Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook

Enhancing capacities for a country-owned transition towards CSA

Enabling Frameworks

Participatory capacity needs assessment: A process and tool for country-driven planning capacity development interventions in climate-smart agriculture projects in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania


In Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, the FAO Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture Programme (MICCA) developed pilot projects to help build climate-smart farming systems. The two pilot projects provided capacity development, including technical support to assist smallholder farmers in adopting climate-smart farming practices. During the pilot projects’ initial phase, a capacity needs assessment was undertaken in collaboration with the project partners and FAO country offices. In Kenya, the project partners were the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and the East Africa Dairy Development Project (EADD). In the United Republic of Tanzania, the project partners were the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and CARE. 


The objective of the assessments was to identify and prioritize the capacity needs that must be addressed to mainstream climate-smart agriculture into smallholder farming systems, given the existing capacities and gaps at the national, district and project level. The assessments served as the starting point for planning capacity development activities and provided an excellent opportunity to enhance collaboration among all stakeholders. 

The methodology used, which was based on the FAO Capacity Assessment Toolkit, was especially tailored to address climate change adaptation and mitigation in agriculture. The assessments helped identify the main stakeholders, policies, plans and strategies related to climate change that were already in place. Moreover, to strengthen their ownership over the process, the participating stakeholders could assess their own organizational and individual capacities and needs through open discussions and working groups. To analyse farmers’ capacities and needs regarding the adoption of climate-smart practices, the assessments considered the different existing agricultural land uses and management practices, as well as pressing climatic and environmental problems. Importantly, as part of the situation analysis, the capacity assessment was integrated into the more technical assessments and complemented these assessments.

Figure C1.9 - Situation analysis prior to climate-smart agriculture implementation

The assessment process was undertaken on multiple levels and involved a variety of participatory and consultative activities.

  1. At the national level, a stakeholders’ mapping and context analysis was carried out with representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock, and the Environment, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and United Nations agencies working on climate change.
  2. At the district level (project area), consultative workshops were held with project staff, extension officers and district staff from Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock, Water, Forestry and the Environment.
  3. At the project and community level, the assessment team organized focus group discussions with farmers and local leaders, interviewed farmers and conducted field visits.

Outcome of the capacity assessments

The assessments in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania successfully identified entry points for targeted and tailored capacity development activities; determined a baseline; and made recommendations for the promotion and implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices in both pilot projects.

The full assessment reports are available at:

For more information, consult: Planning, implementing and evaluating Climate-Smart Agriculture in Smallholder Farming Systems: The experience of the MICCA pilot projects in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania