Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels

Channel Catalog

older | 1 | .... | 19 | 20 | (Page 21) | 22 | 23 | .... | 44 | newer

    0 0

    Written by Adam Vincent

    This week, delegates from IFAD's Member States joined IFAD staff and distinguished keynote speakers from across the world for the 38th session of the Governing Council, IFAD's main decision-making body. The theme for this year's Council was rural transformation, with a focus on sustainable development for the long-term health and security of rural communities.

    Padoan: Europe ready to mobilise
    After the Governing Council session was declared open, His Excellency Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister for Economy and Finance of the Italian Republic, took the floor to share the roles that both Italy and Europe as a whole can play, along with IFAD, in transforming rural areas. Padoan cited 2015's European Year for Development as evidence for a growing sense of European solidarity and desire to help others in developing nations.

    His Excellency Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister for Economy and Finance
    of the Italian Republic. ©IFAD/Giorgio Cosulich de Pecine
    As 2015 is also the year of Expo Milano 2015 – the Universal Exhibition that Milan, Italy will host from 1 May to 31 October – Padoan took a moment to "reflect upon the contradictions of our world." We have the technology to balance food security and market stability, but poverty perseveres, he said. He recommended that Italy and other developed countries mobilise private resources to complement public investment in areas of rural poverty.

    Mahama: Prioritise rural transformation
    Next, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, affirmed the importance of investing in rural areas and empowering rural people. "Neglecting transformation of rural areas can be more expensive than transforming them," he warned, citing the poor health-care infrastructure that facilitated the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa. Mahama argued that improving social services in rural areas to match those offered in urban areas would even help solve urban poverty. Given greater opportunities to make a living in the countryside, fewer residents would leave for the city, he said.

    Rural transformation depends on listening to and providing for the needs of smallholder farmers, Mahama continued. As an example, he said that his administration had rejected a sizable programme because it did not sufficiently benefit smallholder farmers. The farmers needed microfinance opportunities, seeds, tractors, reapers, threshers, preservation techniques and access to a market system – not workshops, consultancies and four-wheel drive vehicles. Mahama noted that his administration did not approve the programme until it was amended to better reflect smallholders' needs.

    From left: His Majesty Tupou VI, King of Tonga; IFAD President Kanayo F. 
    Nwanze; and His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the 
    Republic of Ghana. ©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello
    Tupou: Uphold IFAD values 
    His Majesty Tupou VI, King of Tonga, followed by listing some of the values that guide rural development in Tonga, and IFAD's values in particular. These included climate-smart farming practices, attention to risk and resilience, livelihood diversification, sustainable natural resource management and rural access to finance. According to the King, these themes have helped Tonga begin to achieve rural transformation.

    Nwanze: The price of inaction
    When IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze took the stage, he echoed Mahama's comments by saying that "we are paying the price of inaction" with the Ebola crisis in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. “Food insecurity and hunger are looming as a second crisis,” he said. “And all because, for 40 years, Ebola was a disease of the forgotten world, the invisible world, the rural world.”

    Nwanze warned against continuing to neglect the rural sector. Malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of life has left a generation of children stunted, potentially leading to stunted nations, he said – adding that rural areas are responsible for growing food and contributing clean water and air, which are vital to the success of urban areas. Vibrant rural economies need healthy, enthusiastic young people to succeed, he said, but lack of opportunity drives many rural people to the city. To Nwanze, we don't need bigger cities (and bigger slums) so much as we need rural transformation.

    IFAD offers powerful opportunities for countries to achieve this transformation. Internal reorganization and efforts to focus on in-country programmes have allowed IFAD to more effectively effect change. IFAD itself also continues to grow. The Governing Council welcomed the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and Montenegro into the IFAD family, which now totals 176 Member States. The possibility for rural transformation has never been closer.  

    0 0

    Written by Adam Vincent

    As part of the 38th session of IFAD's Governing Council earlier this week, John McIntire, IFAD Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department, moderated a panel discussion about financial inclusion with six IFAD experts. The panel gave Member States an opportunity to learn more about how inclusive financing affects the lives of rural people – empowering them to build their resilience, increase their asset base and transform their communities.

    Participants in the Governing Council panel of IFAD experts on financial inclusion in the field. ©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello
    Hubert Boirard, Country Programme Manager for Bangladesh and Pakistan, offered a broad definition for financial inclusion: namely, access for those who are currently excluded. More than 2.5 billion working adults – more than half of the working adult population – are excluded from any form of financial services, he said. Without access to services like credit or savings, even simple investments (and subsequent growth) become difficult. Some rural people have no option but to accept the high usury rates charged by loan sharks.

    Offering basic financial services can empower rural people to reach the microeconomic achievements outlined in the goals of IFAD-supported programmes and projects. For example, short-term loans with low interest rates have helped increase food security. Boirard shared the fact that in Bangladesh, these loans helped farmers achieve a 40 per cent to 63 per cent increase in revenue and shorten the hungry season by one month. He also noted that investing in smallholder producers can lead to greater production and, consequently, national economic growth.

    Likewise, Robson Mutandi, IFAD Representative and Country Director for the IFAD Country Office in Ethiopia, described the benefits of savings and credit cooperatives. As access to loans creates opportunities for entrepreneurship and growth, he explained, fewer workers need to sell their labour or engage in petty trade. Rather, they can invest in industry, like one farmer who was able to begin raising livestock. This farmer needed a loan to buy her first goat, but the profits and further investments she made have enabled her to now own five cows.

    In a similar vein,  Ndaya Belchikta, Country Programme Manager for Sierra Leone, described how loans helped one man in that country expand his business selling rechargeable phone cards. He now owns both a generator and a storefront and has hired two workers.

    These community banks tend to be more beneficial to rural communities than commercial banks, as they also offer services to non-members. However, Abdelkarim Sma, Regional Economist for IFAD’s Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, advocated for using both types of banks. In Sudan, he said, he had worked with grassroots financial organizations as well as commercial banking in rural areas. Unlike community banks, commercial banks can help increase the visibility of rural areas and their needs.

    Pedro De Vasconcelos, Programme Coordinator of the Financing Facility for Remittances, added another layer to the conversation: remittances. Although remittances sent back to their home country by migrants can be as high as a third of its GDP, access to remittance services in rural areas is sometimes scarce, he said. The opportunity cost of a journey to the nearest remittance services facility can be prohibitively high.

    Throughout the panel, McIntire stressed that financial inclusion represents an investment in people. He and Michael Hamp, Lead Technical Specialist, Programme Management Department, pointed out that financial inclusion supports diversification of livelihoods and fosters resilience and empowerment, creating opportunities for rural people to improve their communities. New mobile technologies and digital infrastructure can present alternative methods of financial inclusion and inspire new ideas. With financial inclusion still unavailable to 2.5 billion adults, the opportunities and possibilities are virtually endless.

    0 0

    Based on a reportby Sibonangabo Sikhondze, Livestock Coordinator (LUSLM), Aaron Dlamini, Ministry of Agriculture extension Officer, Sandile Mkhabela, bee keeper and Magman Mahlalela, Communications student (University of Swaziland)

    Smallholder farmers in Vikizijula Chiefdom, in the east of Swaziland, are turning to beekeeping as a new income-generating activity. The project is part of the Lower Usuthu Small Holder Irrigation Project of the Global Environmental Facility (LUSIP-GEF, which is financed by IFAD and the Global Environment Facility, and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise.

    Before the project, the community faced poverty, unemployment and drought. This led to many young people moving away from the Chiefdom in search of employment leaving families divided and a lack of people able to carry out hard manual labour.

    The project covers both practical and theoretical aspects such as hive construction and honey processing. The keepers also receive raw materials to construct beehives and other resources such as protective clothing.

    Essential items for beekeeping
    Locally made hive promoted by the project

    Following the training the farmers were responsible for the beekeeping with regular supervision by project staff and a refresher course every three months.


    Starting in 2011, the project now involves roughly 600 beekeepers and their families in the community. The results have been encouraging.  Community members have been able to raise household income and improve their food security. Working together the project has also brought the community closer together, dispelling the local myth ''you cannot live with bees, but must destroy them'',  and ensuring bees are no longer an overlooked ecosystem service. 

     A sweeter future for the youth of rural Swaziland
    A truly family affair with children helping with the practical work and the record keeping 
    The people of Vikizijula Chiefdom now refer to the bees as the' insect of hope'. The bees have created income from goods such as honey, which in turn contributes to school fees and home improvements for families in the community.

    The average income per hive is USD 30 per harvest. Harvesting is done 4 times per season (which lasts for 4 months) with roughly 15 hives per household. This gives an average of USD 1 500 per household per season.

    “Bees are not just a business to me, they are my life. I have been able to process and sell honey by-products such as floor polish and candles from the bees wax. We share the experiences learnt from this business with other families around the community. This has improved the income of my family and my community,” says beekeeper Mrs Thandi Mkhabela.

    As beekeeping expands into other communities, it is creating a thriving economy. There are now specialist businesses established for the keepers such as beehive constructors and protective clothing tailors.

    Together the community has overcome challenges such as beehive theft and stigma around bees themselves (traditionally they are associated with witchcraft) by forming the Honey Council. This council consists of one representative elected from each community to look at threats and issues that keepers might be facing. It provides a platform for the keepers to ask any questions or voice concerns they were facing as well as share knowledge with other beekeepers.

    Success in this project has been attributed to several factors. Firstly beekeeping does not require much start-up capital, secondly it can be managed by children as young as twelve, the elderly and women. Thirdly, beekeeping has brought the community together. Struggling beekeepers were assisted by others to overcome challenges. The bees taught the community that if they work together they can fight poverty and hunger. It is the willingness and cooperation of the community in the Vikizijula Chiefdom that ultimately made the project a success.

    0 0

    Based on a reportby Lynn Kota, LUSIP-GEF National Project Manager, Prince Mngoma, LUSIP-GEF Environment Coordinator, Clement Gamedze, LUSIP Community Development Officer,  Debra Khumalo, reporter from Agribusiness Monthly magazine, Lwazi Dlamini, Journalism student at the University of Swaziland and Msutfu Fakudze, Director of the NGO Conserve Swaziland.

    The village of Luhlanyeni is located in the Mamba Chiefdom of Swaziland, one of the driest areas in the country. While drought causes serious issues for smallholder farmers in the area, it is flash flooding and erosion that pose the biggest threats.

    The Sihlangwini Sustainable Land Management project, initiated in 2010, is working to tackle the issues of drought, flash flooding  and declining soil fertility. 

    The programme is part of the larger Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project supported by the Global Environment Facility (LUSIP-GEF). It is financed by IFAD and the GEF, and implemented by the Swaziland Ministry of Agriculture and the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise.

    Luhlanyeni has suffered from degraded lands due to overgrazing and lack of managed drainage systems. When flash-floods arrive, heavy rains are channelled into gullies which became deeper and deeper each year through erosion. Some of these gullies have grown up to twelve meters wide and over six meters deep.

    The gullies are encroaching on arable land in and around Luhlanyeni village reducing the areas suitable for cultivation and grazing, endangering the livelihoods and food security of the community. 
    Some have grown so wide that some of the villagers' homes were in danger of collapsing into them.

    The community decided something needed to happen to stop the rich topsoil from washing away and more arable land being destroyed.They had already attempted their own solutions to the problem but they knew that they needed more help.  

    The Sihlangwini Sustainable Land Management project began in early 2011. It involved hosting workshops to look at the causes of the gullies and possible prevention measures as well as sustainable land management practices.  It then provided training for the community members to build on their existing knowledge to rehabilitate the land. Additionally the project supplied the necessary field tools for the restoration processes.  

    The community used a combination of biological and mechanical approaches to restore the degraded areas. Biological approaches consisted of planting trees to stabilise the soil and using drought-tolerant crop varieties. Mechanical approaches included the use of gabions (metre-square wire baskets filled with stones used to stop erosion) which were placed into the gullies.

    Recognising the problem of erosion, local farmers had started collecting and using stones – but it was not enough

    The main objective was to make sure the community understood the causes behind land degradation and how they could combat the threat year after year. The project also included additional training and workshops on teamwork, HIV/AIDS and gender equality.

    Although the land was heavily degraded, the community can now use it again for farming. Roughly 21 hectares of land have been recovered which has aided over 150 farming families in strengthening their food security and providing them with additional income.

    Nomsa Tfwala, Vice Chairperson of the project said: “We are now able to grow sweet potatoes, groundnuts and fruit trees. We have also been able to sell the peanuts we produced to the community. We no longer need to go and buy food since there is now enough from our own land!”

    The project ended in 2013 and has been lauded as a great success. The experience in Luhlanyeni has inspired a nearby community, Sithobelweni, to rehabilitate a large area of their own.

    The key to its success has been down to the commitment of the community. The project was driven and initiated by the community itself, building on the solutions and skills they had already implemented.

    “The community had already started collecting stones, but more was needed,” said Msutfu Fakudze

    Sikelela Magagula summed up: “What I have learnt is that all these development projects in our communities become much easier and more successful if they come from and are led by the people.”

    0 0

    Based on a reportby Priscilla P. Mkhatshwa, a farmer from Vikizijula,  Siphumelele Ngqwane, an Extension Officer in Siphofaneni, Regional Development Area, Ministry of Agriculture, Tengetile Mpila journalism student at the University of Swaziland, Dumsani Hlanze, Sustainable Agriculture Graduate Trainee at the Lower Usuthu Sustainable Land Management Project (LUSLMP), and Norman Mavuso, a Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator at Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE)

    Makhundlu in Swaziland’s Lowveld region is often drought-stricken with smallholder farmers dependent on external food aid. The low quality of the land means growing crops can be tough and food security is extremely volatile.

    In response, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Tinkhundla  (Swazi term for traditional leadership) and Regional Development worked together to design the Lower Usuthu Sustainable Land Management Project (LUSLMP), also referred to as LUSIP-GEF. The project is financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise.

    In Makhundlu water is a very precious natural resource. The closest supply is six kilometres away and only provides enough for domestic use,  so growing crops or tending to livestock can be incredibly challenging.

    The project targeted family farmers in the area who were most affected by the lack of water (mostly women) and help improve their food security. It provided the farmers with the tools and workshops necessary to cultivate permaculture gardens and adopt rainwater harvesting methods.

    Permaculture gardens involve incorporating wood ash and manure into the soil when it is tilled. This improves the soil's ability to retain water, increases its fertility and stops pest infestations. Then a 5-10 cm layer of mulch (dried grass or leaves) is applied which keeps moisture in the soil, regulates soil temperature, suppresses weeds and reduces soil erosion during the heavy rains.

    After this a variety of seeds are planted from leaf and root vegetables that are mixed together to reduce pests and diseases. The crops are watered three times a week around the base of the stems to conserve as much water as possible. Two weeks after planting a liquid fertiliser of water mixed with manure is applied. Organic anti-pest sprays are used, made from ingredients such as aloe and lemongrass.

    The farmers learned about the principles of permaculture from workshops and demonstrations. Of the 44 farmers that were trained, 41 went on to start their own permaculture gardens which they organised in groups to provide each other with support and advice.

    The project provided each farmer with a starter pack of mixed seeds to begin their permaculture. Project staff made frequent visits to answer questions or provide any help the farmers might need. They also organised farmer learning exchange visits where farmers shared experiences, skills, challenges and solutions.

    As well as the permaculture starter pack, the farmers were given training and materials to build their own rainwater harvesting tanks. This means that they have clean water which they can use to water their gardens.

    Farmers increased their knowledge by exchanging experiences during farmer learning exchange visits
    The 41 farmers who participated in the project have benefitted in many ways. They now have fresh vegetables free from synthetic chemicals, fresh water and have created strong bonds in the community by working together.

    Farmers and their families now 
    consume fresh, healthy vegetables

    The cost of vegetable production has decreased and the farmers no longer have to go and fetch water from the borehole during the rainy season. However, there were some initial challenges to the project. The first stage of a permaculture garden is particularly labour intensive which the farmers found hard to accept. Also during summer there is a lot of work in the maize fields so most farmers prioritise their work on the fields and neglect their gardens.

    However, overall the project managed to overcome these issues. Agnes Mangwe, a farmer from Vikizijula in Makhundlu now has a permaculture garden and sells lettuce from it to pay for her grand-children's school fees.

    “I advise farmers to start a permaculture garden so that in five years’ time the poverty rate in the country might be decreased and there will be no one struggling in the country,” said Mangwe. “ Farmers should move from being dependent on food aid towards being self-reliant.”

    Training women's groups in the construction of ferro-concrete water harvesting tanks
    Permaculture Garden

    The key to this project's success was the willingness of the community to teach each other and work as a team. Farmers told us they appreciated the continued collaboration with the project staff, but were now able to make their own way. This is what has made the project approachable and sustainable.

    Since this initial training in 2011, more than 500 permaculture gardens and 700 rainwater harvesting tanks have been established in the project area.  A further 100 gardens have been  constructed in the peri-urban communities of Manzini and Mbabanes.  In addition the project has trained primary school teachers to introduce Permaculture into the school curriculum and at national level to the National Curriculum Centre.

