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    By Inosi Vulawalu, Knowledge Management, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Fiji AgriculturePartnership Project (FAPP)

    The Fiji Agricultural Partnerships Project (FAPP) is the first IFAD in-country loan investment in the country and became effective in December 2015. It has a Project Management Unit (PMU) located within the Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters in Suva. The Project is co-funded by the Government of Fiji (GoF) and IFAD and has a four-year timeframe. It will be implemented in one district of Naitasiri province, 2 districts of Ba province and 4 districts of Nadroga/Navosa province. The overall goal of FAPP is reducing hardship in remote rural communities of Fiji. To achieve this goal, the Project endeavours to engage small-scale producers in sustainable farming and establishing business partnerships in remote areas, particularly in the highlands.

    Over the past months, the PMU participated in a number of trainings and learning events that were instrumental in having the team strengthen their skills and experiences, familiarize with IFAD processes and operating modalities, and put in place project implementation arrangements.

    Training in value chain analysis and knowledge management

    Most recently, FAPP’s PMU staff participated in the Value Chain Analysis capacity building training organized by the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Pacific Islands Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON). The workshop was held from 26 to 28 April 2017 and participants included IFAD Sub-regional Coordinator for the Pacific, Sakiusa Tubuna, staff of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Tim Martyn from FAO. It was also attended by nine Research and Extension staff of Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture.

    The training covered topics such as introducing the basic concepts of value chain, key lessons from Pacific value chain studies, and undertaking a value chain analysis for fresh and processed ginger and taro. Field visits were also part of the program. Participants visited some value chain actors who are the leading agricultural exporters in Fiji to-date, such as Ben’s Trading Limited, Kaiming Agro Processing Ltd both situated in Navua and Ranadi’s Plantation. Ben’s Trading Ltd primarily exports root-crops such as taro and cassava, to markets in Australia, NZ and USA. Kaiming Agro Processing Limited exports crystallized and glazed ginger to USA, Australia, NZ, UK and Germany. Ranadi Plantation situated along the Queens Highway in Deuba is about 45minutes drive away from Suva. They are one of the largest organic ginger producers in Fiji and also exports fruits, legumes and spices

    Last year I also had the opportunity to attend a regional workshop on “Developing Knowledge Management Capacity for Improved Agriculture, Information, Research and Policy Banks in the Pacific“. The training was organized by the Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP) co-funded by the EU, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and took place in Fiji from 31 May to 3 June 2016. The purpose of the workshop was to assist us improve our knowledge sharing environment to disseminate agricultural information and knowledge within our country and amongst other countries. Topics covered were on Knowledge Management (KM) products, tools and understanding the KM tree provided by CTA.

    Another workshop I also attended was on “Development of E-agriculture Strategy for Fiji”. It was organized by the International Telecommunication Unit (specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies) and FAO. It took place in Suva and its purpose was to help identify and address challenges in a broad manner and help Fiji leverage the best outcomes from emerging and innovative technologies.

    FAPP also conducted its first ever stakeholder workshop in April 2016. The Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Jitendra Singh officiated the opening and acknowledged the participation of international agencies like IFAD to partner and develop the livelihoods of people residing in rural and vulnerable communities. The workshop, held at the Holiday Inn in Suva, was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and few farmers from the PHVA project in Nadarivatu.

    The team also joined IFAD Indigenous people consultation session held in Deuba on 23 November 2016. Monica Romano, IFAD Project Implementation Specialist, conducted a presentation on the action plan for strengthening KM communication in managing the IFAD Pacific portfolio in the pacific.

    Awareness raising about FAPP

    The PMU has conducted some awareness sessions to the Ministry of Agriculture’s extension officers that will be cooperating with FAPP in the project’s target areas. For example, in October 2016, we paid a visit to the extension officers responsible for target areas in Nadroga/Navosa province and their Principal Agriculture Officer Western. The meeting was held at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Sigatoka Research Station in Nacocolevu, approximately 10km from Sigatoka town. The team also visited three exporters in Bilalevu, which falls in the Waicoba district of Nadroga Province. These exporters procure eggplants, Okra, Moringa (Saijan) leaves mostly from farmers in the upper valley of Sigatoka and exports to New Zealand market and supplies also to local markets.

    Earlier in July 2016, the project team had visited the highlands of Viti Levu and briefed the extension staff as well. The extension officers will be working in cooperation and coordination with project in-field staff, providing support in technology transfer to the communities. That’s why we felt it was important that we established linkages with them early on and we explained the project's focus and implementation structure in the field. The team had also the opportunity to visit some of the Ministry of Agriculture’s projects in Navai and Nadala villages. Navai village falls within Nabobuco district of Naitasiri but is located very closely to Nadala village in the district of Savatu, Ba province and Nadrau in the province of Nadroga/Navosa province. We visited a potato and other assorted vegetable farmer and also witnessed a small mushroom plot managed by a woman. Demand for mushroom in Fiji according to the Ministry of Agriculture Extension officers in Nadarivatu, is huge. The Ministry of Agriculture through promotion and training of local farmers will enable them to sell mushroom in local markets and generate income.

    In addition to these training and visits, the PMU also visited Kaiming Agro Processing Ltd, Ben’s Trading Limited and Joes Farm on 3 March 2017. This enabled us to better understand the operation processes and also to brief them on FAPP’s component on SMEs. Joes Farm exports vegetables to PICs such as Kiribati, Nauru and the Marshall Islands. They also export Dalo, Cassava, Jackfruits, Breadfruits, Yams to Australia and USA.

    Given the vital role the Research Division will also play in the project, the PMU also made a courtesy visit to the Koronivia Research Station (KRS) to brief the Principal Research Officers on FAPP and most importantly the project’s linkages to the Research Division. Principal Research Officer - Agronomy guided the PMU team to the Naduruloulou Research Station where various propagation methods of fruit trees are conducted. Nursery management is also a vital component of the station’s operation

    FAPP team made another visit in April this year to the Extension officers following its meeting with the Assistant Minister for Agriculture to provide an update on FAPP. The meeting also included other government stakeholders from the Ministry of Provincial Development and the Ministry of I’taukei Affairs.

    FAPP team led by the Project Manager Kaliova Nadumu briefed the new Assistant Minister for Agriculture Hon Viam Pillay regarding the project and its core purposes. Hon. Viam Pillay acknowledged the team for the brief. He requested the team to keep extension officers updated on the progress of FAPP.

    IFAD Implementation Support Missions

    In November 2016, a team of international experts from IFAD led by the IFAD Sub Regional Coordinator visited us to undertake an Implementation Support Mission. The team consisted of Ronald Hartman, IFAD Country Director managing the Pacific portfolio; Monica Romano; Ed Angeles (IFAD Finance Specialist); and Finance Trainee, Viliame Mavoa.

    The team reviewed the project’s progress and worked with PMU to advance implementation, identify bottlenecks, and revise the Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWP&B) and Procurement Plan, and define KM activities. They also met various stakeholders to discuss project related issues. Ron Hartman had the opportunity to meet the Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Joeli Cawaki, and acknowledged the Ministry of Agriculture’s support towards the project.

    Earlier in 2016, IFAD provided implementation support in the areas of project management, with the support of Monica Romano, and financial management and procurement, with the help of Ed Angeles, who revised the Project Implementation Manual (PIM). During a Mission in April 2016, Monica also helped the PMU to prepare KM and M&E action plans, liaising with the M&E office of the Ministry of Agriculture, and drafting the overall project M&E framework, including formats to be used in the field. This work has been further advanced through the assistance of the IFAD M&E Consultant, Fabrizio Vivarini, who was with the team for almost two weeks in December 2016 looking into the RIMS framework, logframe and reporting templates to be used both by PMU and the Lead Implementing Partner (LIP). Therefore, the KM and M&E system is now fully in place.

    The financial management and procurement aspect of the project is also now fully established. The PMU welcomed the project’s Financial Management & Procurement Assistant, Atelena Nauku, at the beginning of 2017. We benefitted a lot from her vast experience and in-depth knowledge of the GoF’s financial management and procurement guidelines. Required office equipment for the PMU and the newly established Agribusiness Development Unit (ADU) is procured with necessary register maintained. The Finance Management and Procurement Officer liaised with the Ministry of Economy and facilitated a refresher on-the-job training on operating the financial management systems. Officers from the Ministry of Economy had conducted two of this type of trainings to the project’s FMPO and his assistant.

