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    Por Annibale Ferrini

    Lima, 8 de abril de 2016 - “La Sierra Norte del Perú guardaba en silencio valiosos tesoros escondidos entre sus tierras, sus aguas y sus bosques. La gente conocía esos recursos por sus ancestros, pero había perdido la confianza en su valor. Ahora, los pobladores de esas regiones han redescubiertos esos tesoros y están dando nueva vida a este territorio”.

    Así se expresaba finales de marzo Antonieta Noli, coordinadora del Proyecto Sierra Norte, tras el emocionante acto de clausura de este programa de desarrollo rural financiado por el FIDA e implementado por el Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego del Perú

    El programa, que comenzó su andadura a finales del año 2010, ha beneficiado a más de 20 000 familias de las áreas rurales más remotas y pobres de 115 distritos de 12 provincias de los departamentos de Amazonas, Cajamarca, Lambayeque y La Libertad, en el norte del Perú. 

    Jesús Quintana, Representante del FIDA en el Perú, comentaba con evidente satisfacción que “Sierra Norte ha representado un camino exitoso de inclusión económica y social a través de la valorización de un patrimonio natural y cultural que los mismos usuarios han redescubierto. Usar la cultura popular como base del desarrollo ha dado lugar a un proceso de empoderamiento y desarrollo de capacidades que ellos mismos han protagonizado”

    “Los usuarios han participado en el diseño de las intervenciones, manejado los recursos financieros para llevarlas a cabo, identificado y elegido el tipo de asistencia técnica que necesitaban”, añadía con orgullo bien justificado la coordinadora del Proyecto Sierra Norte. “Este proceso innovador ha logrado un impacto real en sus condiciones de vida y trabajo porque ellos han sido los verdaderos protagonistas del proceso”.

    El acto de clausura del Proyecto Sierra Norte, celebrado en la Cámara de Comercio de Lima, sirvió para comprender el complejo e innovador mecanismo de funcionamiento del proyecto, que ha proporcionado a sus usuarios oportunidades de acceso a mercados locales y nacionales, y ha transformado su forma de producir. Ésta es ahora más sostenible, adaptada al cambio climático y, también,  a los rápidos y continuos cambios sociales y económicos.



    En el marco de las innovaciones aplicadas con éxito por el proyecto se destacan en particular: los Comités de Asignación de Recursos (CLARS), los mapas parlantes, los talentos rurales, y el enfoque de Desarrollo Territorial con Identidad Cultural.

    CLARS. En cada uno de los cuatro departamentos en donde se implementó el proyecto, los CLARs, integrados no sólo por directivos del proyecto, sino también por autoridades municipales y comunales y representantes de organizaciones populares y grupos empresariales, tenían la función de evaluar las propuestas presentadas por las comunidades usuarias del proyecto y asignar recursos a las iniciativas ganadoras. “Dichas propuestas eran, en muchas ocasiones, presentadas en formas de piezas teatrales, danzas y otras formas de expresión socio-cultural en lugar de a través del típico documento de Power Point”, explicaba Noli.

    Los mapas parlantes son representaciones de la realidad física, social, económica y cultural de los territorios realizadas por los mismos pobladores. En ellas se evidencia tanto la situación actual como los deseos y aspiraciones para el futuro, los cambios que se quieren impulsar. Son en práctica planes participados de desarrollo territorial en los que todos, hombres, mujeres, jóvenes, adultos mayores aportan con su conocimiento y su visión, al tiempo que afirman su compromiso para el cambio.

    Los talentos rurales son personas que poseen conocimientos y experiencias valiosas  que comparten con sus iguales, los cuales pueden replicar estas buenas prácticas. El proyecto implementó una estrategia de gestión del conocimiento a través de la cual 321 talentos rurales se convirtieron en prestadores de servicios de extensión rural, vía capacitaciones, asistencias técnicas, rutas de aprendizaje, pasantías, etc de.  Estos talentos rurales constituyen hoy una “comunidad” capacitada para escalar iniciativas y apoyar nuevos proyectos de desarrollo en la misma área y en otras regiones.

    El Enfoque de Desarrollo Territorial con Identidad Cultural (DT-IC) fue experimentado desde 2013 en seis territorios gracias a la colaboración con la Plataforma de Diversidad Biocultural y Territorios constituida por el RIMISP–Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural, PROCASUR, el CET Chiloé, Diversidad y Desarrollo y SLOW FOOD. En poco tiempo ha originado un significativo aumento de la autoestima por parte de los actores, fortaleciendo sus raíces identitarias y la cohesión social. Esto que ha facilitado la integración de innovaciones con saberes locales y prácticas tradicionales en nuevos productos y servicios basados en la identidad cultural y la calidad, lo que ha permitido a los usuarios de Sierra Norte acceder a mercado locales y nacionales en condiciones competitivas.

      Los mapas culturales formaron parte de la exposición queacompañó el evento de cierre del Proyecto Sierra Norte en la Cámara de Comercio de Lima ©Annibale Ferreri
      Uno de los resultados del proceso de aplicación del enfoque DT-IC ha sido la realización de Mapas de Potencialidades de los Territorios con Identidad Cultural, que se presentaron en el evento de cierre del proyecto en Lima. En ellos se ponen en evidencia los activos físicos, naturales, agroalimentarios y culturales priorizados por las comunidades del proyecto. Esta iniciativa están en línea con el nuevo enfoque del desarrollo rural que el Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas de Perú quiere impulsar. El Ministerio prevé dejar de lado el diseño y utilización de mapas de pobreza y usar en su lugar mapas de potencialidades a partir de las cuales planificar intervenciones en colaboración con los usuarios de las mismas.  



      Las experiencias del proyecto, los actores locales empoderados y los procesos de desarrollo encaminados representan un patrimonio que se puede aprovechar en proyección a otros territorios y áreas con muchas potencialidades aún no identificadas pero de seguro valor en la lucha a la pobreza y la desigualdad en Perú así como en América Latina y en el mundo.

      Buena parte de dichas experiencias están recogidas en el catálogo de publicaciones del proyecto que se pueden consultar en su página web.


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      by David F. Paqui and Viateur Karangwa


      From righ to left: Adolfo Brizzi, Innocent Musabyimana, Sana Jatta,
      Francisco Pichon, Claver Gasirabo and Aimable Ntukanyagwe
      A joint mission to Rwanda by two IFAD directors was welcomed by government counterparts and led to a fruitful dialogue on how to take IFAD’s engagement in the country to the next level.

      From 21 to 24 March 2016, Sana F.K. Jatta, Director, East and Southern Africa Division and Adolfo Brizzi, Director, Policy and Technical Advisory Division headed an IFAD delegation to visit Rwanda. They were accompanied by Francisco Pichon, IFAD Country Director for Tanzania and Country Programme Manager for Rwanda and Aimable Ntukanyagwe, Country Programme Officer based in IFAD Country in Rwanda. It was the first such joint visit by two IFAD Directors focusing exclusively on the Rwanda country programme.

      “This mission was an opportunity to demonstrate IFAD’s strong support and commitment to the Rwandan programme”, Jatta said. “We also reviewed with the government officials the status and possible future directions of IFAD’s engagement in Rwanda,” he added.
      One of the working sessions in Kigali with projects staff
      In Kigali, the IFAD mission met with Geraldine Mukeshimana, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and her staff, including the Permanent Secretary, directors, the coordinator and senior staff of the Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) for IFAD-funded projects in the country. The Rwandan officials were genuinely interested to discuss how to expand the partnership with IFAD, and to capitalize on lessons learned from the current programmes and projects in the country by bringing them to scale.
      Francisco Pichon of IFAD delegation visiting the communal
      cattle shed 
      The intensity of the conversation allowed the IFAD team to have a sense of how results-oriented the Rwandan Government is, with performance targets and indicators set for each political and civil service function within all government ministries. The outcome of various discussions in the capital is that the Government and IFAD fully agree that smallholder agriculture is a business. Both sides also recognize that dairy and livestock development, areas in which IFAD is developing a new programme, offer great opportunities for expansion and income-generation for smallholders.

      The delegation jointly headed by Jatta and Brizzi also met the representatives of United Nations
      Sana Jatta and Adolfo Brizzi of IFAD exchanging with
      Innocent Musabyimana, Permanent Secretary of MINAGRI
      agencies and other development partners active in Rwanda. With the African Development Bank, given their emerging renewed focus on agriculture, possible areas of collaboration were identified as opportunities for partnership and cofinancing of projects in Rwanda.

      The IFAD mission visited a number of sites where the Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project is working and other activities in the Kirehe district. These included:
        • the Sagatare dam reservoir, which is used to irrigate around 205 hectares, mainly under paddy
        • the Kirehe Rice Plant Ltd, partly co-funded by the World Bank, with a plant capacity of 6 metric tonnes and storage capacity for 3,000 tonnes, operated as a typical public-private-producers-partnership (4P) with IFAD support
      Visit of rice milling plant in Kirehe
      • the Kagogo communal cowshed used by 30 farmers from surrounding villages as a joint enterprise
        • a young household benefitting from the one cow per poor household programme under the “pass-on the gift” scheme implemented by Heifer International through a contract with KWAMP, combined with a flexi biogas digester that has proved very successful.


      The mission also visited a maize warehouse and drying floor funded under Climate Resilient Post Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP). In all these places, the IFAD team met and discussed with project participants, private millers and service providers about their experiences, and witnessed first-hand 4P schemes running successfully.

      Brizzi made a presentation on leveraging finance for smallholder agriculture and scaling up results to a large gathering chaired by Innocent Musabyimana, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. It was followed by a lively discussion. The presentation was attended by the CEO of the National Agriculture Export Board, representatives from the Rwanda Agriculture Board, all IFAD-funded projects teams, business development service providers, the Rwanda Business Development Fund, and others.

      The IFAD delegation concluded the visit to Rwanda by meeting Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and his team. The delegation thanked the Government of Rwanda for their support to the IFAD10 Replenishment and for the strong leadership in the successful implementation of IFAD-supported operations in the country. The implementation of the PASP was discussed and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning challenged his own team to focus on expediting implementation, with the concerted effort of MINAGRI. This is the only project in the portfolio that has not picked up sufficient speed since its effectiveness in March 2014.

