The IHACC project is guided by core principles embodied in CIHR’s model of “integrated knowledge translation” (IKT). This involves working with stakeholders throughout the project co-producing knowledge. In this model dissemination is not an activity that occurs at the end of the project if funds are left, but an ongoing and central activity throughout. If the aim is to empower communities to adapt, the empowerment has to occur throughout. At the end of the research needs assessment conducted during grant development, dissemination activities took place in multiple ways including the production of posters, web-based slide shows, discussion of results in-person with participants, and village presentations.
The full IHACC research program has an ambitious plan for IKT. The employment of local community adaptation leaders (CALs) in participating communities, who will work full-time on the project, will ensure regular communication between the IHACC team and communities as the project progresses and also facilitate ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Pilot interventions – funded, evaluated and monitored through IHACC – and to be implemented half-way through the project will provide a visible indicator of the project’s importance for empowering adaptation. The creation of Indigenous Knowledge Banks in each of the regions, which preserve and make available local knowledge on health and well being, will provide a locally accessible source of information for adaptation. The exploration of the use of new media will ensure young community members are not left out. Other activities might include creating youth-elder radio shows, holding community feasts, or creating dramas on climate change adaptation, to be held throughout the project. What is important to all these activities is that they will be explored, informed and directed by partners and communities.