    Learning from and experience sharing with other IFAD funded projects

    Early on after its effectiveness, FAPP benefitted from the support from neighbouring IFAD funded projects in the Pacific.. Soane Patolo, Manager of the MORDI Tonga Trust, a NGO implementing the IFAD-supported Tonga Rural Innovation Project (TRIP), was sent to share some valuable experience of project implementation and experiences. The PMU also liaised with the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) of Kiribati’s Outer Island Food and Water Project (OIFWP) when preparing for the RIMS Baseline Survey for FAPP.

    Looking forward to project implementation in the field

    Project preparation and implementation arrangements are near to completion by now. We are now working on the RIMS baseline survey that will be the basis for our continued project monitoring. We look forward to implementation of in-field activities and to sharing our experience of linking small producers and farmers with markets in Fiji.

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    By Nerina Muzurovic, NEN/IFAD, and Drew Gardiner, ILO

    Rates of female education in the Arab World have increased dramatically—a factor usually leading to higher levels of employment. Why, then, is female labor force participation in the Arab World not only the lowest in the world, but also rising very slowly?

    This was one of the questions addressed at a policy forum on gender and labor markets in the Arab world on 3 July 2017 in Amman, Jordan. Panel members hailed from Jordan’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the International Labour Organization (ILO), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, and the University of Minnesota.

    The forum was part of an executive course on evaluating labour market programmes conducted by ILO, under the IFAD regional grant on gender monitoring and evaluation in the Near East and North Africa (NENA). The IFAD and ILO partnership, also known as the “Taqeem Initiative”, looks to build evidence on “what works” in effective rural labor market strategies for women and young people.

    The five-day course brought together more than 60 participants from 9 NENA countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen. It also included co-financiers, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), GIZ and the Economic Research Forum who contributed financial and in-kind support.

    In his opening remarks, the Labour Ministry’s Secretary General Farouq Hadidi highlighted the need for evidence of investments’ impact, when it comes to generating job opportunities. He also noted the importance of supporting positive labor market outcomes in Jordan, as well as drawing from good practices when drawing up policy recommendations.

    The keynote lecture, “Gender and Labor Markets in the Arab World,” was delivered by Ragui Assaad, a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Professor Assaad discussed what he called “the MENA paradox.”

    "Rural young women are both increasingly educated and increasingly unwilling to engage in traditional agriculture work,” said Assaad. “Thus, because of limited mobility and limited modern employment opportunities in their local labor markets, they are increasingly unemployed or withdrawing from labor force altogether."

    Arguing against the idea that “this is strictly a story about conservative cultural values restricting labor supply,” Professor Assaad introduced the idea of “reservation working conditions”—the minimum working conditions that a woman (and her family) will accept.

    “Educated women in the Arab World are seeking higher rates of market work if such work can meet their ‘reservation working conditions,’” Assaad explained. In countries like Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia, this means work places must do the following: preserve women’s sexual and reputational safety; prevent contact with male clients or owners and bosses in non-public spaces; be geographically accessible without excessive commuting; and be located inside fixed establishments, protected from passers-by. “Generally, this means larger workplaces with many other women present,” said the professor.

    To support his claims, Professor Assaad cited primary data gathered from some 1,000 interviewees as part of a recent ILO report on Jordanian labor market challenges by Susan Razzaz.“As long as I am alive, I will never let my sister work in manufacturing,” said one male Jordanian manufacturing worker. “The employers are very rough. I don’t trust them to not yell at my sister or harass her.” When these conditions are not met, many women stay home.

    Furthermore, safety and harassment were considered common concerns. As one unemployed Jordanian woman said: “I’d be willing to work in a hotel if the job was in reservations, at the front desk, or in food service. Of course, I can’t work in housekeeping or room service because it is near the bedrooms.”

    Long commutes were also a concern: “I wouldn’t want to spend 3 hours a day on the road,” said one female Jordanian worker. “I could barely stand the time spent getting to and from work in Amman, so I wouldn’t work outside of it.”

