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    Go to the IFAD Annual Report 2015
    IFAD’s Annual Report and Highlights for 2015 have just been published. People from across the organization have contributed and the report contains a wealth of information on our work and our results – stories, facts, figures and analysis. This short blogpost is a cheat sheet, giving you all the big numbers from the main report, plus some tasters from the stories.

    These are the big numbers, correct as at 31 December 2015:
    • 231 ongoing programmes and projects funded by IFAD in partnership with 98 governments
    • IFAD investment of US$6.2 billion in the ongoing portfolio and domestic contributions and external cofinancing worth US$7.6 billion
    • 39 new programmes and projects approved in 2015 with loans, DSF grants and ASAP grants worth US$1,330.6 million
    • 70 new grants approved in 2015 worth US$73.6 million
    At the time of publication (June 2016), total IFAD loan and grants approved since 1978 were worth  nearly US$17.7 billion and the programmes and projects we support had reached about 459 million people.

    If you’re looking for the details behind those figures, or information on our new sovereign borrowing framework, recent replenishments, cofinancing or disbursements – take a look at the Financing Data and Resource Mobilization chapter.

    Here's the breakdown of the numbers region by region.

    West and Central Africa
    • 47 ongoing projects in 22 countries
    • US$1,270.7 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 7 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$184.4 million
    East and Southern Africa
    • 46 ongoing projects in 17 countries
    • US$1,463.1 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 7 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$399.4 million
    Asia and the Pacific
    • 66 ongoing projects in 21 countries
    • US$2,142.2 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 14 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$552.2 million
    Latin America and the Caribbean
    • 36 ongoing projects in 20 countries
    • US$535.8 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 7 new project for a total IFAD investment of US$116.6 million
    Near East, North Africa and Europe
    • 36 ongoing projects in 18 countries
    • US$773.7 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
    • 4 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$78.0 million
    Not just numbers
    The Annual Report is more than just numbers, however. It’s also about IFAD’s engagement in policy processes and dialogue on global and regional issues, including the SDGs, climate change, financing for development and more. And it spotlights key areas of activity in each region, with results and stories.

    A theme that comes up in several of the stories from the field in the 2015 report is how IFAD is supporting the production, consumption and marketing of local, traditional crops like millet in Senegal, sorghum in Kenya and Tanzania and the red-seeded shrub achiote in Ecuador. Read the stories to find out how IFAD-funded projects enable farmers to improve cultivation and processing techniques at the same time as they raise awareness about the benefits of the crops, which often include resilience in the face of the effects of climate change. Connecting farmers to value chains and markets is also a key part of such projects.

    You’ll also find stories that bring to life our commitment to empowering women and young people. In Moldova, ambitious young  farmer Anastasia Gilca is building her blackberry business with IFAD support. In Indonesia, businesswoman Ratna Sari Dewi Bani is leading a successful fish-processing group. And in Central Asia women spinners, knitters and felt-producers are exporting their high-quality products to Europe and America.

    If you're interested in the details of new initiatives, all newly approved programmes, projects and large grants are summarized. To see which countries we’re working in and where we have country offices, take a look at the map.

    If you want more than this one-page cheat sheet, there are plenty of other options  to explore from the Annual Report landing page. There are the 12-page Highlights, the 64-page print report, and the full report (which includes a wealth of information and detail, including Member States and their representatives, the Financial Statements and more).

    I’d like to close with a big thank you to the many people who have contributed to AR2015: the focal points who pull together the information and give guidance during the writing phase, those who write their own sections, the people who give us the numbers and the directors who give support and clearance. Then from the production phase, the production teams in the four languages, the production coordinator, the editor, the photo editor, the sub-editor, the translators, the in-house and external designers, the editorial assistant and the proofreaders. Everyone has contributed a huge amount and I hope you will all be happy with the end result. Feel free to send suggestions for next year's report – work starts on that in September.

    As usual, we’re launching the Annual Report on social media. Take a look at our Facebook page and join the conversation on twitter. Use hashtag #AR2015 and tweet your favourite quotes, facts and figures to your followers.


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    Media charity tve is launching its seventh annual biomovies competition. As part of this, IFAD is sponsoring the Short Film Competition strand on Family Farmers. Entrants are invited to send in their ideas for a one-minute film in this category. 

    The overall theme for tvebiomovies 2016 is planetary boundaries, about living within the earth’s limits. The competition is about you, sharing your ideas of the actions we must take, the ways we must live and how we must value the planet we share.

    tvebiomovies 2016 is now open and the deadline for entries is 23:00 GMT on 19 August.

    There are four challenges in tvebiomovies 2016:

    The Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change asks for three-minute video diaries of actions you are taking to address climate change or to raise public awareness.

    The short film competition seeks proposals for a one-minute film in five categories: biodiversity, forests, family farmers, recycling, and oceans and seas.

    Use your Minecraft skills to enter their Connect4Climate Sustainable Worlds competition to design an environmental habitat.

    Post a short 30-second video to Instagram about how you save water with the #stopthatdrop competition.

    Anyone participating in tvebiomovies can submit their entry via the website at biomovies.tve.org. Rural youth are especially encouraged to enter. You don’t need expensive video equipment– just one good idea and a basic camera to record it! This is a chance to share your perspective and address how issues like environmental degradation, biodiversity loss or climate change are affecting your family or community.

    Biomovies 2016 is also supported by the Deutsche Bundestiftung Umwelt (DBU), the Lighthouse Foundation, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Development Programme, the Global Environment Facility, and Connect4Climate.


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    Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Lead Technical Specialist (Gender and Social Inclusion), Policy and Technical Advisory Division


    Two years ago I would not have been confident to write a short blog on the Joint Programme on the economic empowerment of rural women (RWEE).  The RWEE is a global initiative jointly implemented by FAO, IFAD, UN Women and WFP in seven countries, whose overarching goal is to secure rural women's livelihoods and rights in the context of sustainable development.



    Two years ago, I would have been able to tell you how the idea was first mooted by Michelle Bachlett, the then head of UN Women. In 2011 she challenged the heads of the Rome-based agencies to work together to support the economic empowerment of rural women. I would have described how the technical staff in each agency worked together to develop the concept into a programme with four outcome areas and seven implementing countries, and engaged UNDP’s multi-partner trust fund office to manage any monies that the JP would receive.



    I could have talked about preliminary activities at country level. The agencies- working with relevant government  departments - conducted a needs assessment of rural women and mapped ongoing activities, comparative advantages of each agency and potential synergies.  Individual country programmes were developed and validated at multi-stakeholder workshops.


    But I couldn’t have told you about any activities on the ground because we had no dedicated funds.



    Despite doing what agencies recognise as good practice and donors urge us to do – namely working together, as set out in the Paris Declaration of 2005 – we found it extremely difficult to raise funds. We held well-attended launches in New York and Rome in 2013 but it was not until WFP hosted a large fund raising event in 2014 that we were finally successful. Norway stepped in with US$1.6 million contribution, soon followed by SIDA with US$15 million to be disbursed over three years. At last things were able to happen in earnest at country and community level. In addition, the Ethiopia also raised an additional US$1.5 million from the Sustainable Development Goals Fund. Still this is far from the original goal of US$35 million.


    What have been the early achievements?


    The key results achieved in 2015 include:
    ·    - 3,500 women trained on improved agricultural technologies

    ·    - 2,000 women organised in cooperatives

    ·    - 1,750 women accessed financial services

    ·      over 1,000 women linked to home-grown school feeding programmes

    ·    - 5,200 women received business development support for income-generation

    ·    - 650 women leaders participated in national rural women’s conferences for advocacy purposes

    ·    - 8,000 people attended sensitization campaign on women’s rights.


    The impact of the programme is more than just about increased productivity and increased incomes. It is also about improvements in the quality of people’s lives  – not just for the women participating in the RWEE in terms of increased self-confidence and dignity – but also their family members.


    What has contributed to effective implementation?

    Several factors have contributed to successful implementation:

    • Drawing on the specialist experiences of each agency: IFAD has supported the use of the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) – an innovative tool for baseline studies and impact assessments - in Guatemala and Niger (with FAO), household methodologies in Rwanda and Kyrgyzstan, and rural finance in Ethiopia. FAO has focused on Dimtra listening clubs and agricultural technologies; WFP on purchase for progress; and UN Women on women’s leadership and policy dialogue.
    • National ownership: This has been promoted since the beginning of the programme through consultation with stakeholders at the country level, alignment with national priorities, and a governance structure that facilitates the flow of information and better coordination among national partners.
    • Using the same entry points and layering activities: Rather than spreading interventions across a wide group of beneficiaries, the JP decided to deepen impact by using the same entry point in a given region, such as self-help groups, rural savings and lending groups, Dimitra listening clubs – and layering different activities on same set of beneficiaries.
    • Hiring global and national coordinators: They work on behalf of the whole programme, seeing activities in the whole rather through the perspective of one specific agency (see box 2). They are supported at global and national levels by steering committees and technical advisory groups. At HQ level, the programme is supported not only by the gender teams but also partnerships and resource mobilization staff and communications teams. Knowledge sharing and south-south exchanges are an important element of the implementation process.
    • Flexibility: Within the framework of the four outcome areas, have been able to be flexible at the national level to respond to specific needs and priorities, such as the Ebola crisis in Liberia, drought in Ethiopia and gender-based violence in Kyrgyzstan.
    • Working with men: Men have been actively involved in the design and implementation of the interventions through awareness raising campaigns and the utilization of innovative methodologies that aim at addressing power relationships within the communities (Dimitra clubs and the “HeforShe” campaign) and households (household methodologies).


    Comments by Jipara Turmamatova, National coordinator of JP in Kyrgyzstan

    I wear two hats: as national JP coordinator and UN Women programme manager. It took me time to differentiate between the two and to learn how to coordinate and adopt a whole programme perspective. I am delighted to work in the team of committed professionals from the partner agencies. We have made a great progress in becoming a joint programme, going through challenges, regardless of individual agencies' mandates and interests, and joining efforts to work through the same entry point of women's self-help groups.

    Rural women face a range of challenges in their everyday life, and we cannot put aside some aspects - such as violence, security or reproductive health - and only focus on productivity or other interventions. It takes a joint approach to address these multiple dimensions as a whole, complementing each other's interventions.

    We are also very happy that other development actors have started using the JP as a platform for reaching rural women, such as UNFPA with its messages on maternal health. 