      “The very strong interest and attention provided to the IFAD team was another demonstration of the strong interest by the Government of Rwanda to see the partnership with IFAD become even stronger and go to the next level,” Jatta said.
      “It is worth noting that a good deal of the discussion as laid out by the Minister himself was a description of IFAD’s approach to leveraging private sector involvement in agriculture and the 4P model,” he added.
      IFAD delegation and project staff delegation in the field

      “In his view, other donors should provide money to IFAD so that we can expand our scaling up potential especially through the mobilization of private partners, and our financial instruments to foster more inclusive markets,” Jatta concluded.

      Since this mission is unusual within IFAD, we approached Périn Saint Ange, Associate Vice President in charge of Programme Management Department to have his view.

      “The work in Rwanda is best practice. The joint East and Southern Africa Division and Policy and Technical Advisory Division Directors’ visit supported by Country Director for Tanzania and Country Programme Manager for Rwanda is also a very good way to engage with authorities and key partners at country level,” Saint Ange said.

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      In honour of Earth Day, we compiled six surprising ways that trees are improving the lives of millions of small farmers around the world. 

      Written by: Mathilde Zins



      Trees protect the earth, feed communities and play multiple essential roles in the livelihoods of rural people living around the world.

      Earth Day, celebrated annually on 22 April,  is an occasion to honour the close connection we maintain with Mother Earth.

      This year, organizations are raising awareness about the important function of trees in sustaining and protecting our planet.

      This is true for small farmers too. Trees play a vital part in their livelihoods and communities, as they nourish the people and help conserve the land that they live on.

      Did you know that trees help combat climate change by absorbing excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere? In fact, in a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles. That's the same distance as going right around the world at the equator... and a little bit more.

      Trees also clean the air we breathe when they absorb odours and pollutant gases  (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulphur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

      Trees can help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability and provide food, energy and income.

      This is why IFAD works with small farmers on projects that involve the sustainable management of trees and forests.

      How are trees important to the lives of small farmers? Let us count the ways.

      Trees help farmers conserve rainwater 

      Trees are vital for our water supply. They influence how and where rain falls, they filter and clean our water, and are therefore essential for agricultural practices.

      Like thousands of poor farmers living on the eastern slopes of Mount Kenya, Christine Mugure Munene used to depend on seasonal rains to water her crops. Thanks to a pilot project supported by IFAD, more than 7 million seedlings have been planted in the water catchment along the eastern slopes of the mountain and now trees keep water flowing in the region. 

      ''When you have trees in a water catchment, it helps to ensure that when it rains the water is held into the soil and it joins the river basin slowly. This ensures the sustainability of the flow of the rivers," says Paul Njuguna from the Mount Kenya East Pilot Project.  

      Now, farmers in the community are working together to conserve water resources by protecting rivers and planting trees.

      Trees help farmers improve soil


      Poor soil fertility is one of the main obstacles to improving food production in Africa.
      A study carried out by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in 2011 showed that planting trees that improve soil quality can improve soil fertility, reduce erosion and help boost crop yields for African farmers. 

      In Niger, an IFAD-supported reforestation project in the Maradi and Zinder Regions has shown successful results. More than five million hectares of trees have been planted, according to Chris P. Reij, Sustainable Land Management specialist and  Senior Fellow of the World Resources Institute, who recently gave a lecture on climate change at IFAD headquarters in Rome. Farmers in the region continue to invest in agroforestry.

      During the 2005 famine in Niger, villages that had invested in agroforestry had less infant mortality, because trees could be pruned or cut and sold, which generated cash with which farmers could buy cereals. Trees also produce fruit and leaves with high vitamin content for human consumption. 

      Trees help farmers combat climate change 



      Did you know that forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass, performing vital functions around the world? Around 1.6 billion people – including the members of more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood. 

      IFAD supports the sustainable management of forests, for example through a project in Latin America where forests cover 40 per cent of total land in the region, and numerous rural communities and indigenous peoples live and thrive in them.

      The Community-based Forestry Development Project is being implemented by Mexico’s National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) in cooperation with project participants. It works to strengthen the capacity of communities to better manage their natural resources, adopt conservation practices such as increasing vegetation cover, and establish mechanisms to cope with the impact of climate change.

      Trees help farmers increase income and food



      Trees can be grown as cash crops and they can be used for carbon trading – both activities help give small farmers a steady income. And with a steady income, small farmers and their families have access to a nutritious and healthy diet.

      In Laos, IFAD is working on a project for the preservation of Bong forests, and helping the Pacoh, an ethnic minority group, to secure their land rights and incomes. Bong trees were once abundant in countries like Laos but, in 2008, overexploitation led the Lao government to declare the trees on the verge of extinction. 

      Now, the Pacoh have been provided with permanent land certificates where they can grow bong trees as a cash crop – ensuring that they have a steady income and enough food throughout the year.

      Trees help farmers avoid desertification 



      Desertification is often the result of human activity and can therefore be prevented or controlled by human effort. Planting trees can be part of this. 

      In Burkina Faso, farmers have had to cope with less rainfall, loss of soil fertility and loss of trees – all of which could add up to desertification. 

      To help farmers manage this threat and adapt to climate change, IFAD has supported a number of projects that work together with farmers to develop soil and water retention techniques. But the biggest payoff come from planting trees. Spreading the cuttings from young Bagana trees, improve the soil nutrients for growing crops. These trees also provide food for animals and people. And even more importantly, a compound released by leaves  into the atmosphere stimulates the formation of clouds and rainfall.

      Indeed, up to 300 000 hectares of lands in Burkina Faso have been rehabilitated using this technique. This is not only helping these farmers to adapt to climate change, it has also increased their harvests.

      Trees help farmers preserve ecosystems



      Forests are among the most important repositories of terrestrial biodiversity. Together, tropical, temperate and boreal forests offer very diverse habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms .

      The island of São Tomé is one of the world's biodiversity hot spots. Every day scientists here discover new things.

      ''We've been coming now for 13-14 years, every time we come here, we find new species, species that have never been described before, I'm just racing to find out what's here before its gone,'' says Robert C. Drewes, Curator of Herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences.

      IFAD is supporting cultivation of organic cocoa beans on the island. This helps farmers increase their incomes and build partnerships with the organic chocolate industry in Europe. With a steady income from cocoa plantations, farmers also have no need to encroach on protected forests.

      Join us in celebrating Earth Day – share your stories of #Trees4Earth.


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      The UN’s three Rome based agencies (RBA's) have joined together in the ''Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme- Climate Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Window (KCEP-CRAL)''. Working together they want to reduce rural poverty and food insecurity among smallholder farmers by developing their economic potential.

      The RBA's will be working together, supporting smallholder farmers in specific areas of the country. Through the adoption of value-added agricultural practices they hope to increase productivity and profitability of maize, millet, sorghum and associated pulses.


      Step One - from food insecurity to subsistence farming, with good agricultural practices and conservation agriculture


      In this first phase, the agencies, will support 60,000 food-insecure farming households to build up their productive assets. They will also build farmers’ capacities to reach subsistence levels of agricultural production, by applying Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Conservation Agriculture (CA).


      The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will complement the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) technical advice with financing, which will improve extension services in the target counties, focusing on natural resource management (NRM) and adaptation to climate change.


      Step two – Graduating to commercial farming with GAP, CA and resilience to climate change


      In the second phase, the RBA's will reach out to 100,000 smallholder farmers (including farmers that graduated from the first phase) to advance them to commercial farming. This will be done whilst building their resilience to climate change. Support will target local government/communities for participatory development and implementation of community-based NRM and resilience plans.


      Each RBA will have a specific focus


      The World Food Programme (WFP) will collaborate on the aspects of the programme that relate to market access. Improving access to markets for smallholders has far reaching implications. It helps alleviate the frequent droughts they experience. It enhances crop and livestock production.



      FAO will implement climate smart agriculture. Using GAP and CA they will enable farmers to increase their production and successfully market their surplus harvests.


      IFAD will support farmers who have reached household subsistence level to graduate to market-oriented farming for value chains with market potential-retaining diversified livelihoods from WFP's supported strategy.

      From its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), IFAD will finance activities under the KCEP-CRAL that support improved NRM and resilience to climate change at all levels. ASAP promotes soil and water conservation approaches to reduce vulnerability to climate change, that is currently plaguing farmers and putting pressure on natural resources. 


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      Written by Mauro Martini

      Post offices can play a powerful role in rural development by performing key financial services such as
       extending access to remittances sent by migrants.
      4 May 2016 - For hundreds of millions of Africans, post offices play a crucial role in daily life, for sending and picking up parcels or letters, but also for financial services such as receiving or sending money, paying bills, opening savings accounts, or buying insurance products.

      Unlike banks, post offices can rely on an impressive network of branches, out of which 80 per cent are located in rural areas. Moreover, post offices often enjoy a high level of trust, especially by the underbanked who tend to avoid banks.

      In 2015 alone, the African continent received an impressive US$65 billion in remittances from over 20 million of its citizens working abroad, contributing to the livelihood of their families and communities back home.

      IFAD, in partnership with the European Union, has seen in the postal networks a unique opportunity to extend access to remittances, cashless payments and secure affordable financial services to the rural population in Africa.

      On these promising basis IFAD and the EU have jointly agree to engage in the provision of concrete support to post offices through the African Postal Financial Services Initiative.

      The level of remittance dependency for many African states is extremely high; in certain cases accounting for almost 20 per cent of their GDP.


      The cost of sending money back home 


      Furthermore, while the global average cost of sending remittances is still at 7.4 per cent, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most costly region in the world to send remittances to, with an average cost of 9.5 per cent in 2015 and many of the most expensive remittance corridors.

      Post offices have a distinct comparative advantage in the remittance market in Africa. With a vast network of branches in remote towns and villages, coupled with a trained workforce, post offices provide remittance services (and in several countries also banking services) to rural Africans better than anyone.

      In a recent baseline survey, IFAD measured the demand-side perspective about receiving and sending money via postal networks in peri-urban and rural areas of 11 African countries.

      The findings were enlightening.

      Not only remittance transactions were among the main reasons for using post offices in Africa, but also, in the choice of a remittance services provider, proximity, and reliability of pay-out locations were even more relevant than transaction costs alone.

      In conclusion, rural African population are largely enthusiastic about the possibility of receiving remittances through their post offices, especially if this will enable them to access a broader range of financial services.