    However, change is possible: An IFAD-supported initiative under the Agricultural Resource Management Project (ARMPII) in Jordan tapped into the region's traditional knowledge base to initiate 400 small-scale enterprises for women in the southern part of the country. Relying on the sustainable use of local resources, these businesses centered around food processing, dairy and pickle production, and the harvesting of mushrooms.

    Interviews with the women involved showed they felt empowered, managing small-scale income-generating enterprises. They reported increased levels of independence and status, as well as more effective participation in decision-making at both the community and household levels.

    Findings like these indicate that effective policy interventions should look into improving opportunity structures for women. Peter van Rooij, ILO’s Director in Cairo, Egypt agrees, “Women and men need to have equal opportunities in the world of work, especially in the agriculture sector which represents the most important source of employment for women. Achieving gender equality goals under the 2030 Agenda can only be achieved through concerted effort and unique partnership, such as that between the ILO and IFAD in the Near East and North Africa”.

    Indeed, the panel discussion that followed recognized positive trends: factors affecting female labor supply are moving towards increased participation. These factors include educational attainment, later marriages, access to improved infrastructure like water and sanitation, access to household technologies, and access to markets for time-saving goods and services.

    The panel also noted that incentivizing private employers to offer shorter work days, low-cost transportation, telecommuting, and flexible and part-time work opportunities would make a difference. Other important changes would include shifting maternity leave pay to social insurance, specifying a minimum wage on an hourly basis, establishing better public transport systems--where women can feel safe—and taking steps to gradually expand the range of jobs considered acceptable for women in conservative societies.

    Creating a more attractive environment for investors to invest in remote rural areas, as well as making agricultural sector more attractive, should also be considered a priority.

    “With a rising population and growing demand for food, there is an ever greater need to invest in agriculture and rural development. Investment in agriculture is two to four times more effective in reducing poverty than investment in any other sector. The agricultural sector is also a rich source of employment for young people, especially women. Thus, creating job opportunities in this sector will improve the lives of poor farmers, and serve indirectly as a means to combat migration to cities and beyond, ” said Khalida Bouzar, Director of the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, IFAD.

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    By Susan Onyango

    Africa’s population is expected to double from 1.26 billion today to over two and half billion by 2050, little more than 30 years from now. At the same time, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and the effects of climate change pose increasing challenges to the continent’s agriculture sector, particularly smallholder farmers.  If left unchecked, these challenges will threaten the food security of millions of people, particularly in the drylands. Affected countries will require national policies and farmer practices that safeguard food production, as well as frameworks for mutual cooperation across the agricultural and environmental sectors, if they are to ensure the sustainability and resilience required to feed their people.

    In an effort to address these multiple challenges, more than 80 government and development sector experts met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 5 July 2017, to launch the Integrated Approach Programme on Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in sub-Saharan Africa. Financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the 5-year, USD 116 million programme is designed to promote sustainability and resilience among small holder farmers through the sustainable management of natural resources – land, water, soils and genetic resources – that are crucial for food and nutrition security. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is the  lead agency with the Programme Coordination Unit hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) at their headquarters in Nairobi. Bioversity International, UN Environment, UNDP, FAO, World Bank, UNIDO, AGRA and Conservation International are all involved.

    Smallholder farmers, who are responsible for most of the region’s food production, will benefit from practices and policies that will ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of their production systems. Efforts to ensure post-programme sustainability include a particular focus on gender issues at every level of the programme to address policy and culturally-related barriers to gender equity and women’s empowerment in most of the participating countries. The Programme targets almost three million households in 12 countries and will improve the management of 10 million hectares of land.

    “With an explicit focus on smallholder agriculture in the drylands, we have collectively established a framework to underpin the long-term sustainability and resilience of production systems,” said Dr. Mohamed Bakarr, Lead Environment Specialist at the GEF. “The program framework, which is defined by three main components – platforms for multi-stakeholder engagement, acting to scale-up innovations, and systems monitoring and assessment – is informed by sound science and policy, including a theory of change.”

    The Programme includes the increased involvement of the private sector in developing viable value chains for food crops. At the same time, a regional hub that will support, synthesize and promote learning across the network of countries will improve access to knowledge from scientific institutions and help inform policy options and investment opportunities for managing ecosystem services in smallholder agriculture.

    Margarita Astralaga, Director of IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division reiterated the importance of linking food production with ecosystems to protect the environment and to ensure that smallholder farmers reach markets.

    “A key ingredient to the Food Security Integrated Approach Programme is the learning across the twelve country projects as well as its three components on institutional frameworks and policy, scaling-up integrated approaches, and on measuring collective impacts,” she noted.

    To ensure effective implementation of the project, participants called for system-wide stakeholder engagement – from the field to the government – and the mapping of existing and previous projects to enable south-south learning. They also emphasized the need for technical support on improving stakeholder engagement, capacity development, strengthening institutions, monitoring systems, combining research and technology, scaling technologies, and communicating among stakeholders in participating countries and globally.

    “The process has been very engaging, giving us insight for those who haven’t started on implementation (and) alignment with regional programmes, especially indicators and information on national and regional goals,” said Shamiso Nandi Najira of Malawi’s Ministry of Environment. “We look forward to working with the implementation agencies. Learning from others on what they are doing in their countries has been a good eye opener.”

    “Taking resilient food security to scale means supporting innovation among millions of farmers over millions of hectares,” said Fergus Sinclair of the World Agroforestry Centre. “We have to go beyond simply promoting best bets, to supporting farmers as they experiment with new options in their own contexts, and then foster the sharing of that learning about what works where and for whom.”

    The Food Security Integrated Approach Programme is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and the three Rio Conventions on biological diversity (CBD), to combat desertification (UNCCD) and on climate change (UNFCCC). It will be implemented in 12 countries including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda.

    Other Integrated Approach Programmes of the GEF are on Green Commodities Supply Chains and Sustainable Cities.

    Also see:
    GEF Integrated Approach Pilot: Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa 

    IFAD Director presenting the Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP)

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    By Tomás Ricardo Rosada Villamar,  Country Programme Manager for Mexico

    It was still dark when we left. Without breakfast, without even a sip of coffee. Half asleep, we all piled into the three vehicles that had been assigned to us and began driving up the mountain in a state that is now known for its blistering land and its unsafe territory: a land of death, a land at war.

    We were tossed around inside the cabs of our trucks as we rolled over streams and open wounds in the roads, slowly being engulfed by the depths of green vegetation as we penetrated deeper into the forest. Its shades of green were endless, an explosion of hues that were evidence of nature almost completely undisturbed. Adobe houses adorned the hillsides, and every so often we glimpsed a peasant herding goats or a group of women shouldering bundles, slowly but surely making their way.

    We finally reached our destination several hours later, with the sun high above us. A group of visitors from distant places, with their lists of questions, and local guides who knew their way around the hills with a guerrilla-like intuition. Of course, we all arrived with the stubborn expectation of finding the survival instincts and organization that supposedly always prevail, even in the harshest of conditions.

    We were welcomed by a group of inhabitants of a small settlement that was proudly called a village. We got out and started walking up to one of the villagers’ houses, then to their gardens and orchards, spread out in the surroundings. They showed us their production techniques, talked about their dreams, and asked us what we thought or how this or that was done elsewhere. Then we went back to the first house where a group of women were preparing a meal, an unmistakable sign of poor people's gratitude: sharing their hearth and their table, offering a stranger their best food.

    From the back of the house appeared an old woman. Small and discreet, with a calm and profound look. This is Doña Carmela, they told me. She's the oldest person in the village and she's still as lively as ever. She likes doing everything and going everywhere. She'd even climb the trees with us if she could!

    She exuded such magnetism that I went over and knelt beside her so that I could talk to her, but above all so I could listen to her. She took my hand and gave me a smile that revealed some missing teeth. She bowed her head discreetly, her way of thanking us for our visit. She grabbed the arm of a girl whom she might have resembled seventy years ago and sat down in a chair to wait; to wait with the patient determination of someone who is certain that they must take the opportunity to send a message with an emissary who is finally within reach.

    When the time was right, she spoke in that timeless language of Rulfo and his Comala[i],making reference respectfully and impersonally to forces and attitudes that have ignored them for years on end, even today on the centenary of a Constitution born out of a revolution that over the decades has lost sight of its main goal: satisfying the peasants’ clamour for land and development.

    "You, whose voice can be heard in other places, tell them not to forget about us, the poor." I promise to pass on your message, I told her. We shook hands again and said goodbye: she, feeling certain that she had sent her message again, and I, fearing that it would fall, once again, on deaf ears.

    [i] Translator’s note: A reference to Mexican writer Juan Rulfo and a town mentioned in his novel Pedro Páramo

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    By Elisa Mandelli and Andrea Wyers, with contributions from Everlyne Nairesiae (GLII-GLTN)

    Participants at the GLII Expert Group Meeting on ‘Securing Women’s Land Rights in the SDGs Monitoring Framework’. @Browne 2017

    From 8 to 9 July Elisa Mandelli, representing IFAD, was in New York to participate in the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Securing Women's Land Rights in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting was jointly organized by the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) in partnership with Landesa, Oxfam, Huairou Commission and UN Women. Over 40 gender and women’s land rights experts participated, including representatives from national statistical offices, Civil Society Organizations CSOs, UN agencies, multilateral agencies and other stakeholders.

    The EGM preceded the United Nations High Level Political Forum held in New York from the 10 to 19 July 2017. The Forum focused on “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world" and on the review of some SDGs, including goals with land-related indicators such as:
    • Goal 1 “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”.
      Indicator 1.4.2 :Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure (disaggregated by sex and type of tenure).
    • Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.
      Indicator 5.a.1(a) Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land, by sex; and (b) share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure.
      Indicator 5.a.2Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control.
    The inclusion of land indicators that explicitly reflect women’s land rights in the SDGs is a major achievement for the land community and a significant point of departure from the Millennium Development Goals, which did not have these provisions. This achievement is attributed to high level advocacy at national, regional and global levels by the land community including the GLII, the Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL), FAO, UN Women, UN Sustainable Solution Network (UNSDSN) and other networks, CSOs and agencies who have strongly advocated for the inclusion of land indicators in the SDGs.

    The importance of securing women's land rights to eradicate poverty has also been identified by the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G) as one of the critical areas for advocacy and action of the African member states. As part of this engagement and within the framework of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the African Land Policy Initiative (LPI) is negotiating member states’ commitment in monitoring the progress of women’s land rights and increasing to a minimum of 30% the amount of land allocated (individually or jointly) to women. The LPI has also played a key role in advocating for the African Union recent endorsement of the Pan African Women’s Charter on Land Rights. The Charter resulted from the Kilimanjaro Initiative, which has mobilized rural women from 22 countries across Africa. The Charter includes 15 specific demands addressing women’s access to use, control, own, inherit and dispose of their land and natural resources with the ultimate aim to help empower women across the continent.

    Thus, the land tenure community can celebrate the progress made in raising awareness on the importance of women’s land rights and the monitoring of progress made, but is now challenged to define the methodology for measuring the progress on these indicators and ensuring that the reporting contributes to the women’s land rights agenda. Land tenure statistics are in fact highly complex and there is a lack of clear and consistent data on land tenure security, particularly when it comes to statistics disaggregated by gender. See also blog on gender equality.

    Within this framework, the purpose of the EGM was to examine land indicators in the SDGs and to promote meaningful and more harmonised approaches to monitoring women’s land rights in a coordinated manner. In particular, participants agreed on the need to promote the harmonization and complementarity of land-related indicators based on a single and integrated narrative of concepts and definitions (i.e. land tenure security, ownership, tenure type, etc.). This includes strengthening the level of robustness of the proposed methodologies using proxies for women specific issues noting that women are not a homogenous group.

    Moreover, participants committed to convey key messages and recommendations on women’s land rights to UN member states during their participation at the High Level Political Forum. Messages included the importance to monitor the progress on women’s secure land rights since not having the data to diagnose and monitor progress made in the context of the SDGs will be a missed opportunity to eradicate poverty and empower women and girls. In order to ensure immediate country data collection and reporting on secure tenure rights (1.4.2., 5.a.1 and 5.a.2), member states have to support the adoption of the proposed methodologies for monitoring the indicators at the 6th Meeting of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG) to be held in November 2017. Further information on the re-classification of land-related indicators can be found in the blog by Jamal Browne, a participant of the EGM.