    What next?

    As the outgoing chairperson of the international steering committee and technical advisory group I am acutely aware of the need to raise extra funds. The present money will take us until the end of 2017, but even then activities are limited by the small size of the pot (supporting activities across seven countries and among four agencies). Indeed, some countries have already completed their available funds for 2016. It is estimated there is a funding gap of around UD15 million based on estimates of what country teams would wish to achieve over the next two years.



    This year we have held side events during the Commission on the Status of Women in New York (March) and the EU development days in Brussels (June). The photo shows members of the JP team meeting with the Network for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment of the permanent representatives in Rome in June for a very fruitful discussion (see the photo below). Other events planned for 2016 include a side event at CFS with the Gender Network (October) and another at the high level event on rural women being organized by the Slovak presidency of the EU (November).


    And my final thought?

    We have mechanisms in place which are proving effective in delivering a joint programme producing tangible benefits for rural women. Lessons can be learned about inter-agency cooperation modalities and innovative approaches; the findings can be shared beyond the four agencies and partners to contribute to the SDG dialogue and improve the outcomes.



    With approximately 18,000 women and their households directly benefitting from the JP RWEE and a governance mechanism fully operational at the global and national level, the programme has the potential to be scaled-up to additional 50,000 women if further contributions are received.


    JP team meeting with the Network for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment of the permanent representatives in IFAD HQ



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    Linda Mayoux, International Consultant

    Let me share some personal reflections on the Forum on Empowerment through Household Methodologies,  jointly organized by IFAD, Oxfam and Hivos (Rome, 27-29 June 2016). This  was a wonderful opportunity to meet both old and new friends working with Household Methodologies (HHM). The enthusiasm and commitment of participants was high – inspired by our common vision of greater happiness and understanding between women, men and youth, and the greater wealth and wellbeing that can be experienced in households across the world. More than 80 participants from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Australasia shared their experience and considerable achievements in inspiring and supporting men as well as women to change gender inequalities that are constraining their lives.


    The underlying message is that changing gender inequalities is not only essential for poverty reduction and democracy. Challenging gender inequality can open up a new and more fun world for all, young and old,  as they discover new ways to be themselves and to relate to each other, at all levels.



    As many of the poster sessions of the different HHM processes demonstrated men and women of all ages coming together around a new and constructive vision for themselves and their families. This includes recognition of women’s right to achieve their full economic, social and political potential – including special attention to girls. Men of all ages can also change, enjoying more love and respect. The presentations countered some of the concerns within IFAD and elsewhere – demonstrating that support for people at household level is not ‘risky busybody interference’ in private lives, but a way of helping men and women to address personal and relational blockages to achieving what they want from life.


    Participants presented the many ways in which they have used and adapted the basic Gender Action Learning for Sustainability (GALS) tools – Visioning, Vision Journeys, Gender Balance Trees, Gender Diamonds, Gender Challenge Action Trees and Change Leadership Maps. Experience shows that within a relatively short time, household analysis of gender inequalities can lead to fundamental change in tangibles like division of work, land ownership, business management, co-operative leadership and policy changes.


    The Forum enabled a more complete assessment of the number of people involved in different types of HHM – estimated at over 130,000. This figure does not includethe very many more people reached indirectly through peer sharing and informal organizational ‘osmosis’.


    Participants discussed not only how women, men and their families and communities benefit, but also private sector companies, financial service providers and local economies. Local and national governments are also increasingly seeing the possibilities and benefits for change, and the way GALS tools can help their work and the democratic process.


    In order to make a really significant impact on global gender inequalities household methodologies need to reach not thousands of people but millions. This means new ways of inspiring large numbers of women and men for change, new concepts of leadership, and different organizational models. Building a movement at this scale cannot be achieved through conventional top down Training of Trainers dissemination unless budgets are extremely large and organizations are already strong, participatory and have sufficient staff time. This is extremely rare and even then unlikely to be the most cost-effective or sustainable approach.


    The model I proposed at the Forum was a more dynamic ‘headless’ model, drawing in part on new business and mobilization models - capable of constant self-replication, self-regeneration, innovation and growth in response to changing energies and needs at different levels. But this dynamic model also requires an even deeper ‘reversal’ of power between implementing agencies and women and men at community level. It also implies a somewhat different role for service providers and ‘experts’ within the process.

    First the amoebas who are sparking self-generating change at community level: The main promoters and ‘beneficiaries’ for HHM like GALS are the many champion ’amoeba’ – women and men implementing their own personal gender changes within their existing and new support networks in their own communities and organizations.

    Second the hydras: Everyone is a leader. Scale is best achieved through inspiration and example and encouraging as many people as possible at all levels to become leaders of change in whatever effective ways they discover, and exchange their ideas and experiences. Existing leaders come and go, and are often very busy. So I proposed a much more ‘headless hydra model’ where organization springs up where energies appear, where everyone is free to get up and move without consulting ‘authorities’.



    Finally the busy spiders  –  ‘brokers’ in leadership terminology: Individuals and/or organizations who make their webs to provide linkages between different processes and levels. Spiders include not only champions and HHM practitioners, but also people who provide openings and linkages between HHM and other established networks. 



    It was intended that this Forum would provide a basis for starting networking at various levels.  We all left with happy memories of 80+ Forum friends  and hope to meet again soon – at least in cyberspace!!!

    Key links GALS (Gender Action Learning for Sustainability) resources and processes I am involved with:

    http://www.galsatscale.netfor GALS toolkits and resources
    http://www.gamechangenetwork.org(blog with links to my GALS partners and processes and people involved in other like-minded gender mainstreaming initiatives)

    http://www.zemniimages.com/GameChangeNetwork(for high resolution photos) 




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    A recent IFAD event discusses the use of GALS methodology to understand gender and to boost financial inclusion


    By Fred Iga Luganda and Vivienne Likhanga


    Standard approaches to gender mainstreaming are based on the assumption that empowering women "outside" the household domain will automatically increase women's bargaining power within households. 


    For successful gender mainstreaming, in order to empower women, experience has shown that it is not enough to promote their participation in community decision-making and in the workplace or the market. It is also vital to address their status and their role within the home.


    Household Methodologies are participatory approaches used to promote equitable intra-household relations, fair division of labour and shared decision-making processes. GALS comprises of a series of specific participatory processes and diagram tools that enable household members to negotiate their needs and interests to find innovative, gender-equitable solutions in livelihoods planning and value chain development.


    It aims to give women as well as men more control over their lives as the basis for individual, household, community and organizational development. GALS is not only a ‘methodology for women’, but a mainstreaming methodology for women and men to address gender issues important to the effectiveness of any development. How can we enhance the integration of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) and Household Methodologies in project design and implementation? In every country, conditions are different, how do we adapt GALS throughout the world? How do we measure the impact of GALS integration at project level?


    These and many more were part of the pertinent questions raised during the Forum on Empowerment through Household Methodologies organized jointly by IFAD, OXFAM and Hivos, and held in Rome between the 27 and 29 of June, 2016. The forum was held in order to capitalize on the positive results so far and to meet the high demand for GALS, identifying partners that can bring household methodologies and GALS to scale, through sharing of experiences, exchange and replicating.



    PROCASUR having worked on several learning initiatives on the GALS methodology was pleased to attend the forum and contribute to the discussions. PROCASUR had a poster session on the use of the Learning Route (LR) methodology as a tool to scale up the GALS methodology, based on our experience with LRs focusing on GALS.  The forum was well attended by practitioners and key players with a special focus on GALS. There were also valuable contributions from experts and champions in household methodologies, including from IFAD supported projects in East and Southern Africa (ESA) and West and Central Africa (WCA) and observers from NGOs, UN agencies and private sector. Several presentations of experiences with household methodologies and GALS were made highlighting challenges, achievements and impact.  Participants discussed how the approaches have been used in value chain development, rural finance and extension services.


    Fred Iga Luganda, a gender and micro-finance expert and consultant on gender related issues in PROCASUR implemented learning route projects gave his contribution on the modalities of using GALS methodology to understand gender and to boost financial inclusion.

    Gender roles, status and relations vary according to place (countries, regions, and villages), groups (class, ethnic, religious, and caste), generations and stages of the lifecycle of individuals.


    Gender is, thus, not about women but about the relationship between women and men.’ As the world strives to overcome poverty, especially in rural areas, it’s observed that women tend to be disenfranchised most due to gender biases noted above. Women in particular fail to access financial services which in most cases has affected many households and children.


    Women tend to be entrepreneurial and their inability to have access to financial services affects their self being, children and entire household. In developing countries, where poverty is prevalent, women face a lot of gender biases which affect their participation in the financial system.


    In a nutshell, gender biases do affect financial inclusion if we do not pay particular attention. It’s no doubt that, many interventions have been designed to enable access to financial services by disadvantaged communities. Microfinance in particular was at one point referred as a magic bullet for poverty.


    Conversely, many developing countries report on average 30-40 per cent of their populations being financially excluded. A huge chunk of the noted figures isin rural areas and gender plays a huge factor to their exclusion. Financial inclusion and rural finance has been majorly looked at in perspective of individuals, leaving out the households, which may be stifling development in long run.

    Taking a closer look at households, enables us to analyse gender and see how it impacts financial inclusion. Using Gender Action Learning System, which is a household methodology being usedin many developing countries especially Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Rwanda, communities use the GALS tools like the Financial Vision Journey, Financial Inclusion and Social Empowerment Maps, and Financial Inclusion Challenge Trees to analyse gender in financial inclusion.



    Using cases from Bauchi state in Nigeria, we discovered that, though the Central Bank of Nigeria had defined financial inclusion, communities using the savings and loans, microfinance institutions and some state officials did not know about this strategy, and neither was their understanding same as that of the Central Bank  of Nigeria. A divergence of individual dreams, household aspirations and non-alignment with Financial Service Providers, complicates serving of clients and also fitting with national vision. Using the Financial Vision Journey provides a clear message and analysis of whether institutions’ actions are translated into reality (Social Performance Management). Through the Financial Inclusion Trees, the dimensions and key performance indicators of Financial Inclusion are tested, solutions are generated and SMART actions can be sought. Analysis of factors affecting dimensions from an individual, institutional and national point of view; enables practitioners and policy makers to understand challenges in financial inclusion. Financial inclusion and social empowerment mapping helps providing a clear analysis using gender to analyse power dynamics and relations with institutions, friends and others who can help towards achieving dreams and aspirations. The ultimate goal for everyone is to be empowered.