      Strengthening the role of post offices

      With the financial contribution of the European Union, IFAD and its partners (including the World Bank, Universal Postal Union, United Nations Capital Fund for Development, and the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute), have joined forces in four countries (Benin, Ghana, Madagascar and Senegal) to strengthen the position and role of the national post offices in providing remittances.

      The aim is to provide remittances which are cheaper, faster, accessible in the most remote rural areas and, above all, with the possibility for the recipient to link them to additional financial services.

      Direct technical assistance, provision of new technical equipment, operational support in remittance processes and staff training, coupled with the development of new marketing strategies and the forging of new partnerships with financial services providers, money transfer operators and mobile companies.

      This is how IFAD and its partners are currently supporting the modernization of the four African postal operators in the four selected countries.

      This will provide better access to remittances for rural households as well as access to other financial services, such as savings and investment schemes, consequently improving their livelihoods.

      Launching new financial products 

      Post offices have a distinct comparative advantage in the remittance market in Africa. 

      The level of development and modernization of post offices in the four countries differs significantly. In this respect, while maintaining a common vision and approach, IFAD and its partners designed specific interventions taking into consideration each country’s existing remittance market.

      In Senegal, the Initiative is supporting La Poste du Sénégal in opening new corridors and launching new financial products (e.g. a new card-based remittance transfer service linked with mobile systems, and insurance products).

      In Benin, connectivity of post offices is a major issue; not all post offices are inter-connected, and the majority of work in rural branches is still on paper. The Initiative is supporting  La Poste du Bénin in the modernization of its postal network to improve remittance operations by reducing processing time.

      In Ghana, one of the main objectives of GhanaPost is to enable a larger number of post offices to provide remittance services.

      With the assistance of IFAD and its partners, GhanaPost recently approved a plan for 2016 which includes more than 40 new offices enabled for processing international remittances and the activation of around 80 additional locations for remittances services by 2018.

      Madagascar is one of the poorest countries of the South African region. Postal capacity is limited and cash management remains a factor of risk. The initiative addressed this aspect accompanying Paositra Malagasy in the development of a new cash management strategy which takes into account all aspects of the cash flow, from security to operational processes.

      Certainly, some challenges still exist. Postal operators are aged public institutions and often reluctant to change. Given the size of their network of post offices, the structural weight and the high number of staff involved, strategic changes take time, and the concrete impact is not immediately visible.

      However, the African continent is in continuous evolution - especially when it comes to new technologies - and African postal operators are willing to accept those challenges which will undoubtedly lead to modernization, bringing remittances and financial services closer to the rural poor.

      Mauro Martini is the Remittances and Development Officer at IFAD.


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      By Margarita Astralaga

      Ruben Ussico, aged 69, cultivates maize and pumpkins in Gaza, Mozambique. Many farmers are being impacted
       by droughts that last longer than a single season, about rising sea levels and flash floods.

      On the occasion of the Climate Action Summit 2016, the International Fund for Agricultural Development welcomes the Paris agreement and sees its adoption as a watershed moment in the fight against climate change. Indeed, the international community has made considerable breakthroughs pursuing effective diplomacy and cooperation. We now look toward the real challenge ahead, which is the implementation of the commitments made in Paris.

      At IFAD, we believe that agriculture is a sector that holds the key to addressing the complex problem of climate change. We also believe that smallholder farmers are the agents that can transform agriculture and make it part of the solution. There are 500 million smallholder farms in the world; and over 2 billion people depend on small farms for their livelihoods. Many of these farms are located in fragile and marginal areas, such as dry lands, flood plains or hillsides.

      As the global climate changes, we hear more reports from smallholders about rains coming unexpectedly, about droughts that last longer than a single season, about rising sea levels and flash floods. All of these phenomena threaten how we practice agriculture. They threaten the very basis of our civilization.

      Making climate finance work for poor rural people

      Smallholder farmers not only need our help, they most certainly merit it. When smallholders have better access to weather information, a more diversified asset base, and are better connected with institutional and financial networks, they can help us feed a growing planet. At the same time, they can help restore degraded ecosystems, increase the resilience of value chains, and reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint.

      Much of this thinking has fed into IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme, or ‘ASAP’, which we launched in 2012. ASAP is IFAD’s flagship programme to make climate finance work for poor rural households in developing countries. With its financing of US$360 million, ASAP is now the world’s largest adaptation programme for smallholders.

      Delivering timely climate information to smallholders

      As a means of scaling up ambitious action on climate change, IFAD is aligning its country strategies and project investments with our member states’ intended nationally determined contributions,  or ‘INDCs’.

      To date, 65 per cent of INDCs have defined agriculture as a priority for adaptation actions, and 77 per cent have defined it as a priority for mitigation actions. This sends a positive signal that countries support better resilience for smallholders on the ground, and stronger policy engagement at the local and national level to implement greener farming practices. Through its investment activities, IFAD is already putting INDCs into action.

      Many ASAP-supported projects have a strong focus on improving weather forecasts and delivering timely climate information to smallholders. They build the capacity of cooperatives, women’s groups and extension services to apply climate-smart technologies, such as biogas, solar pumping or drought-resistant crop varieties. And they invest in climate-resilient infrastructure such as all-weather roads and post-harvest storage houses, to name a few.

      Through these projects, IFAD is helping to make the agricultural sector in over 50 countries more resilient to climate change and reduce its carbon footprint. We have also committed to an ambitious plan to mainstream climate change aspects into all new investments activities by 2018.

      IFAD believes it can play a unique role in harnessing the full potential of climate finance to safeguard smallholders’ livelihoods and empower them to contribute to effective climate action. We look forward to adding these contributions to the efforts of the wider United Nations system.

      Margarita Astralaga is the Director of the Environment and Climate Division at IFAD.


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      The project completion review of IFAD-supported projects is a process undertaken by the Borrower at the end of the project implementation cycle in order to report on the results achieved through project interventions. The main purposes of the completion review process are to promote accountability, reflect on performance and elicit lessons learned, and to define an appropriate post-project strategy. The learning dimension of the completion process should be regarded by both IFAD and the Borrower as the foundation for improvements in future project design and programming. The completion review process is also critical for identifying opportunities for scaling-up best practices. A well-managed project completion process is of key importance for identifying the ways and means to enhance the sustainability of project interventions. It provides all stakeholders with a unique opportunity to reflect on overall project performance and generate useful lessons learned from implementation.

      Opening of workshop by Liberia's Minister of Agriculture
       and the Country Programme Manager
      From 5 to 7 May 2016, four IFAD-supported projects from Sierra Leone and Liberia came together to share experiences and lessons learned on project implementation and to see how we can improve on measuring and reporting results and impact. The aim was to come up with a first draft of their project completion report. The four IFAD-supported projects are: the Agriculture Sector Rehabilitation Project (ASRP) and the Smallholder Tree Crop Revitalization Support Project (STCRSP) from Liberia; and, the Rehabilitation and Community-based Poverty Reduction Project (RCPRP) and the Smallholder Commercialization Programme - under the Global Agricultural Food Security Programme (SCP-GAFSP) from Sierra Leone. All of them are reaching completion within the next two years.

      Participants writing draft PCR
      During the first day of the workshop, the key concepts of IFAD's operating model and the stages of the project cycle, with a focus on project completion, were presented. Attention was given to how IFAD’s approach to managing-for-results brings programme and organizational performance together into an integrated and coherent system of planning, monitoring and accountability. Furthermore, an overview was provided on the content and approach to IFAD’s country strategies, the results-based COSOP. Sierra Leone and Liberia gave an overview on the implementation of their RB-COSOPs and shared lessons from the implementation of their respective country programmes. Finally, the completion exercise for IFAD-supported projects was discussed. It was stressed that good-quality reporting is the best way to learn from past experience in order to strengthen the design and quality of new operations. The revised guidelines and procedures were presented. As a first step in preparing their project completion reports (PCR), participants reviewed studies and assessments undertaken by the projects to capitalize lessons and, identify areas for improvement in the M&E sphere, share best practices and encourage their adoption.

      Participants writing draft PCR
      Participants used the second day of the workshop to write a first draft of their PCR. The exercise
      drew from the “writeshop” methodology, which is an intense process that brings together a range of relevant stakeholders with different perspectives on a subject. Theo objective is to produce a written document/publication in a short time. The PCR was divided into sections and assigned to individual participants. Several authors contributed to each section of the report and a team of facilitators (CPM, M&E consultant and WCA regional team) provided support and guidance during the exercise. At the end of the day the different contributions were integrated into one document.

      On the third day the draft PCRs were presented and participants were allowed to ask for clarifications or provide suggestions. The projects then sat together to see what information was still missing and to draw out a roadmap towards the completion of the PCR.

      Overall, the workshop has proven to have been very instrumental in facilitating the sharing of experiences between projects, identifying successes and challenges, and drawing lessons for the PCR. It also allowed to clarify IFAD's current institutional requirements with regards to PCRs and plan for the next steps along the PCR process.



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      By Rahul Antao

      Indigenous youth discuss key issues at the 15th Session of the Permanent Forum on
      Indigenous Issues in New York. Photo Credit: GIYC 

      As young guardians of biodiversity, Indigenous youth play an important role in sustainable development, long-term food security, responding to climate change while safeguarding the earth’s ecosystem 

      13 May Rome -“As Indigenous youth, we will continue to organize ourselves in line with the collective processes of our ancestors in defence of our lands, territories, transmission of our traditional knowledge and historical memory,” said Dali Angel, co-chair of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus (GIYC) in aninterview with UN-DESA prior to the 15th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

      “We will continue our intergenerational dialogue and raise our voices against any injustice and violation of our individuals and collective rights.”

      Angel’s statement echoes the many voices of young indigenous people who are overtly expressive of their contribution towards a sustainable future where they rightfully see themselves as pivotal part of the transformation.

      This comes as no surprise, especially since indigenous youth have a big opportunity at stake.
      Indigenous youth take on 80 per cent of the world’s biological diversity passed down over generations by their forefathers for their own custodianship. As the young guardians of biodiversity, they will be handed this baton of responsibility and play an important role in sustainable development, long-term food security, responding to climate change while safeguarding the earth’s ecosystem.

