CBA Bolivia: Recovery of Tarwi Seeds for Adaptation in the Carabuco Municipality near Lake Titicaca (CUNA Association)


For the last ten years, the Carabuco Municipality has been suffering from the effects of climate change. These include increasing average annual temperatures, unpredictable and intense rainfall patterns, and the emergence of new plagues and pests. Four communities—Huajasiya, Cavinchilla, Tilacoca, and Cojatapampa—have insufficient knowledge of how these effects will impact their agricultural systems, and have therefore not taken timely and appropriate adaptation efforts. Most of the area’s imperiled agricultural production is subsistence farming, thereby augmenting these communities’ food insecurity problems.

This Community-Based Adaptation project supports the recovery of the tarwi seed (lupinus mutabilis) in these four communities around Lake Titicaca. Tarwi is high in nutritional value, a cheap source of plant protein, and has the ability to adapt to adverse and variable conditions, making it ideal for cultivation on marginal lands. The project will experiment with tarwi cultivation for its value as a climate-adaptive, commercially viable crop, all as part of a broader exploration of adaptive natural resource management.

This project is part of Bolivia's Community-Based Adaptation portfolio. *

Project Details

Land use in the Carabuco Municipality of Bolivia is characterized by a strong subdivision of land. Traditional methods of cultivation are usually used, and these practices provoke loss of vegetable cover and deforestation that cause greater soil erosion and a progressive loss of soil fertility. This has quietly affected the traditional agricultural production of products such as potatoes, faba beans, corn, peas and other crops. Moreover, the lack of knowledge on soil conservation, sustainable practices, and natural resource management have accentuated these effects even more.

Against this backdrop, local communities have been suffering the effects of climate change, including an increase in average annual temperatures, unpredictable and intense rainfall patterns, and the emergence of new plagues and pests. The four communities in this project—Huajasiya, Cavinchilla, Tilacoca, and Cojatapampa—have insufficient knowledge of how climate change will impact their agricultural systems, and have therefore not taken appropriate adaptation efforts. Most of the area’s imperiled agricultural production is in subsistence farming, thereby augmenting local communities’ food insecurity problems.

However, there do exist native cultivations such as tarwi (Lupinus mutabilis S.) that were displaced by other, more profitable crops. Tarwi is noted for its high nutritional value as a cheap source of plant protein (44.3%), its ability to adapt to adverse and variable conditions, and its suitability for marginal cultivation. Today, the availability of tarwi seeds is scarce, due to the limited space set aside for its production, technological deficiencies in the cultivation of tarwi, limited capacity to produce certified seeds, the use of low quality seeds, and minimal knowledge on potential access to markets. All of these factors have caused low productivity and even lower income for tarwi-producing households.

This Community-Based Adaptation project will rejuvenate interest and investment in tarwi as a viable commercial crop that is both suited to future climate impacts and an important contributor to local food security. By breeding and certifying local varieties, then promoting tarwi for its nutritional and adaptive values, communities will improve household incomes and sustainably manage their local phylogenetic assets. These efforts will be linked to a larger awareness of soil and water conservation to ensure their continued success under changing climatic conditions.

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Farmers; Rural Communities
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Asociacion Cuna
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The GEF Small Grants Programme
UN Volunteers
Project Status: 
Financing Amount: 
Co-Financing Total: 

Key Results and Outputs

Result 1: Tarwi producers have improved their productive and commercial abilities through use of certified seeds

Communities complete the process of certifying the tarwi seed (Product 1.1), recovering a local variety through positive selection techniques (Product 1.2) and inscribing the Carabuco variety in the national register of seeds (Product 1.3). The local demand of certified tarwi seed is covered (Product 1.4) and beneficiary families properly store the produced seed (Product 1.5).

Result 2: Participatory research in experimental smallholdings

Conduct experimental smallholdings to evaluate periods and seeding densities, plague and pests resistance, and varieties (Product 2.1). Validate varieties/ecotypes/accession of these seeds (Product 2.2).

Result 3: Strengthened local adaptation abilities through efforts of ‘environmental promoters’

Train environmental promoters in subjects regarding conservation, natural resource management, and climate change (Product 3.1) so they can implement environmental actions in the community (Product 3.2). Create an environmental promoters’ organization (Product 3.3) to foster continued community use of sustainable soil and water management as climate change adaptation measures (Product 3.4).


TARWI: The Seeds of the Future (Spanish)

TARWI: The Seeds of the Future
A Participatory Video from a UNDP-GEF CBA project in Bolivia

October 2010

CBA Bolivia - Semillas del Futuro Vol.1

Recovery of tarwi (Lupinus Mutabilis S.) seeds in four communities of the Carabuco Municipality near Lake Titicaca

CUNA Association

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation for community-based adaptation is a new field, and the CBA project is piloting innovative approaches to evaluating the success of locally-driven adaptation projects, and generating lessons to inform ongoing practice.

Key considerations in M&E for CBA include:

  • Grounding M&E in the local context: M&E for CBA should avoid overly rigid frameworks, recognizing community heterogeneity and maintaining local relevance
  • Capturing global lessons from local projects: CBA projects are highly contextualized, but lessons generated should be relevant to stakeholders globally
  • Incorporation of both quantitative and qualitative indicators: to ground projects in tangible changes that can be objectively evaluated, and to capture lessons and case studies for global dissemination

To these ends, the CBA project uses three indicator systems: the Vulnerability Reduction Assessment, the Small Grants Programme Impact Assessment System, and the UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework.

The Vulnerability Reduction Assessment (VRA)

The VRA is a question-based approach with the following aims:

  • To make M&E responsive to community priorities
  • To use M&E to make projects more accountable to local priorities
  • To make M&E capture community ideas and local knowledge
  • To gather community-level feedback to guide ongoing project management
  • To generate qualitative information
  • To capture lessons on specific issues within community-based adaptation
  • To generate case studies highlighting adaptation projects

The VRA follows UNDP's Adaptation Policy Framework, and is measured in a series of meetings with local community stakeholders. In these meetings, locally-tailored questions based on standard VRA questions/indicators are posed, and the community assigns a numerical score on a 1-10 scale for each question. Progress is evaluated through changes in scores over the course of implementation, as well as through qualitative data collected in community discussions surrounding the exercise.

UNDP has developed a Users Guide to the VRA (Espanol) (Francais) as a tool to assist practitioners to conceptualize and execute VRA measurements in the context of CBA projects.

The SGP Impact Assessment System (IAS)

The CBA, being a project of the GEF Strategic Priority on Adaptation, aims to increase the resilience of ecosystems and communities to the impacts of climate change, generating global environmental benefits, and increasing their resilience in the face of climate change impacts. To this end, the CBA projects use the SGP's impact assessment system for monitoring achievements in GEF focal areas (focusing primarily on biodiversity and sustainable land management).

The IAS is composed of a number of quantitative indicators which track biophysical ecosystem indicators, as well as policy impact, capacity development and awareness-building.

UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework

CBA projects also track quantitative indicators from UNDP's adaptation indicator framework, corresponding to the thematic area on natural resources management. More information on UNDP's indicator framework can be found on the UNDP climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation website.


This description applies to all projects implemented through UNDP's Community-Based Adaptation programme. Specific details on this project's M&E will be included here as they become available. *


Cuna Association
Marco Polo
CBA Project Management Unit