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A Tool for Collecting Good Practices in Natural Resource Management for Combating Desertification in Africa

By RegionalCooperationGroup

1.0 Introduction

Climate change is currently the most difficult challenge all over the world. Africa for instance continues to experience extreme weather events associated with climate change that include; frequent droughts which alternate with severe flooding, increased temperatures and desertification. These negative impacts continue severally degrade the African natural resources, leading increased poverty levels, with the poorest vulnerable communities being most affected. However, though climate change effects paint a grim picture, the advantage is that the world today has more knowledge, information and technologies that can be applied to boost resilience to climate change and consequently combat desertification. It is therefore possible, using a wide range of technologies to limit further climate change impacts through adoption of best practices that mitigate and help communities to adapt to a changing climate as well as offer sustainable livelihood options and strategies for food security. Some of the technologies for wide scale adoption include; reducing deforestation and forest degradation, promoting sustainable management of forests, halting and reversing land degradation, halting biodiversity loss and vegetation degradation, increasing crop yield and livestock performance, biomass energy – efficiency woody biomass conversion and use techniques, Income generating activities that promote environmental conservation and Participatory Natural Resource Management (PNRM) practices.

2.0 Good practice criteria

2.1 Good practice definition

A good practice can be defined as a technology, technique or innovation that has been tested, validated and adopted by a large group of end users with great success. It addresses identified natural resource management challenges. Such practice can be termed as a model and be promoted for wide scale adoption in other Sub-Saharan African countries.

2.2 Criteria for identifying good practice

The following criteria will help to determine if the practice can be classified as good practice (Table 1). A good practice should meet at least one third of the criteria outlined.

Table 1: Good practice identification criteria

Criteria Explanations on the practice

Effective and successful

  • Proven its relevance as an effective way to achieve a specific objective by solving a given challenge,
  • Successfully adopted and has had a positive impact on individuals and/or communities
Technically feasible
  • Easy to learn and to implement without difficulties, especially by end users e.g. farmers
Replicable and adaptable
  • Can be replicated and is adaptable to solve similar problems in varying situations
  • Able to address climate change challenges and to combat desertification
Environmentally sound
  • Environmentally sound by protecting the environment (does not pollute or lead to environmental degradation
  • Guarantee positive impact over time without compromising the ability to address future needs
Economically viable
  • Economically feasible to make it worth changing end users established habits
  • Affordable alternative to older practices
  • Economically beneficial by being able to save money or generate income
Socially acceptable
  • Not offend anyone or disturb social attitudes
  • Fit into the cultural background (culturally sensitive)
  • Demonstrates progressive solutions and provides continued solutions to pressing environmental and social challenges such climate change, food security, environmental resilience and gender empowerment
  • Meets current needs, without compromising the ability to address future needs
  • Contributes to economic development, social development, and environmental protection
  • Developed through participatory approaches in order to generate a sense of ownership in decision making and actions to be implemented

3.0 Template for collecting good practices

The template can be used as a checklist to ensure as much as possible relevant information has been captured while documenting the good practice. The practice will be documented as outlined in the following template (adapted from the FAO good practice website). Identifying and documenting good practices will be aided by use of 5Ws and H namely: What, Why, Who, Where, When and How (Table 2).

Table 2: Template for collecting good practices

Title State the title of the practice ( it should address issues on combating desertification)
What is the practice
  • What is the problem/challenge being addressed by the practice?
  • Provide a short description of the good practice being addressed
  • What has been the impact of this good practice on the beneficiaries’ –livelihoods?
  • Include testimonies from farmers and other end users, farmers
  • Have these beneficiaries livelihoods been environmentally, financially and/or economically improved and if yes how?
  • What are the challenges encountered in applying the good practice
  • What are the key messages and lessons learned to take away from the good practice experience,
  • Comment on sustainability of the practice over time and give results achieved by the practice.

  • State the aim, purpose and justification for the practice.
  • Explain the impact and usefulness of the good practice
  • Why should other countries adopt the practice
  • when should the practice need to be applied/practised.
  • How long does the practice take for successful completion
  • Is the practice a one time or seasonal?
  • what is the time demand for the practise (part-time or full-time)
  • State who are the stakeholders (donors, implementers etc)
  • Who are the main beneficiaries of the practice/technology e.g. livestock, tree farmers, forest adjacent communities etc.
  • Indicate the type of publication eg manual, guideline, leaflet prepared for the beneficiaries
  • Where has the practice been found to be successful
  • What are the conditions (economic, climatic conditions, biophysical, soiltype, social, and environmental) that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated (in a similar context)

  • How is the practice being undertaken to address the challenges identified
  • Was the process participatory?
  • How has dissemination been undertaken e.g. through various fora and events
  • At least 6 photos on the practice should be included
  • What are the possibilities of expanding the good practice more widely?
  • If you were giving advice to communities living in another geographic area, what are the conditions that should be met /respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated and adapted to the new context?
  • What assistant are you able to offer (financial, reading materials, etc)
  • Attach, if possible, written/pictorial/audio-visual evidence such as storytelling or testimony of farmers showing the benefits of the good practice.


Topic revision: r9 - 16 Sep 2016 - VictorKamau
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