The individual and the system: A qualitative research combining behavioural theories and system analysis to identify entry-points for interventions for the extension services in Mere-Mieti, Ethiopia
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Ethiopia is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, especially droughts, because most of Ethiopia’s rural inhabitants are involved in subsistence farming, and do not have irrigation systems in place (CIA, 2019; World Bank, 2019; World bank, GFDRR, CIF & ENV, 2011). In the past, droughts have had severe impacts on Ethiopia’s natural resources and have caused food shortages (CIA, 2019; USAID, 2016; World Bank, et al., 2011). To increase the agricultural production and mitigate the impacts of climate change, an increase in the implementation of sustainable agricultural adaptation strategies in rural Ethiopia is required (Aggarwal, et al., 2018). This paper researched the contribution of combining behavioural theories and system analysis in a framework to assess why farmers will or will not implement such adaptation strategies. s paper therefore applied the Transdisciplinary Conceptual Framework of Lambe, et al. (2020), which includes behavioural theories and system analysis, on a case study in Mere-Mieti: a collective of villages in rural Ethiopia. The paper mapped out the farmers’ individual implementation process of adaption strategies. It identified the critical points (points of possible obstacles) in the implementation process and linked elements of behaviour to these points. Then it mapped out what systemic factors influenced the farmers’ implementation process. These two mappings were combined to see how the systemic factors influenced specific critical points in the implementation process. This analysis was used to identify entry-points for interventions for the extension services in Mere-Mieti. The extension services are set up by the Ethiopian government to help farmers implement sustainable adaptation strategies that increase farm production and improve the farmers’ livelihoods as well as protect Ethiopia’s natural resource base. This paper concluded that the entry-points were strongly influenced by the systemic factors, which in turn influenced the status of the behavioural elements at the critical points for the farmers. The behavioural elements can be seen as tools to zoom in on what issues the systemic factors exactly create at these critical points. Including these elements of the behavioural change theories can contribute to a better understanding of the reasonings of the farmers regarding the implementation of adaptation strategies. However, the paper showed that including the systemic factors in analysing the implementation process of sustainable agricultural adaptation strategies is the backbone for a complete understanding of the farmers’ behaviour.