The Role of Vertical Collaboration in Local Community Empowerment : Exploring the Implementation of Climate Smart Agriculture at a Local Level in Eswatini

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: To strengthen societies and address the increased risks generated by climate change, development projects within disaster risk reduction [DRR] and climate change adaptation [CCA] must ensure the sustainability of capacity development. However, sustainability is currently flawed in such projects, which could relate to the inadequate achievement of empowerment of targeted beneficiaries. Some scholars suggest that vertical collaboration – the collaboration between stakeholders and beneficiaries – is decisive in determining the achievement of community empowerment during implementation. Still, the role of vertical collaboration and the dynamics of this relationship remains unexplored. By comparing a development initiative within climate-smart agriculture [CSA] implemented in two different communities in Eswatini, this thesis aims to evaluate the achievement of vertical collaboration and explore the relationship between vertical collaboration and empowerment. The results show that the achievement of vertical collaboration does covariate with the presence of empowerment and that certain factors are more influential in determining outcomes than others. These factors include the presence of opportunities for all participants to get involved; active, accessible, and participatory communication; bidirectional learning; and providing beneficiaries with voice and decision-making power. The findings support the theoretical argument, demonstrating that vertical collaboration plays a role in determining empowerment, and highlight the importance of considering it as a critical aspect when implementing CSA projects. However, the sustainability of capacity developments could not be identified in either community, suggesting that alternative factors might be essential for long-term outcomes. Further research is required to understand interconnections among identified factors and how they can be leveraged for the success and sustainability of capacity development within this field.

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