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    By Philippe Remy and Elena Pietschmann, WCA

    By supporting vocational training and microenterprise development, the Rural Youth Vocational Training Employment and Entrepreneurship Support Project (FIER) in Mali aims to facilitate rural young people's access to employment opportunities and attractive, well-paying jobs in agriculture and related enterprises. Everyone between the age of 15 and 40 living in the targeted villages is entitled to take part in the project’s activities. Young facilitators from local NGOs work with 4 groups of youth (girls 15-17; boys 15-17; young women 18-40; young men 18-40), showing them different possible professions in their rural area to help them choose their path. At the end of this 6-months process, youth under-18 have the possibility to choose among a range of education options, while young people over-18 can apply to receive the micro-credit and professional training that will help them set up their own (individual or group-based) economic activity.

    The repartition of youth in 4 groups allows us to identify the specificities related to working with youth in the 15-17 age range, as well as the challenges of working with girls in particular. It is too early for talking about results or impacts, but the challenges encountered, and some of the approaches adopted, are still worth sharing:

    It is proving harder to reach 15-17 years old than it is for the 18-40 age range. This is especially so if the households are required to choose one youth within the household to take part in the project’s activities. In that case, older youth are generally selected by the households. To counter this problem, FIER adopted an inclusive targeting strategy where every youth in the selected villages is entitled to benefit from the project.  
    Even when the project targets every youth in the village and there is no need to choose among different young people within a household, parents tend to be reluctant to let under-18 take part in the project’s activities, preferring to keep them at home. To promote under-18 participation, the facilitators conducted door-to-door sensitization with parents.
    Youth aged 15-17 tend to have greater difficulties in expressing themselves, especially in the presence of older youth. For this reason, working with separate groups of under- and over-18 proved helpful.
    15-17 years old are often already running an economic activity and express interest in applying for the microcredit like the youth in the older group. However, this is not possible as minors cannot access credit. The approach used was to encourage them to open a bank account anyway and start saving in the meantime. Under-18 youth was also allowed to become part of a group-based economic activity that included over-18 youth able to access credit.
    Adolescents easily get bored. It proved harder to retain 15-17 years old if the animation sessions were monotonous. The facilitators talked about the need to engage them with dynamic, participatory approaches and to develop games to share information in an interesting way. Approaches such as participatory photography or the staging of performances and sketches seem to work well.
    At 15-17, youth are particularly vulnerable to migration. That is the age where both boys and girls often move to urban centers or, in the case of some regions in Mali, to do hazardous work in gold mines. This makes it harder to get them involved in the project activities, as they are often away from the village. The project also has to compete against dreams of easy money they hope to make in the city. The youth’s coming and going from the village also makes it harder to ensure continuity in the 6-months process. To counter these difficulties, it proved useful to carry out an intensive information campaign involving radio stations, local authorities, and the targeted communities so that even youth that were not present in the village could get information on the project. It also seems important to have a relatively flexible schedule of activities where youth can fit in even if they missed the first sessions.  
    15-17 years old tend to be particularly impatient. The approach used was to develop a clear time plan and explain them the whole process and exactly how long each step takes.

    On top of such challenges, working with 15-17 girls is particularly difficult because:

    Girls – especially married girls – face restricted mobility and their families are less inclined to get them involved in a project that might require them to take a training far away from home. The approach adopted was to identify training opportunities close-by, or even mobile units that go to the villages, and to explain to the families from the start of the project that girls will not necessarily have to move.
    There is a reluctance in investing in unmarried young girls, since they might move away from the village and certainly will move away from the household. Sensitization with the parents is thus especially important for girls.
    The category of ‘youth’ is generally understood as referring to men. Girls become women as soon as they marry, independent of their age. They are thus often put in the over-18 group (even by some of the NGO facilitators), where they face greater difficulties to express themselves given the presence of older women.

    In conclusion, some of the main lessons learned so far are:

    Involving the families is crucial
    To avoid the risk of households selecting older youth to take part in the project, targeting should be either very inclusive (every youth is a potential beneficiary), or very specific (e.g. only 15 to 17)
    Dynamic, new activities are helpful to retain youth that might easily get bored
    For girls, it is important to take their restricted mobility into account and identify training possibilities nearby

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    By Michele Pentorieri

    The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Paolo Gentiloni welcomes IFAD's President Kanayo F. Nwanze for the launched of the Rural Development Report 2016.
    15 September 2016 - IFAD officially launched the Rural Development Report 2016 at an event hosted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Rome, Italy.

    The report, Rural Development Report 2016: Fostering inclusive rural transformation, is a rallying call to policymakers and development practitioners to focus on rural transformation as a crucial element to eliminate hunger, poverty and to build a sustainable society for all.

    The report is set in the context of a rapidly changing world, with growing demand for food, increased migration to cities and the impact of climate change and environmental degradation.

    It provides insight into regional and country-specific challenges and historical legacies and how factors like employment, youth populations, rights to land, access to finance, gender equality and social protection influence successful interventions.

    Rural development is also thought to be one of the most effective ways to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals set out in Agenda 2030. The report analyses global, regional and national pathways of rural transformation, starting from evidence collected by experts in over sixty countries.

    The Italian Mister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni, in opening the event, stressed the importance of Italy's cooperation in development stating: "Italy’s role is not only confined to development cooperation, but has the full potential to place the country at the center stage for the active participation of its entire economic system."
    A copy of IFAD's Rural Development Report 2016.

    In his opening statement, IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze said the report was an extremely important tool for evidence-based decision-making processes in the global fight to eradicate poverty and hunger.

    Pointing to lessons from the report, Nwanze said that inclusive rural transformation is essential to sustainable development but will depend on the choices made by governments, the private sector and institutions like IFAD.

    “Inclusive rural transformation can lift people out of poverty, revitalise communities and offer opportunities to all, including youth, who are the future of any nation,” Nwanze said.

    Nwanze added that the report is "a vital resource to help policy-makers to make the right decision and investments to bring about inclusive rural transformation".

    Paul Winters, Director of Research and Impact Assessment, and Officer-in-Charge of the Strategy and Knowledge Department at IFAD, presented key findings from the report.

    Winters noted that "75 per cent of extreme poverty is still in rural areas" and, as a consequence, "if we want to address poverty, we have to address poverty in rural areas."
    Paul Winters, Director of Research and Impact Assessment, and Officer-in-Charge of the Strategy and Knowledge Department at IFAD, presented key findings from the report.

    Presenting his three key messages, he said, "Rural transformation happens as part of a broader process of structural transformation and the role of agriculture changes in that."

    He added that "inclusive transformation will not happen automatically, it must be made to happen." And lastly that "fostering inclusive transformation is about making the right strategic choices for the country". 

    Paul Winter's contribution was followed by a high-level panel discussion moderated by Zeinab Badawi, an award-winning broadcast journalist.

    A number of international researchers, policy experts, government leaders and civil society representatives were on hand including Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of OXFAM International. Byanyima asserted that: "Smallholder farmers must be at the centre of rural transformation."

    She also stressed that we need "to tackle social norms that hold women and communities back", and that we need "better infrastructure, roads communication, technology, inclusive finance that would make poor people able to find decent work in the non-farm sector."

    The launch of the report is just the starting point. Several regional events have been organised by IFAD aimed at engaging various stakeholders in regional and country level policy and investment dialogues.

    To learn more, browse the report online here and follow the conversation online at #ruraltransformation.

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    Tangible impacts:  labour-saving technologies freed up women’s time

     “And then, we requested to purchase six washing machines. This was fundamental for us and the other members of my group to free up time and engage in economic opportunities. Time is everything to us”, said Oralia Ruano Lima with a smile. Oralia is one of the three beneficiaries of the UnWomen- IFAD programme “Broadening women’s economic opportunities (BEO) for Rural Women Entrepreneurs in Latin America Region Programme” that came to IFAD today to share their experiences. It was the first time she travelled abroad and together with two other young women, shared with IFAD staff how this programme has helped her.

    Results of two years initiative with UN Women in Latin America

    BEO is an initiative funded by IFAD through regional grant for an amount of USD 2,500,000, and a counterpart granted by UN Women of USD 320 000; implemented by UN Women. Since 2013 the organizations have worked to contribute to the economic empowerment of rural women entrepreneurs in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua. The programme is now coming to a closure and the event organized here in Rome is aimed at drawing key lessons learned and implication for future gender work in the region, including the cooperation between Un women and IFAD.

    ·         The programme has developed a new comprehensive strategy for empowering women. Efforts to support women’s economic empowerment were complemented by interventions aimed at strengthening women’s leadership and participation in decision making processes. The underlying principle is that women’s engagement in economic activities goes hand in hand with self-esteem and their recognition as key actors of economic development, both in their communities and at national level.

    ·         Promotion of labour saving technologies. The programme promoted rural women entrepreneurship, without overburdening them, designing interventions to strike a balance between productive and reproductive activities of women – and having a washing machine did help in that.

    ·         women organizations and the creation of women networks was supported to enable them to overcome informality of their business, access information and markets, and eliminate their dependency on social transfers for them or other members of their families.

    Scaling up and learning for IFAD operations

    What’s next? These strategies of women’s economic empowerment should reach out the scope of the programme. Sharing the tools and the methodologies that were developed (labour allocation tools, comprehensive business plans, peer-to-peer learning routes) can benefit other IFAD operations in the region. And beyond, IFAD and UNwomen should engage with governments to support better policy design and implementation that can favour women’s economic empowerment. Cooperation with Ciudad Mujer en El Salvador is a good example. This government initiative supports the coordination of all institutions supporting women, as well as the delivery of related services in a coherent way: health, leadership and economic empowerment. 