    Gender is important in financial inclusion debate, our understanding and use of gender could go along way in solving poverty in communities.Using GALS tools provides a platform for creating awareness of gender, financial inclusion and how both gender and financial inclusion are intertwined. Most important is the ability to create dialogue and get a win-win position to empower and create an inclusive environment for all.


    Fred Luganda is the Micro-finance and Gender Expert, Technical Coordination of Learning Routes for PROCASUR Africa. Viviana Sacco is the Regional Coordinator West and Central Africa for PROCASUR Africa. Valentina Sauve is the Regional Coordinator East and Southern Africa for Procasur Africa.




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    Written by: Carmina Serrano Marquez

    Sandra presented a powerful testimony of the history
    and success of the cooperative.
    Credit: C. Serrano Marquez
    "The women's cooperative started because we wanted to work together in the market.  People in the market discriminated us, because we were women and most people in the market were men. They told us that women only worked well in cleaning the house and raising the kids, not in the field or fishing. So we fought those stereotypes and we organized our own cooperative".

    These were the words, translated in English, of Ms. Sandra Ciquin Chriroy, President of the Cooperative Mujeres Cuatro Pinos during her presentation at the 2016 Global Gender Summit held at the Inter-American Development Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC on 7-8 June. I was there and fortunate to listen to  the powerful testimonies of Sandra and all the other women who shared their success stories.

    Cuatro Pinos is a cooperative of indigenous women producers and their families in the central highlands of Guatemala. The cooperative focuses on women’s empowerment, and through an IFAD grant the cooperative established a women’s wing, Cooperativa Mujeres Cuatro Pinos in 2010.

    Sandra participated in the panel discussion “Women’s Entrepreneurship: Access to Markets and Trade”, and she brought a unique perspective. Her presentation focused on the practical approaches to problems faced by women entrepreneurs in accessing markets and the concrete outcomes which had come as a result of the work of the cooperative and IFAD’s support. This included the certification the cooperative had obtained with the GLOBAL GAP to export non-traditional vegetables  to the United States and Europe.

    "Before being in a cooperative, we did not have a voice. We did not have transport, and we would sometimes give away our products very cheaply , almost free, because we did not have enough money to produce more, and to feed our families."

    From L-R: Attiya, Nawazish Ali, Sandra Ciquin Chriroy,
    Yokasta Guzman and Henriette Kolb. 

    Sandra proudly shared her own story. She used to live in very poor conditions - living with her in-laws and struggling to provide for her family’s needs and the education of her children. Since becoming a member of the cooperative eight years ago, she has seen many improvements in the quality of her life and of her family. She now owns one hectare of land, which she uses for vegetable production; she has a house of her own, she has also provided a house for her mother and her children attend school regularly.

    "Climate change has affected our products. We have been able to produce with technology, but to have technology, we need more money to sustain our products and process them. We are unable to access that because of poverty."

    Sandra’s presentation was highly commended as she inspired everyone with the stories she shared. She acknowledged IFAD multiple times during her presentation and also expressed her personal thanks to IFAD's previous and current Director of Latin America and the Caribbean, Josefina Stubbs and Joaquin Lozano, for their support to Cuatro Pinos and to her own personal success.

    At one point during the summit, I saw Sandra staring over the beautiful atrium at the venue. I asked her if she’s alright. She looked at me, and said she was in disbelief of how fast her journey to success has been. She said that she wouldn’t be where she is now without the support of IFAD. I must admit, her emotions and words brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me of how proud I am to be an empowered woman, and to be part of the IFAD family who makes a difference to the lives of people like Sandra and the women at her cooperative. 

    Graphic recording of Sandra’s presentation created by Crowley & Co.


    The 2016 Global Gender Summit was attended by over a  hundred of leaders from governments, private sector, civil society and multilateral development banks.  Speakers included high-level officials such as Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno, President of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group and Her Excellency Ms. Margarita Cerdeño, Vice President of the Dominican Republic.  

    The summit was an opportunity for all attendees to share new developments, lessons learned and evidence-based approaches for advancing women’s economic empowerment globally. The discussions highlighted the importance of connecting economy to women’s empowerment with a common goal, that is to present a case that the success of full implementation of  women’s empowerment would need efforts from all partners: governments, multilateral development banks, private sector, etc.



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    By Federica Emma and Francesca R. Borgia



    The Khatlon Livelihoods Support Project (KLSP) is the first IFAD-supported project in Tajikistan, a country where the institutional framework radically changed in the past 25 years. 

    The formerly state-owned farms were restructured and re-organised by introducing inheritable land use rights in order to stimulate the recovery of agriculture production as well as allowing poor farmers to earn profits on their investments. 

    IFAD stepped in to support the Government of Tajikistan in facing problems that still persist after the land reform, in particular with the institutional gap that was created by the transition to a market-based economy.

    The KLSP objective was to empower Tajiki communities by building and strengthening an appropriate institutional and organizational framework, putting in place 82 village organizations (VOs) across the Muminobad and Shuroobod districts of the region. 

    On 28 June 2016, a delegation from Tajikistan came to IFAD to present the results of the KLSP. IFAD took the opportunity to interview Turakul Murodov, KLSP Project Coordinator, in order to gather an insider's view on the experience  of empowering farmers through  their involvement in the VOs.

    The ingredients at the core of the project


    KLSP Project Coordinator conducting monitoring of rehabilitated electricity line within KLSP
    in Dehdarozak village of Shuroobod district.

    The project shows how rural transformation can is accelerated when changes happen at the bottom and at the top level around the same time. 

    First and foremost the project  supported and developed beneficiaries' empowerment by  introducing the   concept and practice of autonomous decision-making processes. The adoption of an effective community-driven development approach, as exemplified by the stories collected in a publication titled IFAD in Tajikistan - The virtues of village organizations kick-started a cultural change that enable smallholders to determine their development direction.


                                 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Key facts and figures

    Total IFAD DSF grant: US$ 9.3 million
    Duration: 2009 - 2015
    VOs created: 82
    Members of VOs: 9,787 households, comprising 78,298 people
    Benefits from infrastructure sub-projects: 

    • 5520m of  roads rehabilitated providing a better access to market to 2800 rural residents and 138 households
    • New jobs and commercial opportunities 
    • Reduction in transportation costs leading to more traders visits to the village
    • Better access to medical services and agricultural inputs
    • Pure drinking water provided to 1,078 households lowering overall household costs 
    • Significant time saving to fetch water 
    • Benefits from machinery and agricultural equipment sub-projects: 
    • More timely cultivation harvesting and other agricultural activities
    • Better quality seedbed preparation
    • Shorter time needed to cultivate
    • Plantation of greater proportion of cultivable land
    • Greater yield productivity
    • Double profits of agriculture enterprises in the village

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As a first step, VOs were assisted in the elaboration of Community Action Plans to define their own medium and long-term priorities. This exercise was instrumental to identify agricultural and non-agricultural needs and shape  the organisation of training activities around these topics as well as to facilitate service provision and investments.

    Thanks to this prioritization exercise and taking advantage of the Community Development Fund, VOs designed sub-projects which invested in key sectors for the community development: physical infrastructures, agricultural machineries and equipment among the most popular investments.

    VOS have fostered transformations of traditional structures, overcoming the initial distrust of local farmers and enabling them to maximize the benefits of acting together, to boost their revenues from agriculture production, and to be the key players of those processes on which they depend and that are central to their rural livelihoods.  

    As Turakul Murodov, KLSP Project Coordinator, pointed out:

    "Initially, people looked at these structure without much interest,  as they didn't know the meaning of VOs: what were the main duties, functions, which kind of obligations they entail, what kinds of problems to resolve through VOs, etc. Step by step, people were informed and as a result the project succeeded to establish 82 VOs [...]" 

    But the creation of VOs alone would have not been sufficient without presence of a supportive political environment provided by the local and national authorities.

    Ahmadova Gavharbi, accountant of Odinaboi village organization established within
    KLSP, Sarichashma Jamoat, Shuroobod district.
    Murodov mentioned this point:

    "Before the project started in 2009 the National Government approved a National Law on VOs. The legislation and the project implementation are connected in the sense that without the legal framework it would not have been possible to establish VOs. In fact, they are legal entities and we had to register them after their establishment and receive the approval from the local authorities."In the effort of providing local farmers with access to appropriate infrastructures, technologies, and relevant trainings, the project demonstrated that when smallholders are guided by coherent and concerted actions and fair incentives, they are willing to cooperate. 

    In fact, a key lesson learnt from the results achieved by KLSP is the need to create the appropriate enabling conditions to support smallholders through collective action. Without the institutional and organizational support provided both by the government and the VOs it would have been unrealistic to expect poor farmers changing their practises, and multiple benefits for the overall community would have been lost. 

    The VOs have proved to be fundamental entry points for support to rural development and for setting target groups' priorities (see some outcomes in the box). Clearly, the economic benefits generated from the better organizational and institutional environment contributed to the  consolidation of the membership and profitability of VOs in a virtuous and mutual beneficial cycle.

    Particular attention should be given to the importance of  VOs  to support traditionally marginalized groups, such as women, helping them to face the cultural constraints underlying the society structure. 
    Prior to the project, village  women were mainly responsible for the traditional household tasks while nowadays they are active members of the VOs and of its decision-making structures. 

    The project has had a notable impact on women's position in community, thanks to their direct involvement in the implementation phase and their constant participation to workshops and meetings.  
    Young women are now the treasurers of VOs and are regularly consulted on how project activities could be improved.  Since women tend to use a higher proportion of their income on children and household resources, the results achieved in terms of women's empowerment will add up to the other economic benefits  brought by the project and is felt by overall community both from an efficiency and equity perspective.  



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    Did you know that the world will need to feed two billion more people by 2050? Or that farmer populations in developing countries are ageing rapidly (the average age of farmers is about 60)?

    There are 1.2 billion young people living in developing countries and many of them could become the world’s next farmers and food producers.

    The only problem?

    Few rural youth see a future forthemselves in agriculture. And in the world's poorest countries, opportunities for youth are often limited or non-existent, leaving them marginalized economically, socially and politically.

    On 12 August, the world celebrates International Youth Day, a day designated by the United Nations to draw attention to issues surrounding the world’s young people.

