Climate Change and Social Learning (CCSL)
Better decision making on climate change, agriculture and food security through Participatory Action Research and Communication and Collective Social Learning
This wiki is our Climate Change Social Learning (CCSL) collective work space, it is work in progress - some activities or decisions mentioned are pending confirmation.


Introduction to this CCSL work space


In late 2011, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) ‘Theme 4’ issued a call for proposals for people and organizations to help develop a CCAFS ‘strategy on communication and social learning’ (CCSL) in climate change, agriculture and food security. Following background work by IDS and IIED, a workshop on these topics was held in May 2012 to take this strategy forward. Out of that workshop, a CCSL working group has emerged.

This wiki is our work space. It contains information about the May 2012 workshop and a host of other useful information (accessible from the left menu) to use social learning the best possible way and understand CCSL work better:
  • A space to share, learn and discuss CCSL issues: the sandbox
  • Various elements of a CCSL strategy: recent developments (June and December 2013), major change areas identified in the previous period (2012-2013) and next steps
  • A list of projects that have been started as part of the CCSL work
  • Resources that can practically help you: a framework and toolkit; a page listing CCSL publications, wider research, videos and related works on social learning; a glossary and list of acronyms
  • All events and conversations that have contributed to developing this CCSL body of work since the foundational workshop of May 2012
  • Some possible funding opportunities for this work
  • A site map to guide you through pages and sub-pages of this work space.

For CCAFS latest call to action see the article Social Learning and Sustainable Development(authors version of article published in Nature Climate Change, January 2014)

Below is more background information about CCSL work as well as some definition of the main issue of interest in this work space: Social learning.

Background information about CCSL work


Climate change is an immediate and unprecedented threat to the food security of hundreds of millions of people who depend on small‐scale agriculture for their livelihoods. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) brings together the world’s best researchers in agricultural science, development research and climate science to identify and address the most important and complex interactions, synergies and tradeoffs between climate change, agriculture and food security. CCAFS also involves farmers, policy makers, donors and other stakeholders, to integrate their knowledge and needs into the tools and approaches that are being developed.

One primary objective of the CCAFS ‘Integration for Decision Making’ Theme (Theme 4) is to explore approaches and methods that enhance knowledge-to-action linkages with a wide range of partners, and assemble data and tools for analysis and planning and thus provide improved frameworks, databases and methods to plan responses to climate change. An essential activity is to develop decision support and communication tools so that policymakers, development partners, researchers and farmers can make decisions with a greater understanding of the interactions between local conditions, national policies and programs, and international development, in the face of multiple drivers of change.

We see communications as a two‐way street: on the one hand, how best to convey complex information and research outputs to different stakeholders at different levels; on the other, how the information needs of different stakeholder groups, their perceptions and management of risk, experiences with and approaches to social learning, etc. can inform the development and appropriate use of decision aids.

Drawing on a review of current climate change communications and social learning approaches, tools and decision aids, we want to identify the main strengths and weaknesses in targeting specific stakeholders, as well as the gaps that could inform a CCAFS strategy to engage in this area. We are interested in different kinds of communication approaches, tools and decision aids for different levels of stakeholders (such as farmers, community groups, local governments, etc.).

The May 2012 workshop was meant to assist CCAFS and our partners to identify potential niches where we can make specific contributions to the development of climate change communications and social learning approaches and tools, and help prioritize potential activities to contribute towards CCAFS output targets over the coming years.

What is social learning?

As explained in the glossary and list of acronyms page...

Social learning approaches help facilitate knowledge sharing, joint learning and co-creation experiences between particular stakeholders around a shared purpose taking learning and behaviour change beyond the individual to networks and systems. Through a facilitated iterative process of working together, in interactive dialogue, exchange, learning, action and reflection and on-going partnership new shared ways of knowing emerge that lead to changes in practice."

The value added for the CGIAR of the social learning approach is that it provides a way to address complex socio-ecological problems by integrating diverse knowledges and value systems at many different levels and through different learning cycles. Social learning engages relevant stakeholders in co-framing challenges at community, regional, national and global scales with the aim of mobilising technical, institutional and social knowledge to unlock the potential that can accelerate change. Social learning is step change because it is more than just a process of inclusivity, it is a continuous iterative process of co-learning.

As such social learning is therefore:
  • Purposeful
  • Involving multiple knowledges to collective reflection and collective action
  • Learning-focused
  • Iterative
  • Adaptive
  • Context-specific
  • Transformative, often beyond the individuals involved in it

For an easy introduction to Climate Change and Social Learning see the CCAFS CCSL Booklet