    0 0

    Since 1979, IFAD and the Government of Senegal have been working together to eradicate rural poverty in the country. As such numerous agricultural and pastoral innovations have been introduced.  They helped to increase production and supported the shift from subsistence agriculture to market production. The IFAD portfolio contains many examples of technical innovations emerging from experiences in other countries that were reproduced in Senegal. At local level, the projects in the portfolio encouraged producer organizations and decentralised government services to adopt the innovations. Following a value chain approach, IFAD-supported projects have contributed to reducing food insecurity, increasing incomes and creating jobs, especially of women and young people.

    IFAD and the Government of Senegal realise that it is now time to capitalise and scale up the innovations that have been piloted with the support from IFAD. As a first step, two events have been organised to share the results and best practices from IFAD supported projects in Senegal and to see how innovations can be scaled up: on 9 and 10 February 2015 a national workshop was held in Dakar bringing together all national stakeholders and on 17 February 2015 a seminar was organised during IFAD’s 38th Governing Council for a broader audience.

    The innovations and best practices are plentiful. Some examples are:

    -          Inclusion of young people: PAFA has been using an innovative targeting approach to create jobs for rural youth. They are encouraging local sports and cultural associations to prepare proposals in order to obtain project support. Forty-five associations are being assisted by the Project in terms of financial support and capacity-building. As a result, more than 4,000 young women and men are now involved in agriculture related practices. This has allowed them to turn into successful agricultural entrepreneurs. PAFA is providing young women and men with both decent work and livelihood options in their rural communities, so they can remain there if they choose.

    -          Value chain roundtables: PAFA has set up four value chain roundtables (millet/sorghum, cowpea, sesame and hibiscus), bringing together key value chain actors and offering a space for dialogue. The roundtables are responsible for the following activities: (i) increased seed production to ensure members have access to certified seed; (Ii) the dissemination of the market prices; (Iii) dissemination of information on rainfall; (iv) commercial and financial intermediation between producers and buyers; (v) the establishment of an internal control system the quality; (Vii) dispute resolution between producers and buyers.

    -          Decreasing input subsidies: PAFA provides farmers’ organisations with subsidies to acquire quality inputs (certified seeds, fertilizers and agricultural equipment). The financial support last three years and decreases over the years: 80% in year 1, 60% in year 2 and 40% in year 3. The model allows: (i) to facilitate access of small producers to markets at remunerative prices, (ii) to ensure that small farmers have access to quality inputs, (iii) to ensure buyers get the required quality and quantity; (iv) to empower farmers’ organisations in the area of access to inputs; (v) to strengthen rural enterprises and their capacity to mobilize the savings of beneficiary households.

    -          Improved village poultry: PAFA has developed a holistic approach to village poultry, which has proven to be extremely successful. The characteristics of the model are: (i) setting up farmers’ groups in a transparent and inclusive manner; (ii) technical training tailored to the needs of the beneficiaries, especially women; (iii) close technical follow-up provided by local extensionists; (iv) construction of henhouse with local material as a shelter during the night; (v) breeding local chickens that are adapted to the environment and farming conditions; (vi) vaccination and other preventive measures; (vii) production of feed by the beneficiaries themselves using local ingredients.

    -          Promoting local consumption: To promote the consumption of local products, PAFA has trained more than 800 women and young girls in processing and cooking techniques using local cereals. Furthermore, hotel and restaurant owners have been sensitized to introduce dishes prepared with local products in their menus.

    0 0

    Written by Larissa Setaro

    The second global meeting of the Indigenous People's forum convened on 12-13 February 2015 in IFAD's headquarters. Held every two years, the Forum is a dialogue between the United Nations, represented by IFAD, and representatives of indigenous peoples from all over the world acting as ambassadors of their own experiences, traditions and cultures. This year the focus was on indigenous peoples' food systems and sustainable livelihoods.

    Indigenous peoples have a long history of food systems depending on the traditional knowledge of their local ecosystems. In addition, they play a vital role in preserving and recovering the natural environment that shaped their livelihoods and cultures for centuries, acting as stewards of biodiversity.

    In this regard, the Forum hosted a session on the relationship between indigenous food systems and nutrition, and two experts on the subject were invited to speak: Harriet Kuhnlein, Professor Emerita of Human Nutrition and founding Director of the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE) at McGill University in Canada, and Treena Delormier, Assistant Professor, Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Health, University of Hawaii.

    Nutritional value of indigenous foods

    CINE's research started in Canada with the Mohawk Council of Kahnáwake, located near Montréal, Québec. Interested in understanding the impact of indigenous food in indigenous peoples' diets, Kuhnlein and her team developed a methodology on documenting traditional food systems to understand their nutrient composition, benefits and threats. The data collected would then be kept to help the community preserve knowledge on local food systems.

    Through the methodology, they developed a range of case studies that involve 12 communities worldwide. CINE's team found that generally, when indigenous products are part of people's diets, they have a positive nutritional impact and should be protected. An example that surprised me comes from the Inuit community, where the traditional food is muktuk, the skin and underlying blubber of the whale. These products contain vitamin C and A, besides micro-nutrients such as iron and zinc, that can be of particular relevance in areas where the growth of fruits and vegetables is constrained by ecological features.

    It was also interesting to listen to the experience of Delormier, who herself comes from the Mohawk Council of Kahnáwake and stressed that food is what we are and where we come from. Delormier explained that economic, social and environmental transitions are threatening their food systems. She emphasized that often indigenous products are of higher nutritional value than food bought in supermarkets – which, while inexpensive, is low-quality food that increases carbohydrates and sugars in diets and can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, premature heart disease and shortened life spans.

    A pertinent comment came from an indigenous peoples' representative from Bolivia, who stressed that indigenous products are central to their nutrition and cultural identity. However, in some cases external forces undermine the preservation of food systems, as it is happening with quinoa, which is becoming less available to indigenous people given its international demand. In these cases, long term, sustainable solutions are overlooked in favour of the driving forces of globalization. Another example comes from the Green Revolution that – through large mono-cropping of high-yield varieties – led to high dependence on a few major cereals varieties and loss of biodiversity.

    Table laden with candles and food staples from around the world at the Indigenous Peoples' Forum.
    ©IFAD/ A. Vincent

    Dietary diversity and resilience

    During the Forum, participants said that indigenous peoples' can have a role in feeding the growing global population through their sustainable ways of preserving ecosystems and therefore conserving the world's biodiversity. However, they still need recognition of their rights, governments willing to work together with them in partnership, access to technologies, and a policy balance between the growing pressure of globalization and the preservation of indigenous culture and food systems.

    Through the Indigenous People's Forum and a dedicated session on indigenous food systems at IFAD's Governing Council, IFAD renewed its engagement in preserving and supporting indigenous food systems, rights and identity. Juliane Friedrich, IFAD Senior Technical Specialist on Nutrition, encouraged a holistic approach to improving nutrition, and emphasized the important role of indigenous peoples in that approach. Her point was supported by Adolfo Brizzi, Director of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division at IFAD, who said that diversity is resilience and resilience is a way to manage risks.

    0 0

    Written by Adam Vincent

    Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director Oxfam International, gave the inaugural IFAD Lecture at the recent 38th session of the Governing Council, IFAD's annual meeting of Member States. Her talk, entitled The Future of Aid, discussed the relevancy and future of aid in a post-2015 world.

    "I cannot pretend that we don't need aid," Byanyima said, "but good aid needs to work itself out of a job." Although aid has the potential for great change, too often donors prioritize their own needs over those of their partners, she suggested. Aid should primarily benefit people at the grassroots, catalysing investments and empowerment. It needs to support the poor and marginalized so that they can find their voice and take a more active role in their communities.

    First and foremost, local people need to be "in the driving seat" of partnerships between governments, businesses and rural communities, Byanyima explained. Farmers are rarely asked what they need or want, she said, and programmes responding to these desires are "even rarer." Aid should support the progress that citizens envision. Smallholder farmers are not mere beneficiaries, Byanyima noted; they are potential "innovators, investors and voters" who could flourish with the proper support.

    Furthermore, aid needs to work against corruption. According to Byanyima, tax avoidance costs developing countries (and their citizens) €123 billion each year. Aid should support governmental efforts to build "efficient and effective" financial systems that help channel more aid to those who need it most. Additionally, she said, aid needs to be sustainable and not tied to "protectionist policies" or other schemes that benefit donor countries.

    Challenges for a post-2015 world
    Byanyima went on to list the three challenges post-2015 rural development must address: climate change, inequality and women's empowerment.

