how people’s work was
changing as a result of being part of FAC Net, giving us insight into who was testing new ideas and
experimenting, and how fire adaptation practices were “scaling out.” Our vision is for network
members’ joint efforts to also catalyze change at the system level (Level 3)bringing to light needed
policy changes and shifting national conversations about fire management.”
When monitoring and evaluating networks or communities of practice, it may also be useful to
measure/document institutionalisation, institutional development, self-organisation, social cohesion
and leadership. One useful source is the framework for M&E of One Health networks which aim to
integrate human, animal and environmental perspectives on health (Ruegg et al., 2018). This
includes measures for social cohesion at different levels (Table 10) as well as organisation and
leadership (Table 11).
Figure29: Three pillars of network evaluationas described as used toevaluate the FireAdapted
Communities Learning Network by the Center for Evaluation Innovation and Network Impact
Buck (2014) also presents some tools for exploring distributed leadership in sustainable land
management platforms, for example, using African proverbs to explore different leadership roles
and values.
The Community Led Assessment Tool
developed by Global Giving and the Global Fund for
Community Foundations is a useful measure of the degree to which an initiative is community-led
(and hence follows the Locally Led Adaptation Principles). In this project, the work is already strongly
locally-led at the micro-level (Figure 22), but the tool may be useful at the meso- and macro-levels to
track how well the bottom-up, farmer-led approach is being integrated into regional and national
forums and policies.
The different archetypes or roles described by Chambers et al. (2022) as contributing to co-
productive agilityin stakeholder networks can also be used to guide evaluation of the functioning of
networks and communities of practice. This would require reflection by participants rather than
quantitative indicators butmay be a powerful evaluation approach to promote reflection on agency
and change, and to build appreciation for different perspectives, agendas and roles.
Table 10: Measuresof social cohesion at different levels. Source: Ruegget al.(2018)
The above M&E tools and approaches can be used at all three CoP levels (micro, meso and macro)
and indicators can be selected based on the project’s theory of change for how change is expected
to happen at each level. Indicators should cover short-, medium- and long-term process and impacts
at each level.
The Self-evaluation and Holistic Assessment of climate Resilience of farmers and Pastoralists
(SHARP+) tool(Hernandez et al., 2022; assesses household
climate resilience based on the knowledge and priorities of farmers using an integrated approach.
The assessment follows Cabell and Oelofse’s 13 agro-ecosystem indicators of resilience (Cabell and
Oelofse, 2012
) and is based on a set of questions covering social, economic, environmental and
agronomic aspects of rural-based livelihoods. The assessment is operationalized in the field via an
offline tablet-based questionnaire
, through which quantitative and qualitative answers are
This is in turn based on the resilience principles outlined by Biggs et al. (2012) and other scholars in the
Resilience Alliance
Available through KoBoToolboxand Open Foris
Table 11: Leadershipbehaviour required to activate different systemicleverage points.Source: Ruegg
et al. (2018)
transformed into numerical scores reflecting the resilience levels of rural households, as well as the
priority areas as considered by farmers. Monitoring changes in SHARP+ scores at different points in
time reveals whether household resilience is declining or improving, as well as how and if farmers’
priorities have changed over time. The comprehensive and holistic nature of the information
collected through SHARP+ also supports the analysis and identification of the contributing factors to
changes in resilience levels at different points in time (Hernandez et al., 2022).
The SHARP+ tool is useful for M&E of multi-scale agroecosystem resilience because it is focused at
the farmer/household level but is also being widely used at higher levels. The latest version of the
tool incorporates SDG indicators and has been tailored to respond to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s Enhanced Transparency Framework reporting on climate
adaptation. It has also been recommended by the United Nations Convention to Combat
Desertification (UNCCD) to understandthe root causes and indirect drivers of land degradation, and
has been included as part of operational guidelines on M&E of nature-based interventions, climate
adaptation in agriculture, and implementation of resilience thinking. The IFAD and GEF-financed
Resilient Food Systems (RFS) Impact Programme is currently using SHARP+ in seven countries in sub-
Saharan Africa as part of its M&E framework (Hernandez et al., 2022). The information collected
Table 12: Examples of progress, outcome and impactindicators thatcanbe based on the SHARP+questions.
