The voice of rural communities is frequently missing from mainstream climate science, even though they are all on the front lines of the climate crisis. This was the motivation to create Climate Crowd, which first got started in 2014. Since then, Climate Crowd has grown to include data from over 30 countries in addition to on-the-ground projects which help people and nature adapt to a changing climate. These projects are informed, designed, and implemented hand in hand with rural communities around the world. A big focus of the projects is improved water security, for example through rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, fog catchers, solar-powered boreholes, and greywater recycling. Other projects focus on climate-smart agriculture, alternative livelihoods, education for schools, reforestation, clean cookstoves, and weather stations.
The Climate Crowd methodology is to provide training and guidance to local partners who work with communities to collect data using a key informant survey. The Climate Crowd team then analyzes the data, compiling summary reports that highlight key trends. The findings are then presented back to the communities, and we work with them to co-design and implement on-the-ground projects to address climate vulnerabilities using funding from Climate Crowd.
As the climate changes and communities adapt, Climate Crowd wants to help them do so in ways that benefit both people and nature. The number of partners we work with and the geographies we work in are growing rapidly, so be sure to check in regularly at wwfclimatecrowd.org.
Explore three of the most recent Climate Crowd projects below.t
Seaweed Farming and Beekeeping for Livelihood Diversification in Madagascar
Create sustainable alternative livelihoods for coastal communities that build resilience to changing rainfall patterns and reduce pressure on fisheries.
Reported Changes in Weather and Climate
Number of Climate Crowd Interviews (n=22)
Ankoba community members report the following impacts:
- Reduced abundance of fish
- Increased reliance on destructive fishing practices and equipment
- Crop failure due to insufficient or unreliable rainfall
- Reduced availability of freshwater
- Livelihood loss due to crop loss and fish declines
With agricultural production declining due to drought, people rely more heavily on fishing, placing greater pressure on already strained fisheries. This project establishes seaweed farming and beekeeping to help households diversify their income and lessen the burden on marine ecosystems. Seaweed farming will be primarily driven by local women, helping to reduce existing gender inequities by facilitating women's involvement in income-generating activities.
- Identification of seaweed and beekeeping sites
- Training of local communities on seaweed production and beekeeping techniques
- Purchase and installation of materials for seaweed and beekeeping production. Beekeeping requires recycled wooden boards to serve as frames, safety equipment to protect against bee stings, relief wax, stainless steel wire, and a queen grill. Seaweed farming requires buoys and rope of various sizes and lengths.
- Provide market access for the sale of products to the private sector
Improving Water Security and Reducing Deforestation in Zimbabwe
Support community water and food security during prolonged drought, and combat widespread deforestation.
Local Climate Threats
Reported Changes in Weather and Climate
Number of Climate Crowd Interviews (n=42)
Community members from the Hwange District report the following impacts:
- Widespread water insecurity
- Crop loss from prolonged drought and increasing pest prevalence
- Increased human-wildlife conflicts, particularly involving elephants
- Poor livestock health due to sparse and degraded grazing area and decreased water availability
- An increase in resource-intensive livelihoods such as brick-making due to farming losses from drought
In Hwange district, a shift to hotter, drier conditions has decimated crops and livestock, and reduced access to freshwater. Some have found alternative sources of income through brick-making and wood carving, placing greater pressure on local forests. In partnership with Greenline Africa, a local non-governmental organization, this project improves water security by installing a rainwater harvesting system, upgrading a borehole pump to solar power, installing improved irrigation, and reducing pressure on forests through the installation of clean cookstoves. Additionally, the project set a goal of 60/40 female to male participation, established a women’s cooperative to help scale up project activities, and is monitoring changes in time spent collecting water (currently 2-3 hours), a responsibility primarily shouldered by women.
- Installation of a rainwater harvesting system at a local primary school. Community members were trained in system maintenance and management.
- Upgrading of a hand-pump borehole to a solar-powered borehole pump.
- Installation of drip irrigation.
- Installation of an automated weather station connected to the National Meteorological Authority in Zimbabwe.
- Provision of fuel-efficient cookstoves to reduce firewood collection.
Improving Water Access for Communities and Wildlife in Kenya
Decrease human-wildlife conflict over access to water and pasture during periods of drought.
Local Climate Threats
Number of Climate Crowd Interviews (n=45)
Community members from the Mara Siana Conservancy report the following impacts:
- Reduced availability of freshwater pasture
- Death and malnourishment of livestock due to water scarcity and reduced pasture availability
- Increased prevalence of diseases in people and livestock
- Increased human-wildlife conflict, especially involving elephants
Intensifying drought has increased competition over water resources among community members, livestock, and wildlife in the Mara Siana Conservancy, resulting in frequent instances of human-wildlife conflict. To improve water access for wildlife, especially elephants that frequently venture into villages searching for water, Climate Crowd and WWF Kenya collaborated to rehabilitate a key water pan. Additionally, through the installation of two rainwater harvesting systems constructed at two primary schools, the project will enhance community access to water and decrease the need to travel long distances into core wildlife areas where human-wildlife conflict often occurs.
- Rehabilitation of a water pan: Project partners widened and deepened a local water pan and reinforced its walls.
- Installation of four rainwater harvesting systems in two primary schools.
- Creation of a community water committee: The committee will keep track of water source users and wildlife sightings.
- Installation of a weather station: In Entumuto tented camp, the station allows local community members to collect and use weather information to better inform decision-making.
Read the full report, Climate Crowd on the Ground.