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    By Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Lead Technical Adviser (Gender and Social Inclusion)

    At IFAD’s 118th Executive Board, all three country groups presented a joint statement in support of the midterm review of IFAD’s policy on gender equality and women’s empowerment. This joint statement represented the position of IFAD members from 176 member states.

    As noted by Adolfo Brizzi, Director of the Policy and Technical Advisory (PTA) division, this joint support is both significant and greatly appreciated. It represents consensus among different countries - with varying socio-cultural contexts - about the importance of women’s empowerment and gender equality for contributing to the successful outcome of IFAD-supported investments.

    Links between targeting and gender

    This support for gender mainstreaming complemented an earlier discussion at the Board meeting that emphasized the role of targeting in ensuring outreach to poorer members of rural communities. This focus on the ‘who’ of project participants lies at the heart of what makes IFAD unique, both as a UN agency and as an international financial institution. Contextual analysis – in terms of understanding the livelihoods, needs and priorities of poor rural women and men in different age groups – underpins project design and should be undertaken early in the design process.

    Progress recorded in midterm review

    The mid-term review of the gender policy, which was approved in 2012, provided an opportunity for a period of reflection. While the annual report on gender (which is presented as an annex to the annual report on IFAD’s development effectiveness - see Annex IV in RIDE) provides a snapshot of activities, the midterm review was a more thorough investigation of achievements and outstanding challenges associated with the implementation of the policy.

    The review noted that IFAD is generally making very good progress - not only with implementing the gender policy but also with the 15 indicators in the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP). Women now account for half of all participants of project activities. IFAD’s gender team is now pushing for more gender transformative impacts by using approaches – such as household methodologies - that address some of the underlying causes of gender inequality. IFAD has been commended by UN Women as a leader among United Nations entities for its progress in meeting the UN-SWAP indicators: by the end of 2015 we had met or exceeded 11 of the 15 indicators.

    Way forward in IFAD10

    Nevertheless, the midterm review noted that IFAD will need to step up its efforts in order to meet the demands of the new strategic framework, as well maintain current achievements. Priorities include:

    • ensuring that the capacity of dedicated staff on the PTA gender desk and the regional gender coordinators - coupled with the network of gender focal points – matches the demand and requirement for effective policy implementation;

    • continuing with the ongoing initiatives by the Human Resources Department to ensure gender parity in staffing, with particular emphasis at P-5 and above, including the forthcoming emerging leaders’ programme;

    • capacity strengthening on gender and targeting for IFAD staff, gender focal points, implementing partners and qualified consultants;

    • establishing a more systematic approach to tracking project performance and impact from a gender perspective through the revised results and impact management system (RIMS) indicators and the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), which has been adapted and piloted in several IFAD-supported projects.

    Next steps

    The midterm review also set out the five-point pathway for gender mainstreaming that IFAD will follow during IFAD10. This is now available in a four-page document with the centre pages summarising key actions in relation to the five action areas of the policy. As noted in the EB statement, the next step for the gender desk is to prepare an implementation plan and responsibility matrix to identify the key milestones and actors to ensure timely implementation.


    The PTA gender desk and the regional gender coordinators appreciate the support of senior management, and in particular the President, for creating the space and providing support for the implementation of the policy. We also recognise the value of the supplementary funds and other forms of financial support received during this period (from Canada, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden) which have played a vital role in supporting outreach activities and piloting innovative approaches such as the household methodologies. And lastly, we would like to thank our colleagues – especially the gender focal points, country programme teams and thematic experts in PTA and other parts of the house – all of whom play a key role in mainstreaming gender both in operations and in IFAD as an organization. 

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  • 09/28/16--04:56: Article 2
  • Written by Mwatima Juma, Tanzania Country Programme Officer – IFAD, for GEMR

    A group of 20 farmers gather around a facilitator who is demonstrating how to prepare nutritious fodder for dairy cows on Zanzibar island, off the coast of Tanzania. They are attending a Farmer Field School – a place where farmers come together to learn how to farm. They spend an entire farming season together, and the field is their classroom.

    Before joining this Farmer Field School, dairy farmer Abdi Kassim Iddi and his family lived on one meal a day because his cows produced so little milk. After bringing his new knowledge back to his farm, Abdi’s cows produce four times more milk and his income has tripled. Now his children can go to school and Abdi has new-found self-respect.“I feel like I am now part of the community,” he says, “People see me as a human being.

    Dairy Farmers learn how to prepare fodder at a Farmer Field School Credit: IFAD/Joanne levitan

    What is a Farmer Field School?

    A Farmer Field School (FFS) is a form of adult education based on the concept that farmers learn best from field observation and practical experimentation. A group of around 20 farmers who share a common interest, such as cassava production or poultry farming, come together to follow the seasonal cycle of the specific crop or livestock that is studied. One of the main practical training techniques is a demonstration plot that serves as a ‘classroom’ for testing new methods under similar conditions to the farmers’ own plots. In some cases a control plot is also established to compare the new practices with the traditional ones. Some farmers immediately apply the new methods to their own fields. Others wait to be convinced by the results of the demonstration plot.

    Farmer Field Schools in Zanzibar

    Historically, Zanzibar island was an important trade centre for spices and crops, but the local population benefited very little from this. Today the majority of the island’s 1.3 million inhabitants are still subsistence farmers working on small farms of 2-3 hectares. More than half of them live on less than a dollar a day. The Government of Zanzibar — supported by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) decided that education was the key to improving their lives.

    Farmer Field Schools were introduced to Zanzibar as a pilot project in 1996 as a way to empower the rural poor, especially women and youth, to improve their crop and livestock production by learning and practising new technologies and sharing their local know-how. Since then bookkeeping, awareness of HIV and AIDS, nutrition and gender equality have also been included in the curriculum.

    By 2016, more than 1,200 Farmer Field School groups had been established in Zanzibar, with more than 28,000 farming families participating. Almost two thirds of them are women.

    These schools have been so successful in increasing farmers’ incomes, that the local government now insist that all rural development projects include this approach.

    Impact of Farmer Field Schools

    The 2016 GEM Report looks at the way that education and agricultural extension programmes can help increase agricultural productivity. It reports on a recent review of 92 evaluations of farmer field schools which found that they increased their crop yields by 13% and their net income by 19%. Pesticide use by those participating reduced by 17%.

    IFAD’s experience has seen Farmer Field School participants practicing a crop-livestock integration system where the crop waste products are used to feed animals while manure is used to improve soil fertility.

    Not just any school will do, of course. The best results come when facilitators of the schools have strong literacy and numeracy skills, are experienced in farming, follow a locally relevant curriculum and use the local language.

    “My income before was very small,” said poultry farmer Zeyana Ali Said. “To be honest, I couldn’t even manage to get eggs for my kids to eat. Now I’m proud of myself. There is enough food in my family and I am paying for my children to attend university.”

    Zeyana Ali Said packaging eggs for sale. Credit: IFAD/Joanne Levitan
    With specific targeting of women students, participation in the Farmer Field Schools has changed lives, families and entire communities. Although most farmers in Zanzibar are women, until recently none of them would have earned their own incomes due to cultural norms. Women would rarely be the ones paying for their children’s education or making decisions in the home. Now many women who have attended Farmer Field Schools are managing their own money, leading meetings and teaching men how to farm. Many of them feel more confident to express themselves in public and are more involved in decision-making in the family.

    In this video, Tatu Faki Yusuf says explains that her rice yield has quadrupled since attending the school and she is now an equal decision-maker in her family. She has also been elected as Secretary of her FFS group.

    “Before I felt shy speaking in front of people, but that changed after attending the training,” she said. “Now, even if all of them are men, if I want to say something, I’ll do it without fear.”

    Farmer Field Schools in Zanzibar have gathered a momentum far greater than expected. Many farmers who were trained have now spontaneously formed their own schools to further spread the knowledge. More than 450 self-initiated schools have sprung up attended by more than 13,000 farmers. Former FFS students have now become the facilitators.

    And so, what began as an idea to teach better farming techniques to farmers has now taken on a life of its own as the knowledge spreads across the island from farmer to farmer, bringing with it economic and social empowerment.

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    By Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Lead Technical Adviser (Gender and social inclusion) and Johanna Pennarz, Lead Evaluation Officer

    IFAD’s gender team has been the first to respond to a challenge issued by the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE). In recent years, IOE has called on IFAD to be more ambitious than aiming to be ‘moderately satisfactory’ on various aspects of IFAD performance, most recently in their comments on the Annual Report on IFAD’s Development Effectiveness. The gender team has taken up the challenge and set itself more demanding targets for addressing gender issues during project design.

    IFAD10 gender target for design: Ensuring that at least 90 per cent of project designs are rated as partial gender mainstreaming (moderately satisfactory = 4) or better, that at least 50 per cent achieve full gender mainstreaming (satisfactory = 5) and at least 15 per cent are gender-transformative (highly satisfactory = 6).

    Why have we done this?
    Studies have shown that in contexts where there is greater gender equality, performance is higher  – whether it is at a project level in terms of more sustainable benefits or at a national level in terms of higher rates of economic growth. So it is appropriate to push for higher scores on gender in all aspects of project design and implementation because better outcomes in terms of women’s empowerment and gender equality will contribute to better project performance and impact, making a real difference to the lives of women and men. 