    This year’s theme is aimed at achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and looks at the role young people can play in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable consumption and production.

    “The world needs rural youth. If we are going to feed a growing population, we need to invest in them and we need to do it now. This is not something happening in the far off future, ” said Mattia Prayer Galletti, IFAD’s Lead Technical Specialist, Rural Development and Institutions.

    “Dealing with rural youth requires a different way of thinking. We need to look at young people as being an asset, not a liability,” Prayer Galletti continued.

    “It also means shifting our whole approach and focusing on development interventions proposed and formulated by the youth themselves.”

    In honour of International Youth Day, IFAD spoke to seven rural youth from around the world to find out more about the challenges and opportunities they face and what they need in order to improve their lives and feed the world.

    #1: What do rural youth want? Luong Van Chuyen



    Luong Van Chuyen, 30, is a tea cultivator from Viet nam. Chuyen is married with two children and lives with his parents in a remote village in Tuyên Quang Province that is only accessible via motorbike.

    “Tea cultivation is a good opportunity because it helps us increase our income. I think young people can focus on tea plantation but they need the support of the government in terms of machinery and technology support.”

    #2: What do rural youth want? Jean Lomi



    Jean Lomi, 25, is a fish breeder from Madagascar. Lomi’s family has a long history of working in agriculture. He was recently involved in the IFAD-funded Support Programme for the Rural Microenterprise Poles and Regional Economies (PROSPERER), which focuses on increasing the incomes of poor rural people through small and micro rural enterprises.

    “A lot of young people move to the cities, but there are not that many jobs there – they may end up unemployed or with a bad job. In the village, we have always food, and we have our families and community; we can always rely on each other. Our life is simple, and we are fond of it.”

    #3: What do rural youth want? Dalí Ángel Pérez



    Dali Ángel Pérez, 28, is an indigenous leader from the Zapoteca, the indigenous people of Mexico.

    When Pérez was a child, her family fell victim to an ongoing agrarian conflict and were forced to flee their homes to take refuge elsewhere. Years passed before they were able to return to their home.

    Driven by the idea that young people have a responsibility towards defending the land, she set out to empower and educate indigenous peoples of her community through an IFAD-supported organization, CIARENA.

    Today she is the co-chair of the Indigenous Youth Caucus that is represented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

    “Young people are innovative with fresh ideas and are full of energy. We want to change the world and the current negative situations that young people are living in. There are many indigenous young people who want to change their history of violence and discrimination and racism. Their needs are not being taken into account by governments and who are not being included in public policies. Indigenous youth want to change this and turn the issues around. We have great energy and desire for change.”

    #4: What do rural youth want? Ma Van Hieu



    Ma Van Hieu, 27, is a tea farmer from Viet nam. Van Hieu lives in Yen Thuong, a small, remote village near the center of the country and is married with two children. He was recently chosen by a local project as a successful role model in his community.

    “Some young people may think negatively of rural life, but I think we have to try our best to develop our village and community with what we have. I think it is possible to achieve this through tea farming and livestock production, so that everyone can have a better life.”

    #5: What do rural youth want? Sofiatou Ouedraogo



    Sofiatou Ouedraogo, 34, is an entrepreneur from Burkina Faso.

    After studying in the city, Ouedraogo decided to work in rural communities and set up an organization that offers services to rural enterprises and small farmers, helping them to access finance, training and inputs.

    “There is a huge lack of trust in young people by financial partners. There is also reluctance from men to follow women's advice. Some people do not accept that women can become independent. I am the oldest in my family. I had to manage four siblings, manage my private life and professional life. When women dare [to dream], we can do it.”

    #6: What do rural youth want? Carlos Melendez



    Carlos Meléndez, 28, is a dairy and vegetable farmer from Venezuela.

    Meléndez began raising his own animals and growing vegetables around the age of 16. After leaving the city to join a rural community and several failed attempts, he finally managed to hit his stride. Meléndez has now become a successful dairy,vegetable and livestock producer in his rural community in north-east Venezuela.

    “Governments should create more institutions that take into account the needs of young entrepreneurs. For example, here in Venezuela, the IFAD-supported Sustainable Rural Development Project for Food Security in the Semiarid Zones of Lara and Falcon States (PROSALAFA III) project has helped me a lot through capacity building and workshops on animal rearing."

    #7: What do rural youth want? Marian Taore



    Mariam Taore, 19, is a young mother living in a remote rural community about 10 km from the capital of the municipality of Narena.

    Taore was born with albinism, a congenital disorder in which people lack colour pigmentation in their skin, hair, and eye. Her parents were the founders of her village.

    "Young people have ambition but not the means to achieve them. Many move to the cities or even try and migrate to Europe to work! My opinion is that living in a rural environment is like living in paradise. There is not a lot of noise and there is a lot of natural clean air."


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    In honour of International Youth Day, held annually on 12 August, IFAD is featuring seven rural youth from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face, and to discover what they need in order to improve their lives and feed the world.

    Name: Luong Van Chuyen
    Age:    30
    Location:  Quang Province, Vietnam

    In this interview, Chloé Desjonquères, 24, a development studies student from France speaks with Luong Van Chuyen, a tea cultivator from Viet nam. Chuyen, 30, is a young tea cultivator. He is married with two children and lives with his parents in a remote village in Tuyên Quang Province that is only accessible via motorbike.

    Below is their conversation -

    Q: What is your name, age, and where do you come from?

    “My name is Luong Van Chuyen. I am 30 years old and I come from Tan Thuong village, Luong Thien commune, in the Son Duong district of Tuyên Quang province, in Viet nam. My father is the head of the household and I live with him and my family.”

    Q: Can you describe what you do to earn a living?

    “My family works in cultivation of tea and forestry, but mainly in tea.”

    Q: How did you get into this type of work?

    “I went to Thai Nguyen to study tea cultivation and then I saw the importance of tea, and what it brings to a household in terms of income, so I decided to become a tea cultivator.”

    Q: What are some of the main challenges you face living in a rural community?

    “The diseases and insects on our plantation are a big problem. There are more and more of them. Additionally, the road system is poor, making it difficult to bring the tea to the market, especially when the weather is not good.”

    Q: How did you overcome these challenges?

    “We try to go out of the village more often and invite more traders to come to the village to buy our output.”




    Q: What support did you receive?

    “Our cooperative group got the support from organizations supported by IFAD, and we received machinery to process the tea we produce.”

    Q: What issues concern you the most as a young person?

    “The demand for and consumption of tea, and the difficult road system. We process tea, but we are in a remote area with limited transportation and bad infrastructure.”

    Q: What do you think are the biggest opportunities for young people?

    “I think in rural areas it is agriculture and forestry production. Tea cultivation is a good opportunity because it helps us to increase our income. I think young people can focus on tea plantation but they need the support of the government in terms of machinery and technology support.”

    Q: Some young people may have a negative view of farming, rural areas, and agriculture. What are your thoughts?

    “Maybe some people view it negatively, but they should go and explore rural farms that are successful in what they are producing. So that they can learn and exchange the experience. They should find the ways to develop their plantation and agricultural production based on successful models.”

    Q: What do you think would make rural life attractive to young people?

    “If they have land, young people should stay in their motherland, and find the crop that is most suitable to the soil structure so they can make the best of their land.”

    Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learnt in life so far?

    “I studied with other people from Viet nam who work in tea production when I got to visit Thai Nguyen, and I have met people who are successful in their lives thanks to tea production and tea processing. So that is a big lesson for me because it gives me the hope that I can also have a better income thanks to tea cultivation.

    Q: Who inspires you in your life?

    A: The support from the government, and also my friends and relatives who support me and my tea production are all inspiration to me.

    Q:Is there a particular person who is a role model for you?

    A: I think of the successful tea farmers I have met in Thai Nguyen, especially the well-educated younger farmers. They give me hope that I can also deal well with my plantation so I can have a higher-value tea and get a better price for my production.

    Q: What advice would you give to other young people who want to do what you are doing?

    A: If you would like to start cultivating tea, you should focus on your production and learn from others so you can know how to best develop your tea plantation.

    Q: What do you need to help improve your yields?

    A: I would like to produce tea that meets the safe food standards, so we can have a higher and more stable price. If someone could create more favorable conditions for our production, with a better road and support with food safety, we could easily sell our production.

    Q: What are your dreams and plants for the future?


    A: My dream is that the agro-forestry production in remote areas improves the income of farmers, so that we can invest more into it more and so that we can be as equal and as developed as richer areas of Vietnam.



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    In honour of International Youth Day, held annually on 12 August, IFAD is highlighting seven rural youth from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face, and to discover what they need in order to improve their lives and feed the world.


    Name: Jean Lomi
    Age: 25
    Location:  Andranomandevy, Boeny region, Madagascar

    In this interview, Sandra Paulina Segin, a research intern for IFAD in Madagascar, spoke with Jean Lomi, a young fish breeder. Lomi’s family has a long history of working in agriculture and he was recently involved in the IFAD-funded Support Programme for the Rural Microenterprise Poles and Regional Economies (PROSPERER),  which focuses on increasing the incomes of poor rural people through small and micro rural enterprises.

    Below is their conversation -
     
    Q: Describe what you do to earn a living.

    “I am involved in our family agricultural enterprise. I help my parents tend to rice, manioc, corn, sweet potato and poultry. In 2014, I started fish cultivation. This is my own work, for which my parents have granted me a parcel of land. So far, I have one fish pond.”

    Q: How did you get into this type of work?

    “Before PROSPERER, other development agencies were promoting fish cultivation, but they soon had to abandon the projects. In 2014, PROSPERER came to our village and engaged with those who previously cultivated fish, and put in place a program in which the experienced farmers encouraged us – the young people – to take up production. They taught us how to build ponds, and the programme gave us young fish to start production. I have been active in this sector ever since.”

    Q: What are the challenges you face in a rural community?

    “There is a lot of unemployment in my community. People either have land they do not tend to, or don’t have any land. That creates insecurity – there are a lot of issues of stolen fish, crops or farm animals. We also have little access to capital to jumpstart production. And there are issues with land scarcity – many people find it hard to get access to land so that they can cultivate. Oh, and soil fertility – here in coastal Boeny, the soil is not very fertile.”

    Q: How do you overcome these challenges?

    “When it comes to soil fertility, I use compost or manure. It requires extra work but always pays off. I treat the water for fishes with special fertilizers as well. When it comes to land scarcity – I think there are always ways if people are committed.”