    Oxfam's Winnie Byanyima gives first IFAD Lecture. ©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello
    First, Byanyima said future rural development strategies must respond to the reality that the "poorest and most vulnerable are being hit hardest by climate change." Changing and unpredictable weather patterns are affecting crop yields, leading to hunger and malnutrition. As a result, Byanyima warned, by 2050 there could be 25 million more malnourished children – the equivalent to all the children in Canada and the United States.

    Second, Byanyima called inequality "possibly the biggest challenge of our era." Proper aid should tend to people, not just plants, she said, and focus on improving food security and income in addition to crop yields. Aid needs to support the poor and marginalized – who "are often politically, socially and geographically remote from development decision-making," she said – in finding their voice and influencing resource distribution. Donors must also ensure that their donations are benefitting smallholder farmers, not reinforcing oppressive power relationships.

    Aid must empower women
    Finally, Byanyima noted that aid should empower women, specifically. Gender inequality starts with the low value placed on girls, she said, which then extends to public decision-making. The resulting cycle of marginalization devalues girls' lives, impeding their access to education, resources and opportunities. As a result, even though they work more than men, women farmers are still often rendered invisible.

    IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze with Oxfam Executive Director
    Winnie Byanyima. ©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello
    Unrepresented in investment decision-making, women may miss out on the benefits of aid. Men tend to value productivity-raising investments, for example, whereas women tend to prefer investments that save time and add value. If you were to ask women in a Tanzanian village what investments they most needed , Byanyima said, they would likely say a water pump close to the village could save them hours of time. Aid needs to especially recognize the needs of women, which may otherwise be overlooked, she added.

    Byanyima concluded by recognizing the incredible progress in the Millennium Development Goals era, during which "we have seen the fastest reduction of poverty in human history." Aid has played a significant role in this achievement, she said, but there is still work to do: We must continue our commitment to rural development, with a keen eye to climate change, inequality and women's empowerment. We must find not only agronomic solutions but also social, political and environmental ones. There is still a place for aid in the future of rural transformation, Byanyima said – but it should work toward its own eradication.

    0 0
  • 02/26/15--09:00: Numbers from the IFAD roof!
  • By Clare Bishop-Sambrook

    This week many staff have taken advantage of the opportunity to visit the IFAD roof and learn more about IFAD’s greening efforts first hand. Twelve solar panels (hot water system), four gas fired boilers (723 kW each), five chillers and 13 air handling units make up the heating, ventilation and air conditioning in IFAD’s HQ.

    The visit in numbers….






    In the summer do not open windows because unfiltered, moist air enters the building and can block the chilled beam (air conditioning) unit in the offices



    IFAD is the only building in Italy to have achieved the gold level of the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) voluntary green building certification for Existing Buildings – Operations and Maintenance (EB:OM). No UN or IFI building has yet to achieve this certification at the Platinum level


    Visual inspections per day

    Two visits per day by the maintenance technicians to ensure all critical elements of the mechanical and electrical installations are working properly



    Payback period on the solar panels which were co-financed with Gemmo (maintenance contractor)


    LEED points

    If IFAD maintains the points from the original certification in 2010, IFAD needs 11 points to move from gold to platinum level on LEED



    The frequency with which the air filters are cleaned; recommended practice is 4 – 6 weeks



    Base temperature for building in winter



    Base temperature for building in summer


    Sq metres

    Solar panels



    Signed up for the visit to IFAD’s solar panels this week


    Per cent

    Women in the IFAD Facilities Team


    Per cent

    Share of air travel (by staff) of IFAD’s total greenhouse gas emissions


    Per cent

    All occupied areas of the building are air conditioned and have light quality of a minimum of 350 Lux


    Per cent

    All hot water requirements during the summer months should be met from the solar panels


    Energy Utilization Index (EUI)

    IFAD obtained an EUI of 202 kWh/m2/year – some 40 per cent better than best practice for a building such as IFAD HQ in this climatic region



    Completed the ADM survey (at least 300 are required in order to potentially gain an extra point in the LEED evaluation)


    Sq metres

    Area of lawn and flowerbeds requiring watering in the summer



    Water tanks on the roof  heated by solar panels with additional tanks in the basement to store a further 9500 litres of hot water



    Water tanks in basement for harvesting water from the rooftop



    Average volume of water used per day in IFAD

    Thanks to the rooftop tour guides: Dave Nolan and Antonio Russo

    0 0

    IFAD hosts the first showing of the Climate Cinema series.  ©IFAD
    Written by Adam Vincent

    Last week, IFAD's Environment and Climate Division hosted the first screening of its monthly Climate Cinema series at the Fund's headquarters in Rome. Organized in association with the Think Forward Film Festival and the International Centre for Climate Governance (ICCG), the event featured three short documentaries and a panel discussion with Enrica de Cian of Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), a research institution devoted to the study of sustainable development and global governance, as well as IFAD's broadcast manager James Heer and regional climate and environment specialist Juan De Dios Mattos.

    Two of the documentaries had previously been seen at the annual Think Forward festival in Venice, which showcases films about climate change and renewable energy. Currently in its fifth year, the festival is a project of ICCG and a joint initiative of FEEM and Fondazione Giorgio Cini, a research centre for climate policy design. It is open to children and helps presents information to them in a simplified way

    Survival through adaptation
    The first film was Biljana Garvanlieva's After The Rain (Climate Testimonials), the first-ever climate change documentary made by a Macedonian director. After the Rain opens with a quote from Charles Darwin: "It isn't the strongest of the species that survive, nor even the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change." The film then follows four Macedonian women farmers from diverse backgrounds as they react to the disastrous effects of climate change. In all cases, increased precipitation (and especially hail) are causing crops such as tobacco and tomatoes to rot in the ground.

    A panel discussion follows the screening. ©IFAD
    The second film was Bolivia: Potatoes in Peril, a short documentary produced by IFAD. It follows the work of an IFAD-supported project in one Bolivian village whose main water source had dried up. As their potato yields have fallen correspondingly, many young people have left the village in search of work. The video examines how IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme helps communities adapt to climate change. In order to create opportunities for the community to restore itself, IFAD is working with the village to construct irrigation canals and develop new irrigation techniques that can ensure the future of the potato.

    The third film was Ephraim Broschkowski and Bernd Hezel's The Value of Soil. This animated short film presented land as one of "mankind's most precious assets," a non-renewable resource that is quickly being depleted. Up to this point, the film suggests, the effects of land and soil degradation have not been considered in value calculations. The result is a downward spiral: Degraded soil stores less carbon, leading to greater climate change, leading to changing water patterns, leading to further soil degradation. Continuing to focus solely on yield and disregard the effects of soil degradation, the film warns, is dangerously unstable.

    Films such as these can be powerful tools for advocacy, said James Heer. They are accessible and publicize voices that the audience may not otherwise hear. Although IFAD used to prepare half-hour documentaries for BBC, it now focuses on shorter videos, Heer added, because they are more flexible and have more markets. IFAD videos have been featured on in-flight airline channels, news programmes and social media.

    The Climate Cinema series will continue through June. The next installment will be on 24 March, focusing on the theme of water.

    0 0

    This article first appeared on the CCAFS & CGIAR website on Feb 11, 2015.

    Written byKelvin Mashisia Shikuku, Caroline Mwongera, Wendy Okolo, Leigh Winowiecki, Jennifer Twyman and Peter Laderach (International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT))

    Institutional Mapping Exercise to identify information flows within the communities. Photo: Kelvin Shikuku and Caroline Mwongera (CIAT)

    Using participatory methods, scientists are now working with farmers to understand climate impacts on farming systems and rural livelihoods and to identify locally appropriate climate-smart solutions.

    Temperature and rainfall in East Africa are increasingly variable but farmers’ ingenuity and enthusiasm among researchers keeps agriculture moving in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).

    Recently, a team of researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in collaboration with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) carried out a Climate Smart Agriculture Rapid Appraisal (CSA-RA) in four districts in the SAGCOT. Under a project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) aiming to promote wide-scale adoption of locally appropriate CSA practices, CIAT is using the CSA-RA as a simple yet powerful tool to assess within and between district variations in farming systems, agricultural management practices, challenges for current agricultural practices, and climate vulnerability among farmers.

    The CSA-RA tool comprises farmer workshops with good gender and youth representation; expert interviews, farmer interviews and farm observations. It uses village resource maps; climate calendars, historical calendars, cropping calendars and institutional mapping as part of its participatory methods.

    The power of the CSA-RA is amazingly evident in the information gathered. In all the four districts, unreliability of the onset and cessation of the rains, uncertainty about the duration of the rainy season, occurrence of too much rainfall, and the long dry spells that fall within the cropping season were identified as major constraints. The associated identified impacts included: influx of pests and diseases associated with too much rainfall, water scarcity, famine, loss of livestock, and migration, especially for men who abandon their families. On average households experience 2-3 months of food deficit and in order to survive they engage in off-farm employment, small business and kiosks, sale of livestock, growing irrigated crops along valley bottoms, and remittances.