Source: Hernandez et al. (2022)
through the SHARP+ tool can support countries in their planning of context-specific adaptation
investments and help to access climate finance by showcasing how integrated strategies improve
climate resilience.
SHARP+ is a flexible tool that allows practitioners to fine-tune the questionnaire to fit the context
in which the resilience assessment is carried out. This flexibility provides users with a wide range
of options to tailor the tool to meet their particular needs.
Mahlathini’scarefully and collaboratively developed resilience assessment snapshots and indicator
framework appear to have many similarities with the SMART+ tool. A further in-depth analysis may
be useful to assess the alignment in detail and see whether and how theSMART+ integration with
higher-level indicator frameworks could be leveraged.
The COSA resilience indicators library covered in Deliverable 2 is also recommended as a useful
framework which balances static and dynamic dimensions of resilience and is aligned with the
Sustainable Livelihoods Framework of DFID (2000).
5. References
Bellamy, J. A., Walker, D. H., McDonald, G. T., & Syme, G. J. (2001). A systems approach to the
evaluation of natural resource management initiatives. Journal of Environmental Management, 63:
Biggs, R., Schlüter, M., Biggs, D., Bohensky, E.L., BurnSilver, S., Dakos, V., Daw, T.M., Evans, L.S.,
Kotschy, K. et al. (2012). Toward Principles for enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services.
Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 37:421-448
Buck, L., Kozer, R., Recha, J., Desalegn, A., Planicka, C. and Hart, A.K. (2014). A Landscape Perspective
on Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Land Management: Trainer’s Manual. EcoAgriculture
Partners, Washington D.C.
Cabell, J.F. & Oelofse, M. 2012. An indicator framework for assessing agroecosystem resilience.
Ecology and Society, 17(1): 18.
Cape Action for People and the Environment (2008). Monitoring and Evaluation Tools for Biodiversity
Conservation and Development Projects. SANBI Biodiversity Series No. 11, Pretoria.
Chambers, J. M., Wyborn, C., Klenk, N. L., Ryan, M., Serban, A., Bennett, N. J., et al. (2022). Co-
productive agility and four collaborative pathways to sustainability transformations. Global
Environmental Change, 72: 102422-102439.
DIFD. (2000). Sustainable Livelihoods Guidance Sheets.Retrieved from
Douthwaite, B., & Hoffecker, E. (2017). Towards a complexity-aware theory of change for
participatory research programs working within agricultural innovation systems. Agricultural
Systems, 155: 88-102.
Funnell, S. C., & Rogers, P. J. (2011). Purposeful program theory: Effective use of theories of change
and logic models. John Wiley & Sons.
Hernández Lagana, M., Phillips, S. and Poisot, A. (2022). Self-evaluation and holistic assessment of
climate resilience of farmers and pastoralists (sharp+), a new guidance document for practitioners.
Rome, FAO.
Hertz, T., Brattander, E., & Rose, L. (2021). Complexity-aware monitoring and evaluation. Journal of
MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 17(41): 3550. Retrieved from
Kotschy, K. (2022). Taking Adaptation to the Ground: Value creation through the Small Grant
Facility’s enhanced direct access pilot. Global Change Institute, University of the Witwatersrand.
[Evaluation report for SANBI.]
Kotschy, K., De Villiers, A., Pollard, S., Rosenberg, E. and Human, H. (2019). Climate change as a
complex issue needing complexity-sensitive M&E. Presentation at the South African Monitoring and
Evaluation Association (SAMEA) conference, October 2019, Emperor’s Palace, Johannesburg.
Kotschy, K., De Villiers, A., Hiestermann, M., Mvulane, P., Raven, G. and Soal, S. (2023).Using
monitoring and evaluation to build equity and resilience: Lessons from practice. Unpublished
manuscript in preparation, to be published in a special issue journal under the Southern African
Resilience Academy.