      But to do it, they will have to overcome some of their biggest social hurdles and challenges of development. Despite some of the advances and inclusion into the policy arena, indigenous communities and their youth continue to face forms of discrimination and exclusion.

      In many ways, this has left their societies vulnerable to unrest and societal disturbances.
      Indigenous children and youth are particularly vulnerable to structural discrimination and marginalization, resulting in alarmingly high levels of poverty and poor health. Young indigenous women are especially disadvantaged, affecting their opportunities to enter the job market and their ability to make decisions about their reproductive lives.

      On 9 May 2016, the world’s many indigenous leaders gathered in New York for the 15th session of the Forum. The theme for this year’s forum was Peace, Conflict and Resolution. Amongst the participants is a cohort of young and enthusiastic indigenous people of the GIYC who presented their views, statements and recommendations for young indigenous people.

      With the support of IFAD, the GIYC organised a preparatory meeting on the 8th of May as a precursor to the event to ensure that the voice of the youth is an organised one that expresses the collective views of all indigenous youth present.

      'Youth are the agents of social transformation'

      In line with this year’s theme, Dali mentions that there are several concerns for indigenous youth worldwide, each in their own context and all equally important.

      Yet, she goes on to reassuringly mention “(indigenous) youth are the agents of social transformation” and advocates the need for young people to return to traditional and communal forms of organisation that existed prior to conflicts.

      She also reminds us how education is one of the major concerns orbiting indigenous youth and that the ability to remain in the educational system should “incorporate the cultural, linguistic, social needs and the recovery of indigenous peoples historical memory, traditions, culture and traditional knowledge.”

      In recent years, intercultural and bilingual education has been recognized and such programmes have had a positive impact on indigenous peoples' communities.

      Evaluations show that children who participate in intercultural and bilingual education classes perform better, both in their first and second language. The use of indigenous languages and the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in the curriculum have increased the interest of families and students in their history, and in their present and future learning and development opportunities.


      Photo Credit: GIYC 
      It is important to also realise that underpinning young indigenous people in their cultures through education, knowledge and community organization also helps counter the high prevalence of mental health issues, and in particular the disproportionately high suicide rates among indigenous youth.

      According to a recent article published by the UN Economic and Social Council the high level of suicide rates amongst indigenous youth are related to the ‘severe  - and often invisible – discriminatory pressures they are confronted in reconciling past colonial injustices with their search for a better future’.

      Speaking on the recent alarming rate of suicides amongst indigenous youth, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, also addressed the Permanent Forum on the topic of self-harm. 

      Ahmad said that the struggles of young indigenous peoples are also embedded in the “socio-economic challenges, marginalization, feelings associated with loss of culture and self-determination.”

      However, Ahmad points out that even with the rise of such issues we should not look at indigenous youth as liabilities but rather as assets, stating that “Indigenous youth are powerful messengers of their communities” in bringing their diverse voices to the surface and that there is a need to listen carefully and be sensitive to their concerns and priorities.

      Summarizing the way forward, Ahmad says there are three key points:

      • The first, is to ensure that young indigenous peoples have a voice not just in their communities but also at a global scale and starting at the UN. 
      • The second, is aligned with the partnership aspect of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Ahmad calls for further collaboration with UN partners including the WHO and UNICEF, on strategies to tackle self-harm and suicide amongst indigenous young peoples. “We need to collect best practices on suicide prevention, and share this information with others” he said.
      • The third, there is a need to further expand partnerships with the Indigenous youth and tap into their knowledge and expertise in order to push for policies that will reach the local level. Supporting the aspirations of the groups like the GIYC, he says  “more young indigenous peoples are needed in the work of the Permanent Forum to voice the views and concerns of youth. Through their involvement they can help shape the advice the Permanent Forum gives to UN agencies, funds and programmes, particularly those concerning indigenous youth.”


      Rahul Antao is a junior consultant for the youth desk at IFAD. 


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      Written by Mathilde Zins

      On International Day for Biological Diversity, IFAD calls attention to five super crops that have strong nutritional properties and the ability to withstand climate change.

      20 May 2016 - Did you know that only 20 crop species provide for 90 per cent of the world's food requirements? And that wheat, maize, and rice account for 60 per cent of the world's diet?
      Research shows that throughout history there have been around 30,000 edible plants, out of which only 7,000 have been cultivated or collected as food.

      Why is this so important?

      Biodiversity is the foundation for life and essential for ecosystems. Having a diverse range of crops to plant is crucial for smallholder farmers and rural communities to improve their harvest yields, fight against malnutrition and adapt to climate change.

      A rich biodiversity can also help rural people improve their livelihoods, which is the theme of this year's International Day, celebrated annually on 22 May.

      In honour of the day, IFAD is putting the spotlight on five ancient and forgotten crops, showing the great potential they hold for smallholder farmers in providing improved nutrition, income and helping to adapt to climate change.

      Here are some interesting facts about five 'super' crops that may surprise you.

      CASSAVA

      Super power: Tolerates drought and poor soil conditions better than most other food plants
      Cassava is an essential source of food and income in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. 



      About 600 million people depend on the plant for their survival, deriving calories and income from the roots and leaves. Once known as 'poor man's food,' cassava has shown great potential for reducing poverty and building the economy.

      One of cassava's main 'super powers' is that it is climate-tolerant and can grow in harsh conditions, poor soil fertility and areas with low rainfall. 

      It is also a nutritious crop. The root is a carbohydrate source, rich in calcium and vitamin C. And, it provides protein which contains essential amino acids. 

      There is a lot of potential for many African economies hidden in this starchy tuber. Its root starch can be used in food products, textiles, plywood or paper, while the plant is also a feedstock for the production of ethanol biofuel. 

      In Ghana, an IFAD-supported programme set out to raise the income of 760,000 cassava farmers by increasing yields and connecting them to markets. Improved varieties of cassava is also making a difference for farmers in the country.  

      "The cassava has improved my life as a farmer, we need more research so that we can spread the program to other farmers," said Christopher Boadu, a small farmer who was given a high-yielding variety of cassava.

      Want to try cassava at home? Here is a recipe for cassava bread with coconut and anise seeds

      MILLETS

      Super power: Have up to 30 times more calcium than rice and much higher levels of micro-nutrients.

      Millets are a powerful grain, with up to 30 times more calcium than rice and much higher levels of micro-nutrients. A low water-consuming crop, they are also resilient to a changing climate. 

      As regions around the world are facing drought, millets can be a good ally to increase food security. Moreover, millets are not dependant on the use of synthetic fertilizers, so millet farmers can use farmyard manures which are a boon to the agricultural environment.

      Minor millets used to be a staple food in India, but in the last five decades almost half of their cultivation has been replaced with more lucrative cash crops and government subsidized rice, resulting in a major change in people's diets.  

      IFAD is working with the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation to get minor millets back on the menu. The project worked with women's groups to farm up to six different varieties of millet on their small farms, use machinery to remove the grains’ tough outer shell, and put 11 organic products on market shelves across India.

      Learn eight interesting ways to cook with millets.

      AMARANTH 

      Super power: Reduces cholesterol and can protect cells from cancer.

      Once a sacred grain for the Aztecs, amaranth and its incredible nutritional properties have long been forgotten in Mexico. 

      Amaranth reduces cholesterol and can protect cells from cancer. It has all the amino acids, it's a complete protein that can substitute milk and meat, the leaf is full of calcium, it's gluten-free, and a natural anti-depressive. 

      Mary Delano Frier, biotechnical engineer, founder and Director-General of México Tierra de Amaranto, recently made the case for amaranth in her IFAD AgTalk showing that reawakening the ancient crop's importance in local food cultures could go a long way to reducing childhood malnutrition. 

      "With only 20 grams of amaranth a day we can assure the full development of a child's brain," said Delano Frier. "For the rural communities, amaranth is the strategic grain that can help us improve nutrition, health and living condition," she concluded. 

      SORGHUM

      Super power: Grows in a wide range of soil and climatic conditions, and can thrive in arid areas.

      Sorghum is an incredible crop that has plenty of properties that can help improve the lives of small farmers. Sorghum is highly drought-resistant, can grow in dry climates, and requires less water than wheat.

      Sorghum's health benefits are also immense. Sorghum includes more antioxidants then blueberries, high protein and fibre, and no gluten - which makes it a perfect dietary grain for those with celiac disease.

      IFAD is supporting a number of projects that are reintroducing sorghum to rural communities. For farmers in eastern Kenya, for example, the dry season is getting longer. Climate change has become a daily challenge -  rivers are drying up and farmers are struggling to get access to water. With less rain, three out of the last four maize harvests had failed. Then farmers from a local cooperative heard that sorghum did better than maize in dry conditions. They decided to try it out. 

      The farmer cooperative received quality sorghum seeds and training through an IFAD-supported project. The results were immediate. As one farmer put it:

      ''Sorghum has changed my life. I can use it to make nutritious food and feed my animals so meat and eggs are no longer a problem. I can afford to pay the school fees as well.'' 

      QUINOA 

      Super power: Has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition.

      Quinoa is making a comeback around the world, and is believed to be one of the world's healthiest foods. It is nutritionally renowned for its protein content and while it does have a decent amount, it’s not actually the amount of protein that’s so impressive. Instead, it’s the type of protein. 

      Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition. This type of complete protein is rarely found in plant foods, though common in meats. Also, quinoa varieties are known to grow in temperatures ranging from -8 degrees to 38 degrees Celsius and from sea level to 4,000 meters above sea level.

      Yet in Bolivia, the world's largest grower and exporter, quinoa has been seen as "poor people's food" and many Bolivians have favored less nutritious imported grains. A campaign to promote quinoa consumption in Bolivia improved diets and the livelihoods of small farmers. 

      This special project was funded through an IFAD grant to Bioversity International and implemented by PROINPA Foundation in Bolivia. More than 3,000 varieties of Quinoa are found in the Andes. Understanding the differences in these varieties will undoubtedly lead to increased consumption and a brighter future for these Andean farmers.

      Crazy about quinoa? Try this recipe.


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      By Christopher Neglia 


      The Rome-based food and agriculture agencies of the United Nations recently met in Bonn to discuss how climate finance can be used to do development better. Photo: IISD












      The Paris Agreement commits developed countries to allocate US$100 billion per year to mitigation and adaptation actions from 2020 onwards. What does this mean for smallholder farmers on the frontlines of climate impacts in the developing world?