    To achieve higher scores, IFAD will need to move beyond promoting women’s economic empowerment, decision making and workload reduction. In addition, we will have to address the underlying deeply rooted causes of gender inequality. This will include highly significant changes in:
    • values, norms and practices
    • awareness, consciousness and confidence
    • improved (and lasting) access to resources and opportunities
    • enabling policies, laws and institutions.
    The IFAD gender marker - based on IFAD’s six point rating system of performance - provides more details of what this means in terms of project design:
    • Moderately satisfactory (rating = 4): Partial gender mainstreaming: where gender considerations have been mainstreamed in a limited number of aspects of component design
    • Satisfactory (rating = 5): Full gender mainstreaming: where the commitment to gender equality is fully integrated within the component activities and is reflected in the allocation of financial and human resources, as well as in the operational measures and procedures.
    • Highly satisfactory (rating = 6): Gender transformative approaches and impacts: where activities go beyond addressing the symptoms of gender inequality to tackling the underlying social norms, attitudes, behaviours and social systems.
    Where do we stand at present?
    The data show that we are competent at partial gender mainstreaming at all stages of the project cycle (from design through to completion). However, once we look at disaggregated data indicating how many projects achieved a score of 5 or 6, it is evident that we are not yet designing for, or achieving, gender transformative impacts.

    Identifying pathways towards gender transformative changes
    To better understand how to make projects more transformative, the PTA gender desk joined forces with IOE and PTA colleagues to develop gender theories of change in the main thematic contexts of IFAD-supported operations. Nutrition and youth were addressed as cross-cutting issues (see box).

    Participants at a half-day workshop held in September explored how transformative change can be more systematically promoted within the thematic areas where IFAD is engaged. Six thematic groups - hosted by PTA technical specialists and IOE theory of change experts – developed detailed pathways for transformative change. The discussion was initially based on a case study of an IFAD-supported project and then widened to include additional features to trace through the intervention logic. Attention was paid to drawing up the sequencing of actions and results, the causal linkages and – where applicable - any feedback loops. 

    Groups discussed how these actions have:

    • empowered women, and on what aspects (linking to the three objectives of IFAD’s gender policy: economic empowerment; voice and representation; equitable workload balance)
    • addressed underlying causes of gender inequality, exclusion and discrimination.

    This highly participatory process generated a greater understanding of the key assumptions that tend to inform the design of interventions, as well as the key factors enabling or hindering achievement of gender transformative results.

    The benefits of a holistic approach

    The experiences of the workshop demonstrated the importance of thinking through the logic of development interventions − and understanding their more complex inter-relationships − to ensure we are offering a coherent package of support to contribute to meaningful change. This holistic approach will be essential to push forward on the gender agenda to achieve the more ambitious targets set for gender design in IFAD10. Practical support from the PTA gender team and the two regional gender coordinators in sub-Saharan Africa is set out in the new five-point pathway for gender mainstreaming in IFAD10 (link). This includes participation on missions, technical support on analysis and design, capacity development on gender transformative approaches, and knowledge sharing and learning events.

    If you want to keep up with the gender agenda in IFAD, sign up for the bi-monthly IFAD gender newsletter and take part in the monthly gender breakfasts (mail to:

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  • 09/29/16--08:56: From 2012 till now

  • How the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure can be used as a global tool for engagement

    By Harold Liversage, Lead Land Tenure Technical Specialist, and Elisabeth Steinmayr, Rural Development Consultant

    Four years ago, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) endorsed the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs). Since then, the Guidelines have gone on to become the global standard for land tenure governance, catalyzing new action around the world.
    Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure © FAO

    The VGGTs set out principles, technical recommendations and practices for improving the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests. The Guidelines promote secure tenure rights and equitable access as a means of supporting sustainable development, protecting the environment, and eradicating hunger and poverty. They also support the work of a range of development actors (including governments, the private sector, farmers and other partners) to engage with people who may not know how to respond to issues related to land rights. The Guidelines contribute directly to at least 14 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [1].

    The past four years have seen the production of technical guides, workshops and training modules, as well as a greater dialogue among donor partners and national and regional governments. As a result, various countries have integrated the VGGTs into their policy frameworks. Within the SDG context, a global thematic event on the VGGTs has been included in the 43rd plenary session of the CFS from the 17th to 21st of October to offer all stakeholders an opportunity to share their experiences and take stock of the use and application of the Guidelines.

    IFAD and the VGGTs

    As an early advocate for the formulation of the VGGTs, IFAD has continued to support their development and application through its investment and representation on the FAO-convened VGGT Steering Committee. We have shared the Guidelines widely with our development partners and have supported their dissemination through initiatives such as the grant-financed "Dissemination and implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in selected West African countries (Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal)"implemented by the Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR), which included sensitization workshops on the VGGTs for governments, civil society organizations (CSOs), farmers' and pastoralists' organizations, and building national policy dialogue platforms. The IFAD-supported grant"Supporting small-scale food producers’ organizations in the promotion and implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests" to the Associazione Italiana per l'Agricoltura Biologica (AIAB) has recently produced the VGGT People's Manual to make the Guidelines more accessible for farmers', fishing and pastoralist organizations, indigenous peoples, the landless, women and civil society. Perhaps more importantly, we have continued to promote and support investment in land and natural resource governance through its wider investments.

    IFAD recognizes that the secure land and natural resource rights of its target groups are critical for the outcomes of its projects and programmes. It is a founding member of the International Land Coalition and hosts the Secretariat of the ILC. In 2008, the Executive Board approved IFAD’s Land Access and Tenure Security Policy. A review of this policy in 2013 found that it is fully in line with the VGGTs.

    Over the past five years, IFAD has invested about USD 75 million in tenure security measures, with a similar amount leveraged in co-finance. The Fund's investment has played a role in creating an enabling environment for securing land and natural resource rights of poor rural people through the application of the VGGTs and other measures. In particular, IFAD’s investments have empowered poor rural people economically and socially, stimulating demand for greater tenure security.

    Support for tenure security measures is typically integrated into broader rural development projects rather than being a standalone investment. This integration maximizes the impacts of tenure security measures on project outcomes, including higher-level poverty eradication and inclusive development. It also creates opportunities for strengthening engagement with other government ministries and agencies who may have an interest in improved land and natural resource governance but not a directly responsibility for land policy implementation (such as ministries dealing with agriculture, natural resource management agencies, finance institutions and local governments). The support these partnerships provide often leads to innovative solutions guided by the VGGTs, especially in response to challenges with implementing policy.

    IFAD's emphasis on co-financing reinforces partnerships with other donors and development partners. IFAD continues to identify opportunities for strengthening the engagement of IFAD-supported project and programme staff in national policy dialogue processes. Furthermore, the Fund plays a key role in creating space for CSO engagement in land and natural resource governance through its involvement as the most active Intergovernmental Organization in the International Land Coalition as well as through the financial and technical support it provides to CSOs, including in particular farmer organizations.
    CFS Plenary Session © FAO
    IFAD's involvement on tenure issues at the forthcoming CFS

    IFAD is looking forward to being involved in the CFS sessions on the VGGTs and will contribute to an official side event of the Global Donor Working Group on Land on Building the base of land governance evidence: frameworks and lessons learned from project, country and global-level monitoring and evaluation effort on the 18 of October at FAO. In addition, IFAD will host various learning events in collaboration with the World Bank, the Millennium Challenge Cooperation, the International Land Coalition Secretariat and other partners on improving impact assessments of tenure security measures and on securing community and indigenous people’s land and natural resource rights.

    [1]Goal 1: No poverty; Goal 2: Zero Hunger; Goal 5: Gender Equality; Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities; Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities; Goal 13: Climate action; Goal 14: Life below water; Goal 15: Life on land; Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals. 

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    by Paulina Schwaner & Rahul Antao
    Terra Madre delegates at the opening ceremony parade

    IFAD brings 40 delegates from IFAD-supported projects and networks across Africa, Asia and Latin America to Turin to discuss key challenges facing smallholder farmers

    The 10th edition of the Terra Madre event, held in Turin 22-26 September 2016, stood as a staunch reminder of the strong socio-cultural, ecological and economic ties the world shares. A creation of Slow Food, Terra Madre is a collective global food movement. This year’s event highlighted how grassroots communities can provide a model for a sustainable future.

    This year’s event witnessed the largest delegation yet, as over 7000 people from 143 countries assembled in the in Turin to share knowledge and discuss ideas grounded in Slow Food’s principles of good food, clean production and fair working conditions. The event hosted 1,000 food communities who were invited into dialogue with more than 500,000 visitors at 900 side events.

    Terra Madre’s inaugural press conference, sponsored by IFAD and the Christensen Fund, was held in the Indigenous Terra Madre Network Room. Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, expressed deep gratitude towards IFAD for its collaboration. Also in attendance were Dario Franceschini, the Italian Minister of Culture; Sergio Chiamparino, the President of Piedmont Region; and Chiara Appendino, the Mayor of Turin.

    IFAD was represented by 40 delegates from funded projects and networks based in 15 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. IFAD’s contribution was made visible through stalls, conferences and the Indigenous Terra Madre conference room. IFAD staff and consultants actively participated as presenters and moderators in various forums, conferences and workshops on issues relating to indigenous peoples, youth and the IFAD-supported Presidia Project.

    Adolfo Brizzi, Director of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division, gave an address titled “Let's not eat up our planet – Climate Change” about the incentives that drive smallholder farmers behaviours and how to reconcile their short-term needs with the long-term task of conserving the natural resource base and sustaining market failures. Mattia Prayer Galletti, Lead Technical Specialist at IFAD’s Policy and Technical Division moderated the “Farmers 2.0” panel; Antonella Cordone, IFAD’s Senior Technical Specialist on Indigenous People and Tribal Issues moderated a panel on “The UN's SDGs: an opportunity and challenge to be taken up by indigenous food communities.” Meanwhile, Rahul Antao, consultant IFAD Youth Desk, presented activities of the IFAD Youth Desk during a special event on migrants, and Paolo Silveri, CPM Brazil, spoke at a special event involving all Brazilians present at TM.

    Here are a few highlights from the Indigenous space and the Youth Booth with IFAD participation:

    Friday, 23rd September 2016 – Day 1
    Indigenous Communities participating in  a session on Discussing the Future of Indigenous Terra Madre and the Involvement of Slow Food"

    Workshop: Discussing the Future of Indigenous Terra Madre and the Involvement of Slow Food.

    The first day at the ITM Space started with the discussion of Indigenous Terra Madre network and the important role of Slow Food in shaping a good, clean and fair future. The panel consisted of Paolo di Croce, from Slow Food International; Phrang Roy, Khasi from India and the coordinator of the Indigenous partnership (IPAFS); Melissa Nelson, from The Cultural Conservancy/Slow Food Turtle Island; Anneli Jonsonn, Sápmifrom Slow Food Sápmi, Sweden and Amina Duba Tende, Borana Pastoralist from Kenya. The key messages were that indigenous peoples pushing for a stronger sharing and exchanging platform could broaden the depth of the ITM network.

    Workshop: Biodiversity, Resilience and Global Challenges: How the Indigenous Food Systems Can Inspire Positive Solutions

    The second panel discussed how indigenous food systems can inspire positive solutions for biodiversity, resilience and global challenges. The moderator was Elifuraha Isaya Maasai, from Tanzania, and the panel was composed of Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Yon Fernandez de Larrinoa, the FAO Indigenous People Team Leader; Vanda Altarelli, President of SONIA; Phrang Roy; Philip Amoah, from the Asante tribe of Ghana and coordinator of Slow Food Network in his country.

    Dali Angel co-chair of the Global Indigenous youth Caucus with Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN special rapporteur on the rights on indigenous peoples. Photo credit: @IFAD/Francesca Borgia

    Workshop: Building Future Food Leaders - YOUTH FOCUS

    The first day also saw the gathering of the Slow Food Youth Network, who convened to discuss how future leaders could build on the lessons learned and outcomes of the Youth Food Academy. This session was sub-divided in three country-specific examples (the Netherlands, Mexico and Uganda) and held on three separate days. The workshop presented an alternative education that gives young people a chance to get involved in sustainable food systems. Furthermore, it reiterated the need for enhanced empowerment and leadership amongst young people to drive the sustainable development goals forward using the concept of the Food Academy.

    Saturday, 24th September 2016 – Day 2
    Terra Madre food communities showcasing their produce at the Salone Del Gusto. Photo credit: @IFAD/Francesca Borgia 
    Workshop: Giving Value to Indigenous Knowledge and Practices: The Example of Wild Edibles

    The value of indigenous knowledge was the topic of the first panel of the second day of Indigenous Terra Madre Space. The discussions revolved around how plants represent a form of identity for most indigenous peoples. Indigenous people from India, Chile, Japan, Australia and Indonesia participated in the workshop.

    Workshop: Tools and Good Practices for Strengthening Leadership

    Tools and good practices for strengthening leadership was the issue of the second workshop at the indigenous space. The moderator was Teresa Zapeta, Maya Kíche from Guatemala, member of FIMI (Fondo Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas). The principal issues touched upon were political lobbying, gender equality, youth and education. In the workshop were participating indigenous young people from Japan, Mexico, USA, Thailand and Georgia.
    Introducing the Slow Food Youth Network think tank or SFYN tank 
    Workshop: The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: An Opportunity and Challenge to Be Taken Up by Indigenous Food Communities
    Antonella Cordone was the moderator for this workshop. The main issue was the operating space for indigenous peoples in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the challenges and opportunities that Indigenous Peoples face. The panel was composed of delegates from FAO, civil society, Slow Food and United Nations.

    Workshop: SFYNTank – YOUTH FOCUS

    At the Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) ‘Tank’ event, hosted by Arduino pilot project Casa Jasmina, young farmers, food processors, social entrepreneurs, chefs, product designers, foodies and artists supported each other’s creativity and experience by working on nine selected issues in food production, considering issues ranging from food education to seed conservation in the digital age to bridging the urban/rural gap. Moving from exploring problems to designing potential solutions, the groups were guided by experienced coaches and experts. The result was an impressive group of young people who earned the title of SFYNtankers with their contributions to solutions for nine different thematic topics.

    Sunday, 25th September 2016 -Day 3
    Speakers in discussion during a Terra Madre workshop/conference. Photo credit: Slow Food
    Workshop: Local Food and Economics for Sustainable Development: Experiences from Indigenous Social Entrepreneurs

    The members of this panel exchanged experiences about how to create good, clean and fair indigenous entrepreneurship. The panel was moderated by Ayu, from the indigenous community Akha in Thailand. Indigenous young speakers from the different parts of the world participated in the panel.

    Workshop: The Commons: Pastoralism and Nomadism -Custodianship of the Land - in Contrast with the Ownership System.

    The second panel of the day was about pastoralism and nomadism-custodianship of the land and how it contrasted with the ownership system. The panel compared systems of land custodianship' with 'ownership' through the experiences of herders from the Mongol Khalkh Tribe (Mongolia), Sami People (Sweden), Maasai (Tanzania), Guji and Karrayyu (Ethiopia) and others indigenous people.

    Monday, 26th September 2016 - Day 4
    Indigenous Art performance outside the Indigenous Terra Madre room. Photo credit: Slow Food
    Workshop: Land Rights Now: Our Land. Our Rights. Our life

    Monday 26th started with the campaign ''Land Rights Now'' conference, which preceded a group photo. In this even, Carlo Petrini said during his compelling speech that ''Indigenous Terra Madre is always together with Terra Madre because indigenous communities are the roots of our existence." He added that we need a new political order based on the need of women, indigenous peoples and the poor.

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    By Elisa Mandelli, Associate Professional Officer, IFAD, and Andrea Wyers, Intern, IFAD

    Harold Liversage (IFAD) sharing with the audience his considerations on the outputs of the conference @E.Mandelli
    This summer, IFAD's Land Tenure desk took part in the LANDac Annual International Conference in Utrecht, Netherlands, an event organized by the LANDac network and a selection of Dutch and international knowledge institutes. Within the global context of rapid urbanisation, increased demand for land, and climate change, this year's conference focused on linking rural and urban dynamics.

    In recent years, analyses of the growing demand for land have increased, but often only within the rural sphere. The effects of similar dynamics in the urban and peri-urban areas remain relatively unexplored. The aim of the conference was to bridge the rural-urban divide and explore the linkages between the two spheres.

    Bringing together stakeholders from around the world and a variety of backgrounds, the two-day conference was attended by academics, consultants, policy makers, and NGO representatives. The conference offered spaces for paper presentations, poster displays and round table discussions, where participants analysed and discussed such topics as population growth, land scarcity, land-based investments, and especially processes affecting the transformation of urban and peri-urban landscapes and livelihoods.    

    The complexity and subjectivity in defining legitimate rights was noted throughout the conference. In contributing to this conversation, Elisa Mandelli of IFAD's Land Tenure desk gave a presentation on IFAD’s experience  in promoting land governance and responsible investment in Bagamoyo District in Tanzania through the Bagamoyo Sugar Infrastructure and Sustainable Community Development (BASIC) programme. The programme aims to support a public-private-producer partnership (4Ps) for the development of sugarcane production in a nucleus estate out-grower scheme. The investment is being implemented in an area adjacent to Dar es Salaam with high potential for coastal tourist expansion.

    One of the main challenges has been addressing the tensions in the programme area that result from the competing resource needs of peri-urban expansion and seasonal influxes of livestock. Although the programme has yet to come into force, it intends to include a wider community development programme and to support land tenure security through land-use planning and land registration activities. The programme is already supporting civil society engagement and is monitoring the possible impacts of the programme on tenure security and land use.

    Elisa Mandelli (IFAD) presenting IFAD experiences in promoting responsible investment in Bagamoyo (Tanzania). @LANDac, 2016
    The entire programme highlights the need for minimizing potential negative impacts and maximizing positive effects of out-grower schemes and other land-based investment and partnerships models. This in turn requires more effort in fostering informed and open dialogue with different stakeholders, especially with CSOs who can play a crucial role in social accountability and monitoring and evaluation. On this topic, Mandelli shared some lessons learned from the support that IFAD provides to the International Land Coalition (ILC)to strengthen CSO active engagement in the promotion of good land governance in Tanzania. Through the establishment of a platform for coordination and joint action, CSO are engaging in policy dialogue on land governance and exploring opportunities to actively shape models for inclusive and responsible land-based investments. Building on the third phase of the IFAD-supported Sustainable Rangeland Management Programme (SRMP III), the platform will also contribute to securing rangelands.  

    For the private sector, responsible and transparent investment can also contribute to strengthening good land governance by providing much-needed resources for land tenure activities and opportunities for land development, thus further securing smallholder claims.  Moreover, in a context of increased competition on natural resources and weak land governance, Mandelli highlighted the opportunities for fostering responsible investment models as drivers for strengthening good land governance and secure land tenure rights. The Land Tenure desk will continue to share lessons on the challenges and opportunities for responsible land-based investment in the context of competing land demands. We would like to hear from others on how they are grappling with these issues.