Kotschy, K., Simelane, H. and Rosenberg, E. (unpublished). A Review of Evaluation Trends and
Practices Across Thirteen Different Environment-Related Fields. Unpublished manuscript in
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Stewardship Project. AWARD, 31 May 2021.
Kotschy, K. and Pollard, S. (2022). Mid-term review of the WWF Eastern Cape Drakensberg program
of work. AWARD, 15 November 2022.
Patton, M.Q. (2008). Utilization-focused evaluation (4#$ed.). SAGE Publications.
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Multidisciplinary Evaluation, 17(41), 2334.
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systems: organizing principles for advancing research methods and approaches. Ecology and Society,
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African perspective on the skills needed for a new approach. African Evaluation Journal, 8(1), Article
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Complexity-sensitive monitoring and evaluation that enables learning. Unpublished manuscript
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Appendix 1: Why standard M&E practices fail to optimally support learning in complex systems
Extract from Rosenberg, E., Kotschy, K., Pollard, S., Burt, J. and Mudau Mushwana, V. Getting it right
in practice: Complexity-sensitive monitoring and evaluation that enables learning. Unpublished
manuscript submitted to the Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation.
Monitoring and evaluation need to bothsupport and capture learning in programs implemented in
complex social-ecological systems. A number of reasons have been identified in the literature for
why M&E practice often does not optimally support learning. These are elucidated below.
Program logic models do not take complexity into account and therefore do not prioritise learning
Mismatches between program logic models and program design and context play a role in inhibiting
learning. Rogers (2008)and Patton (2010)argued that M&E that works in simple systems, featuring
regular, predictable outcomes, is inappropriate for interventions in complex systems that have
multiple, non-linear pathways from underlying drivers through to outcomes. In complexity, the
pathways to success need to be worked out during and through action-taking and reflection. The
dynamic, largely open-ended nature of contexts, featuring complex feedback loops and emergent
properties, requires real-time learning. If program logic models do not even include learning
feedback loops or the possibility of emergent outcomes, it is unlikely that resources will be allocated
towards facilitating and understanding these (Woodhill, 2007; Villaneuva et al., 2012).
The accountability agenda crowds out learning
Organisations are often under a heavy donor accountability agenda which overshadows, inhibits or
fails to support learning. Donor monitoring and reporting requirements are often extensive and use
up precious resources, particularly for small NGOs, leaving little space for evaluation or learning-
focused activities (Bornstein, 2006; Taylor & Soal, 2011; Mueller-Hirth, 2012;Kachur et al.,2016).
According to Wongtschowski et al. (2016), the tension between M&E for accountability and M&E for
learning hinges onthe fear of sanctions: performance-based systems may support accountability
and transparency, but they also provide incentives to hide failures and overstate successes. Reports
are likely to omit unexpected outcomes, failures and mistakes (Mudau Mushwana, 2020), whereas
reflecting on such disruptions, dissonances and contradictions is vital for learning (Wals, 2007;
Schulz, 2010). Donors and implementers alike must recognise failure as part of the process, and
provide incentives to learn from failure (Putz et al. 2012; Wongtschowski et al., 2016).
Chirau & Blaser-Mapitsa (2020) described how a well-established performance management system
and strong compliance orientation have led to a decline in evaluation and learning activities in South
African municipalities. A situation in which performance-focused M&E requirements are not
experienced as meaningful can lead to ‘malicious compliance’ (Woodhill, 2007; Phillips et al., 2014).
When monitoring and reporting are seen as primarily serving the needs of the funder (upward
accountability), their potential for promoting learning is lost (Mudau Mushwana, 2020).
Evaluation is separated from monitoring
Conventionally, monitoring (the routine collection of data) is the task of program implementers,
while evaluation (sense-making based on the monitoring data) is undertaken by external experts,
midway through and at the end of a program. This practice tendsto exclude the implementers from
the sense-making that could precede learning and improved practice (Woodhill, 2007). For a variety
of reasons, practitioners do not optimally benefit from reading someone else’s evaluation report,
and even when they do read reports, if these are only produced at program closure, they are not
helpful for adaptive management and improving implementation practices.
