Adaptation and Risk Reduction (ARR) in GEM





For many years Oxfam has worked with agricultural communities to explore solutions to the challenges posed by climate change and disasters. Our experience shows that the agricultural sector is a high-risk business for smallholder farmers, whose livelihoods are vulnerable to both disasters (e.g. floods and drought) and longer-term impacts of climate change (e.g. temperature increase and seasonal shifts). To reduce these risks it is vital to respond to existing hazards and emerging trends and address factors that limit adaptive capacity while actively building capacity to respond. Addressing these risks in the GEM approach provides a huge opportunity for long-term and sustainable solutions to smallholder poverty.


Programme example

Dorothy Musoke, a smallholder farmer in Kasese, Uganda, noticed that the seasons kept changing. With support from Oxfam she has adapted her farm to manage the more frequent rains and is trialling new crops to manage increasing periods of drought, offering her and her family hope in the face of future uncertainty.


More about Adaptation and Risk Reduction (ARR)

Oxfam is committed to integrating Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies into its programmes in contexts where climate change and disasters are a significant driver of poverty and suffering. 


Vulnerability to disaster and climate change matters to Oxfam because it perpetuates and deepens the poverty and suffering that Oxfam's work aims to overcome.  It stands in the way of people – particularly women – being able to enjoy their basic rights and reduces their chances of ever being able to attain them. 


Climate change is affecting many of the communities with which Oxfam works; undermining their livelihoods through gradual, insidious changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, and increasing the frequency and/or intensity of hazards such as floods and droughts. On a global scale, disasters are increasing in both frequency and impact.  The number of people affected by disaster doubled during the 1990s, and every year since 2000 over a quarter of a billion people lost their home, livelihood or health as a result. 


Oxfam’s approach

Our goal is to work with others to reduce poverty and create the conditions whereby people can thrive in spite of disaster risks and climatic changes. This involves supporting those who are most vulnerable to develop an understanding of the range of current and emerging climate and disaster risks they face – and develop sustainable actions appropriate to their context.


Smallholder communities are at the centre of our approach to CCA and DRR. However, achieving change at the local level requires working with a range of actors across multiple levels in order to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of people and institutions to manage change and address any factors that limit adaptive capacity.
  • Promote effective policy and ensure the provision of adequate resources.
  • Make sure that the voices of those most at risk are heard.
  • Ensure that national development-planning addresses the underlying causes of vulnerability, as well as exposure to climate change and other risks.

Tools to Plan Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Reduction Measures

Oxfam uses Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (VRA) and Participatory Capacity and Vulnerability Assessment (PCVA) tools to identify and design risk reduction measures. The PCVA process aims to collect and analyse data provided by a large share of community members, while the VRA combines data provided by experts and relevant stakeholders with that of community representatives. The recently developed VRA has proven to be an easy-to-use tool that requires little time and resources to implement, while it delivers useful evidence-based results.


Read more about comparing the PCVA and VRA

Africa Climate Change Resistance Alliance (ACCRA)

ACCRA is a consortium made up of Oxfam and 4 other INGOs seeking improved national decision making in order to reduce vulnerability and to support communities’ agency and resilience in Ethiopia, Uganda and Mozambique.  ACCRA works with governments and civil society and uses an integrated three-track approach of research, capacity-building and advocacy.


Read more about ACCRA


Read more about  Adaptation and Risk Reduction (ARR) in GEM



Find out more about Adaptation and Risk Reduction on Oxfam’s Policy & Practice website.


Read more about the GEM Programme


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