    IFAD is looking forward to continuing its engagement with the GLII, the GDWGL and the custodian agencies responsible for the specific land indicators including UN Habitat and World Bank; FAO and other agencies to support the elaboration of the proposed methodology and their successful reclassification by IAEG-SDGs in November 2017. On this subject, IFAD and the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat are collaborating in the co-financed grant “Strengthening capacity for assessing the impact of tenure security measures on IFAD supported and other projects within the SDG framework”. The grant aims at improving the capacity of IFAD-supported projects to assess measure and report their impact on poor rural people’s tenure security, including on women’s land rights.

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    By Francesco Rubino and Elisabeth Steinmayr
    Q&A with participants and World Bank representatives © F. Rubino
    As part of its knowledge generation and sharing activities, in March 2017 a team from the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL)* travelled to Washington D.C. to participate in the annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty (20-24 March 2017). The globally re-nowned conference represented the ideal stage to share the preliminary results obtained by the project in securing land tenure rights for smallholder farmers in Mozambique.

    The PROSUL project is an IFAD-supported project working to support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Maputo and Limpopo corridors. In doing so, the project works across 19 districts in the In-hamabane, Gaza and Maputo Provinces, focusing on three specific value chains: horticulture, cassava and red meat (i.e. cattle, goats, etc.). Alongside building stronger farmer organizations and improving the agribusiness linkages for farmers, the project strongly focuses on climate smart interventions and land tenure security in the rural communities targeted.

    The paper Mainstreaming Securing Land Rights in Value Chain Development Programmes: The Case of the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in Maputo and Limpopo Corridors in Mozambique presented at the World Bank Conference gave insights on PROSUL’s experience in mainstreaming interventions that aim to facilitate land tenure regularization for smallholder farmers in the project provinces.

    PROSUL Project Coordinator Daniel Mate arriving at the
     Conference ©F.Rubino
    In its work under the cassava value chain, PROSUL has managed to secure 4,260 individual land use rights titles (DUATs – Direito de Uso e Aproveitamento de Terra) in the districts of Morrumbene, Massing and Jangamo; and of these approximately 33,5% were attributed to female-headed households, through both individual and co-titling arrangements. This showcases a great result for the project team, as they were able to go beyond their yearly target. In addition to that, almost 161,400 hectares (ha) of land were delimited and provisional land delimitation certificates issued in communities that largely depend on livestock as one of their main sources of income. Within the areas identified, circa 105,400ha were designated as grazing areas, thereby assisting the communities in their desire to reduce the land degradation through a better management of their livestock routes and grazing patterns.

    Beyond the described successes PROSUL also faced a number of challenges, and in presenting the paper to the numerous participants that attended the presentation, the PROSUL Project Coordinator Daniel Mate mentioned the need to continue promoting and increasing the secured access to land for vulnerable groups such as women and youth. An additional point of interest discussed are the Community Based Natural Resource Management Plans, which will be elaborated with and for the communities, in order to strengthen the sustainable use of the natural resources surrounding them.
    The paper prepared by Daniel Mate and the PROSUL Land Tenure Advisor Daniel Simango**
    represents a good example of IFAD-supported projects directly engaging with knowledge creation, thereby attempting to bridge the often large gap between knowledge and practice. Furthermore, it shows PROSUL’s contribution (both theoretical and practical) to the Government of Mozambique’s Terra Segura (Secure Land) program, that seeks to ensure land tenure security regularization across the country.

    Daniel Mate explained how the paper presented this year is just the first of what may well become a number of future participations and publications for the project team. In fact, PROSUL is already working on identifying topics for the 2018 Land and Poverty Conference, hoping to possibly share new experiences, and is on the look-out for other platforms and meetings in which to engage and share with partners on a global scale.

