Building Community-based Research Capacity to Investigate Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity in Coastal Ecuador

Project Team

Joseph Eisenberg - U-M School of Public Health
Maria Carmen Lemos - U-M School for Environment and Sustainability
Betty Corozo - Universidad Técnica de Luis Vargas Torres
James Trostle - Trinity College
Ivan Cangemi - U-M School of Public Health
Gwenyth Lee - U-M School of Public Health

Project Summary

The coast of Ecuador is experiencing increasingly dramatic and unpredictable patterns of flooding and drought, and these trends threaten the socioeconomic stability and health of communities in the region. In response, this project aims to foster regional institutional capacity to engage these vulnerable communities in the process of identifying priorities and devising adaptation strategies to confront the repercussions of climate change. Specifically, the team is partnering with the Universidad Técnica Luis Vargas Torres de Esmeraldas (UTELVT) to develop expertise and protocols for community-based, participatory environmental research. 
The project includes:
  • a workshop for UTELVT faculty and undergraduate students on participatory action research methods,
  • a pilot participatory risk assessment of three recently flooded communities in the region conducted collaboration with UTELVT to inform the development of flood-control strategies, and
  • a meeting to discuss results of the pilot study with stakeholders, including representatives of the provincial government, non-governmental organizations working in the region, and faculty from other Ecuadorian universities.
These activities will directly aid UTLEVT in designing projects aimed at strengthening the adaptive capacity of local communities, and, more broadly, will help establish the potential of participatory research to explore and address climate-related vulnerability in this region.

This project received a $10,000 Catalyst Grant in 2017.