    Q: And did you receive any support when you started?

    “Yes, well, we are united in a cooperative for young farmers, and when we all started fish cultivation, we helped build the ponds. So we would spend three days building each member’s pond – mine included. And, as mentioned, we got the first batch of fish from the programme.”

    Q: What do you think are the biggest opportunities for young people?

    “We are strong and can work very hard, and be very productive. We can also take more risks than the others, be more innovative, and try new things – like the fish ponds. We are keener to succeed, more invested in what we do.”

    Q: What do you think governments and development agencies can do to support rural people in your area?

    “I think financial support from the government would be a great idea, a fund to help us start more activities. We are really determined to succeed, but many of us are constrained by lack of funds – so despite having the power and will to tend to four or more ponds, we only have means and land to have one. We need guidance and help, as well as their encouragement.”

    Q: Some people have a negative view of farming, agriculture, and rural areas? What would you say to that?

    “A lot of young people move to the cities, but there are not that many jobs there – they may end up unemployed or with a bad job. In the village, we have always food, and we have our families and community; we can always rely on each other. Our life is simple, and we are fond of it.”

    Q: What has been the greatest lesson you learned so far?

    “In 2013 I cultivated rice, but I did not maintain the field. I didn’t even do the hoeing. I thought it would be ok. But in the end, my harvest was decimated. I learned that you have to put in the hard work to obtain good yields.”

    Q: Who inspires you in life?

    “I do not know his name, but we went on an exchange visit to a big fish cultivator. He had multiple ponds, most cemented – for different fish breeds, for pregnant fish – all divided into sections. It was a great, highly developed enterprise – I would like to one day to be as successful as that man.”

    Q: What advice would you give to young people who want to do what you’re doing?

    “Take risks, have patience, and take ownership of your work.”

    Q: What is your dream?

    “I would like to build a nice house, for my children to be educated and become a part of civil service. I would like to own a motorbike, maybe a car!”




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    In honour of International Youth Day, held annually on 12 August, IFAD is featuring seven rural youth from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face, and to discover what they need in order to improve their lives and feed the world.


    Name:  Dali Ángel Pérez
    Age: 28
    Location:  Zapoteco region, Mexico

    In this interview, Paulina Schwaner, an IFAD consultant and former journalist from Chile, spoke with Dali Ángel Pérez, 28, a young indigenous leader from the Zapoteca, the indigenous people of Mexico.

    When Pérez was a child, her family fell victim to the ongoing agrarian conflict and were forced to flee their homes to take refuge elsewhere. Years passed before they were able to return to their home. Pérez became committed to defending her land which belonged to her forefathers and was soon bestowed upon her.

    Driven by the idea that young people have a responsibility towards defending the land, she set out to empower and educate indigenous peoples of her community through an IFAD-supported organization, CIARENA.

    Today she is the co-chair of the Indigenous Youth Caucus that is represented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

    Below is their conversation -


    Q: Dalí, at 24-years-old you were awarded the National Youth Award in Mexico 2012 in the Human Rights category. What did it mean for you to receive this award?

    “The prize is a recognition given by the Mexican government to youth in general. This was not a prize aimed at ‘indigenous’ youth as such and I was nominated by different organizations in which I have been involved. It is not an individual award, rather I like to consider it a recognition of all the work we along with other young people at a community level are doing.

    Certainly, the award has been an incentive for further progress, but not everybody sees it as a final goal but rather a resource that gave us an opportunity to promote the participation of young people, even though, there is still much to be done, especially with public policy issues addressed to indigenous youth.”

    Q: Currently you are working with an Indigenous women’s organization called CIARENA. What is your role there?

    “My role in CIARENA is coordinating the youth and childhood committee that looks into representing and building on youth aspirations through workshops.

    We are a committee composed of six young people who work daily in the communities to advocate and provide tools for human rights and rights of indigenous peoples and, specifically, the rights of indigenous children and youth.

    After a series of training, these young people form their own collectives (groups) and define what activities that young people can organize in groups and replicate in communities and disseminate information.”

    Q: In your line of work, what challenges have you faced?

    “Our main challenge is highlighting the regional and community level issues youth face in an international arena. One fundamental challenge has been attempting to have more youth representation in these spaces.

    We seek to encourage other young people from communities to participate, but it is not always easy because sometimes there is a lack of appreciation for youth participation. In fact, sometimes we hear people say: “What are young people doing here when they don’t know the history?”

    Some elders see youth as being inexperienced and this discourages young people from getting involved. Although, we have found great leaders who have supported us, such as Dr. Myrna Cunningham, who has always encouraged us to continue to participate and acquire the tools to be informed and have clear messages that we want to communicate because if we don’t have that, we will not achieve anything.”

    Q: What do you think is the greatest potential of young people?

    “Young people are innovative with fresh ideas and are full of energy. We want to change the world and the current negative situations that young people are living in. There are many indigenous young people who want to change their history of violence and discrimination and racism. Indigenous youth want to change this and turn the issues around. We have great energy and desire for change.”

    Q:What do you think could make rural life more attractive for young people?

    “In our communities, there are a lot of youth migrating and they go to the cities or they go to the United States for a number of reasons and factors. To begin with, there is a lack of support towards rural development and for young people to achieve their own initiatives.

    With the lack of support, these situations lead to depression amongst young people. In the area where we work, there are many agrarian and land conflicts and the young generations are finding it difficult to access land in order to cultivate crops.

    Since they cannot see a way to survive in their communities they decide to migrate to seek opportunities. There is also a big problem on the issue of identity; many young people don’t want to accept their identity, either they don’t want to feel indigenous or they deny it.”

    Q: How do you envision the future for indigenous youth people in Latin America?

    “I think that there has been much progress on indigenous peoples issues that were previously not recognized as such; at least now people call us indigenous peoples.

    The theme indigenous youth is starting to emerge as it has happened with indigenous women. I feel in the near future, the articulation of indigenous youth will progress together with the collective rights of indigenous peoples.

    If we continue to work in coordination with other indigenous movements, indigenous women – not individually but collectively – we will definitely move forward. And this remains, in the years to come, we will see a change in public policies within the institutions that have to do with youth, where there will be a real participation of indigenous youth that would narrow the gaps.”

    Q: And for you?

    “I want to keep working with indigenous peoples and indigenous women. We have to keep sowing the seeds for the new generations and I want to take this process forward adding more people to the growing movement. I see myself accompanying this movement from where I am based.”




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    In honour of International Youth Day, held annually on 12 August, IFAD is featuring seven rural youth from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face, and to discover what they need in order to improve their lives and feed the world.



    Name: Sofiatou Ouedraogo
    Age: 34
    Location: Burkina Faso

    In this interview, Mathilde Zins, an IFAD intern from France, speaks with Sofiatou Ouedraogo, 34, an entrepreneur from Burkina Faso.

    After studying in the city, Ouedraogo decided to work in rural communities and has set up an organization that offers services to rural enterprises and small farmers, helping them to access finance, training and inputs.

    Below is their conversation -


    Q: Describe what you do to earn a living?

    “I am the founder of Hourya Advice, which is an enterprise that provides a range of services and consultancies adapted to the needs of rural areas. We work to promote entrepreneurship and facilitate contact between local entrepreneurs and existing support systems in rural areas.”

    Q: How did you start to do this job?

    “For my education, I completed a Bachelor in Management in Rural Micro Business. I then worked as a business consultant for a project financed by IFAD. I've seen that there was potential in rural areas, and I have continued my work as a business consultant.”

    Q: What are some of the challenges you face living in a rural community?

    “There are different challenges. First, there is a strong need for services aimed at rural women. Consultancies are important for entrepreneurs, and incomes are low. The second challenge is illiteracy as well as social and cultural considerations.

    During the project and programme that I carry on in the community, I try to explain what people can do [to increase their incomes]. I work to activate the partners in the community and show the potential of local products and practices.

    Q: What key issues concern you most as a young person?

    “There is a huge lack of trust in young people by financial partners. There is also reluctance from men to follow women's advice. Some people do not accept that women can become independent. I am the oldest in my family. I had to manage four siblings, manage my private life and professional life. When women dare [to dream], we can do it.”

    Q: How did you overcome/address your challenges?

    “Since 2008, I have evolved my consultancy to target rural areas. Now I want to develop cross-cutting aspects of my business. I want to be able to provide services in rural areas from the beginning to the end to satisfy all the needs of small farmers. I hope to invite graduate students to create more engagement for entrepreneurship in rural communities. I'm looking for associates for my project, two or three that can help rural entrepreneurs.”

    Q: What do you think governments and development agencies can do to support rural youth in your community?

    “We have to make agriculture more modern in order to make it more attractive. Today, young people don't conceive a farm as a business since they don't conceive that it can be profitable. Also, we need to make water available and facilitate the settlement of young people. For example, land insecurity for young people is a big issue. We always ask for experience in order for youth to get access to financial products, which is difficult to have when they are young and just starting.”

    Q: What are your plans/dreams for the future?

    “I want to grow my own business and become the main rural entrepreneurship resource. I want to add a branch in agricultural production and the processing of agricultural products, livestock and literacy. I would like my business to collaborate with financial structures capable of helping young people to undertake new ventures.”

    Q: Some young people may have a negative view of farming, rural areas and agriculture. What are your own views/thoughts?

    “My country's education system does not introduce entrepreneurship in vocational training schools and universities. It would be a good thing to promote agriculture and livestock training in schools.”

    Q: What has been the greatest lessons you have learned so far?

    A: Many lessons! I have learnt that rural areas are bursting with potential, however many rural areas have poor access to development opportunities. Many of the financial products that are available are not adapted to rural areas.”

    Q: What advice would you give to other young people who want to do what you are doing?

    “To live and work with the rural population, it is necessary to know the local needs and strategies needed to best support rural businesses. Also, try and gather some experience. My first job at an IFAD-supported project allowed me to have the experience in this field. You have to work for the long term, while taking risks and daring to try new things.”


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    In honour of International Youth Day, held annually on 12 August, IFAD is featuring seven rural youth from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face, and to discover what they need in order to improve their lives and feed the world.




    Name: Carlos Melendez
    Age: 28
    Location:  Caserio El Espejo, Urdaneta municipality, Venezuela

    In this interview, Paulina Schwaner, an IFAD consultant and former Chilean journalist, speaks with Carlos Meléndez, 28, a dairy and vegetable farmer from Venezuela.