      At the UNFCCC's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) meeting in Bonn last week, the Rome-based food and agriculture agencies of the United Nations met to discuss how climate finance can be used to do development better.

      The success of the Paris Agreement will ultimately rest on the collective ability of Parties to reach the targets they have set down in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).  Here, the Rome-based agencies have a strategic role to play, in particular by supporting smallholder farmers in the adoption of sustainable and resilient farming systems.

      In his opening statement, Dr. Martin Frick of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that about 77 per cent of developing countries have identified agriculture as a priority area for mitigation actions, while 65 per cent have identified it as a priority area for adaptation actions. Indeed, this makes sense because most developing countries lack carbon-intensive industries, and therefore most of their emission-savings will come from the agriculture and forest sectors. Meanwhile, activities that contribute to climate adaptation also tend to offer mitigation co-benefits.




      Since 2012, IFAD has been channelling climate finance to smallholders through its flagship Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). Working in over 36 countries with a portfolio of US $366 million, it is the largest adaptation fund dedicated to smallholders worldwide. According to IFAD’s Roshan Cooke, ASAP is funding both soft and hard adaptation approaches.

      Soft adaptation includes enhancement of agriculture extension to include climate-resilient agricultural practices, promotion of farmer field schools, research on resilient crop varieties, early warning systems, and strengthening institutions at all levels to respond to climate impacts. Hard adaptation includes investments in small-scale infrastructure such as irrigation systems, improved storage facilities, soil and water conservation measures, renewable energy systems and climate-resilient access roads.

      Madeleine Diouf from the Ministry of Environment in Senegal added that smallholders in her country are clearly being affected by climate change. Senegal was one of the first countries to have a project approved by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The Increasing the Resilience of Ecosystems and Communities project aims to strengthen national capacity to develop desalinization and land management plans to respond to the pernicious trend of salt-water intrusion encroaching on agricultural lands.

      Rawleston Moore of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) also participated in the discussion. Part of the mandate of the GEF coming from Paris is to support countries to implement their INDCs in different sectors, which may include other objectives related to land degradation and food security. The GEF, along with the GCF is responsible for financing projects with funds from the Paris agreement’s financial mechanism.

      Finally, Tania Osejo of the World Food Programme (WFP) emphasized that by 2050, climate change could increase the risk of malnutrition and food insecurity by 20 per cent. To deal with this growing challenge, massive increases in investment are needed. Osejo also pointed to the cross-cutting nature of climate change, which requires integrated responses that involve research institutions, governments and NGOs.

      All of the participants recognized that climate finance represents a chance for the global agriculture community to drive action and contribute to the accelerated implementation of the Paris Agreement.


       Christopher Neglia is a Climate and Environment consultant at IFAD. 


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      By Souleymane DOUMBIA


      Sur financement du FIDA, j’ai participé, accompagné d’une forte délégation,  à une visite d’échanges du 08 au 15 mai 2016 au RWANDA entre le projet Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP) du Mali et le projet KIREHE Comunity-Based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP), du RWANDA, sur le thème « la mise en place et la maintenance des systèmes Flexi-Biogaz ». La délégation du projet ASAP Mali était composée du Responsable du projet, de deux Agents bioénergie, de quatre bénéficiaires de bio-digesteurs et de moi-même (Responsable Gestion des Savoirs et Communication).

      La visite d’échanges s’est déroulée dans la ville de KIGALI et dans le District de KIREHE.


      A KIGALI, au siège du projet KWAMP, nous avons tenu une réunion au cours de laquelle nous avons présenté et échangé sur les approches de mise en œuvre des deux projets et entendu les témoignages des bénéficiaires de bio-digesteurs du projet ASAP. 


      Réunion entre le projet ASAP et le projet KWAMP à KIGALI


      Les échanges m’ont permis de constater des différences dans les approches de mise en œuvre des deux projets, notamment :

      Les cibles : le projet KWAMP cible des familles de 2 à 3 membres (pour les Flexibles) et de 3 à 5 membres (pour  les dômes fixes) tandis que les bénéficiaires de bio-digesteur du projet ASAP au Mali sont des ménages dont la taille moyenne est de 24 membres d’où les différences dans les volumes des bio-digesteurs;

      Les types d’élevages : Intensif au RWANDA et extensif au MALI.

      Elevage intensif (RWANDA)


      Elevage extensif (MALI)
      La contribution des bénéficiaires : En espèces pour le projet KWAMP et en nature pour ASAP Mali.

      La mission s’est ensuite rendue dans le district de KIREHE, où sont installés les bio-digesteurs, pour être en contact direct avec les bénéficiaires et les techniciens du projet KWAMP.




      Les visites de terrain dans les secteurs de RUBAYA, GATORE, NYARUBUYE et KAGOYE ont  permis à la mission : i) d’assister au montage d’un bio-digesteur flexible de type Kenyan ; ii) de découvrir et de tester le mélangeur de bouse avec l’eau ; iii) de voir des bio digesteurs (dômes et flexibles) ; iv) de comprendre la technique d’utilisation du digestat et de visiter des bananeraies fertilisées avec le digestat ; et v) d’échanger avec les techniciens et les bénéficiaires sur le système biogaz.

      A  l’issue des différentes étapes de la visite de terrain,  j’ai appris beaucoup de leçons et de bonnes pratiques sur l’utilisation et la maintenance du système biogaz (montage, alimentation du digesteur, utilisation du gaz et la gestion du digestat). Aussi, j’ai été édifié par les bénéficiaires et les techniciens sur les avantages et les contraintes liés au système biogaz ainsi que les conseils pratiques d’entretien et de maintenance du système biogaz.

      En marge de la visite des bio-digesteurs, nous avons visité un micro-barrage pont qui se situe sur un bassin versant. Réalisé par le projet KWAMP en 2011, le micro-barrage est toujours en très bon état. Le micro-barrage irrigue 172 ha que 740 ménages exploitent pour la culture du riz. J’ai remarqué l’aménagement des berges du bas-fond avec des mesures antiérosives (cordons pierreux et reboisement). 

      Micro-barrage pont réalisé par KWAMP sur financement FIDA à KIREHE



      J’ai beaucoup appris de cette visite d’échanges au RWANDA sur le système biogaz. Elle a permis aux deux projets d’échanger leurs expériences sur les bio digesteurs, de partager les avantages du biogaz et de comparer les types d’élevage pratiqué pour alimenter les bio digesteurs. J’exhorte le FIDA à multiplier de telles visites entre des projets du sud qui ont les mêmes centres d’intérêt pour les transferts de compétences. Vivement d’autres visites d’échanges pour le partage d’expériences entre projets du sud.  


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      By John Rossiter
      Communal pastures in Ethiopia suffer from excessive land degradation. The sheer intensity of grazing can leave lands barren and devoid of vegetation, resulting in extensive soil erosion reducing the productivity of the land. This over use of common pasture land is a direct result of historic government control of land rights and the resulting lack of tenure security. Issues the current government is addressing through its Sustainable Land Management (SLM) programmes to combat desertification and reduce degradation.  


      In 2009 the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded the Community Based Integrated Natural Resources Management Project (CBINReMP). The project's primary objective is to combat land degradation and promote SLM to increase agricultural productivity, food security and income generation in rural communities.  Through land registration and certification processes local communities are able to gain land tenure security instilling a sense of pride inducing a willingness to enhance SLM implementation.

      An important aspect of stainable land management  in Ethiopia is the implementation of 'Exclosure Zones'. These consist of communal lands where livestock grazing is prohibited and enforced through community by-laws. After a growing season cut and carry systems are implemented allowing beneficiaries to hand cut fodder for their livestock. This has the benefit of reducing the effect of trampling and overgrazing encouraging stall feeding leading to a reduction in grazing intensity on reduced open grazing grounds. The system utilizes a social fencing, where the community agrees the byelaws and fines for any infringements.  This reduces the needs for physical fencing, making the practice cheap and highly appealing.

      In the absence of intensive grazing pressures soil seed banks re-establish their dominance and the once barren lands begin to flourish. Out of lands reduced to dust and prickly straw comes initial bursts of luscious grasses and colourful highland flowers soon interspersed with the iconic African Acacias, Bruceania and Dodonea species. Anchoring soils and providing shade and wind resistance, the transformation soon attracts the colourful plethora of birdlife endemic to the region.



      However, this enhancement in biodiversity has more than aesthetic value. For local smallholders utilizing an effective cut and carry system it means an increase in fodder for their livestock, increasing incomes and enhancing livelihoods in the area. At the same time soils regenerate themselves under the enhanced vegetation, with better infiltration of rainfall and a recharge of ground water.  Long dead springs come back to life providing clean water sources to communities in isolated villages during the dry months.




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      One-on-one with Rym Ben Zid, IFAD's Country Programme Manager in Burundi
      By David F. Paqui


      Rym Ben Zid, IFAD's Country Programme Manager for Burundi
      In Burundi, the working day starts early. Every day at 7.30 am, Rym Ben Zid, IFAD's Country Programme Manager for Burundi is already at her desk in the IFAD Country Office is hosted in Bujumbura.
      This May I went to meet her to learn more about how the situation in Burundi is impacting her work, the main challenges rural people in the country are currently facing, what IFAD is doing and what more needs to be done.
      Ben Zid said that the rural people in the country are faced with many significant challenges. She told me that the effects of climate change are destroying their food crops.

      "Youth unemployment in rural areas is a problem, because of population growth  farmers have less and less land area to cultivate," said Ben Zid "Small farmers are also suffering greatly from the political crisis in the country because some donors are not providing aid to allow the government to subsidize fertilizers."

      Another key issue, says Ben Zid, is that as a result of El Niño, there is a risk that farmers in some areas in Northern Burundi may lose their rice crop due to the flooding.
      If they lose their crop, they will not be able to pay back the loans they took to buy inputs and they will not be able to purchase inputs for the next planting season either. To limit the damage, the IFAD-supported Agricultural Intensification and Value-enhancing Support Project is helping the farmers to repair the irrigation systems.
      
      Irrigation system built by IFAD supported project

      Ben Zid also explained the important role that IFAD is playing in post-conflict reconstruction in the rural areas. With the support of IFAD, the farmers have been able to increase their rice production and their incomes by adopting the system of rice intensification and investments in irrigation scheme construction.
      
