Participants share ideas during the 2011 AfricaAdapt Symposium.
Participants share ideas during the 2011 AfricaAdapt Symposium.

Negotiating Openness: Lessons from AfricaAdapt

Climate change adaptation must be informed by different types of knowledge, both scientific and "traditional," from various fields and disciplines. But what happens when such diverse perspectives coalesce? How can researchers create participatory and open spaces to encourage information sharing between different constituencies? What does "openness" mean to those involved? This article by the Institute of Development Studies’ Blane Harvey grapples with these questions.

Through the case study of AfricaAdapt, a CCAA-funded platform for collaboration and communication on climate change, Harvey examines processes of "meaning making" in international networks. Through different levels of negotiation, network actors create shared definitions of concepts such as "openness," "development," and "research." These processes are not always visible or openly discussed, and power dynamics between actors often influence their outcomes.  

Furthermore, mediating technologies – be they information and communication technologies (ICTs) or development tools like the "project" – shape how participatory spaces are created. While ICTs may broaden the potential reach of a network, their use may also unintentionally exclude certain communities.

To read more, Download the PDF: Negotiating Openness across Science, ICTs, and Participatory Development: Lessons from the AfricaAdapt Network

This article shares reflections from a CCAA-funded knowledge-sharing project, AfricaAdapt. The project was initiated under the auspices of the Institute of Development Studies and has recently been devolved to African partners. Dakar-based ENDA-Tiers Monde now leads the project in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, and the Nairobi-based IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) Climate Predictions and Applications Centre.

The article appeared in the spring 2011 volume of Information Technologies & International Development.

For more information on AfricaAdapt, visit the AfricaAdapt website

Climate Change Adaptation in Africa research and capacity development program was launched in 2006 as a joint initiative of Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). 

You can find other results from this project below.


Séminaire sur les semences au Burkina du 5 au 11 décembre 2011 : rapport du Meet and Greet

AfricaAdapt : final technical report, 2010-2013 (phase II)

Adapting agriculture through local knowledge : key findings and policy recommendations from an AfricaAdapt e-discussion

Adapter l'agriculture grâce à la connaissance locale : principales conclusions et recommandations politiques issues d'une discussion en ligne d'AfricaAdapt

GMOs or local crops for climate change adaptation in Africa? : key findings and policy recommendations from the AfricaAdapt network

Risk communication guide for climate change practitioners in Africa

Social media guide for climate change practitioners in Africa

Resource guide on climate change science

AfricaAdapt newsletter, April 2012

AfricaAdapt : quarterly newsletter, August 2012, issue 9

AfricaAdapt newsletter, February 2012

Rapport d'évaluation de la deuxième phase du réseau AfricaAdapt - rapport final

New voices, different perspectives : proceedings of the AfricaAdapt Climate Change Symposium 2011

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