    Meléndez began raising his own animals and growing vegetables around the age of 16. After several failed attempts, he finally managed to hit his stride. Meléndez has now become a successful dairy and vegetable producer in his rural community in north-east Venezuela.

    Below is their conversation -

    Q: Carlos, you began working in agriculture when you were very young. You are now a successful rural entrepreneur and a community leader. How would you describe your journey?

    “In life, you lose some and you win some. During the rough patches, it is normal to try to cling onto the good memories and successes to keep going in order to attain your goal. In my experience, it was not easy at the beginning because I could not count on anyone's help; I only had my own resources and my goal clear in my mind, but no financial support. Up to now, I feel that I have not yet achieved all my ambitions, therefore, I have to keep working towards that. That is why I can tell everyone: you need to have an objective and work hard to attain it.”

    Q: You had a vision, you dug and you found water. How important is water for your community? How do you address the challenges of water scarcity?

    “Water and soil are two essential elements for life, without them one cannot work to produce food.  In my village in Venezuela, as well as in the rest of the world, we are going through a difficult moment as the water is getting more and more scarce and it is harder to find. Five years ago, I dug a bore well with my own hands.

    Unfortunately, I could not find any water near my land, so I had to move two kilometers away to get water. Finally, thanks to electric engines, I managed to get some water out of the ground and I could start producing. During the year, we collect water in a dam to irrigate the crops. But due to the alarming water scarcity and pests we are limited to growing fewer plants. There have been tough years and we have also been hit by the change in climate.”

    Q: How did you face the issues that were challenging your work? What kind of support did you receive?

    “My family really helped a lot when I had challenges in my work and I must admit that the past few years have been quite hard, but I am doing all I can to make things better. My wife played a pivotal role in my success as she comes from a family of farmers and she understands when things get difficult in the field, therefore she was the one who has helped me the most. The truth is that when I fell in love with her, I also fell in love with crops and the rural life. I am saying this from the bottom of my heart.”

    Q: As a young entrepreneur and community leader, what do you think is the biggest potential that young people possess? What kind of advice would you give to rural youth?

    “Sometimes in life, we need to overcome hurdles before we can achieve our goals. We, as young people, go through several life experiences that make us stronger and our biggest potential lies in having time, strength and a long path before us. My advice to young people who want to start working in rural areas is to work with commitment and with love for what they are doing because this way you will surely achieve positive results.”

    Q: How, in your opinion, could governments and development agencies alike support rural youth?

    “Governments should create more institutions that take into account the needs of young entrepreneurs. For example, here in Venezuela, the IFAD-supported Sustainable Rural Development Project for Food Security in the Semiarid Zones of Lara and Falcon States (PROSALAFA III) project has helped me a lot through capacity building and workshops on animal rearing.

    More institutions should take into account the plight of rural youth, because there is a general lack of attention to young people. However, we are slowly starting to see young people getting involved in institutions and taking a leadership role. For example, I am currently the spokesperson of my area’s food committee within a broader network called Mercal. The network helps to connect raw materials and food rations with 220 families from the municipality and my community. I have been lucky that I have been entrusted with this position.”

    Q: Your experience in agriculture has been quite positive, however, some young people have a negative outlook on agriculture. How could we make agriculture and rural life more attractive for those youth?

    “I come from a family that has had nothing to do with agriculture, however, I have been fascinated with rural life. You need incentives to engage youth in agriculture. This is the reason why I have always been convinced that schools should provide classes on agriculture from the very first grade to high school graduation and it should be based on the understanding that without agricultural production there is no food. These classes should also stress the importance that agriculture holds for our lives. This is what should be taught to the generations to come.”

    Q: What are the challenges that you see yourself facing in the future, both as an individual and as part of a community?

    “My main challenge is becoming a successful agricultural and goat farmer, empowering my area, my local municipality and my country too. I would like to generate employment in my community and become a role model for young people. A very specific need we have in my community is for a satellite connection so that we can be connected with the rest of the world. Right now, we need to travel for about one hour from our village to get phone network, and clearly, we don't have an Internet connection either. If we had a communication network our life would be much better and we could work more easily.”


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    In honour of International Youth Day, held annually on 12 August, IFAD is featuring seven rural youth from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face, and to discover what they need in order to improve their lives and feed the world.




    Name:  Marian Taore
    Age:  19
    Location: Sokourani village, Mali

    In this interview, Sekou Coulibaly, an IFAD project advisor from Mali spoke with Mariam Taore, 19, a young mother living in a remote rural community about 10 km from the capital of the municipality of Narena. Taore was born with albinism, a congenital disorder in which people lack colour pigmentation in their skin, hair, and eye. Her parents were the founders of her village.

    Below is their conversation -


    Q: Could you describe what you do to earn a living? How did you get into this type of work?

    A: Every day I go looking for vegetables and other fruit products available depending on the period and sought after on the market. I buy them and sell them along the road, located in one kilometer from the village to passers-by, motorists, motorcyclists, passengers or even the villagers and so on.


    Q: What are some of the challenges you face living in a rural community?

    "The challenges are huge. Poverty, loss of profits, lack of employment or income generating opportunities, lack of training or professional learning, no modern facilities, no schooling opportunities for children etc.”

    Q: What key issues concern you most as a young person?

    "As albinos, we are often totally excluded and we have to even hide sometimes."

    Q: What are your plans/dreams for the future?

    "I want to specialize in poultry farming. I want to have a large farm with poultry, various chickens, guinea fowl etc. My dream is to become a major producer recognized in the area. I want to be known as someone whose handicap did not stop them from being open to the world and starting a business."

    Q: Some young people may have a negative view of farming, rural areas, and agriculture. What are your own views/thoughts?

    "Young people have ambition but not the means to achieve them. Many move to the cities or even try and migrate to Europe to work! My opinion is that living in a rural environment is like living in paradise. There is not a lot of noise and lot of natural clean air."

    Q: What do you think would make rural life attractive to young people?

    A: Create conditions for expansion. Build cultural houses, organize activities, cultural events, training centers and provide communities with light and basic needs (mills, drinking water, health, and social structures).

    Q: What has been the greatest lessons you have learned so far?

    A: I have learned that working hard pays off. I have learned that patience is a golden path riddled with uncertainty but better than deadly landslides in the mines [laughs]."

    Q: Who inspires you in your life?

    A: It is a widow in my community. She is very brave with a rather extraordinary story. She has had success through market garden production activities in the village. She's a fighter woman who inspires me."

    Q: What advice would you give to other young people who want to do what you are doing?

    A: Do what you love to do. Fight hard. Give a lot of attention and expertise towards what you are doing. Put your heart in it."




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    In honour of International Youth Day, held annually on 12 August, IFAD is featuring seven rural youth from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face, and to discover what they need in order to improve their lives and feed the world.


    Name: Ma Van Hieu
    Age: 27
    Location: Yeng Thuong, Viet nam

    In this interview, Chloé Desjonquères, a development studies student from France speaks with Ma Van Hieu, 27, a tea farmer from Viet nam. Van Hieu live in Yen Thuong, a small, remote village near the centre of the country and is married with two children. He was recently chosen by a local project implementer as a successful role model in his community.

    Below is their conversation -

    Q: Can you describe what you do to earn a living?
    “I am a tea farmer.”

    Q: How did you get into this type of work?
    “In my village, people traditionally work as tea farmers. My parents worked with tea, so I followed in their footsteps.”

    Q: What are some of the main challenges you face living in a rural community?
    “Some of the challenges we face as tea farmers are climate change and the droughts, especially during the last two years. Droughts reduce tea yields and lower our income.”

    Q: How did you overcome these challenges?
    “ To overcome these challenges, my family decided to start producing livestock, and I sometimes work as hired labor. My wife takes care of the livestock production, and I work as a construction worker.”

    Q: What support did you receive?
    “We got a lot of support from the IFAD supported Agriculture, Farmers and Rural Areas Support Project (TNSP). TNSP provides us with input (fertilizers and pesticides) for the tea plantation. We also receive training for tea cultivation, and sometimes we go to the livestock production training.”

    Q: What issues concern you the most as a young person?
    “As a young person, I am very concerned about climate change, because of its negative impact on yields. And it is very difficult for young people to earn a living in rural areas because, traditionally, we have to follow our family’s line of work and we cannot do anything else. It is important to focus on that work and to dedicate ourselves to our family tradition.”

    Q: What do you think are the biggest opportunities for young people?
    “In the village the Youth Union is a great opportunity because by earning more money we can contribute to the common fund, and help younger generations with their farming.”

    Q: What do you think governments and development agencies can do to support rural youth in your community?
    “We are very thankful for the international donors and government support. The funds provide us with a lot of encouragement to make a living and develop our production. Even more support - in infrastructure and technology - would help us improve our productivity and living conditions.”


    Q: Some young people may have a negative view of farming, rural areas and agriculture. What are your thoughts?

    “Some young people may think negatively of rural life, but I think we have to try our best to develop our village and community with what we have. I think it is possible to achieve this through tea farming and livestock production, so that everyone can have a better life.”

    Q: What do you think would make rural life attractive to young people?

    “To make this life more attractive to young people, rural areas need to improve the overall infrastructure and technology to facilitate our daily work and help us earn a better income.”

    Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learnt in life so far?

    “The greatest lesson I have learned in life is that it is important to focus on helping younger generations. I hope to help make the lives of younger generations, of my community, and of my family better.”

    Q: Who inspires you in your life?

    “My parents inspire me the most because they encourage me to be dedicated to and carefully pay attention to their plantation and livestock production. Thanks to them, I have improved our lives with farming.”

    Q: What advice would you give to other young people who want to do what you are doing?

    “I would advise young people to focus on their career, because in farming dedication is very important. They should focus and apply the knowledge they get to have good production. The training helped me a lot to be more dedicated to my production.”

    Q: What are your dreams and plants for the future?

    “In the future, my plans are to keep tending my plantation so I can achieve my dream of having a better income for my family and contributing more to the Youth Union.”



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    Par Anja Rabezanahary, Junior Professional Officer, Genre et inclusion sociale, FIDA

    Que veulent les jeunes ruraux ? C’est la question que pose le FIDA pour la Journée Internationale de la jeunesse . En cette année 2016, les Nations Unies ont choisi comme thème - La route vers 2030: Éliminer la pauvreté et parvenir à des modes de consommation et de production durables.