    So what are the perceived constraints to adoption of CSA by farmers in the SAGCOT? Several bottlenecks were reported and as one farmer said, due to the constraints “kilimo hakina tija” which loosely translates to “the many constraints are making farming less beneficial.” Commonly mentioned barriers include: access to markets, inappropriateness of the practices for the particular landscape; social preferences, for example, some local varieties have attributes preferred over improved varieties; lack of financial capital, for example, women lack capital to purchase fruit trees such as oranges; lack of technical knowledge/assistance, for example, farmers in Mbarali lacked knowledge on budding to adopt fruit tree seedling production; land tenure, farmers in Kilolo were reluctant to practice soil improvement on rented plots; labour, for example, in Mbarali row planting is considered to be more time consuming; and accessibility of inputs.

    With the numerous challenges, are there opportunities for scaling up CSA in the SAGCOT? Indeed, there is a high potential for developing and implementing locally appropriate CSA technologies across SAGCOT, including: use of information and communication technology such as short message service, workshops and seminars; mobilizing and leveraging local institutions and farmer groups; farmer-to-farmer extension; expansion through successful farmer-driven demo plots; focus on long-term resilience of farming systems that can cope with climate uncertainty and variability; and focus on soil health improvement.

    Overall, the CSA-RA highlighted the challenges facing farmers in four districts across the SAGCOT and identified key next steps for identifying and implementing locally appropriate CSA practices across the region. CIAT will use the CSA-RA to inform site selection for land health surveys and intra-household gender surveys planned in the SAGCOT. In addition, the information from the CSA-RA will be used to help prioritize CSA initiatives in the SAGCOT and Tanzania. The CSA-RA manual and reports are available here.

    Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku, Caroline Mwongera, Wendy Okolo, Leigh Winowiecki, Jennifer Twyman and Peter Laderach all work at CIAT on several interdisciplinary iniatives to out-scale CSA technologies in East Africa.

    0 0

    Innovation through Inspiration: Outcomes of the Learning Route in Nepal

    By Tanya Lutvey, PROCASUR;

    On the last day of December’s Learning Route (LR) adventure in Nepal, “Women’s Empowerment, New Businesses and Sustainable Natural Resource Management in Nepal”, our weary-but-adrenaline-fuelled participants presented their plans for innovation within their own country contexts. In country/project groups or individually, our colleagues and friends had spent the previous days interacting with the knowledge gained from the LR and incorporating it into their own experiences on the ground. Motivated by the chance to compete for starting capital of $2500US for implementation of the plan, the presentations were a reflection of the diversity of experiences in the room. Not only this, but it was clear that all participants were inspired by the work of the host cases and had successfully applied their past week’s learning into their plans.

    Our LR in Nepal was an eclectic group of development practitioners and civil society at the local, national and international levels. From farmers, to IFAD project holders, to village chief’s and gender focal points – our team shared a wealth of experiences. And when it came to the development of innovation plans, the results were equally as diverse.

    Our indigenous participants from Thailand - one man from the Akha community, one Lisu woman and a female youth from the Karen tribe – collaborated together to propose an intercommunity savings group for women. According to their proposal, in addition to the provision of financial services to their members, the formation of the group would facilitate networking between their three respective ethnic groups. For Thailand, such a group is certainly an innovative idea and for PROCASUR, the outcome of network building amongst the participants is a satisfying achievement. 

    Meanwhile, our local Nepali participants representing various levels of development elected to work independently and thus we had a total of four innovation plans proposed from Nepal. If these plans are carried out all the way to fruition, the learning route could potentially catalyze the following outcomes; Organic Honey Production in Surket District and an Electric Small Irrigation Plan Project, both capable of generating income quickly and setting up a strong link between public and private partnership as well as the enhancement of socio-economic condition of rural indigenous Gurungs of Ghyalshowk VDC, Gorka district, Nepal.

    From the IFAD Country Office, Tajikistan, the focus was on Public- Private Partnership (PPP) in support of women led groups in order to set up sustainable export orientated women-led small business in cashmere, mohair, and wool processing and increasing their export capacities in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. While in Kenya, our participant representing the Department Of Social Development’s aim was the economic empowerment of women in Kirinyaga County. His overall goal being to empower women to maximize the use of available resources in a sustainable manner, all the while reducing fruit wastage, increasing incomes for rural women, enhancing bargaining power and maintaining better prices of products.

    Given the guidelines the LR participants were given when developing their plans (timeline no longer than 15 months, and the available capital being $2500), it was invigorating to see such ingenuity and… well… innovation come out of these sessions.  As we now approach the deadline for Innovation Plan submission, we here at the PROCASUR Asia and the Pacific office wait with baited breath to see how our fellow LR adventurers have been able to develop their ideas following the close of the route.

    For more insights and learning route contents please visit: and watch this space for an announcement of the winners…

    0 0

    Written by Clare Bishop-Sambrook, IFAD Gender team 

    This year is the 20th anniversary of
    the Fourth  World Conference on
    Last Friday, the Rome-based UN agencies celebrated International Women’s Day in IFAD. For me, the presentations threw into sharp relief the many aspects of our daily lives that we take for granted, yet would be a dream come true for millions of rural women.

    Some of the things that came to mind were:

    To have …. 

    The right to own assets, including land
    The self-confidence to make the right decisions for our families
    Easy ‘turn the tap/switch the switch’ access to water and power/energy
    An influential voice in decisions in the household, including what money should be spent on
    Control over my body, including how many children I want to have
    A fairer sharing of unpaid tasks among the members of my family

    To be free from …. 

    The threat of child marriage
    Harmful traditional practices, including female genital mutilation
    Verbal and physical abuse, violence and rape

    To be able to …. 

    Continue to learn and acquire new skills
    Benefit from information and communication technologies for work and play
    Feed all household members well, free from cultural norms
    Get health care when I need it
    Earn my own income and to decide when and how to spend it or save it
    Move freely and safely outside the home without being judged
    Spend time with my friends and family when I want to
    Live my life to my full potential

    Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section below.

    0 0

    Por Andrea Esquivel, Responsable del Programa Rutas de Aprendizaje en PROCASUR

    Conocimiento, innovación, aprendizaje, intercambio de experiencias, participación, afecto y alegría. Todo ello estuvo presente durante los siete días de la Ruta de Aprendizaje "Estrategias e innovaciones para la inclusión de los y las jóvenes rurales como protagonistas del desarrollo de sus territorios", implementada por PROCASUR y FIDA en El Salvador la última semana del pasado mes de febrero.

    La ruta, organizada con el apoyo del Ministerio de Agricultura salvadoreño, reunió a unos 40 jóvenes rurales y representantes técnicos de instituciones de desarrollo rural de  Brasil, Belice, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haití, Honduras y El Salvador. La diversidad cultural y lingüística no fue una barrera para el aprendizaje colectivo, sino elementos de convergencia y de mutuo enriquecimiento.

    Pero, ¿qué es una ruta de aprendizaje?  Básicamente, las rutas de aprendizaje son una herramienta de gestión del conocimiento y desarrollo de capacidades que promueve el escalonamiento de las mejores prácticas  a favor de la erradicación de la pobreza rural.

    ©PROCASUR/Daniel Ferreira
    Innovar y compartir son las palabras clave. Las rutas de aprendizaje capitalizan  las lecciones aprendidas en campo, promueven el aprendizaje  y permiten la difusión eficaz de información, inspirando la aplicación de métodos innovadores ya probados en la práctica en otras regiones.

    Diseñadas a la medida de cada  usuario, y estructuradas en torno de objetivos específicos de aprendizaje, las Rutas promueven el intercambio de experiencias y la interacción, convirtiendo a pequeños agricultores y técnicos agrícolas locales en capacitadoras de sus pares.

    Así, los participantes en la ruta de aprendizaje de El Salvador vivieron  un proceso de construcción e intercambio de conocimientos del que los y las jóvenes fueron los principales protagonistas activos y motivadores.

    Durante el recorrido de la ruta, los y las participantes pudieron conocer el contexto sociocultural y político relevante en materia de juventud rural en El Salvador y en los distintos países de América Latina y el Caribe que enviaron representantes a la ruta. Los y las ruteras analizaron  en conjunto avances, desafíos y dificultades.

    La fuente principal del aprendizaje han sido los actores locales. Hombres y mujeres de talento, jóvenes y técnicos, que a partir de la presentación de su experiencia acerca del camino recorrido para establecer las buenas prácticas implementadas, lograron asombrar a los visitantes y transmitir sus conocimientos de manera clara y dinámica, motivando la reflexión y la innovación.