      System of Rice Intensification IFAD supported value chain project - PRODEFI
      As we all know, war destroys social links and cohesion. IFAD is helping the country to rebuild these links through development projects that use livestock solidarity chains.

      For example, the solidarity chain of the cows has contributed to rebuilding and strengthening social relations among the various ethnic groups. The system starts by identifying the target group within the communities using a participatory and inclusive approach.

      
      
      Woman farmer happy to receive a cow hugging the farmer who passed it to her

      Then the project gives one pregnant cow or sows to each beneficiary. When the cow (or sows) has the calf the beneficiary passes it on to another beneficiary that might be from another ethnic group but who is able to maintain the calves or piglets.

      With the cows or sows, the farmers have organic fertilizer or manure that also helps to increase their staple crop production and ensure the household food security and nutrition. At least, 10 000 households benefited from livestock development activities.They also sell milk to increase their income.

      According to Rym, women are at the heart of IFAD’s activities in Burundi. In Burundian society, rural women are the most vulnerable group. One of the sub components of our operations is to provide legal support to women who are oppressed by their husbands or other family members.

      With legal support, many women have been able to fight for their rights and in so doing improve the stability of their households and become agents of development and growth of their communities. Many women in IFAD's project areas were trained to engage in livestock rearing, in business, in cropping etc.
      Rénilde Buhembe, Presidente of Cooperative in Bugendana

      "We have built women's capacity and they are leaders of various cooperatives in their communities," said Ben Zid.

      In this fragile situation of the country, investing in young rural people is investing in peace and stability. Without jobs, they have nothing to lose in joining the rebellions.

      The projects IFAD is supporting in the country are targeting youth especially. Some of the youth are trained to gain the skills to create jobs for themselves and we are seeing more and more young rural entrepreneurs in the provinces where IFAD is working with the Government of Burundi.
      
      
      Young people at the training centre

      Listening to the difference IFAD is making in Burundi, I was curious to know what more needs to be done for rural poor people in this fragile country and Rym had some concerns.

      “The political crisis is having negative impacts on rural people although less than on urban people and we do not know when it will end,” she said.

      "Smallholder farmers are having problem purchasing seeds and fertilizers to produce crops. The local rural finance institutions are receiving more and more requests that they cannot meet," she continued.

      "The women self-help groups are also suffering from lack of microcredit. IFAD is designing a new microfinance project to help the country to meet the needs of rural finance services for the smallholder farmers and we need to move very fast."

      According to Ben Zid, there is a risk that the smallholder farmers who assure the food and nutrition security of their households, and are increasing their incomes, may fall back in food and nutrition insecurity and poverty.

      "If we don’t want to compromise the sustainability of our activities in Burundi, we need to move quickly for the approval and the implementation of the new microfinance project in the pipeline," she said.

      "The project will contribute to improving food security by giving rural people access to production credit and supporting vulnerable groups with access to micro-loans to develop income generation activities and to develop value chain by providing marketing credits to cooperatives."

      I cannot conclude without asking Ben Zid about her own security. She just smiles and says “if you believe in development, you cannot run away and leave alone the rural people who need your contribution, who need IFAD.

      “My mom is a war orphan. There are still many orphans here in Burundi and I am happy to be here with them, work with them for the development of their communities."

      David F. Paqui is the Regional Communications Officer for IFAD's East and Southern Africa Division and West and Central Africa Division.

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    • 06/15/16--05:41: Sending money home
    • On International Day of Family Remittances we celebrate the incredible potential that remittances – money migrant workers send home to their families – have in providing crucial financial support for millions of people in developing countries. 



      16 June marks the second global observance of the International Day of Family Remittances– launched in 2015 by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to encourage the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, to do more to maximize the impact of remittances in the developing world.

      Remittances, the money migrant workers send home to their families, provide crucial financial support for millions of people in developing countries.

      For years, migrants worked in the shadows of globalization while their remittances went uncounted by governments and aid agencies. Over the past 15 years, however, the true size of their contribution has come to light, and most importantly the opportunities these funds present in helping families and communities escape poverty.

      Here are four surprising facts you may not have known about remittances sent home from migrants. 


      Fact: In 2015, almost 250 million economic migrants living outside their countries of origin sent about US$450 billion in remittances to their families back home. 

      Remittances are crucial for migrant's families, often representing more than 50 per cent of their income. These funds allow families to address their basics needs such as food, housing, health and education, but also help them to raise their living standards above subsistence levels. They can help rebuild the fabric of societies, spark economic development, and bring stability necessary for a hopeful future.

      In the Philippines, a financial education programme supported by IFAD is helping families of migrant workers turn remittances into successful businesses. They learn about budgeting and how to better invest the money they receive from abroad. For Lily Bruhl, whose husband is one of 10 million Filipinos currently working outside the country, this knowledge was life changing.

      ''The first thing I learned was that if you receive remittances from your husband, save first before you spend,” she said. “It also made me realize that I have to be ready for the reintegration of my husband because if I am not going to prepare, then who will prepare for us?''

      With money saved from her husband's remittances, Lily soon decided to invest in a fish farm. Now she is running a successful business, and providing jobs to others in the community.

      Fact: 30 to 40 per cent of remittances are sent to rural areas 

      Like Lily, when given the opportunity, many rural families are willing to save (sometimes just small amounts) and invest in activities such as small businesses. This in turn contributes to job creation, better food security, and ultimately a better future for families and their communities.

      "Today we honour migrant workers, their families and their stories of hope, separation and sacrifice," Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, told those attending last year’s inaugural commemoration of the International Day of Family Remittances. "We also recognise their vital contribution to their families at home and to the development of their nations."

      Nwanze added that remittances could play a critical role in transforming poor communities if both migrants and their families at home were given more options to invest their funds, creating opportunities for business development and employment.

      The remittances from the Somali diaspora in Europe and the United States have resulted in targeted investments that have had a positive impact on Somalia's agriculture sector. Through the Somali AgriFood Fund, six business owners got financing for more than US$435,000 and are expected to generate close to 200 jobs and open new markets for about 15,000 small-scale producers in the agriculture and fisheries sectors. Somalia is estimated to receive over US$1,3 billion annually in remittances, exceeding official aid to the country.


      Fact: IFAD estimates that one out of seven people – more than one billion individuals - are directly impacted by remittances. 

      The amount of remittances sent home is equivalent to around four times official development assistance and exceeds foreign direct investment inflows in most developing countries. It is estimated that over the 15-year period the UN’s new Global Development Goals have set to end poverty, migrants abroad will have sent an accumulated US$7,5 trillion to their hometowns in developing countries. This is a testament to the transformative potential of remittances.

      Remittances are crucial in fragile states or disaster-affected regions. They are often the only income families have, and can play a role in the reconstruction and stabilization of those states.

      Fact: More than 90 per cent of the world’s poorest people do not have access to savings accounts, loans, insurance or any convenient way to transfer money 

      There is a direct correlation between financial exclusion and poverty.

      For remittances to work for families and for development, it is crucial to improve access to basic financial services, such as savings and credit, but also to provide families with non-financial services adapted to their needs, such as technical assistance for business development or financial education programmes.

      Lowering the cost of sending remittances can also have a tremendous impact, according Pedro De Vasconcelos, IFAD Senior Technical Specialist and Coordinator of the Financing Facility for Remittances. ''In the case of Europe, reducing the cost of sending remittances by one per cent would add up to a US$1 billion savings for those sending and receiving remittances.”

       Join us in celebrating the International Day. Share your activities on social media using #FamilyRemittances.



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      By Eric Patrick

      On 9 June, Ms Margarita Astralaga, Director of the Environment and Climate Division, delivered a presentation on the Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP) to the Council members of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). IFAD is the Lead Agency for the Food Security IAP in Sub-Saharan Africa. The other two GEF IAPs on Green Commodities Supply Chains and Sustainable Cities are led by the United Nations Development Programme and World Bank respectively. The Food Security IAP comprises 12 country projects and one cross cutting knowledge/capacity building project for a total value of $116m in GEF grants and $700m in co-financing, including IFAD loans with which the grants are tightly blended.


      ©IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon


      The objective of this IAP is to demonstrate how food production by smallholders can be enhanced while also improving the environmental health of soil, water and agro-biodiversity; the basis of smallholders’ production system, their natural capital and typically principal asset. The outcome of this 5 year program will be the scaling up of these approaches both through the 12 country projects and through influencing the policy discourse on agriculture and food security in the region. 


      The presentation by IFAD was well received by Council Members, including by representatives of sub-regional constituencies of African countries, who also expressed the desire of non IAP countries to benefit from this program in the future; indicating a high level of support and demand for this approach. In response to Council's query on modalities to address challenges faced by the IAP, Ms. Astralaga clarified that the coordination arrangements of the cross cutting knowledge/capacity building project would instill collaborative efforts with key actors engaged in food security issues to optimize the diverse capabilities and opportunities available.


      ©IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon

      The GEF is a fund intended to assist Member States meet their obligations and commitments under the Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertification Conventions and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements. This IAP is innovative because it promotes integration among sectors on food security and directly links to development objectives. IFAD has been a GEF Agency since 2004, with the current GEF cycle worth $3.4b. The IAP modality will be evaluated in 2017 and if found to be promising will become a prominent instrument in subsequent GEF cycles.


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      IFAD has supported a Senegalese Think Thank, the Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR), in their efforts to disseminate information on responsible tenure governance in order to improve practices in Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. By raising the awareness on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), politicians, civil society organisations and journalists are now in a better position to influence policy processes in Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. From 30 May to 1 June 2016, a workshop was organised in Dakar to present the results of this initiative.

      Background
      The  promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and enhancing the environment. They were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012. Since then implementation has been encouraged by G20, Rio+ 20, United Nations General Assembly and Francophone Assembly of Parliamentarians.

      The Guidelines serve as a reference and set out principles and internationally accepted standards for practices for the responsible governance of tenure. They provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation, programmes and activities. They allow governments, civil society, the private sector and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.

