Who are the experts in climate change adaptation? An experiment in valorizing the practical knowledge of West African farmers

PROCASUR has a strong focus on the expansion or scaling up of successful or innovative interventions. The project’s purpose is to reinforce the implementation of climate change solutions in the Sahel. These adaptations and resilience initiatives draw from the knowledge, skills, and expertise developed by local populations.

An initiative of Procasur

Overview of the project

Over generations, smallholder farmers in the Sahel have watched their environments degrade. In response to these conditions, communities have implemented practical measures and local initiatives to address problems related to climate change. It is these types of practices, based on concrete knowledge and experience in the area, yet often overlooked by researchers, that our project aims to recognize and deploy.

We identified best practices carried out by local communities (practical local knowledge on rain-fed vegetable cultivation, the Zaï technique combined with assisted natural regeneration, local tree production, hedge planting, and methods used by women in the community to increase their income,) and by farmers (and their families,) who have successfully put them into practice.

These farmers trained other farmers within a program that we designed, and that is currently being carried out, in order to understand what the best ways are to share, and which necessary skills need to be developed, and which knowledge to acquire that is linked to the adoption, adaptation, scaling up of best practices, and what proven solutions to implement by smallholder farmers in the Sahel.

The training program includes multiple visits of the trainees to farms, as well as from the trainers to the trainees’ farms, and is conceived as a highly effective and inexpensive way of scaling up best practices, and offering technical assistance to rural poor, one that recognizes local knowledge and include it in rural development projects.


To test a community-based approach for the scaling up of best practices implemented by smallholder farmers.

Level of progress


Project timeline

01/01/2019 – 12/31/2021 - project still in progress

Quantitative results

26 farmers in the province of Bam in Burkina Faso were selected to be trained by 5 smallholder farmers and their families

Qualitative results

The project is still in progress, so we do not have the final evaluation of the training program. So far, we identified two relevant qualitative results, despite initial skepticism by many stakeholders on:

  • The relevance and applicability of selected best practices, we could show that despite their simplicity, these practices bring benefits that are competitive in comparison with sophisticated, often more expensive, solutions. Simple techniques such as Zaï, or hedge planting can improve families’ resilience to climate change as efficiently, and sometimes more efficiently, than complex technologies/schemes.
  • The potential of local farmers to become themselves trainers of other farmers, we proved that with appropriate accompaniment they can become efficient providers of sustainable technical assistance in rural zones, offering services to other farmers but also to rural development initiatives.

The project is funded by International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

About the


Javiera Araya
Project Coordinator

Procasur Africa has worked as a knowledge broker for the Global South, linking international institutions and regional organizations with local governments, rural talents and communities to identify, nourish and share innovative ideas. We work with diverse stakeholders to share the best practices and new trends in rural development, in themes such as financing, market access, natural resource management, gender empowerment, youth inclusion, innovative technologies and more.

Find them on
A project
in collaboration
  • Association Zoramb Naagtaaba (AZN)


    Pascal SAWADOGO
  • Association Zood-Nooma pour le Développement (AZND)


    (+226) 24 45 93 97