    Las experiencias anfitrionas (los proyectos MAG-PRODEMOR CENTRAL y MAG-PRODEMORO, financiados por el FIDA en El Salvador, y la ONG salvadoreña FUNDESYRAM), así como los paneles sobre las experiencias provenientes de Nicaragua (NITLAPAN y Ay qué lindo!, una de las actividades financiadas por el FIDA a través del proyecto PRODESEC), aportaron con diferentes mecanismos y estrategias que han resultado exitosas para incluir a la juventud en iniciativas de desarrollo rural, incrementando su participación y empoderamiento social y económico.

    ©PROCASUR/Daniel Ferreira
    Las y los ruteros dialogaron con los jóvenes protagonistas de las redes territoriales de desarrollo en el occidente, el oriente y el centro de El Salvador.  Se encontraron con jóvenes emprendedores que están empujando iniciativas de negocios familiares y asociativos, que están abriendo espacios para el desarrollo de sus proyectos de vida y el acceso a activos que promueven el arraigo de los y las jóvenes en el medio rural.

    Múltiples fueron igualmente los actores e instituciones que han apoyado estos procesos y que han demostrado que invertir en los jóvenes es rentable y prioritario para generar estrategias de desarrollo sostenibles, actuales y futuras.

    Así, con base en estos nuevos conocimientos, buenas prácticas e innovaciones se elaboraron planes de innovación en los que cada equipo participante esbozó un camino para abrir nuevas oportunidades a losy las jóvenes en sus entornos de acción.

    Ahora, tras el retorno de las y los ruteros a sus países y regiones de origen,  el desafío es sembrar los aprendizajes cosechados y abonarles para que se multipliquen y den frutos.

    ©PROCASUR/Daniel Ferreira
    La ruta de aprendizaje culmina pero comienzan los caminos de cada participante y sus aliados para buscar replicar y ampliar la experiencia recogida. Cuentan para  para ello con nuevas energías e ideas inspiradoras, nuevos aliados.

    Sobre todo, cuentan con el recuerdo vivo de aquellos jóvenes que a partir de sus voces y testimonios mostraron que es posible vencer los miedos, emprender e innovar, y que sólo es preciso una dosis de confianza y oportunidades por parte de las instituciones para que sus capacidades se activen, impactando positivamente no sólo a ellos, sino a sus familias, comunidades y territorios.

    0 0

    Written by Anja Lund Lesa and Larissa Setaro

    In celebration of International Women’s Day IFAD, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) jointly organized an event that focused on empowerment of rural women. The celebration took place on 6 March at IFAD headquarters, and among the attendees were staff from IFAD and its partner agencies, representatives of civil society organizations and around 50 students from universities in Rome.

    The theme for International Women's Day 2015 was "Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!" To celebrate that theme, a call went out to IFAD-funded projects asking them to submit photos from their work on women's empowerment in their countries. More than 100 photos were shared from 22 country offices around the world. See highlights here.

    This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. International Women's Day was therefore a special occasion to celebrate achievements made since Beijing and to discuss remaining challenges. In light of this, the Rome-based agencies dedicated the celebration to empowering rural women to achieve food and nutrition security. The event was followed by a Gender Share Fair where a number of organizations showcased innovative practices designed to empower rural women.

    The International Women's Day event at IFAD on 6 March.
    ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

     'If you invest in a rural woman, you invest in a community'

    The opening speech by IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze emphasized that women are the backbone of rural societies. But unfortunately, many of them are also doing the back-breaking part of the work, and their access to productive assets and services is limited in most rural areas. Many studies have shown that rural women's economic and social empowerment leads to improvements in agricultural production, food security, nutrition, economic growth and social welfare. Their empowerment has a positive impact on themselves, their families and their communities. As Nwanze said: "If you invest in a rural woman, you invest in a community." Gender equality opens doors to entire communities, and the Beijing +20 anniversary is an opportunity to do more to recognize the role of rural women, provide them with more opportunities and better access to assets, and strengthen their voices in decision-making processes.

    Significant achievements – but more needs to be done

    In her statement at the event, Marcela Villarreal, Director of the Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development at FAO, also highlighted Beijing +20 as an occasion to reflect on what has changed in the past 20 years. On the development scene, significant progress has been achieved, she said. Millions of people are out of poverty and hunger, and development processes are now involving multiple actors, including civil society and the private sector. There is more awareness about gender inequality and the costs of not involving women in development. But many challenges remain, and rural women fare worse on all human development indicators compared to men and urban women. Rural women are still burdened with heavy domestic and care-giving workloads in most societies; in sub-Saharan Africa, women spend 40 billion hours every year to fetch water. Hence, more needs to be done to build on existing achievements. Let's not wait until Beijing +40 to see real advancement in the conditions of rural women, Villarreal said.

    Field experiences

    Four stories were presented in a panel discussion on nutrition, community mobilization, livestock and land. Those areas are all essential to empowering women to achieve food security and nutrition security.

    Britta Schumacher, Programme Policy Officer at WFP, presented the work of REACH, which stands for ‘Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and under-nutrition’. A very informative video showed experiences from REACH in Bangladesh, reporting on misleading cultural messages about child feeding and diet during pregnancy – for instance, that eating less during pregnancy to ease childbirth, or that feeding infants with water and honey so that they 'talk modestly' when they grow up. In addition, the video illustrated the weak status of women within households and communities – highlighting the issue of teenage and child marriages, and women's lack of decision-making power. Through participatory approaches, REACH aims to bring women out of the household, interact and share experiences to increase their knowledge on nutritional issues. Women's knowledge about nutrition is essential for the healthy growth and development of their infants, and for the well-being of women, of the household and, ultimately, of the community as a whole, enabling them to rise out of poverty.

    Woman in Niger holding a land lease contract
    ©FAO/ Andrea Sánchez Enciso
    Andrea Sánchez Enciso, Gender and Participatory Communication Specialist at FAO, presented information on FAO-Dimitra 'listening clubs' and the Joint Programme on Rural Women's Empowerment in Niger (which involves FAO, IFAD, WFP and UN Women). The Dimitra clubs created spaces for farmers to discuss issues affecting their livelihoods, so they could collectively build a strategy in order to bring about real change. In the case presented, insecure land tenure and access to water were constraining farmers' lives, but through community mobilization they were able to obtain a 99-year land lease contract of 3 ha of arable land, in addition to drip irrigation. Such a participatory approach enhanced leadership capacities and gave participants the needed confidence to present their arguments before different actors.

    Antonio Rota, Lead Technical Specialist-Livestock, Policy and Technical Advisory Division, IFAD, stressed the important role that women play in livestock (e.g. milking and carrying feed and water to animals), and how livestock programmes can be important to women's empowerment as an entry point for other development activities (e.g. education and micro-credit). Indeed, through the Family Poultry Development Programme in Afghanistan, women – mostly widows and destitute –  were provided with assets in the form of chickens, along with appropriate and gender-sensitive training. At least 75,000 women benefitted from the programme, increasing profitability by 91 per cent, and boosting egg and chicken consumption by 88.9 per cent and 67.7 per cent, respectively.

    Women in Afghanistan working with poultry
    ©IFAD/Antonio Rota

    Mino Ramaroson, Africa Regional Coordinator at the International Land Coalition, introduced two African experiences of women's networks – the National Federation of Rural Women in Madagascar and the Kilimanjaro Initiative – advocating for their rights to land and natural resources. These two examples of mobilization of rural women benefitted them by strengthening their confidence to express their needs and work together towards the recognition of their rights.

    These programmes are all working towards women's empowerment, to finally picture it! And they share their successes in:

    • Creating a space for women, bringing them out of the household, interacting with other women and sharing their experiences and knowledge
    • Building capacities on specific issues (health, nutrition, livestock, land rights and taking action together), thus improving their confidence and self-esteem
    • Enhancing women's assets, allowing them to earn additional income and have a role to play in household decision-making
    • Recognizing women for their knowledge, skills, strength and contribution to the household and community.

    Unlocking women's potential

    In her closing remarks, Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of WFP, stressed that the Rome-based agencies need to work together to be more effective and efficient. We are serving the same population, she said, and the efficiency which donors demand is also demanded by the beneficiaries. She also emphasized that the global community will not advance if 50 per cent of the population are locked inside their homes, without influence and without having a voice. We need to unlock this potential, Cousin said. To do this, men need to stand up for gender equality, and women need to speak up to support other women.

    0 0
  • 03/25/15--02:11: Climate Cinema: The Sequel
  • Water was the theme of yesterday’s Climate Cinema  event where the Environment and Climate Division (ECD), in collaboration with the Think Forward Film Festival, screened three powerful films that highlighted the 800 million people worldwide who lack access to fresh water.  