    "Le monde compte un milliard de jeunes qui portent en eux un milliard d’espoirs d’un avenir meilleur, un milliard d’idées pour changer le monde." (un.org)


    Six jours pour se mettre en route vers le changement

    Six jeunes hommes et jeunes femmes membres de l’organisation paysanne Fiavotana ainsi que  douze membres du staff du programme FORMAPROD se sont rassemblés pour dessiner un avenir meilleur, le planifier, le mettre en pratique et le faire rayonner. 

    Ce vendredi 12 août 2016, on célèbre la Journée Internationale de la Jeunesse et le quatrième jour de l’atelier GALS ou Gender Action Learning System (système d’apprentissage pratique sur le genre). L’atelier est organisé par le FORMAPROD à Tamatave, Madagascar, du 08 au 13 août, avec l’appui du bureau Genre du FIDA.
    Notre vision : développer la couture et exporter nos produits. 

    Tout commence par une vision

    La vision est un excellent moyen de donner un rêve aux jeunes et les pousser à envisager une vie meilleure. L’outil appelé "Route vers la vision" permet de réfléchir sur sa vision personnelle, puis collective, la visualiser puis le dessiner.

    Cette étape nous a pris deux jours entiers car elle est fondamentale dans le processus de changement.

    Selon les jeunes: "L’outil de la vision nous ouvre l’esprit. La vision nous aide à penser à notre futur." Une jeune a particulièrement apprécié le dessin:  "Dans toutes les formations auxquelles j’ai assisté, j’écrivais beaucoup. Cela m’embrouillait un peu. Dans cette formation, j’ai dessiné et cela m’a aidé à comprendre ma vision."

    Les membres du staff sont aussi surpris des résultats. Ils ont réalisé que quel que soit l’âge, jeune ou adulte, on peut aspirer à une vie meilleure. Pour eux, ces dessins vont faciliter leur travail d’accompagnement: "Avec la vision, je pourrai suivre plus facilement les jeunes parce que je saurai où ils veulent aller."

    L’atelier offre également au staff une opportunité pour apprendre: "J’ai découvert que je pouvais apprendre au même titre que les jeunes."  

    La méthodologie est inclusive, accessible à tous, même les personnes analphabètes. Tout le monde, riche ou pauvre, staff ou bénéficiaire, adulte ou enfant a besoin d’une vision pour prendre la responsabilité de sa vie.

    Les jeunes discutent, définissent et dessinent  leur vision collective.

    Une vision à réaliser avec tous les membres du ménage, du groupe et de la communauté

    Ensuite, les jeunes et les participants ont analysé les activités, les ressources, les décisions et les dépenses réalisées au sein du ménage. Ils ont identifié les déséquilibres et les changements qu’ils souhaitent apporter pour une meilleure harmonie, un meilleur équilibre dans le ménage pour réaliser leurs visions. 

    L’outil de l’Arbre d’équilibre du genre est une belle découverte: "Nous dépensons trop d’argent, pour se coiffer, pour se maquiller, pour le téléphone et Facebook, pour les jeux vidéo, etc. Nous passons trop de temps devant la télé, à se balader et bavarder entre amis. Ce temps et cet argent, nous pourrions l’utiliser pour travailler à atteindre notre vision."

    Pour le staff, cet outil était aussi une excellente occasion de comprendre les questions liées au genre. "L’arbre d’équilibre du genre a permis de comprendre les questions liées au genre sans théorie. Cela devient facile à saisir et à comprendre à travers cet outil."

    Aujourd’hui, chaque participant définira comment il  partagera la méthodologie aux membres de son ménage, de son groupe et de sa communauté. Il quittera l’atelier avec une vision sur un an pour mettre en pratique son propre changement, celui de son ménage et également de sa communauté.

    Une méthodologie très appréciée par le personnel du FORMAPROD

    Au fur et à mesure de l’atelier, les participants réalisent la pertinence de la méthodologie pour leur mandat auprès des jeunes ruraux et des exploitations agricoles familiales.

    Des jeunes femmes discutent des inégalités au sein de leurs ménages
    "Le GALS offre un  moyen d’identifier les besoins pour la formation des jeunes et leurs parents au niveau des communes et pour les encourager à prendre en main leur développement."

    "La méthodologie de facilitation est très participative, tout le monde peut s’exprimer et interagir. De nombreuses méthodes ont été combinées, avec beaucoup de pratique, aidant à une meilleure compréhension de l’approche. Ces techniques de facilitation pourront facilement être répliquées dans les communautés. L’utilisation de visuels n’exige pas de  compétences en art de dessiner. Une fois adoptés, les symboles permettent de comprendre plus facilement sa situation et celle des autres."

    Beaucoup d’espoir est né de l’atelier, un désir de changement et une vision d’un futur meilleur. Main dans la main, le projet et les bénéficiaires vont alors entamer la route vers l’achèvement de leurs visions. 

    Rendez-vous dans un futur proche pour partager les changements advenus et lire de nouvelles histoires.

    Les conseillers en insertion professionnelle des jeunes du projet.


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    A CIAT blog originally posted here

    When this study called for policy makers to set realistic targets towards meeting the Paris climate agreement some weeks back, authors were calling for real milestones to measure global progress.
    But action towards specific emission targets can’t happen without guidance on what change needs to happen and where. To that end, this new study outlines a methodology tried and tested within communities. It’s called the “Climate smart agriculture rapid appraisal” tool.

    This tool can feed directly into pledges made by individual countries towards the Paris agreement.

    It delves into social, cultural, economic and environmental contexts to present farmers – and decision makers – with exactly this: what CSA options work to meet a triple-win, increasing productivity; enhancing resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, where, and why.
    It’s designed to bring solutions which can feed directly into pledges made by individual countries in the Paris agreement. And, it can feed into national mitigation and adaptation programs across Africa as well.

    Terraces in Lushoto Tanzania help conserve the soil.
    The tool rates a list of context-specific agricultural practices which farmers use on their farm.

    Ground-up targets

    Focusing on two case studies in Uganda and Tanzania, the methodology provides a step-by-step guide for researchers or development organizations to present farmers with options which address the three pillars of Climate-Smart Agriculture: improved food security, adaptation and mitigation.
    How? The “Rapid appraisal” tool, essentially rates a list of context-specific agricultural practices which farmers use on their farm and which boost harvests, but also lower carbon footprints and strengthen farms against the impacts of climate change in future.


    “Getting the ‘ground-up’ viewpoint from farmers is vital – after-all, they are the ones to implement the practices towards targets”. 
    Caroline Mwongera
    Farming Systems and Climate Change specialist , CIAT
    Farming systems are complex, and they differ widely across Africa. There is no solution that will fit every ecosystem; every community; every farm.
    So getting the “ground-up” viewpoint from farmers is vital – after-all, they are the ones to implement the practices towards targets.
    Central to the methodology is getting ideas from farmers themselves about which practices work on their farms; which new practices they might adopt in future; why and how might they work out? These “best” options – are also culturally aware, gender appropriate and likely to be adopted.

    At the same time, the practices need to be realistic and scientifically sound. And they need to be part of national planning and policy, so input is needed from different stakeholders – like local-level agricultural experts, district-level extension agents, private companies, donor organizations, and policy makers – to ensure the options are practical at different levels.
    The process of including both quantitative and qualitative inputs into the tool, is what separates this methodology from others. Most take one approach or the other.

    From crop and climate calendars to resource mapping

    To find site-specific solutions, every aspect of agriculture on the farm is rigorously analyzed through the methodology. What time of month are seeds sown? Which month are crops harvested, and who is responsible for harvesting – men or women? How will the new technology impact different social groups?
    The process of investigating these questions brings to light some interesting issues. For example: imagine for a minute you don’t have internet access. You are in the field for the whole day and you’re busy. What’s the best way to reach you with an important message?
    This is a question which plagues researchers, as they look for ways to get information about climate change to farmers. This methodology puts the conundrum to farmers, to find out which shops farmers frequent most, which organizations they are part of – to find places where farmers can easily be targeted with information – about drought-resilient beans, for example.


    Flow of information from farmers to policy makers
    Using crop and climate calendars, the methodology also aims to identify practices which are appropriate and fit within the context of the on-farm social fabric. A farmer can’t reduce the impact of a dry spell on her cattle if she can’t get water from the river for example – and she might not be able to get access to the river for a whole host of social or other reasons.
    Interestingly, farmers also perceive seasons in a different way depending on things like access to resources. For example, the farmer who can’t access the river might rate a season much drier than someone who can easily water their cattle.
    The report makes clear that the tool is rather a process that gathers information from stakeholders, which include smallholder farmers and groups, to guide investments at national level and build in community resilience and productivity at farm level.
    The options which come up as a result of this process will not only improve food security, but also help farmers improve their lives and the environment for a triple-win.

    Flow of information from farmers to policy makers

    Using crop and climate calendars, the methodology also aims to identify practices which are appropriate and fit within the context of the on-farm social fabric. A farmer can’t reduce the impact of a dry spell on her cattle if she can’t get water from the river for example – and she might not be able to get access to the river for a whole host of social or other reasons.
    Interestingly, farmers also perceive seasons in a different way depending on things like access to resources. For example, the farmer who can’t access the river might rate a season much drier than someone who can easily water their cattle.
    The report makes clear that the tool is rather a process that gathers information from stakeholders, which include smallholder farmers and groups, to guide investments at national level and build in community resilience and productivity at farm level.
    The options which come up as a result of this process will not only improve food security, but also help farmers improve their lives and the environment for a triple-win.

    Call to action:

    • Locally appropriate actions can be prioritized anywhere, to identify investment opportunities linked to local and national priorities and enhance adoption of CSA technologies to cope with increasing climate change impacts.
    • Decision making on climate change adaptation and mitigation investment often focus on top-down approaches. Rather, this process should be participatory, aligning with stakeholder desires and contextual realities – this methodology does that.
    • CSA prioritization can be used by all development practitioners to identify best-bet CSA investment options that help achieve food security, increase resilience to climate change, and promote the development of a low-emissions agriculture.
    This research is carried out with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development.


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    « The world counts a billion of young people, making a billion of hopes for a better future, a billion of ideas to change the world. » (un.org)



    On 12 August the world celebrated International Youth Day. The UN set a theme: The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production, and IFAD took the opportunity to ask a very fundamental question:‘What do rural youth want?’