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    By Jeanette Cooke, Rural Development Consultant, Gender Team

    The International Day of Rural Women on 15 October is an opportunity to recognize the critical role rural women can play in eradicating hunger and poverty and driving inclusive economic transformation in rural areas. It is equally important to highlight one of the most persistent hindrances that prevents them from fulfilling this role − domestic drudgery − and how they can overcome it.

    In almost all countries around the world, women work longer hours than men every day when both paid and unpaid work are taken into account. This is primarily due to the fact that women spend two to ten times longer on unpaid domestic work than men.

    In rural areas, domestic chores can include water and fuel collection, food processing and preparation, travelling, and transporting and caring for children, the ill and the elderly. These chores are particularly burdensome where there is no or limited access to essential public services and labour-saving technologies.

    Niger: Woman and girl carrying heavy loads. ©IFAD/David Rose

    A heavy domestic workload makes rural women extremely time poor. This in turn restricts their mobility, their economic activity on- and off-farm, and their ability to influence decision-making at home, in the community and in institutions. In addition, the heavy and rudimentary nature of many domestic chores can cause poor health and nutrition for a woman and her family. Schooling also suffers when women need help from their children, mainly girls, to perform these chores. A heavy domestic workload is therefore both a major cause and a major effect of gender inequality and poverty. Unless addressed, women’s drudgery will continue to blight agricultural development, hold back inclusive rural transformation and keep generations of women and girls trapped in poverty.

    Part of the solution to reducing women's domestic workload lies in a more equitable division of labour and in technologies that lighten their load (Carr and Hartl, 2010; IFAD, 2016).

    In IFAD-supported projects labour-saving technologies and practices range from large-scale infrastructure investments in water, energy and roads to medium-scale machinery and small-scale equipment for use at home and/or in group-based activities.

    Here are some examples:
    • In Niger, the Project for the Promotion of Local Initiative for Development in Aguié, (2005-2013) built 20 village wells and 15 boreholes. Access to drinking water greatly improved in the project areas and women used the time saved to take part in setting up and managing food and cereal banks. 
    • IFAD has successfully piloted the Flexi Biogas system in India, Kenya, Rwanda and Sao Tomé and Principe giving households their own power supplies. With an efficient above-ground biogas system, which is relatively cheap and simple to use, a family with just one or two cows can produce 60-100 kg of high-quality fertilizer and 2.8 m3 of biogas each day for cooking, lighting or food processing. 
    • In Bhutan the Agriculture, Marketing and Enterprise Promotion Programme (2005-2012) built feeder roads to improve market access and enable more shops to open in rural areas. Women can now buy essential items closer to home in the newly opened shops and use the time saved for vegetable production, an important source of income and nutrition. 
    • In Bolivia and Mongolia IFAD has supported temporary mobile child day care centres. In Bolivia, this meant that women were able to take part in project training sessions. In Mongolia, while the children attended the kindergarten, both men and women had time in the summer to milk animals, process dairy products, grow vegetables and earn some income in preparation for the long winter. See the video here about how the kindergarten benefitted the children (Mongolia: Learning in motion
    Gambia: Woman using biogas powered stove. ©IFAD/Nana Kofi Acquah
    Of course, the concept of labour-saving technologies is not new, nor has their dissemination by development agencies always been successful. So what has changed? And how can we do things better?

    Putting housework on the global agenda

    In an unprecedented move at the international level, domestic work has been formally recognised as an essential element of sustainable development. Countries have committed to working towards target 5.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality to recognize, reduce and redistribute responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work.

    IFAD and its Member States have also committed to reduce rural women’s domestic workloads through one of the three strategic objectives in the IFAD Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment to “achieve a more equitable balance in workloads”. We know that if women’s workloads are not reduced, the Policy’s other two objectives on economic empowerment and decision-making cannot be achieved.

    We have learnt several important lessons on how to improve or support the impact of labour-saving technologies:
    • The daily activities and workloads of the project target group must be identified and understood in the context of livelihood strategies and gender roles and relations. In other words, we need to know who is doing what, why and when. 
    • Factors that determine the sustainability of technologies must be considered in project design, such as affordable and reliable operation and maintenance and who will cover what costs over what period of time. 
    • Labour-saving technologies do not lead to equitable workloads on their own. The underlying causes of gender inequality must be addressed. Discriminatory gender roles and relations need to be challenged and pathways for positive behaviour change identified. Gender transformative approaches, such as the household methodologies , are a means to this end. They bring all household members together to discuss and identify a shared vision for a better future. 
    More information is available on this topic in the Toolkit on “Reducing rural women’s domestic workload through labour-saving technologies and practices”.

    Guatemala: Woman washing dishes using water supply available at home. ©IFAD/Santiago Albert Pons
    Read more:

    UN Women. 2015. Progress of the world’s women 2015-2016: transformingeconomies, realizing rights. UN Women.
    OECD. 2014. Unpaid care work: the missing link in theanalysis of gender gaps in labour outcomes.
    Carr, M., and M. Hartl. 2010. Lightening the load: Labour-saving technologiesand practices for rural women. IFAD and Practical Action Publishing Ltd.
    IFAD. 2016. Reducing rural women’s domesticworkload through labour-saving technologies and practices toolkit
    FAO. 2015. Running out of time: the reduction of women’s work burden in agricultural production. Rome: FAO.
    IFAD. 2015. How to do: mainstreaming portable biogas systems into IFAD-supported programmes. Rome: IFAD. 

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    By Vivienne Likhanga

    Information can be a source of change. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision-making, information is a burden, not a benefit. In recent years, scaling up innovations for smallholder agricultural development and rural poverty reduction has been recognized as effective responses to emerging global challenges. This has motivated a renewed interest in local knowledge and in the development and testing of new learning tools to disseminate and scale up innovations.

    In this context, the importance of learning from others inspired the PROCASUR Corporation to design "Learning Routes" and other knowledge-management and capacity-building approaches and tools, all with the objectives of valuing local knowledge and facilitating the development of platforms in which experiences and innovations can be exchanged. This methodology has proved effective in providing peer-to-peer training and technical assistance as well as addressing the needs of vulnerable groups.

    So what exactly is a Learning Route?

    A Learning Route (LR) is a planned educational journey with learning objectives designed to:
    (i) address the knowledge needs of development practitioners who are faced with problems associated with rural poverty;
    (ii) identify local stakeholders who have tackled similar challenges successfully and innovatively, recognizing that their accumulated knowledge and experience can be useful to others; and
    (iii) support local organizations in the systematization of these best practices in order for local stakeholders to proficiently share their knowledge with others.

    The LR capacity-building tool has a proven track record of integrating and promoting local rural development knowledge and experiences that includes exchanges among project staff, grass root organizations, the private sector, and local champions from the fieldin order to determine the best practices with scaling-up potential. This interaction usually continues after the end of the LR journey, allowing projects to develop the methods and tools to adapt and expand innovations and best solutions for the rural poor communities. The end goal is for the local participants to become more effective and strategic in their own context. The Learning Route encourages each participant to come up with a concrete innovation plan for actions.

    Training Workshop on Learning Route implementation:

    The PROCASUR Corporation, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Country office in Sudan, organized a Training Workshop on 18-21 September 2016 in Khartoum Sudan. They convened representatives from IFAD-funded projects, the Central Coordination Unit for IFAD (CCU), and Sudan’s Ministry of Animal Resources (MOAR), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MoAF) and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) to discuss Learning Route implementation.

    The training workshop is one of the activities organized under the project: "Knowledge Management Tools for Enhanced Project Performance" organized by the IFAD Country Office in Sudan in collaboration with ProcasurAfrica. The key objectives were i) to enhance knowledge-management skills among IFAD’s supported projects in Sudan for the transfer of methodological toolsand ii)to provide skills and empower IFAD-funded projects in the organizing and implementing customized, country-scaled “Learning Routes”.

    The intense four-day programme included myriad presentations, reflections, discussions, and question–answer sessions to help representatives learn from PROCASUR about how to implement a successful learning route. Another key aim of this training was to share the lessons learned, project results, impact evaluation, and replication of good practices gained from the implementation of past LRs, all in order to capitalize on this knowledge in determining how to scale up good practices.

    For Aisha Mahmoud Mohammed, inspector of Animal Protection at the Federal Ministry of Animal Resources in Sudan, it was the first time to participate in a training on the Learning Route methodology. She found it interesting to learn about how to prepare a Learning Route and the selection of the right case studies:

    "The workshop is a good opportunity for me to increase my skills and knowledge aboutLearning Routes as a way of sharing knowledge. I will go back to the Ministry of Animal Resources, and share what I have learned with my colleagues."

    The participants were able to understand the differences between an exchange visit and a Learning Route. One of the key take-home messages for the participants was that the Learning Route is a continuous learning process: organizers of a Learning Route need to understand what they want to learn, how to share knowledge during field visits, and how to make use of new knowledge after the LR.

    Participants also learned about the selection of host case studies, the construction of knowledge products, the involvement and roles of the different stakeholders in a Learning Route, such as the technical coordinator, the methodological coordinator, and the local champions, who have the requisite knowledge and are willing to share it with others and act as trainers.

    The connection between the roles and responsibilities of Learning Route actors and the systematisation of the host cases is an important insight. It is essential for us to understand how to define the different actors, their responsibilities, and roles, in order for us to adequately prepare them for the presentation of the host cases to the Learning Route participants.” ~ Tarig Amin Abu Albashar, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Western Sudan Resource Management Programme (WSRMP).

