Building Resilience: Integrating Climate Change into a Local NGO Agenda

Open Access
Biermann, Mary Maureen
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Petra Tschakert, Thesis Advisor
  • Africa
  • climate change
  • non-governmental organization
  • adaptive capacity
  • resilience
  • collective learning
Can NGOs build community resilience more effectively by explicitly addressing adaptation to climate change, or by couching climate change within the context of building adaptive capacity to multiple disturbances? In this thesis, I examine three NGOs in the Arusha region of Tanzania that use these two different approaches and compare their success at building adaptive capacity by evaluating their ability to foster opportunities for collective and anticipatory learning, a key aspect of resilient systems. I explain how each NGO understands climate change and adaptation, how this understanding shapes the NGO’s agenda, and how this agenda translates to concrete projects at the community level. Finally, I assess the effectiveness of these projects in fostering spaces for collective and anticipatory learning within communities, and explore the implications of these findings for the ways that local organizations can effectively incorporate climate change adaptation into resilience-building agendas.