Promoting local innovation and participatory innovation development as a means of adapting to climate change: sharing and learning within the PROLINNOVA network
Keywords:local innovation, local knowledge, climate change, knowledge networks, capacity strengthening, participation, research, social learning
AbstractPromoting Local Innovation in Ecologically-oriented Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (PROLINNOVA) is an international multi-stakeholder network initiated by civil society organisations (CSOs) with the vision of recognising and promoting local innovation as a pathway towards more sustainable forms of agricultural development and natural resource management (NRM). PROLINNOVA acknowledges that local people?s own innovation is a driving force in development. This refers to the dynamics of indigenous knowledge in constant adaptation to change by farmers who grasp new opportunities and discover affordable, locally specific and appropriate solutions to their problems. These local innovations serve as entry points for initiating Participatory Innovation Development (PID) or farmer-led joint research, a process in which scientists and development agents join local people to further develop, adapt and test these local ideas and initiatives, integrating local knowledge and scientific knowledge. At its core, the PID approach enhances the farmers? capacities to adapt to change, developing their own site-appropriate systems and institutions of managing resources to gain food security, sustain their livelihoods and safeguard the environment. This approach to development takes on even greater importance in the face of climate change. Poor rural communities are often the most vulnerable to climate change and their capacity to adapt to this and other changes is vital. This paper examines how sharing, reflection and co-learning are stimulated within the network, particularly related to local innovation, PID and climate change adaptation. Using several examples, it demonstrates the added value that a learning network can have in safeguarding and sustaining the lives and livelihoods of poor rural communities faced with the challenges of climate change.