    A group of young women and men in Madagascar answered this question as they participated in a change catalyst workshop in Tamatave from 8-13 August. The workshop represented first step in implementing the Gender Action Learning System (GALS), one of the IFAD-promoted household methodologies, for the Vocational Training and Agricultural Productivity Improvement Programme (FORMAPROD). One of the key workshop activities was to enable them to visualize what they want, analyse where they are and plan for a change.


    Six days to kick off a life-long journey for change, and it all starts with a vision!


    Visioning is the best way to enable youth to see their dreams and imagine a better and bright future. The first GALS tool called Road Vision Journey allowed them to draw their vision and make a yearly plan to achieving it. This tool required two full days and was crucial to start the process for change.

    Our vision : Grow our sewing business and export our products 

    The young participants were very happy to complete their road vision journeys. One of the young women was sharing her first impression: 
    « This tool is an eye opener for us. It helps us to think about our future. » 
    « I have attended several trainings and workshops, I took so many notes and it confused me. In this workshop, I only draw and it becomes so easy to understand my vision. »
    A group discussion on individual and collective visions
    Project staff members were also surprised by the outputs. They realized that anyone, no matter their age, young or old, can dream of a better life. According to many of them, those drawings will ease their work in accompanying the young beneficiaries :
      « With the vision tool, I will be able to better monitor youth as I know where they are heading to. »


    Plus, the workshop provided to staff members an opportunity to learn : «I discovered that I can also learn as much as the young beneficiaries.” The methodology is inclusive, accessible to all, even those who are not able to read and write. Anyone, rich or poor, staff member or project beneficiary, adult or child, needs a vision to take charge of his/her life.

    Involve all household, group and community members in achieving a vision


    Participants then analyzed their activities, paid or unpaid, their incomes, assets and decision-making and all types of expenses within the household. They identified imbalances and changes they are willing to do to create more harmony and balance in order to achieve their vision. Through the Gender Balance Tree, the youth became more aware of how they spent their money and time:


    «We spend too much money, on hairdressing, make up, mobile phones and Facebook, games, etc. We spend too much time watching TV, walking around and chatting with friends. That money and that time could be invested in working toward our vision.  »

    For staff members, the tool offered an excellent approach to understand gender issues: « The gender balance tree allowed me to understand gender issues without theory. It became accessible and clear through this tool. »
    Young women discussing inequalities within their households


    The Leadership and Social Empowerment Map is about sharing with others to spread the changes. The principle is that everyone is a leader of change. Once you start to change, you catalyse change around you.  All participants described how they will share the methodology to their family, neighbours, colleagues, group and community members. Following the workshop, participants will be equipped to make changes at individual, household and community levels and plan it with the tool called Multilane Vision Journey.

    A well appreciated methodology for staff members of FORMAPROD


    As we went through the various tools, staff members understood the value that GALS methodology can add to their mandate.

    « GALS offers a way to identify training needs for youth and their parents at the grassroots level, and will encourage them to be responsible of their own development. »
    « Facilitation techniques are highly participative, anyone was able to interact and express their ideas. The workshop combined several methods with a lot of practice and enabled a good grasp of the methodology. The facilitation techniques are easily replicable in any rural community. Visual symbols allow a good understanding of an individual’s  own situation as well as of the others. »


    Staff members in charge of advisory services to young beneficiaries

    Gisele Mukabalisa, one of the GALS facilitators from Rwanda, talked of her satisfaction about the involvement of participants:

    «Youth really showed a need for a vision, a dream which give them hope for a better future. When we went to the field after the workshop, we saw that they already shared with all the family and committed for change. Another key challenge will be the inequality of power relations between youth and adult/parents, and conflicts in household which prevent them from developing and gaining access on properties. Consequently, there is a need for tools to help them increase skills in entrepreneurship and access to markets.»


    To me, the workshop was very insightful. I learned how gender issues can either disable or enable changes for youth, even at individual level. For instance, there are a lot of gender issues behind a school drop-out such as misunderstanding between child and parents, or just unstable and conflictual family situation.


    As FORMAPROD aims to train 100,000 rural youth to modernize the rural economy, let’s wait and see in the near future how the GALS methodology will help to reach that vision.


    By Anja Rabezanahary, IFAD, Junior Professional Officer, Gender and social inclusion, 


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    By Tevita Ravumaidama, PHVA-Partners in Community Development Fiji (PCDF) and Monica Romano

    Young people living in rural areas have the potential, as the farmers and producers of tomorrow, to help feed the world's growing population. But young people are increasingly abandoning agriculture and rural areas in search of better livelihoods in cities or abroad. In The Pacific island of Fiji, Joji Naikau returned to his rural hometown to invest in his farm and is showing great success.

    Joji Naikau, 30, is a young man 30 living in Nadala village, Savaty district, in Ba province of Fiji. He is married with two children, and one of the beneficiaries of the Partnership in High Value Agriculture (PHVA) programme, an IFAD-supported grant targeting 13 villages and 7 settlements located in an impoverished district of Nadarivatu in the interior of Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu.

    The USD 500,000 grant implemented during 2012-2015 aimed at increasing the income of the 200 farmers who participated by 20 per cent from the production of high value products, through enhanced market linkages and community empowerment.

    Before joining the programme, Joji was not farming to earn his livelihoods. Despite owning 1.5 hectares of land, he had no knowledge and skills on how to use it for income generation. Therefore, he moved to Fiji’s capital of Suva and started to undertake mechanical work for an engineering company.

    A few years ago while he was spending Christmas time in his village, he was approached by staff working for the IFAD-supported programme, and encouraged to participate in some training activities to learn how to put his land under production and to invest in farming as a business.
    Joji presented his experience at the 1st stakeholder workshop of the IFAD-funded Fiji Agricultural Partnerships Project. Credit: M. Romano

    He decided to try this opportunity because he was not happy with his job in the city. With the money earned through his urban job, he was barely able to buy food and rather wanted to make some more long-term investments to improve the life and prospects of his family. 

    Therefore, Joji attended various technical and business-oriented trainings offered by the programme, including on farm management (e.g. growing vegetables and fruit such as tomatoes, capsicum, English and Chinese cabbage, watermelon and zucchini); adoption of best husbandry practices; financial literacy and management; entrepreneurship and negotiating skills. 

    Joji is very satisfied with his new activity and he was able to achieve amazing results which has benefitted  his whole family. Sales of vegetables and fruits enabled him to earn about USD 6,300-7,200 annually in the first two years as opposed to intermittent earnings from previous work in the city due to an unsecure job, which ranged from about USD 1,400-2,400 annually. Over the first two years of farming work, he was also able to save some USD 3,400-4,800. In contrast, while working in Suva he was unable to save, faced with considerable expenses due to high living costs in the city. 

    Through his farming activities, he managed to move from a small and simple house to a new and bigger one. He is also able to meet family commitments like health fees/charges, while contributing to community water projects, school infrastructures, church activities and extended family obligations. His next plan is to save more money to pay for his children’s education.


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    By: Josephine Reiher (Gender and Youth Officer, OIFWP ) and Monica Romano

    Ata in her home garden. Credit: A. Aruee  

    Life in the rural area of the outer islands of Kiribati can be challenging. A number of families who migrated to Tarawa have now returned to their home islands as a result of an increasing cost of copra. However, making a living from agriculture is difficult as families share small pieces of land and most of the youth have limited employment opportunities, also due to poor education.

    The IFAD-supported Outer Island Food and Water Project (OIFWP) came into force in September 2014. Targeting the four outer islands of Abebama, Beru, North Tabiteuea and Nonouti, it promotes improved household food security and nutrition, as well as clean water through rainwater harvesting and community planning and action activities. The project aims to reach the entire population with a specific focus on women and young people.

    Based on a consultative process in the  Tanimainiku village, in the island of Abemama, a Community Development Plan was formulated,  and  Community Committee was established to support activities in the village.

    Ata Tangatariki, 30, is a young woman, who lives with her family in the Tanimainiku village. She lives with her parents, two married sisters with kids, and a brother who is still in high school. Ata participated in the induction meeting of the project and contributed to the design of the Community Development Plan. She was also selected as a member of the Community Committee.

    To be eligible for becoming a Community Committee member a person living in the target villages is required to have a garden in his/her home, which can be used as a model to show interested people in the community how to properly grow and maintain it. The Committee established that project staff would visit the home gardens every two weeks to provide advice and help the farmers. Ata’s family grows three different gardens, which are taken care of by her father, mother and herself.

    Before the project was introduced in their village, Ata’s family used to grow only banana, swamp taro and breadfruit because of limited agricultural knowledge, hence their diet was poor, and lacking important nutrients from vegetables. As a result of project-supported home gardening activities, they now grow cabbages, sweet potatos, tomatoes, pawpaw, new breadfruit types, pumpkins and kangkong (water spinach). Their dietary habits consequently changed and they now eat a greater quantity and variety of nutritious food.

    Ata also tried to find other ways to support her family economically and found out that growing vegetables and fruit in the home gardens has many advantages: it helps coping with food shortages, often occurring due to undelivered cargo supplies to the Outer Islands and can also help generate additional income.

    By selling her fruit and vegetables locally, Ata is able to earn about USD 1.9 for each cabbage and about USD 2.3 per kilo of sweet potatoes. She can also sell the bigger pawpaw and pumpkin for about USD 3.8 each. On average, she estimated she can earn around USD 7.5 per day from her fruits and vegetables – something the family was unable to rely on before.

    Her major plan for the future is to do more to showcase her garden products to the communities across the island, and  encourage them to engage in gardening by sharing her skills and experience. She believes that a good way to attract the youngsters in farming is by organizing competitions, with some incentives for those growing the biggest or heaviest fruits and vegetables in the community. This activity has been agreed upon by the community committee and will be commenced during the World Food Day in October this year.

    Ata is very proud to be involved in the Project, both as a farmer and a community leader. It has changed her view on farming, improved her family’s food security and nutrition, and  taught her new gardening and leadership skills through the help of the Community Facilitator Officers, the Agricultural Assistants and the Island Facilitators working for the project. She believes that the project has provided a major contribution to raise the profile of agriculture, especially among  young people, and brought about innovation and change in the life of rural communities.  

    Participating in the community consultations, becoming a community committee member and engaging in home gardening greatly encouraged her and helped her learn an important lesson: farming can make you change your future.


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