      Sensitising policy-makers
      States have a unique role in the development, implementation and enforcement of policy and law, and through the administration of tenure, including through courts, registration of tenure rights, valuation, taxation and spatial planning. Courts and government agencies responsible for the administration of tenure should try to deliver equal services to all, including those in remote locations. Services should be provided promptly and efficiently, and without requesting bribes for services. IPAR sensitised over 100 parliamentarians from the four countries on the VGGTs. In addition, the assessments of the status of land governance at country level, carried out in a participatory manner by the World Bank, were updated by taking the Guidelines into consideration.

      Empowering civil-society
      Civil society organizations can work to raise awareness and assist people to enjoy and protect their tenure rights. They can promote the participation of the public in decision-making processes. IPAR has trained more than 200 members of civil society organisations (including women and youth groups) and leaders of farmers’ organisations from the four countries to strengthen their participation in policy processes.

      Raising awareness of journalists
      Journalists can play a key role in promoting and raising awareness about the VGGTs. IPAR has therefore trained over 150 journalists from both the print and electronic media from Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. This is allowing them to analyse and report on ongoing land reform processes and agricultural investments in the target countries according to the Guidelines. In addition, in Senegal a network has been created for journalists reporting on land governance.

      Multi-stakeholder platforms have been set up
      As encouraged by the VGGTs and with the support of IPAR, four multi-stakeholder platforms and frameworks at national level have been set up to collaborate on the implementation of these Guidelines; to monitor and evaluate the implementation in their jurisdictions; and to evaluate the impact on improved governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests, and on improving food security and the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, and sustainable development.

      Improving the governance of tenure in the Senegal River Basin
      Building on the results of this IFAD-supported initiative, IPAR and the Food and Agriculture Organisation is now supporting the implementation of the Guidelines in the Senegal River Basin. The new project is responding to an increasing demand from numerous actors in the Basin over the past few years - especially representatives from civil society, farmers’ and pastoralists’ organizations, local authorities, etc. - to discuss and improve governance of tenure and accountability in the context of new investments in agriculture being made by public and private investors. Given the importance of responsible land governance for its target groups, IFAD-supported projects that are operational in the area will be involved in these discussions.


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      By Marian Amaka Odenigbo

      I just returned from the official launch of a regional project to support IFAD's initiatives on nutrition-sensitive agriculture. This event took place on 9-10 June, 2016 in Lusaka Zambia. It was all about a grant project for strengthening capacity of local actors on nutrition-sensitive agri-food value chain in Zambia and Malawi in collaboration with McGill University of Canada, and other partners including WorldFish and Biodiversity.
       
      In International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), one of the instruments to advance smallholder farming is regional grant. The grant is awarded to institutions and organizations for strengthening the capacities linked to agricultural and rural transformation.
      I was delighted with the level of participation and representation from IFAD country office in Zambia, IFAD-loan programmes in both Malawi and Zambia, National food and nutrition commission in Zambia, the ministries of agriculture in Zambia and Malawi.
        
      Also in attendance were the representatives from McGill, WorldFish, Zambia Agriculture Research Institute, Self Help Africa (SHA), Food science department in the University of Zambia, Small Producers Development and Transporters Association (SPRODETA) in Malawi, and Lilongwe University of Natural Science and Research (LUANAR), Malawi. 
      
      Group photo of the participants

      Can we afford not to invest in nutrition?
      “Nutrition can no longer be seen as a social issue, it is a multisectoral issue” said Abla Benhammouche, IFAD representative and country Director in Zambia during her opening speech. Benhammouche emphasised the need to invest in nutrition and went further to inform participants that the governments of Malawi, Zambia and IFAD had committed to nutrition. Last month in Lusaka, Zambia the African Leaders made an economic case for increased nutrition investments during the May, 2016 African Development Bank Annual Meeting. Benhammouche echoed that in this project, IFAD is bringing US$2million while the other partners are contributing $654,000.
       
      In reinforcing the relevance of nutrition, Patrick Nalere the Regional Director of WorldFish said  “Without nutrition, whatever we think of doing, we are likely to go wrong” Nalere linked this project to one of the key priority areas of WorldFish-Nutrition and value chain. According to Nalere the initiatives in this project is one of the best nutrition related projects involving IFAD and WorldFish collaboration. And it is special in the sense that the project will go beyond poverty reduction and demonstrate the role of fish in addressing malnutrition”.
       
      On the same note, the Government of Zambia and Malawi expressed delight and welcomed the project initiatives. “As a ministry we now believe that nutrition issues are not merely cross-cutting issues but key areas of focus” said Charles Sondashi, Deputy Director Ministry of Agriculture. He gave assurance of the Zambian government’s commitment toward supporting this project.
      Furthermore, Mofu Musonda, Deputy Director of National Food and Nutrition Commission reiterated that the government of Zambia has recognized that nutrition issues particularly under nutrition in the country can be resolved through enhancing a number of agrifood value chain.

      The Malawi counterpart, Martha Mwale, ministry of Agriculture, Malawi said “this project is coming at the right time when Malawi is facing challenges of nutrition and a lot has been lost due to issues of malnutrition”. According to the cost of hunger report, Malawi is losing MWK 147 billion Malawi Kwacha (US$ 597 million) due to child under-nutrition.

      Implementation plan
      The event went on to a second day June 10, 2016 for implementation planning.
      Opportunity was given to each of the IFAD loan programmes to provide insight on their respective programmes interventions to identify the areas for linkages and support by the grant project. Similarly the project partners presented their respective areas of comparative advantage within the project activities.

      According to Elia Manda, a preventative of SHA, it strives to help smallholder farmers in promoting small livestock, crop production, seed multiplication and other multi sector approaches to nutrition for under five children and pregnant women and appropriate child feeding practices coupled with emphasis on dietary diversification.
       
      SHA gives loans to small scale farmers for instance the fish caging project in Siavonga, Southern province of Zambia was designed to benefit women. The women are engaged in aquaculture on a small scale and the produce is sold to the local community.

      ZARI is also another partner that specializes in legume mainly beans. They have designed a recipe booklet on beans in collaboration with SHA.

      SPRODETA, a local NGO in Malawi works with smallholder farmers who are prone to natural hazards and malnutrition. Allen Kumwenda, Executive Secretary of SPRODETA echoed that SPRODETA approach to reach out to their target groups include awareness campaigns and entertainment designed for disseminating nutrition information.

      The University of Zambia and LUANAR in Malawi are also partners that will be working on this project. Through the department of Food Science and Technology, the universities will carry out research aimed at investigating the nutritional properties of selected homegrown food.
       
      An informative video on McGill University was shown highlighting its commitment to African continent, Food Security and nutrition. McGill will backstop technical activities in the project. “We have several years’ experience on value chain analysis, value addition, quality and nutrition analysis” said Michael Ngadi of McGill University.
       
      Moving Forward
      A round table discussion was held on criteria for selecting project sites, identification of districts, priority value chain commodities and value added products to be developed.  Project partners were tasked to develop specific activities for the project year one. And Ngadi requested partners to think of - technology transfer, knowledge development and skills - while preparing activities:
      In order to sensitize partners on effective operationalization of project actions, Robert KOK, a professor in McGill University gave an overview of the project management, coordination and reporting structures.
       
      Participants were passionate to contribute to IFAD efforts on nutrition in these countries with high rates of stunting (Zambia 40% and Malawi 42%).

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      By Marian Amaka Odenigbo
      Extension workers from all the provinces in Mozambique came to receive training on nutrition-sensitive agriculture in Maputo. This is the first structured training on nutrition provided to agricultural extension workers in the National Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DNEA), Mozambique. Agriculture extension plays vital roles in agriculture development, rural transformation and in addressing the issues of food and nutrition security.

      Happily, I participated in this event to provide technical support in the training sessions involving 16 extensionists. The event took place at the Agrarian Extension center in Marracuene district, Maputo Province on 13th June - 17th June 2016. This training was organized by PRONEA Support Project (PSP) and DNEA.
      Group photo of the participants

      PSP is one of IFAD-supported programmes in Mozambique which has a focus on improving household food and nutrition security of subsistence farmers. In the efforts of achieving nutrition outcomes, PSP engaged a nutrition focal point with the responsibilities to facilitate nutrition mainstreaming activities including training of extension workers on nutrition-sensitive agriculture. 

      Seeing the enthusiasm and keen interest among the trainees, I felt so proud on the success of this training ably coordinated by the PSP-nutrition focal person, Francisco Jeronimo.  Jeronimo challenged the participants to take the lead on this nutrition mainstreaming initiative in agriculture and rural development since they are the first set of extension workers receiving the training.

      Nutrition is gaining so much attention in the world including Mozambique. “Chronic malnutrition is the main problem facing our country and we all have to join efforts to overcome this issue” said Marcela Libombo, a staff of DNEA during her opening remarks. She further reiterated that the attention for agricultural sector is now on farmers, children’s under 2 years, women of reproductive age, teachers, school children as well as activities within farmers field school (FFS).

      The training session was official declared open by the Director of DNEA, Sandra Silva. Silva welcomed this kind of training in extension services as timely in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA).  She echoed that the creation of the MASA in 2015 was tasked with the duties and responsibilities for food security and good nutrition at National, Province and District levels. “I am pleased to announce that at national level, the DNEA will lead this initiative of Nutrition- Sensitive Agriculture” said Silva.
      
      The training session

      

      Focus of the training
      • Enhanced nutrition knowledge to extension workers
      • Communication skills to disseminate nutrition messages
      • Technology transfer on food processing and storage

      Expectation from participants
      Participants were asked “what do you expect to acquire from this 5-day training?” They echoed the following;
      • To transfer knowledge on how to process and cook nutritious diet to farmers
      • To teach farmers the food that are nutrient dense
      • To know when and what we should give to children, women and old people
      • I hope to get more information to improve the food insecurity and malnutrition in my province

      For diversity in the content of training, 7 facilitators from Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition, DNEA, FAO, IFAD and PROMER delivered presentations on different topics related to food and nutrition. PROMER- an IFAD-funded project in Mozambique shared the experiences of nutrition integration in the project interventions. Training sessions varied from presentations to working group sessions, field visits, evaluation and feedback.

      Next step
      The training event was concluded with the preparation of action plans by each province in order to conduct similar training at district levels.

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      To celebrate this year’s World Environment Day, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) brought together international experts to look at sustainable land management (SLM).

      The discussion on June 5 was part of  IFAD’s Environment and Climate Divisions Climate Lecture Series, which highlights environmental issues facing farmers in developing countries and promotes some of the solutions that IFAD is supporting to achieve a food secure future.


