From accessing to assessing forecasts: an end-to-end study of participatory climate forecast dissemination in Burkina Faso (West Africa)
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Roncoli, C., Jost, C., Kirshen, P. et al. Climatic Change (2009) 92: 433. doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9445-6
- 500 Downloads
This study compares responses to seasonal climate forecasts conducted by farmers of three agro-ecological zones of Burkina Faso, including some who had attended local level workshops and others who had not attended the workshops. While local inequalities and social tensions contributed to excluding some groups, about two-thirds of non-participants interviewed received the forecast from the participants or through various means deployed by the project. Interviews revealed that almost all those who received the forecasts by some mechanism (workshop or other) shared them with others. The data show that participants were more likely to understand the probabilistic aspect of the forecasts and their limitations, to use the information in making management decisions and by a wider range of responses. These differences are shown to be statistically significant. Farmers evaluated the forecasts as accurate and useful in terms of both material and non-material considerations. These findings support the hypothesis that participatory workshops can play a positive role in the provision of effective climate services to African rural producers. However, this role must be assessed in the context of local dynamics of power, which shape information flows and response options. Participation must also be understood beyond single events (such as workshops) and be grounded in sustained interaction and commitments among stakeholders. The conclusion of this study point to lessons learned and critical insights on the role of participation in climate-based decision support systems for rural African communities.