    In his opening remarks, Dr. Yarolsav Mysiak touched on the increasing incidence of natural disasters as a result of climate change, with a cumulative economic impact of about USD 300 billion each year. According to Mysiak, these phenomena are undoing years’ worth of development work, thus new investments by governments and international funds should strive to conduct robust risk analyses to avoid damages to economic infrastructure and productive systems.

    The first film, God is Water, documented the daily struggles of the 500,000 rural Kenyans who rely on Lake Turkana, the world's largest desert lake, for the fresh water essential to their livelihoods. Over the past 30 years, higher temperatures and changing weather patterns have contributed to the lake’s reduced water volume. But now, a new hydropower plant being built upstream in neighbouring Ethiopia is exacerbating the situation for local farmers, pastoralists and fishers who live by the lake. Those who appeared in the film predicted widespread conflict between ethnic groups when the Gibe III dam is finished construction.

    The second film, Water Changes, focused on a German-Namibian research project, CuveWaters, that provided a water harvesting and drip irrigation system to a community in rural Namibia. The arid environment traditionally limits small farmers to one planting season, however introducing a relatively simple and low-cost technology meant that farmers could suddenly grow crops year round for increased income generation. The film dealt with what Mysiak described as the water-energy nexus, that is, the logistical question of providing fresh water to communities where electricity is not readily available. The project resolved this issue by an ingenuous bicycle-powered pump, which directed water from a large reservoir through a network of tubes to the farmers’ vegetable fields.

    The third film on the bill, One in a Million, was an emotionally gripping journey of one man, Duncan Goose, to locate a girl he had seen in a photograph queuing by a fresh water pump. The photograph inspired Goose to found the One Foundation, and donate all of the profits to water projects in Africa. Goose’s journey spanned more than a decade and took him through the expansive slums of Kibera, in Kenya, where sanitation is a major issue leading to cholera outbreaks and other diseases.

    To wrap up the quadruple feature, Recipes for Change: Vietnam, an IFAD production illustrated the issue of salinity intrusion, which affects small farmers and aqua culturists in the Mekong Delta. As sea level rise leads to more saline water travelling up the Mekong river and its tributaries, this vast crop-producing region is grappling with losses of economically important rice crops as well as fresh water shrimp, prawns and other aqua culture products. In response to this challenge, IFAD launched the Adaptation in the Mekong Delta (AMD) project in 2014, which helps finance salinity monitoring systems and support for income diversification.

    The films each approached the subject of water and its inextricable link to human development in different and interesting ways, and after the lunchtime session the audience was certainly left with a lot to think about. The next climate cinema event will be held on April 20th in the Executive Dining room, where the theme will be on adaptation in agriculture.  

    0 0

    Ecrit par Ndongo Samba Sylla 

    Le commerce équitable est-il équitable? Peut-on rendre le monde plus équitable par la consommation solidaire?

    A n’en pas douter, le commerce équitable Fairtrade/Max Havelaar (CE dans ce qui suit) a été un grand succès marketing dans les pays riches. En 2004, les ventes totales de produits CE à travers le monde s’établissaient à 830 millions d’euros. En 2013, elles avaient atteint 5,5 milliards d’euros.

    Les partisans du CE tendent généralement à penser que plus de ventes au Nord implique plus d’impact socioéconomique au Sud. Malheureusement, cette façon de penser est plutôt simpliste. 

    Premièrement, il faut voir que 10 à 20% seulement de ces chiffres d’affaires sont reçus par les organisations de producteurs, sous forme de recettes d’exportation.

    Deuxième limite : non seulement les revenus créés par le CE sont faibles, ils sont également très mal répartis. Sur les 74 pays couverts par le CE, 10 représentent 70% des recettes d’exportation. Huit parmi ces 10 pays viennent de l’Amérique latine qui est la principale région à récolter les bénéfices du CE.

    Troisième limite: le commerce équitable tend à marginaliser les pays les plus dépendants de l’exportation de produits primaires agricoles. Prenons le cas du café. L’Ethiopie et le Burundi sont les deux pays qui dépendent le plus au monde de l’exportation de café qui rapportent respectivement 34% et 26% de leurs recettes d’exportations. Malheureusement, les certifications de café CE sont inexistantes au Burundi et limitées en Ethiopie. Paradoxalement, le Mexique et le Pérou qui ne sont pas du tout dépendants du café représentent près d’un tiers des certifications de café CE. La banane et le cacao racontent la même histoire.

    Ce que j’ai appelé le « biais ploutocratique » fait référence au fait que le CE marginalise les pays les plus pauvres, les producteurs les plus pauvres et les pays les plus dépendants.

    Une autre manifestation de ce biais ploutocratique est que le surplus payé par les consommateurs du Nord reste dans le Nord pour l’essentiel. Dans le cas des Etats-Unis, pour chaque dollar consacré à l’achat d’un produit CE, seuls 3 cents sont transférés dans le Sud sous forme de revenus supplémentaires.

    Au-delà du CE 

    Thomas Jefferson a écrit: « une bonne cause souffre souvent davantage des efforts inopportuns de ses amis que des arguments de ses ennemis ». Je crois que sa citation décrit parfaitement la situation du CE.

    Même si le CE fonctionnait admirablement bien, le fait est que son impact ne pourrait être que réduit. En effet, si l’on compare les recettes annuelles d’exportation des produits CE à la valeur des exportations globales annuelles du Sud vers le Nord, on obtient un rapport de 1 à 8760. Ceci pour dire que le CE fonctionne à une échelle politique et économique qui rend son impact plus que négligeable. Et qu’il faut des remèdes globaux à des problèmes globaux.

    Comment rendre les relations commerciales entre le Nord et le Sud plus équilibrées?

    Premièrement, les pays riches devraient arrêter leur dumping agricole.

    Deuxièmement, les pays riches devraient cesser de décourager l’industrialisation des pays les plus pauvres via l’escalade tarifaire.

    Troisièmement, les matières premières agricoles devraient être mieux régulées au plan international en vue de lutter contre la spéculation et de garantir des soupapes de sécurité aux producteurs.

    Quatrièmement, les pays riches et les institutions financières internationales devraient cesser d’exiger une libéralisation inconditionnelle des marchés de produits agricoles (ex, les accords de partenariat économique conclus, et non encore signés, entre l’Union européenne et les pays africains).

    Enfin, l’Organisation Mondiale du Commerce doit être revue dans son fonctionnement en vue qu’elle œuvre davantage pour le développement que pour les intérêts des multinationales des pays riches.

    Toutes ces politiques requièrent un engagement politique fort des pays riches ainsi qu’un souci réel d’équilibrer les relations entre le Nord et le Sud. Elles supposent aussi une certaine cohérence politique.

    L’ironie est qu’aujourd’hui ce sont les grands acteurs économiques accusés d’être responsables du manque d’équité du système commercial international qui sont les chantres du CE voire des « labels éthiques ». Or, les gouvernements du Nord ne font pas mieux. Dans nombre de pays européens, dans les mairies, les ministères, les parlements, le café servi est parfois labellisé CE. Ce qui est une façon de se donner bonne conscience : une solidarité low cost.

    En conclusion, retenons ceci: dans un monde décent et équitable, nous ne devrions pas avoir besoin d’initiatives comme le commerce équitable. Leur seule existence témoigne de ce qui ne va pas dans le monde d’aujourd’hui. Quand l’équité peut s’acheter dans un supermarché, c’est que nous sommes très loin d’en comprendre la nature ainsi que les sacrifices qu’elle exige.

    Comme apparu sur AgenceEcofin

    0 0

    Champagne, Colombian Coffee, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Rioja wine, Darjeeling tea and Tequila are products that are deeply rooted in a given geographical and cultural environment. The unique quality and characteristics of such products depend fundamentally on their geographical origin by virtue of natural factors such as: climate, soil composition, environment, as well as traditional production techniques and know-how. They are the so-called Geographical Indications (GIs).

    GIs have been recognized by policy makers in both developed and developing countries as a potential mechanism to assist (primarily) the agricultural sector by reducing supply competition for traditional products while raising their quality. As part of a grant project (SAMCERT -  Strengthening Smallholders’  Access to Markets for Certified Sustainable Products), IFAD is currently implementing a pilot initiative to support the establishment of three GIs (for cocoa, coffee, and pepper) in Sao Tome and Principe (STP). The objective is to strengthen market access for IFAD targeted producers, facilitating the development of a “trade approach” for STP agricultural products and ensuring that they are not commercialized as undifferentiated commodities, but as goods that are linked to a well-defined geographical and cultural area.