      Among the panellists was IFAD Vice-President, Michel Mordasini, IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division Director, Margarita Astralaga and the Director of World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT), Hanspeter Liniger.


      Representing the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Jeroen Van Dalen presented a global overview of the current state of SLM,  and UNCCD’s approaches for scaling up SLM globally. He tied UNCCD work closely to that of IFAD, stressing the importance of food security.


      ''In the new definition by UNCCD of land degradation, food security is part of it. It shows how important it is,'' Said Van Dalen.


      WOCAT Hanspeter Liniger gave an overview of the recent  IFAD grant to WOCAT.


      This grant is being used to scale-up adoption of SLM in three pilot countries.


      ''Our ultimate beneficiaries are the land users,” said Liniger “We don’t make the change, they do.”


      “There is so much experience available, it is criminal if we don’t use it for the benefit of the people.''


      A recording of the lecture can be seen here.


      Recipes for Change


      On World Environment Day, IFAD also launched its latest episode of Recipes for Change, a web tv series where top chefs raise public awareness by cooking foods that are threatened by climate change and show how IFAD is helping farmers adapt,


      The episode featured Italian celebrity chef, Carlo Cracco, who recently visited an IFAD-supported project in Kandal province in southern Cambodia. While there, he met Cambodian farmer Somreth Sophat and cooked a traditional Cambodian recipe, Somlar Kako.


       “Climate change is a fact,” said Cracco. “Perhaps we can slow it down, but we cannot stop it. So we must help those people who work the land so that there is a change in the way we fight the battle of climate change.”



      Rice, a staple food in Asia, counts for almost 80 per cent of farmland in Kandal province, but frequent droughts and damaging floods mean farmers here have seen harvests halved. See the full video here.


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      Written by: Francisco Pichon

      On 6 May 2016, the operation and the maintenance of five large irrigation systems in the District of Kirehe in Rwanda, have been formally transferred to Irrigation Water Users Organisations (IWUOs) by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. As such these are the first batch of IWUOs in Rwanda to formally sign an Irrigation Management Transfer Agreement (IMTA) - a tri-partite agreement between Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), District Authority and the IWUO.

      In the week of 20 June 2016 a further seven IWUOs signed the agreement. The Mayor of Kirehe District co-signed the IMTA and said “Kirehe District is focused on sustainable development of its population. This means that Kirehe District’s cell and sector staff will continue to ensure that the IWUOs are working well and fulfilling their responsibilities."

      The empowerment and capacity development of Irrigation Water User Organisations (IWUOs) have paved the way for Rwanda to take-over responsibility for Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of irrigation schemes in Kirehe district. We will work closely together with these IWUOs to ensure sustainable irrigation infrastructure,” said Louis Butare, Director General of Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB).

      Cyunuzi  Rice Marshland under irrigation.
      Credit: Viateur Karangwa
      Daniel Tuyishime, President of Cyunuzi 2, one of the Irrigation Water Users Organisations, mentioned that “by signing the IMTA, we are very confident that we are going to succeed in O&M of irrigation schemes.” This is a challenging task as IWUOs can have as many as 820 members and some schemes are 15 kilometres long.

      Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project

      The Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP) is co-financed by Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

      Known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, Rwanda is famous for its highlands and deep valleys. A 2.7 per cent annual growth rate makes Rwanda the most densely populated African country (with 416 people per km2 ). Population growth and climate change coupled with Rwanda’s unique geography has led to severe environmental degradation, such as soil erosion and a scarcity of productive land. Sustainable soil and water conservation interventions and strategies to increase land productivity are thus needed.

      Cyunuzi Dam. Credit: Viateur Karangwa
      KWAMP, one of the most successful IFAD-supported projects in East and Southern Africa became effective in 2009 and will close in 2016. It has achieved its targets and attained its main development objectives as evidenced by a steep improvement in household and district-level food security, asset ownership and quality of life indicators among vulnerable groups in Kirehe district. 

      The immediate objectives of the project converged on the development of sustainable small-scale commercial agriculture in Kirehe District. Claver Gasirabo, coordinator for KWAMP explains that “out of the total project budget, 33 per cent has been invested in the development of irrigation schemes, including the construction of six dams”. In Kirehe District a total of 19 schemes of 2.442 ha of land have been developed.

      New Approach to Capacity Development of Irrigation Water Users Organizations

      During the initial years of KWAMP implementation, the approach for training of IWUOs focused predominantly on classroom based training with lectures. These sessions typically involved several IWUO committees from different schemes at the same time in large joint sessions. Mid 2014, this approach had shown to have limited impact on the capacity and strength of the IWUOs, which as a result were considered not ready or able to take over O&M of the schemes. Therefore, KWAMP revised its capacity building approach in many aspects by the end of 2014, as indicated below:
















      A training package with 15 practical exercises based on the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach was prepared. Exercises were selected from the Farmers Water Management Training materials developed by FAO , complemented by exercises from other training manuals . The participatory exercises were further adapted and tested in a Training of Trainers (ToT). The FFS approach fits well with the approach adopted by MINAGRI/RAB and Twigire Muhinzi, which is also based on FFS methodology. 

      The training package covers four key areas: management & governance, agronomy, technical irrigation and water management, monitoring & review and exchange of experiences. In using the different training methods, it became apparent that the more active the participants are involved the more they retain from the learning. Below are the key areas of the training programme with respective objectives: 
      • Management and governance: to understand the roles and responsibilities of the IWUO; causes of conflicts and their resolution and the awareness of the members of IWUO on their rights related to access to water services; information and their collective power in holding their leaders accountable.
      • Agronomy: to understand the steps and requirements for rice/vegetable cropping seasons; draft a cropping calendar with farmers trained in cooperatives and; facilitate exchange on techniques and inputs for production among rice/vegetable farmers.
      • Technical irrigation and water management: to improve land preparation, field layout and land levelling to obtain a more equal distribution of water in the field; monitor operation and maintenance of canals and structures; review present water use/field irrigation methods and assess shortcomings; introduce possible alternative field irrigation methods and; assist farmers in defining a proper irrigation frequency and irrigation amounts.
      • Monitoring and Review at IWUO, District and National levels: to self- evaluate the experience and areas for improvement; exchange of experiences with other IWUOs and; exchange experience with other projects, schemes, districts & national stakeholders.
      As explained earlier, the focus shifted to organising training per scheme involving the full range of local stakeholders. “An increased focus on practical training activities at scheme level improves the learning among the IWUO committees, zone leaders and farmers” explains Joseph K. Nsabimana, IWUO Specialist of KWAMP. “This as opposed to more theoretical lectures in a meeting hall. For example for the review of the status of O&M of a scheme, the block leaders of left side blocks assessed the same block on the right side in terms of the status of O&M. Afterwards they gave each other feedback on their observations.” 

      Kinoni I Dam. Credit: Viateur Karangwa

      Training at scheme level increased the awareness of the roles and responsibilities of the IWUO among a much larger number of stakeholders. This resulted in enhanced monitoring and planning practices by all stakeholders involved.

      A Training of Trainers organised in Kirehe in December 2014 expanded the pool of trainers involved in the capacity building by including local leaders, IWUO committee members and farmers. This has had a big impact on local involvement and sense of ownership. Farmer to farmer training has proven to be very effective, especially in convincing relatively new IWUOs that the tasks can be done, and demonstrating how these can be done in the best way. Exchange visits also contributed to the farmer to farmer learning. The involvement of local stakeholders as trainers resulted also in reduction of overall costs of the capacity building activities. 

      With the formal transfer of management responsibilities, the duties of the different parties are clearly outlined:
      • IWUOs are responsible for an annual work plan, a maintenance plan, irrigation scheduling, water delivery, regular maintenance and repairs, water fee collection and reporting; 
      • MINAGRI is responsible for monitoring, training and advice;
      • The District is responsible for coordination and monitoring through the District Irrigation Steering Committee, providing regular support and monitoring & evaluation.

      Connecting farmers to district and national Levels

      Participatory workshops at district and national level allowed for the sharing of experiences between Irrigation water users organisations, Cooperatives, District staff, KWAMP and other irrigation projects in Rwanda, and RAB. 

      Emmanuel Musabyimana, Head of unit of IWUOs at LIME, RAB underlines the importance of the active involvement of local stakeholders in Kirehe District: “For long-term sustainability the good cooperation between the IWUO, District and RAB is essential”. 

      Bonaventure Mbarushimana Musaza, Sector Agronomist agrees that “As local leaders and technicians working with the IWUOs let us put together what is required for sustainable management of irrigation. Support in organization, maintenance activities, agriculture practices, evaluation of their activities, etc.” 

      Ultimately these investments will pay off, as the mayor of Kirehe district indicates “Support to farmers’ organisations is the best way for developing the country: leading to sustainability of irrigation schemes, increased production, food security and increased income.”

      Kirehe District Mayor receiving books providing summary of Main Investments.
      Credit: Viateur Karangwa

      Impacts

      Close monitoring over the next few years will indicate the long-term sustainability of the IWUOs and their capacity for O&M of the schemes. The past 18 months have already shown several positive outcomes, such as:
      • Improved scheme management practices, resulting in increased rice production, with some farmers attaining yields as high as 9 tons per hectare;
      • Profitable vegetable production thanks to successful irrigation activities in hillside schemes;
      • Increased water fee collection by IWUOs, in some schemes nearing 100%. Daniel Tuyishime, President of IWUO Cyunuzi 2 explains “success in water fee collection is guaranteed by timely providing all inputs required by farmers, before requesting them to pay”
      • Increased IWUO self-reliance by finding solutions for their needs without relying on project support (e.g.: some IWUOs are constructing their own office including Cyunuzi, Rukizi, Rwabutazi, and Kinnyogo). 

      For more details, or a copy of the training package, please contact: Francisco Pichón  

      [1]PARTICIPATORY TRAINING AND EXTENSION IN FARMERS' WATER MANAGEMENT (PT&E-FWM), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations AGLW - Water Service of the Land and Water Development Division, CD rom, April 2001

      [1]A Trainer’s Manual for Community Managed Water Supplies in Kenya, 2012. FAO and UNICEF-Kenya Country Office, SEAGA Sector Guide on Irrigation – Socio- economic and Gender Analysis Programme, FAO, 2001



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