    In the subsequent sessions, PROCASUR associate consultantMs. Barbara Massler and Methodological Coordinator, Mr. Fred Iga Luganda, presented the different learning instruments of a Learning Route. They included an experience fair, field visits, case analyses, and the development of an innovation plan. The innovation plan is a concrete plan of action that outlines how LR participants can incorporate new products, services, or processes from the lessons learned and best practices into their own strategic framework and corresponding activities.

    Planning the implementation of a Learning Route on Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Productivity:

    The objective of one of the training sessions was to assist the participants in the organization of a future LR: a Learning Route on Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Productivity24 October to 2 November, 2016.

    Participants discussed the list of activities the organizers need to do to prepare for the Learning Route, including logistics and production of learning material such as write-ups and case studies. They were guided on the systematisation of case studies and they discussed how the existing draftcases can be improved. The facilitators also highlighted the importance of including specific learning mechanisms and incorporatingthe role of different actors. Focus was also given to the practical arrangements related to organising a Learning Route.

    It became clearer to the participants what kind of information they need to collect during the coming weeks. The exercise was a reminder of the hard work of organizing a complex training activity such as the Learning Route. In the afternoon, PROCASUR staff presented different ways to monitor and evaluate a Learning Route and how projects can monitor the implementation of Innovation Plans.

    The participants have so many lessons to take home with them from the training.

    A good practice is when the experience is achieving what it was designed for, has a positive effect and can be replicated.” ~ Dr. Nadir Yousif Hamdan, Director of the Livestock Marketing and Resilience Project (LMRP).
    A local champion is a community member who has good knowledge in certain practices, is well trained, has facilitation skills and is able to share this knowledge with others”~ Aida Adam Osman, Community Development Officer from Butana Intergrated Rural Development Project (BIRDP).

    The Ex-Post Follow Up Session:

    “Learning experiences are like journeys. The journey starts where the learning is now, and ends when the learner is successful. The end of the journey is not in knowing more, it is in doing more.”~ C. William Pollard. 
    For this reason, PROCASUR advocates for the Monitoring and Evaluation of the impact of a LR as an important aspect of the follow up phase.

    The last day of the training workshop focused on the Ex-Post LR phase in relation to lessons learned, project results, and replication of good practices. Participantsshared their past experiences from previous Learning Routes and implementations of innovation plans. The elements needed in order to successfully implement an innovation plan were highlighted as follows: i) the existence of a model that works a community level and has been promoted as a good practice ii) a visionary leader to take the agenda forward iii) incentives to raise interest inreplicating the practices among participants. Other factors that influence the implementation of innovation plans are allocated funds, policy and legal conditions, capacity among institutions and organisations, political support, project and environment support for a bottom-up approach, and cultural feasibility. Some of the take-home messages for the future were i) that Learning Routes enhance participants’ knowledge, which can then be transferred in project activities outside an innovation plan; ii) that it is better to prepare an Innovation Plan in a group; iii)that projects or initiatives presented in the Innovation plans should be embedded in existing project initiatives or components instead of being stand-alone concepts; and iv) that it is important to agree with decision-makers on how to secure funding for the proposed innovation plan.

    Some of the examples presented as planned and implemented activities after LRs were i) designing and constructing a slaughterhouse, ii) improved rangeland management, iii) sponsoring goat production through the IFAD-funded BIRD project, and iv) GALS ToT trainings in WSRMP and better use of the community-development fund as a result of GALS training in BIRD.


    The workshop was an intensive, knowledge-enriching and fruitful four days where theory, practice, and exchanges were perfectly combined. A lot of information was shared and learned. The participants were well versed on the Learning Route instruments and empowered by Learning Route stakeholder selection and the list of activities that organizers need to do to prepare for the Learning Route, including logistics, write-ups and finalization of case studies.

    The group left the workshop in high spirits, feeling enthused, hopeful, and empowered on their journey towards implementing their self-organized Learning Route on Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Productivity scheduled for the 24th of October 2016. This training workshop has enabled the transfer of practical approaches towards the selection of good practices and has significantly contributed to clarifying what organizers need to do in order to implement a successful Learning Route.

    IFAD is funding Learning Routes across Africa, Asia and Latin America through the international knowledge-broker PROCASUR and the inter-regional program 2016-2018: "Strengthening capacities and tools to scale-up and disseminate innovations". A global catalyst for change and knowledge sharing, PROCASUR's work positively impacts the lives and livelihoods for rural talents across the globe.
    To have more information on this workshop and to download the Training Toolkit and Program of the activities, please visit this page.

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  • 10/17/16--05:18: More than just a recipe
  • I have just returned from Mozambique where I was lucky enough to see the latest in IFAD's cooking and climate series, Recipes for Change, being filmed. The newest recipe, Caldeirada De Cabrito Com Mandioca, is a goat and cassava curry. It was was cooked by a local farmer, Helina Paulo, and famous Mozambican chef, Rogerio Matusse. Rogerio has his own catering company and is a regular presenter on Mozambican TV, also hosting a Mozambican tourism show.

    Chef Rogerio and Helina cooking together ©IFAD

    IFAD works in Mozambique through its PROSULproject, fighting the effects of climate change on smallholder farmers. Farmers like Helina are facing problems with drier soils, higher temperatures and increased droughts. Water shortages and lack of irrigation also contribute to the difficulties facing smallholders. All this is combining to reduce yields, increase wastage and ultimately hurt farmers’ incomes.

    The PROSUL project has split itself into three separate streams to help tackle these issues- horticulture, red meat and cassava. Each segment has its own set of actions, which complement each other and ultimately ensure traditional dishes like caldeira de cabrito com mandioca will stay on the menu in Mozambique. The red meat stream is ensuring the health of goats by introducing new raised goat shelters, that stop goats catching diseases when it floods. The cassava and horticulture focused parts, are introducing new planting techniques, seed species and irrigation systems to ensure vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers and cassava are protected.

    Water irrigation system at the Wapsala Association ©IFAD

    Through the project cassava processing plants, like the one in the picture below, are being built. In these plants farmers are diversifying incomes by creating cassava flour, cassava cakes and biscuits and in some areas selling the surplus cassava they’ve grown to breweries who make beer from it.

    Where is the cassava surplus coming from?

    Intercropping with cassava and cowpea ©IFAD

    The project has been introducing new cassava to households. This new cassava survives on far less water than traditional cassava, which is crucial in low rainfall or drought years. Additionally, this new cassava is more resistant to diseases and pests.

    Helina measuring out the distance between crops ©IFAD
    Farmers are also being taught the latest adaptation techniques to cope with climate change. One technique is to identify cassava which is infected with pests and diseases and ensure that farmers remove these. Traditionally farmers have not wanted to remove any cassava as this would mean a loss of product. However through farmer field schools, farmers have been taught how early identification and removal of affected crops actually preserves yields. Traditionally a farmer would plant cassava and after a year would harvest. But with the new techniques such as intercropping this has allowed farmers to plant crops with a far shorter growing cycle than cassava on the same plot. This means that they can harvest and sell the other crops while waiting for the cassava to mature, bolstering incomes. Also as the secondary crops such as cowpea grow they provide shade to the cassava and retain soil moisture which both help the cassava to grow large and healthy.

    Wapsala Association meeting ©IFAD

    Helina is part of the Wapsala Farmers Association. It is a group of smallholder farmers that regularly meet to share knowledge and lessons learned. They meet at the Association’s headquarters, which is surrounded by their own plots. The headquarters also doubles as the cassava processing plant. Helina said that by using these new techniques all the farmers at the Wapsala Association have seen big increases in their yields. They Using the project's market connections they have also found reliable markets to sell their produce.

    Creating cassava flour at the Wapsala processing plant ©IFAD

    Cassava processing plant in Wapsala ©IFAD 

    Grinding cassava in the Wapsala processing plant ©IFAD

    Cassava flour biscuits, one of the new revenue streams for the Wapsala Association ©IFAD

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    Regional integration is a development priority for Africa. All Africans, not just policy makers and decision makers, have a role to play in making integration a reality for the continent. Regional integration is about getting things moving freely across the whole of Africa. This means getting goods to move more easily across borders; transport, energy and telecommunications to connect more people across more boundaries; people to move more freely across frontiers, and capital and production to move and grow beyond national limits. The main objective of pursuing trade and market integration in Africa is to boost intra-African trade and investments (see Africa Regional Integration Index Report 2016). When trade flows are faster and more cost-effective, business and consumers in the regions benefit as it creates employment, industrial linkages, economic diversification and structural transformation that, by extension, generate sustainable development on the continent (see UNECA – Trade and market integration).

    In this context, the  new Kano-Jigawa-Daura-Zinder cross-border development corridor was launched in Dutse, Nigeria on 29 September 2016. The aim is to improve cross-border trade and food security and to strengthen economic integration between Niger and Nigeria. The corridor should boost the economies of the two countries by improving cross-border flows of agro-pastoral products and facilitating linkages between development poles and transportation systems.

    The IFAD-financed Family Farming Development Programme (ProDAF) in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions has provided technical and financial support to this initiative. The Programme’s objective is to sustainably increase the income of 240,000 family farms, their resilience to external shocks, including climate change, and their access to local, urban and regional markets in the three regions. More specifically, ProDAF is working to facilitate cross-border trade, increase knowledge about cross-border trade constraints and propose and test solutions with economic operators. These activities are carried out in partnership with the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation, as well as consular trade offices, economic operators and professional organizations. ProDAF is currently seeing how they can collaborate with the Climate Change Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme in the Savannah Belt in Nigeria in supporting the development of the new cross-border trade corridor.

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    A guest blog by: Esther Penunia, Secretary General, Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development 
    Edited by: Linh Le

    Meet Nirmala Shrestha, a Nepali teacher, a daughter of a farming family, and a cancer survivor. She is the brain, the inspiration, the founder and owner of the three-year-old Shakti Organic Fertilizer Factory in Nepal. 

