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Lyambai Vulnerability and Adaptation Project (LYVA)

This is a description of the project, please see the page on the workshop report for the most recent details on the project, and the adaptation options identified by participants from the different villages.

The Lyambai Vulnerability and Adaptation (LYVA) project

Ploughing the rice field at Limulunga


Part of the logic for choosing Zambia and particularly the Zambezi floodplain region of western Zambia, which will be the initial geographical focus of this project, is that this region, like its Sahelian counterparts to the north, lies in a zone of very high risk from the impacts of climate change. The region lies at the southern extremity of the migratory track of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and has already experienced some negative impacts of climate change or, more accurately, increasing climate variability in the form of increasing extreme weather events such as severe storms, higher annual floods, more years when the flood ]fails, higher temperatures and more severe winds.

Another part of the logic of high risk lies in the fact that virtually all socio-economic and cultural activity in the region is mediated by factors controlled by the climate. These include, cultivation, livestock rearing, fishing, reed products and other crafts, and reproduction of culture (for example, through the annual Kuomboka festival) most of which depend on the annual inundation of the Bulozi floodplain. Thus, social and environmental vulnerability in a region that is already classed as the poorest province in Zambia, is crosscut by high levels of sensitivity to change.

Finally, the River Zambezi flowing north to south through the region and cuts the floodplain in half, is vulnerable to reduced rainfall and higher temperatures not just in the floodplain and surrounding area but in the watershed regions of the Upper Zambezi, particularly in the central Angolan highlands. This climate dynamic is crosscut by increasing deforestation which is causing changes in run-off and groundflow regimes.

This project will be entitled the Lyambai Vulnerability and Adaptation (LYVA) project and will take place as part of the Zambezi Valley Development Initiative (ZVDI) jointly sponsored by ENDA and local partner organisation Other partners include the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI-Oxford). A new website will also be launched which will link to the wikiAdapt climate adaptation platform Main Page. The project will focus initially on three interrelated themes. These are the identification assessment and mapping of human (social) and ecological vulnerability that has been impacted by increasing climate dynamics, the assessment of adaptive capacity and the identification and planning of strategic action to adapt to the threats posed by this vulnerability and address capacity shortfalls. Overriding priority issues in this work will be food security/self-sufficiency, energy scarcity/provision, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

The initial focus for the work will be three village clusters in the centre of the Upper Zambezi Valley, specifically Lealui/Limulunga, Libonda and Sefula. These zones include wholly floodplain and floodplain margin/upland socio-ecological systems.

A successful workshop was held in Mongu, Zambia in October 2007. Download the preliminary workshop report from October 2007.


ENDA will partner with and develop capacity in specific Zambian organisations and institutions (whom ENDA has worked with previously). These include the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) through the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and the Western Province regional secretariat, the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) through HRH Litunga Imwiko II and Indunas directed to work on this project, and the Institute of Economic and Social Research (INESOR) of the University of Zambia (UNZA) and a local NGO based in Western Province, Zambia known as

ENDA’s partners outside of Zambia for this project include United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) (Oxford).

Project purpose

1. To assess increasing climate related vulnerability and identify possible adaptation strategies in the Bulozi floodplain region of the Upper Zambezi Valley in Zambia with a focus on food and energy security in the context of self sufficiency and sustainable development.

2. To develop strategies and plans for the adaptation of existing practices and the creation of new livelihood choices and alternatives to both maintain and increase production while protecting the physical environment for future generations.

3. To help create positive conditions to counter the rising tide of out-migration among the most able of the population and a slow haemorrhaging of indigenous knowledge and skills.


1. To assess and map vulnerability according to information and data supplied primarily by local people and also from available scientific research bodies.

2. To assess existing and past indigenous knowledge systems and coping strategies that can relate to productive activity and disaster management in the contemporary era.

3. To increase the amount of knowledge available among local people, local decision makers and national policy-making bodies on the nature and extent of climate impacts, set in the context of other socio-economic and politico-cultural dynamics and to make this knowledge useful.

4. To support existing indigenous coping strategies with new technologies and/or methodologies to increase the choices available for livelihoods, addressing food and energy security in particular.

5. To develop systems by which successful work undertaken today can be reproduced in a flexible but sustainable manner in the future by local organisations and communities using methodologies that they themselves have been instrumental in developing i.e. create a real sense of local ownership.

Projected outcomes

1. Raised awareness among local communities and their leaders as well as policy/decision-makers in regional and national government on climate change and variability, and associated risks disseminated through Local Decision Makers Workshop, work with local media (radio and printed press).

2. Construction of a locally-based ‘indigenous knowledge bank’ containing data on local evidence of climate, coping strategies in response to climate, and indigenous productive systems which developed in response largely to environmental conditions impacted by climate. This to be available at the five royal capitals of the Barotse Royal Establishment (Limulunga, Kaoma/Nalieli, Lukulu, Libonda, Nalolo/Muoyo, Mwandi as well as at District Administrators offices at Mongu, Kalabo, Senanga, Kaoma and Sesheke.

3. Production of a range of adaptation strategies that take into account local adaptation capacity, aimed at enhancing current systems and introducing new technologies to supplement indigenous systems providing choices and alternatives to combat possible future negative climate impact scenarios in the sphere of food and energy security.

4. An assessment and map of vulnerability for the Bulozi floodplain according to information supplied by local people and from climate and other scientific data.

5. An interactive website that is updated as events occur throughout the project cycle and which is gradually taken over by the local organisation during the course of 2008 as capacity is built in terms of IT capabilities.

6. Academic paper to be submitted for peer review in an internationally recognised journal, reflecting on the issues and principles involved and project experience. 7. A fully functioning local organisation that will be capable of carrying on the project work beyond the lifecycle of the current project in different locations throughout the floodplain region.

Related Pages

Lyambai Adaptation Options

Workshop Report

Workshop Evaluation

ENDA Communities website

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