Rapidly designing a scale solution to support communities vulnerable to climate change

CARE International CVCA

The global population is now living with the harsh realities of climate change: high temperatures, drought, flooding, and other extreme weather and slow-onset climate events. The climate crisis acts as a threat multiplier, with far-reaching effects relating to conflict, economic justice, gender inequality, health, displacement, and food security. In areas of vulnerability, the multiplier effect is disproportionately greater and more harmful.

CARE International is committed to strengthening climate resilience and supporting climate adaptation at a community level.CARE’s Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA) participatory research tool plays a vital role in supporting communities vulnerable to climate change by better understanding the threats they are facing and how to take meaningful action to increase their climate resilience.

The challenge

CARE has ambition to scale CVCA, but the existing paper-based approach is prohibitive: it is too resource intensive, time-consuming and inconsistent—often producing incomparable results. Plus, the linear process prevented the creation of a ‘lighter-touch’ approach.

Our goal wasn’t to digitise the entire existing approach, but rather to identify the elements of CVCA to digitise that could eliminate the barriers preventing scale—without comprising the impact and depth of the process.

CARE had confronted CVCA’s challenges to scale numerous times before, so the team had a wealth of knowledge and information to start with. However, they felt fatigued by the complexity of the problem and unaligned on how to solve it.

Our approach

Given the availability of information and resources, the importance of creating momentum, and the need to conclude with a tangible output, we opted to tackle this challenge with a Google Ventures sprint. This approach rapidly creates and validates an idea with real users, helping provide CARE with the alignment and confidence necessary to progress on their scale journey.

Since CARE’s team is globally distributed, we opted for a remote sprint. This requires a different approach to an in-person sprint. Staring at a Zoom screen for 8 hours a day for 5 days isn’t feasible, so we restructured the typical 5-day approach into an 8-day structure—meeting for no longer than 3 hours a day to prevent screen fatigue and maintain high engagement.

The output

During the sprint, we identified 4 key actors within the CVCA:

  • Those planning the CVCA and agreeing with the objective(s)
  • Those facilitating the implementation of the participatory tools to deliver according to the priorities and objectives
  • Those taking notes and recording the data during the participatory in-person research (e.g. uploading photos of work completed on paper)
  • Those analysing the results and creating a CVCA report

We discovered that by creating a tool to support the facilitators, we could overcome the key scale barriers and prepare CVCA for scale.

We rapidly created a prototype of a facilitator interface designed to reduce complexity and improves the comparability of data collected across CVCAs, and tested it with existing CVCA users. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive:

CARE's feedback

I really find this amazing. It’s great

Sanoussi, Niger

This will help capture CVCA info more precisely and completely than the traditional way

Yen, Vietnam

It’s much easier to follow digitally rather than having a printed field guide - and to know where the notes fit in

Fiona, Kenya

After eight days of collaborating with Here I Am, CARE gained alignment and a tangible, user-tested solution to support the scale of CVCA.

Thank you to everyone involved on the project. Especially Christabell Makokha, Anita Akella, Melody Lutz, Alex Berryhill, Palash Mondal, Caroline Schaer, Karl Deering, Ninon Ndayikengurukiye, Revi Sterling, and CVCA user testers Yen Nguyen Thi, Fiona Percy, Isaac Phiri, Elsie Samboko, Burnnet Khulumbo, Ababale Mahamane Sanoussi, and Emma, Justine, Fridah, Flynne, Dominik and the rest of the Here I Am team.

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