    Photo: Nirmala Shrestha- the founder of Shakti Organic Fertilizer Factory in Nepal, ©AFA/Esther Penunia 

    What inspired Ms. Nirmala? 
    Nirmala said that farmers in Nepal use too much chemical fertilizers which are not good for the soil and health of the people. With that in mind, she mobilized 50 shareholders to the company, some of whom are teachers, some are businesspersons, and some are farmers. She made a search on Google on how to make organic fertilizers and hired one technician. Now she has 16 people working in the factory. The factory got 50 per cent subsidy from the government for the machines, after a long application process. 

    Photo: The Shakti Organic Fertilizer Factory in Nepal, ©AFA/Esther Penunia 
    The organic fertilizer is a mixture of cow dung, pig and chicken manure, fruit and vegetable wastes, bone wastes, rice hull, and even cow urine. The factory gets the fruit and vegetable wastes from a nearby market. The fertilizer costs 25 rupees per kg, but government subsidizes 10 rupees per kg so the farmer pays only 15 rupees. The government provides 75 kilos of fertilizer subsidy for every half hectare of land. The factory was recently awarded by Agro Times, a national newsprint media in Nepal.

    Photo: A product of Shakti Organic Compost, ©AFA/Esther Penunia 

    Ms. Nirmala attended many training seminars, one of which was by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). She was very happy to meet new friends from SEWA. Now she wants to know how to run the factory as a cooperative. So All Nepal Peasant Federations Association (ANPFa), which is the National Implementing Agency of the Medium Term Cooperation Program Phase Two (MTCP2) is linking them to another cooperative.

    The MTCP2 is a five-year program supported by IFAD, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and European Union (EU) and is aimed to build the capacities of farmer organizations in 17 countries to effectively deliver services to their members and engage in policy work with their governments and partner development institutions.

    Nirmala’s effort and hard work served as a great inspiration to the MTCP2 South Asia group that visited her on 10 September 2016. We are looking forward to following her future achievements and her company’s business. 

    Photo: Nirmala Shrestha and the members of MTCP2 South Asia group, ©AFA/Esther Penunia 

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    by Francesca Aloisio

    If women want to change their status they need to be the agents of that change. And social change is the goal of the Joint Programme on Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women (RWEE).

    While it is still a pilot (it was launched in 2012) and underfunded, RWEE has already shown impressive results in terms of women’s empowerment and livelihood improvement. About 3,500 women have received training to improve agricultural technologies and farming methods, while a total of 18,000 women and their households have benefitted from it.

    These results could not have been achieved if it wasn’t for a key word in the programme’s title: ‘joint’. RWEE is the result of the partnership of four UN agencies that came together to achieve gender equality in seven different countries around the world.

    The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) work in close collaboration, handling different areas regarding their mandate, but all aiming to educate and empower women.

    As mentioned by Lourdes Magana de Larriva, Advisor at the Delegation of the European Union to the UN, and co-chair of the Network for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, rural women are more likely to be left behind despite the aim of Sustainable Development Goal number five: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. RWEE recognizes rural women as key actors for sustainable development, working to realize women’s rights. We are talking about economic, social and political rights.

    RWEE presented at a side event of the 43rd session of the Committee on the World Food Security (CFS). The full-house appreciated hearing about the success stories from Liberia, Guatemala, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Ethiopia, Nepal and Rwanda, but also the challenges confronting the programme.

    In Niger, women, men and young people gather together in groups to discuss the problems they face and to find solutions. "The interactions and exchanges among men and women have encouraged mutual understanding," says Biba Saley, leader of one of the Dimitra clubs established in Dosso, Niger.

    Some of the women who turned their life around thanks to this programme include women in Niger; in Nepal; Ethiopia; Rwanda; and Kyrgyzstan.

    One of the main actions to support the empowerment of women in themselves in rural communities is to improve their skills in agriculture. This leads us to the issue of food sovereignty.

    Talking to Sophie Dowllar, from the World March of Women in Kenya, she points out the importance of food sovereignty and building a feminist economy as an alternative for women.

    World March of Women is an international feminist action movement that aims at eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and looks at the root causes of poverty. "Our priority is to ensure that women are free of hunger first, because we cannot say just be happy if you're hungry, we cannot say that we need peace and you're hungry," explains Sophie.

    The beneficiaries of the movement are "Grassroots women who are tilling the land every day, who are connected with their families down there and that do everything they can to ensure that they have good food,” she says.

    But what exactly is rural women economic empowerment? Empowering rural women has several meanings. It means enabling women to be recognized as a fundamental part of their community. It means teaching them how to read and write so they can go to the bank and sign a pay slip without help from others. It means building confidence. It means equal access to resources and food production increases. It means educating men and eliminating domestic violence.

    Knowledge and resource sharing seems to be a primary ingredient for progress, as shown by the partnership of UN agencies in RWEE and by the World March of Women experience. In fact, every year, on April 24th, World March of Women celebrates with 24 hours of feminist action, where they exchange seeds across countries and build worldwide connections.

    The road to achieve gender equality in rural areas is still long, but the initial steps seem promising!

    This blog was originally written as the live coverage for CFS43.

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    Written by IFAD's South-South and Triangular Cooperation team

    An IFAD delegation traveled to China in September 2016 to participate in a series of events around the relationship between China and Africa within the development agricultural sector. Specifically the delegation had the opportunity to: share experiences and resources on rural development through a South-South Cooperation exchange offered by the Government of China for officials from African countries; participate in field visits in the Jiangsu province featuring rural and agricultural innovations; and attend the “Investing in Africa” Forum in Guangzhou on September 7-8, 2016, hosted by World Bank Group, the Guangdong Provincial Government and the China Development Bank.

    During the two-day conference on South-South Cooperation exchanges, IFAD presented its concrete examples of South-South and Triangular Cooperation activities, in particular some African cases, highlighting the partnership between the Government of China and IFAD.

    Among the various session, of particular interest was the one on Africa’s demands in agricultural development which highlighted Africa’s interest in learning from the Chinese experience in sustainable development. The dialogue between Chinese investors, multilateral development finance institutions and African officials was facilitated by the Foreign Economic Cooperation Center in the Ministry of Agriculture and the World Bank.

    The “Investing in Africa” Forum aimed at bringing together stakeholders to discuss effective approaches, policies and partnerships for supporting Africa’s economic development. IFAD was represented by Lead Economist Rui Benfica, who, during the “Boosting Agricultural Productivity and Expanding Agribusiness Opportunities” segment, facilitated a discussion on the future of agriculture and agribusiness development in Africa and the potential role that China can play.

    The IFAD delegation also participated in the inaugural annual meeting of the “Investing in Africa” Think Tank Alliance, where IFAD was invited to provide its contribution as a member of its Advisory Board.

    The field visits in Juangsu Province involved examples of innovative agricultural projects in peri-urban area of Nanjing supported by local, regional, provincial and central government bodies. Throughout these trips, African delegates were exposed to innovative Chinese solutions to rural development which included:

    • The creation and management of an agro-tourism “slow food” city (GaoChun);
    • The production and management of organic tea;
    • High-yielding rice cultivation techniques displayed in HeFeng Town;
    • Introduction to Chinese agriculture technology manufacturers located in Nanjing.

    The overall outcome of the mission to China is that IFAD is well positioned to play a strong role in similar exchange events in the future, for instance by providing additional support and strengthening the pool of participants, which could be drawn from IFAD’s network of governmental, private sector and project staff, as well as by potentially hosting the next South-South Cooperation exchange in collaboration with China.

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    Written by IFAD's South-South and Triangular Cooperation team

    South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) is a key priority area for the Government of Indonesia as a tool for learning from others and as a mechanism for sharing the country's considerable experience, technology and solutions.

    In the context of the new COSOP (Country Strategic Opportunities Programme) cycle, with a view to responding to the institutional target of IFAD10 to include an articulated approach to South-South andTriangular Cooperation (SSTC) in at least 50 per cent of all COSOPs, the IFAD SSTC team visited IFAD's Indonesia country office in July, to explore strategic opportunities to strengthen cooperation with the Government and other stakeholders, develop partnerships, and engage in dialogue and policy platforms. 

    In addition, the country office will  also explore opportunities to enhance its financial and human resource base in order to further strengthen IFAD's support to the Government and the country programme and drive a monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management and innovation agenda. The outcomes of the mission will inform the development of a proposed IFAD-Indonesia SSTC partnership during the 2016-2019.

    During the mission, the Government of Indonesia reaffirmed its interest in developing SSTC initiatives, and showcasing successful experiences and lessons from IFAD. The Government's approach to SSTC over the short and medium term, will focus on productive capacity, agriculture, food and rural development strategies.

    The IFAD delegation also met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on the Government's on-going efforts to design and launch a single agency for coordinating and delivering development cooperation activities.

    Other Entities as BAPPENAS participated in the initiative to share Indonesia's experience and to strengthen and learn from others in key areas of development and to increase its capacity to implement SSTC.

    The delegation also met with other United Nations agencies, such as FAO, WFP and UNDP, as well as Regional Development Banks such as ADB and IDB, discussing the Government’s interest in developing knowledge products, in particular analysis and policy research products.

    Conclusions and recommended steps to follow:

    Field visits to Indonesia were made to observe innovative rural solutions developed via IFAD's Coastal Community Development Project(CCDP) for future replication in other countries and to observe the successful experiences and lessons learned. The mission's findings will be used to refine and support the implementation of the SSTC component in the upcoming Indonesia COSOP .