Quantitative indicators are over-emphasised
Another standard design feature is to report almost exclusively on quantitative indicators.
Quantitative indicators enable the aggregation of outcome data on national, regional and global
scales. However, when M&E is exclusivelyabout progress against quantitative indicators, the
likelihood of learning is greatly reduced. Programs that are the most transformational are often the
least easily measured with quantitative indicators (Natsios, 2010).
M&E is seen as a purely technical function
M&E is often seen as a technical function related to monitoring systems, indicators, and data storage
and sharing. Wongtschowski et al. (2016:8-9) argue, for the case of agricultural extension systems,
that such a technical approach fails to harness the power of M&E for building and supporting
meaningful partnerships, promoting learning and building capacity. Furthermore, M&E work,
particularly in complex contexts where flexibility, adaptation and innovation are important, requires
leadership and advocacy and not merely “management” (Rosenberg & Kotschy, 2020; Patton, 2021).
Learning is treated as equivalent to knowledge transfer
Learning is often equated to transfers of knowledge during training or through communications
products (Woodhill, 2007). The learning purpose within M&E is too often focused primarily on
“capturing lessons” rather than on the processof learning. Capturing lessons is often left until the
end of a project and seen as a once-off communications or knowledge transfer task, with the
product being a brochure or guideline or a once-off “learning event”. Lessons learnt are furthermore
often of poor quality, being inadequately justified, not related to existing knowledge or too general
or specific to be useful; and it is too often assumed that simply documenting them will be sufficient
to ensure their uptake and use (Woodhill, 2007). This view of learning is insufficient for tracking,
documenting and interpreting innovations and developments as they unfold in complex, dynamic
situations (Patton, 2021).
M&E is not functionally integrated with planning and decision-making processes
While many development initiatives appear to have sufficient monitoring to manage the operational
side of basic implementation and financial management, it is rare to find M&E systems that help
organisations to critically analyse progress towards outcomes and impacts in a participatory and
learning-oriented way with beneficiaries, staff and partners (Woodhill, 2007). Strategic adaptive
management requires more than quantitative indicator data; it requires ongoing connections
between monitoring and evaluation functions and strategic planning processes (Pollard et al., 2011).
Unfortunately, a common assumption often made by M&E system developers is that improving M&E
will lead to improved management and performance. This is most definitely not guaranteed. Since
M&E is often seen as number counting and dull reporting, many managers do not engage closely
with M&E systems or issues and do not consider M&E as useful for supporting their management
responsibilities. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because a lack of attention to the
relationship between M&E, planning and decision-making renders M&E ineffective in terms of these
functions (Woodhill, 2007).
Referencesfor Section 4.
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evaluation practice in South African municipalities. Evaluation and Program Planning,82, Article
Kachur, D., Soal, S., & van Blerk, R. (2016). Stretching between learning and accountability:
Experiences of South African non-governmental organisations. African Evaluation Journal,4(1),
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The following broad activities are to be undertaken during this period:
ØContinuation of implementation for the CRA learning groups across three provinces
ØOngoing involvement in CoPs: AN-capacity building and learning, PGS-SA, Northern
Drakensberg collaborative
ØFinalization of master’s student concept note and registration at UKZN.
ØDevelopment of food systems case studies
ØDevelopment of climate resilience monitoring framework and indicator sets.
Table 13: Work plan --August -December 2023
Work plan August-December 2023
5. Food
MDF: Erna
COPs: Continue with village level CRA
learning groups in KZN, EC and
Limpopo engaged develop case
study framework and conduct
Undertake annual review sessions for
field cropping.
Undertake further interventions in
multipurpose poultry and conduct
Finalise small business development
and livelihoods surveys
MDF: Erna
INR: Brigid
COPs: Multistakeholder forums:
uThukela water source partnership
MDF: Erna
Develop monitoring framework and
indicators pilot M&E process in
selected learning groups
MDF: Erna
Networks working groups: Adaptation
Network - capacity development
sessions for STI in Hammanskraaland
learning, PGSSA- Certification and
farmer inputs, CA forum.
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