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Effects of capacity building methods could be insufficient

  • Research concluded that capacity building workshops for water supply organizations had no impact on their behavior.

A recent study led by CATIE researcher, Francisco Alpízar, and Paul Ferraro, from John Hopkins University published in Nature Climate Change, found that training workshops in Central American communities, which aimed to provide the necessary climate adaptation tools to community water supply organizations, could not change people's behavior regarding their management practices.  

The workshops were the final dissemination stage of the AC3 project, which lasted three years and was led by the Research Program in Development, Economics and Environment of CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center).

"The objective of this study is to encourage experimentation efforts in sustainability and adaptation programs, in order to have more evidence on the effectiveness of the dissemination and capacity building stages. Over time we can begin to build more robust evidence to promote better acceptance of behavioral changes with respect to adaptation globally," commented Alpízar.

The researchers wanted to test whether these efforts were effective, so they decided to conduct a randomized, controlled study (some communities were receiving training while others were not), to finally evaluate the real impact on the practices of community organizations with respect to water pricing.

"The use of a scientific lens to measure the impact of our research is not a typical study. That's the conclusion we came to after conducting a study that examined whether an effort to develop and disseminate locally relevant climate science in a drought-prone area changed the way communities manage their scarce drinking water," said researcher Paul Ferraro, in the Nature's Behavioral & Social Sciences blog.

The researchers did not detect differences in management practices related to water prices between participating and non-participating groups. These results suggest weaknesses in the common practice of using simple workshops to provide training and disseminate climate science results.

These weaknesses will  probably require the development of training , aimed at the formation of knowledge and innovation communities so that the levels of incidence and impact are reached,” said Juan Carlos Ménez, CATIE expert in Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Knowledge Management.

To read the Nature’s Climate Change editorial summarizing the importance and the results of this article, click here                                

To Access the article The impacts of a capacity Building Workshop on a Random Adaptation Project, click here.


More information/written by:

Carolina Guzmán
Information Technology and Communication CATIE
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