Saturday, August 14, 2010

CRiSTAL Training

So, as I have mentioned, I have been crazy busy lately. My department hosted two one-week workshops for two different Districts we work in. This training was supposed to be completed in June, which would have been a lot more convenient because one of the Districts split into two on 1 July, so we couldn't afford a third workshop for the new District. Too bad, because they could have used all the information in their new planning.

Anyway, this workshop was on Diaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. It used several tools: CVCA (Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis) and CRiSTAL (Community-based Risk Screening - Adaptation and Livelihoods). The aim of the workshop is to prioritize needs and livelihoods based on climactic hazards that could increase due to potential climate changes. Increased flooding, drought, hailstorms; and the result effects: increased migration, wars/disagreements over natural resources, water scarcity, etc. Information is collected at the community-level and entered into these tools, which then automatically prioritizes the results, and uses data entered to make suggestions to mitigate climate change.

The first week of training was a logistical nightmare. The district we were working in is notorious for things never starting on time, if at all. Most of the folks who work there live in Gulu town, a 1.5 hour drive from the district headquarters, so you're lucky if you get anyone to show up by 11, if they show up at all. And two o'clock rolls around, and they head home. Our training was scheduled to begin at 8am at the district headquarters. While it was our mistake to even think about getting up at 6:30 to drive there (which we did), we had little choice. The normally five-day workshop had already been cut to four days, and to try to cut it even more wouldn't work. Well, no one showed up that first Tuesday until 11.

When we finally got rolling, it was ok. The second day is a field day. Because the main reason most of the district workers don't get to the headquarters until 11 is (as they say) from lack of transportation, we agreed that we would all meet at the Shell station in Gulu (we had arranged for four 7-seater vehicles to go into the field) at 8am to drive to the field site. The field site was only minutes from the district headquarters, but at least this way we got everyone started a little earlier. We assembled for tea that second morning to discuss the field portion of the training, then headed out to Olik B, just 10 minutes away. It started to rain.

Although we tried so hard that second day to make it out to the field at a reasonable hour, the weather just didn't want to cooperate. We had 24 women huddle in one hut, 24 men in another, and all our participants hiding in the vehicles as we waited for the rain to pass. Finally, after two hours (it was now past noon) we could begin, and begin outside. Women seated themselves on straw mats on the ground, men took the benches and chair.

There were four groups of participants: old men, old women, young men and young women. Each group was to go through the process of making a rain calendar, a map of the community including hazards, list the community's resources (human, natural, physical, financial and social), and rank the hazards/resources in terms of importance.

After all the field data is collected and lunch is eaten, we end the day to restart in the morning. We met back at the workshop room, or in this case, a classroom, to go over our results from the four groups and enter the data into the tools. It takes two days (or more) of entering and ranking the information, but in the end, a document is produced that ranks the needs and hazards. Overall, it was a very interesting process, and I was pleased with the energy from the community and the District officials who attended the two workshops we held in Gulu and Amuru Districts.

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