    To this end, the SSTC team will prepare a short proposal for the Government outlining concrete actions and activities for developing an IFAD-Indonesia SSTC partnership.

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    At the Forty-third session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 43), participants  met for an event where “Making a Difference in Food Security and Nutrition” was the subject of discussion.

    The event was facilitated by Mark Davis, FAO Deputy Director of the Climate and Environment Division. It was a fairly informal panel with representatives from each of the Rome Based Agencies, and a representative from the World Farmers Organisation. The panel included: Alexandre Meybeck, Senior Policy Officer on Agriculture at FAO; Roshan Cooke,Regional Environment and Climate Change specialist at IFAD ; Tania Osejo, Climate Adaptation Specialist at WFP; and Mr Dyborn Chibonga, Chief Executive Officer at the National Smallholder Farmers Association on Malawi. During the  side event, panellists focused on experiences from local climate adaptation efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition.

    Mark Davis opened by saying ''With a changing climate, agriculture needs to change way it operates too.''

    In light of the Paris Agreement, rural communities and farmers have been urged to  take the lead as efficient agents of change to enhance adaptation capabilities to the negative impacts of climate change to food security and nutrition.

    The event also  reviewed elements in various country–led climate adaptation plans, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

    Ten INDCs actually name IFAD specifically as contributing towards their national adaptation priorities in the agriculture sector. “We need to move towards diversification for farmers - away from monoculture'', said Roshan Cooke, adding,'' Good results are already coming in from our adaptation work with smallholders."

    Alexandre gave the FAO view by saying ''We need a multi stakeholder approach to working with  countries on their INDC targets and priorities that leverages each agency’s comparative advantages..''

    Tania admitted that reaching the Sustainable Development Goals would put the Rome-based Agencies out of business. Achieving  zero hunger would mean WFP had done its job. Unfortunately we are not there yet. So in the meantime, 'we are trying to facilitate adaptation planning processes whilst linking communities to market and social infrastructure.''

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    Written by: Mia Madsen

    Participants at IFAD-Iraq high-level meeting in Amman, Jordan.
    ©IFAD/M. Madsen

    The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is developing its first country programme in Iraq. IFAD's Near East, North Africa and Europe Division (NEN) has concluded a high-level consultation meeting in Amman, Jordan,  where a roadmap for IFAD investment in Iraq was discussed.

    The meeting included representatives from Iraq's Ministry of Agriculture at the Central and Governorate level, Ministry of Water Resources, Iraqi universities and research institutions, as well as other international partners working in Iraq including the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Italian Cooperation and others. All participants and Iraqi stakeholders contributed directly to the outcome: the priorities for the Country Strategy Note and the key elements of the first IFAD project to be developed in the country.

    Working in fragile situations

    "The first step in the partnership between IFAD and Iraq has been very positive. We had frank productive discussions during the meetings and now have a clear idea of issues related to production and constraints in the agricultural sector in Iraq," said Ahmad Bamarni, Ambassador of Iraq to Italy.

    The IFAD-Iraq high-level meeting was held in Amman, Jordan, 18-20 October 2016.  Opening the  meeting,  Khalida Bouzar, Director of IFAD’s Near East, North Africa & Europe Division (NEN), stated that IFAD's  engagement in Iraq is part of the agency’s strategy to work in fragile situations.

    "This meeting is an opportunity for us to discuss the priorities and main strategies for future investment in Iraq. Hopefully in the future we can hold similar meetings in Iraq," said  Bouzar.
    IFAD's engagement with Iraq and the development of the country programme, are aligned with and build on, the IFAD fragile situations strategy. IFAD will work to build resilience of target communities in post-conflict environments like in Iraq, in a participatory manner through partnerships with local and international organizations, and maintain a clear focus on gender and targeting of the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

    "We look forward to activating a programme in the agriculture sector which needs new technologies to improve and develop crop and livestock productivity. We believe that agriculture and food organizations like IFAD and FAO are important partners. They have highly reputed experts in agriculture and rural development," said Dr. Kutaiba Mohammed Hassan, Director-General, Department of Planning and Monitoring, Ministry of Agriculture, Iraq.

    Abdelkarim Sma, NEN Regional Economist, presented the IFAD Strategic Framework and Operating Model, where he described IFAD interventions in other countries in the region (Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Uzbekistan). Mr. Sma also shared insights on IFAD's previous interventions in Iraq. These included grant-financed interventions on improving  food security and climate change adaptability of livestock producers and on improving livelihoods of small producers through integrated pest management. IFAD's country programme would build on lessons from these interventions.

    Challenges of the agricultural sector in Iraq

    The main focus of the IFAD- Iraq meeting was to understand the present challenges that the Iraqi agricultural sector is facing as well as exchange ideas for future IFAD investments in the country. The interventions included challenges and opportunities for  investment in crop production, water and irrigation, livestock, date palm, climate change and natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, honey production, agricultural policy needs and access to finance. The discussions gave important insights on the challenges the agricultural sector in Iraq is facing and the areas that IFAD investments in Iraq should focus on, ensuring the interests of small-scale farmers remain the priority.

    Jacopo Monzini, IFAD Senior Technical Specialist, presented a climate change mapping study which included information about the effects of climate change in Iraq. Some of the findings showed that temperatures have been increasing since 1981 and there are changes in rainfall patterns, a trend which is expected to continue affecting the agricultural sector also in the future.

    "What we need in Iraq is to help smallholder farmers, youth and women establish small farms and produce crops and livestock,  improve their productivity, access markets and market their products. We need to introduce technologies to improve yields and farmer income, for example, drip and spray irrigation, packaging systems for horticulture systems, green houses and harvesting machines," said Dr. Fadhil Hussain Ridha, Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Kufa.

    "We had a very nice, mature, scientific discussion about projects for developing the agriculture sector in Iraq," said Dr. Majeed K.  Abbas, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Al Qadisiyah.

    The next  steps

    The consultative meeting proposed potential elements of a project concept note, the Smallholder Agriculture Revitalization in Iraq Project (SARI), which would focus on improved crop and livestock productivity, enhanced resilience to climate change, and increased income diversification for smallholder farmers in Iraq. The proposed project will tentatively target five of the poorest governorates in Iraq (Qadisiyah, Thi Qar, Missan, Muthanna, Nineveh), with a phased implementation approach. IFAD will build on the partnerships developed during the meeting to design the project in a participatory manner in the first quarter of 2017, with a slightly ambitious target of submitting the first IFAD investment project in Iraq to the December 2017 Executive Board for approval.

    "The meeting was good and it was very inclusive with partners and experts from different sectors who gave inputs for possible interventions. When planning the new project it is important to take into account the needs of rural women in Iraq as they face challenges like intense labour work at the farms, farming activities, milking, collecting water, responsibility for family, lack of education and health services, "said Dr. Magda Abdulkadhim Salem, Head of Tissue Culture Unit, Department of Horticulture.

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    By Marie Chanoine, Ilaria Firmian and Brian Thomson

    Last week in Kigali IFAD organised the first South-South exchange among five projects that receive co-financing from the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP).
    The objective of the workshop was to bring together project practitioners for mutual learning, capacity building and collaborative efforts. Participants included project implementation unit members from PASP (Rwanda), PRELNOR (Uganda), PROSUL (Mozambique), WAMPP (Lesotho) and CALIP (Bangladesh).

    On the first day each project presented its own objectives, activities and achievements so far, then we went more in depth on the topic of climate information, which is something that all the projects have in common. A recent study on PASP intermediate results on climate information was presented by Dr Denis Rugege who highlighted how farmers understand the critical need for climate information. Rugege emphasized the importance of building feedback systems that contribute to improving and tailoring the message to farmer’s needs. This also encourages a higher quantity and quality in terms of their participation.

    The second day focused on the delivery of a capacity building training on messaging techniques, as well as on group work on four topics selected on the basis of participants’ demands. The topics were: (i) addressing gender and nutrition as cross cutting issues in adaptation projects; (ii) best practices in natural resource management planning; (iii) challenges and opportunities in working with different types of partners; and (iv) piloting climate-smart technologies and bringing them to scale.

    On the third day, the Rwanda team organised a field visit to the KOREMU cooperative, a maize and beans farmer cooperative, located in the Eastern Province's Ngoma District. The cooperative was created in 2011 with 90 members, cultivating under 40ha only. Presently, thanks to PASP support that covers training and coaching and climate information dissemination as well as financial support for investing in climate-smart facilities, technologies and equipment, the cooperative has grown considerably with 350 members cultivating almost 600 ha.

    On the final day the discussion focused on the development of Knowledge Management and Communication plans at project level. All the projects had identified a number of common challenges in terms of generation and dissemination of lessons from project experience including weak communication systems within the project, product development, accessing media and broadcasting, linking knowledge to policy dialogue process, etc. and our team from IFAD proposed actions and support to overcome them. The tried and tested ‘Climate Games’ were also used in the workshop to stimulate reflection and foster interactions.

    The project practioners were coming from countries affected by diverse climate change effects (e.g. drought, dry spells, floods, flash floods, water stress, etc.) and intervening in various value chains. Hence, the workshop was a distinctive opportunity to exchange on challenges and adaptation strategies and practices adopted in both Asia and Africa. Although project challenges were peculiar to each country as per the social, economic, political and environmental and climate contexts, the workshop participants were delighted to share practical solutions and technical approaches pertinent to most cases.

    This was the first step to build a network of IFAD’s ASAP implementers for future collaborations and experience sharing – listening to their say we can say it was successful!

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