    A delegation from STP visited IFAD on 25 and 26 March 2015. During the first day, a workshop was held at IFAD headquarters to share the experience in setting up GIs for cocoa, coffee and pepper. IFAD’s country programme manager for STP, Mr Andrea Serpagli, started by highlighting the fact that this is IFAD’s first experience with setting up a GI. Mr Michele Maccari, SAMCERT coordinator, presented the approach the project followed in establishing a GI. Emphasis has been put on three areas of work: communication, technical assistance and policy dialogue. Working in a participatory manner has proven to be key. Ms  Ester Olivas Caceres, GI Senior Lawyer Specialist, gave an overview of what GIs are and the different steps that have been taken to set up a GI in STP, after which Ms Antonia Dos Santos Neto, GI consultant, talked about the achievements and challenges encountered so far. Reaching common understanding amongst the involved communities has required a lot of time and effort. Finally, a representative of the “Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano”, a well-established Italian GI, talked about the challenges of effectively managing a GI, the long-term benefits for those directly involved and its impact on the territory it refers to.

    On 26 March, the delegation visited the territories of Sabina, between Rome and Rieti, where Sabina Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) olive oil is produced. Discussions were held with the Consortium that is dedicated to the protection of PDO Sabina oil and supervision of the proper use of the PDO. The consortium is responsible for monitoring compliance with the product specification

    , ensuring the quality and authenticity of the product Sabina PDO and protecting, enhancing and promoting Sabina PDO olive oil through conferences, studies, participation in exhibitions, fairs and tastings. During this encounter open discussions were held on the opportunities and challenges in setting up a GI. Moreover, a possible future collaboration between the consortium and cocoa cooperatives in STP was discussed. To be continued!


    More information

    0 0

    Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Lead Technical Specialist, Policy and Technical Advisory Division

    Last week I had the opportunity to attend a workshop in London organized by Nestlé, to discuss ways in which their gender action plan for the cocoa supply chain could be strengthened. This is particularly relevant given the increasing focus on value chain projects in the IFAD portfolio and initiatives for greater engagement with the private sector.

    Nestlé’s interest in gender had been triggered by Oxfam’s “Behind the Brands”campaign which challenged some of the world’s largest food and beverage firms to do more to make their agricultural production more sustainable, both socially and environmentally. The initial Oxfam report, launched in February 2013, presented data based on publicly available information that relates to the policies of 10 companies (the Big 10) on their sourcing of agricultural commodities from developing countries. The report covered seven themes: women, small scale farmers, farm workers, water, land, climate change and transparency.

    With regard to gender, the Behind the Brands scorecard examines whether the policies of the Big 10 promote women’s welfare and encourage their inclusion in the food supply chain on equal terms. The scorecard also looks for policies that guarantee a discrimination-free workplace. Progress is tracked: in the 18 months since the report was launched, there has been a marked improvement across the board on the gender score, although no company has yet reached the ‘good’ category.

    Distribution of performance of 10 companies on gender scores

    For many companies, the report was a wake-up call to do more in these critical areas and many have responded with positive actions.

    Nestlé, the largest food and beverage company in the world, is one such company. By April 2013, two months after Oxfam’s report, Nestlé had prepared an action plan on women. This was later updated following the findings from a detailed assessment of women’s roles in Nestlé’s Cocoa Supply Chain in Cote d’Ivoire by Fair Labor Association. The plan has three main pillars: promoting equal opportunities, giving women a voice and helping increase women’s income. These are strikingly similar to IFAD’s gender policy objectives of economic empowerment, voice and decision-making, and equitable workload balance.

    Actions to date by Nestlé have included gender awareness training, promotion of women’s leadership in running nurseries, support for income-generating activities, and diversification into cassava nurseries.

    Motivated by a desire to improve their performance further, Nestlé organized the workshop in London, specifically to look at how to strengthen the gender dimensions of their work in the cocoa value chain in West Africa. Workshop participants represented an interesting mix drawn from the private sector, specialist cocoa organizations, NGOs, academia, and international organizations, including FAO and IFAD.

    For many companies, the report was a wake-up call to do more in these critical areas and many have responded with positive actions.

    Nestlé, the largest food and beverage company in the world, is one such company. By April 2013, two months after Oxfam’s report, Nestlé had prepared an action plan on women. This was later updated following the findings from a detailed assessment of women’s roles in Nestlé’s Cocoa Supply Chain in Cote d’Ivoire by Fair Labor Association. The plan has three main pillars: promoting equal opportunities, giving women a voice and helping increase women’s income. These are strikingly similar to IFAD’s gender policy objectives of economic empowerment, voice and decision-making, and equitable workload balance.

    Actions to date by Nestlé have included gender awareness training, promotion of women’s leadership in running nurseries, support for income-generating activities, and diversification into cassava nurseries.

    Motivated by a desire to improve their performance further, Nestlé organized the workshop in London, specifically to look at how to strengthen the gender dimensions of their work in the cocoa value chain in West Africa. Workshop participants represented an interesting mix drawn from the private sector, specialist cocoa organizations, NGOs, academia, and international organizations, including FAO and IFAD.

    During the workshop discussions, participants urged Nestle to go beyond the traditional approaches to gender mainstreaming and tackle the underlying causes of gender inequality by adopting gender transformative approaches. These include:

    • Developing a theory of change to underpin the action plan
    • presenting the business case – return on investment - for promoting gender equality  ─ rather than positioning it solely as a social issue
    • moving beyond activity/output indicators to outcome/impact indicators
    • engaging with men and leaders at the community level in order to create a positive environment for behaviour change
    • the need to address intra-household dynamics for gender equality
    • broadening the focus beyond the farm to other aspects of value chain development, including livelihood aspects of malnutrition
    It was very exciting to witness first-hand how seriously the private sector is listening and how willing they are to go the extra mile to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality, for both business and ethical reasons. 

    For updates on performance, see:

    0 0

    Written by Theophilus Otchere Larbi, Country Programme Officer, Ghana
    All photos ©IFAD/Francis Kokoroko

    The Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Michel Mordasini, visited Ghana last week. He had the opportunity to meet with government officials including Fiifi Kwetey, Minister of Food and Agriculture and Seth Tekper, Minister of Finance, to discuss the country’s agricultural and rural development agenda and to confirm IFAD’s steady support to Ghana’s development efforts.

    Mordasini (right) as a hearty chat with the Fiifi Kwetey (left), Minister for Food and Agriculture
    The highlight of his visit was a 2-day field trip to the Northern Region to gain first-hand knowledge of two IFAD-financed programmes: the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) and the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP).  He was accompanied on the field trip by the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Yakubu Alhassan (MP); Mathias Meyerhans, Director, Administrative Services Division, IFAD Headquarters and staff of the IFAD Country Office (ICO).

    The visit gave Michel Mordasini and his team the opportunity to assess projects successfully executed by the two programmes. He met with authorities of the Savelugu Municipal Assembly and attended an exhibition at the forecourt of the Savelugu Municipal Assembly prepared by clients of the REP. He also visited a local soap processing group in Savelugu and the Kanvili Women’s Shea Centre.

    Mordasini with shea processors at Kanvilli
    Mordasini has a keen interest in private sector-led development. He had the opportunity to interact with the Savanah Farmers Marketing Company (SFMC) and the supply chain manager of Nestle. He was briefed on the private sector partnership initiatives that the NRGP has undertaken to facilitate the marketing of maize, millet and soya, grown by farmers participating in the project.

    His field trip ended with a visit to the Tibzaa Ranch, which partners with the NRGP to provide training and capacity building to guinea fowl producers.

    Mordasini during visit to the Tipzaa Ranch. On his left is Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture and on his right is Sintaro Mahama, CEO of Tipzaa Ranch.

    The Vice-President was impressed with the performance of the NRGP and REP and enjoyed seeing first hand examples of projects that actively promote rural transformation development goals. He did emphasize the need for the NGRP to promote off-farm activities as well in order to provide additional employment ad income-generating activities.

    Mordasini is warmly welcomed by Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limunathe, Northern Regional Minister,  during a visit to the Minister’s residency in Tamale.

    On the last day of his visit, the Vice-President participated in the official inauguration of the new IFAD/FAO multi-purpose office complex in Accra, generously made available by the Government of Ghana. 

    Mordasini inaugurates new office complex

    Ulac Demirag, Country Programme Manager, on behalf of the ICO, thanked the Vice-President for the time spent with IFAD staff to share and discuss key initiatives at IFAD and learn more about IFAD’s work from the ICO’s perspectives. 

older | 1 | .... | 19 | 20 | (Page 21) | 22 | 23 | .... | 44 | newer