    *The PROSUL project is implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and through the Agrarian Development Fund (FDA).
    ** together with support from the IFAD Country Office

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    Por Salvador S. Merlos

    Árboles frutales enTunga-San Pedro ©Hugo Néstor Villegas
    El 20 de junio de 1698, un terremoto de magnitud 7,3 en la escala de Richter provocó grandes deslizamientos en las laderas altas del volcán Carihuairazo, que acabarían sepultando a la actual ciudad ecuatoriana de Ambato, en la provincia de Tungurahua. Pocos meses después de la catástrofe, pobladores de Santa Rosa, el Obraje de Huachi y el asiento de Ambato construían en esa misma provincia la acequia Toalló. Esta obra abastecería de agua a buena parte de la microcuenca, aunque sería también motivo de disputas a lo largo de los siglos, reflejando así la importancia crucial que el agua ha tenido en esta región desde tiempos inmemoriales.

    Un año después del grave terremoto que en 2016 destruyó los hogares de más de 20.000 habitantes de poblaciones rurales del Ecuador, el Vicepresidente Adjunto del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA), Périn Saint Ange, visitó el país andino con el mensaje de que, junto a la ayuda humanitaria en casos de desastre, el desarrollo a largo plazo es crucial para reconstruir vidas. Además de reuniones con ministros e instituciones, el Sr. Saint Ange viajó a Tungurahua junto con funcionarios del Ministerio de Agricultura y representantes de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) para reunirse con pequeños agricultores y jóvenes beneficiarios del proyecto "Buen Vivir". Su propósito era conocer de primera mano la manera en que este proyecto financiado por el FIDA está transformando los medios de vida de las comunidades rurales y especialmente de las mujeres.

    Riego tecnificado en Tunga-San Pedro ©Hugo Néstor Villegas
    En las inmediaciones de la antigua acequia Toalló, el presidente de la Junta de Riego del canal de Mocha-Huachi, Hugo Villegas, recibió calurosamente al Sr. Saint Ange en compañía de un gran número de los 214 beneficiarios de ese proyecto. De ahí partieron al reservorio de agua, cuya capacidad es de 4.200 m3, para comprobar in situ cómo el nuevo sistema de riego de parcelas permite diversificar la producción de papa y alfalfa en las 120 hectáreas de Tunga-San Pedro. Los principales productos que se cultivan son la alfalfa, frutales caducifolios, zanahoria, papa y maíz, mientras que en la parte pecuaria se manejan cuyes.

    La incorporación de riego tecnificado es crucial para una región que se está viendo fuertemente afectada por el cambio climático. El caudal concesionado del río Mocha ha registrado un descenso de alrededor del 40% en el lapso de poco más de 20 años, lo que ha incidido directamente en la disponibilidad de agua para su uso en la acequia Mocha Huachi. "La incorporación de los sistemas presurizados, además de un uso eficiente del recurso, contribuye a empoderar a las mujeres, quienes ganan tiempo y calidad de vida, rompiendo así el circulo de la pobreza y de las desigualdades", afirmó Caroline Bidault, Gerente del Programa del FIDA en el Ecuador. Esto se ha traducido, por ejemplo, en un incremento de los rendimientos de alfalfa de 25.000 kg/ha con riego por inundación a 33.000 kg/ha con riego tecnificado; en cuanto a la papa, se ha pasado de 9.500 kg/ha con riego por inundación a cosechar 16.000 kg/ha con riego tecnificado.

    Narcisa Mayorga frente al reservorio de agua de la acequia Mocha Huachi ©FIDA
    El Gerente del Programa Buen Vivir Rural, Hugo Dután, destacó la importancia de la presencia del Vicepresidente Adjunto del FIDA, "al dar cuenta de iniciativas productivas tradicionales que se mejoran con la incorporación del riego, además del gran impacto territorial generado por la modalidad de intervención mancomunada entre los Gobiernos Autónomos Descentralizados, las organizaciones y el Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería por medio del Programa Buen Vivir rural que se ejecuta mediante el convenio con el FIDA".

    Narcisa Mayorga, una de las agricultoras beneficiarias, destacó que a raíz del proyecto las mujeres disponen de más tiempo para dedicarse también a otros menesteres. "Además del tiempo ganado, ha mejorado la seguridad, pues en el pasado hubo accidentes, algunos de ellos mortales". Narcisa cuida de sus padres y corta a diario la alfalfa de su terreno para alimentar a los cuyes, que vende en una feria cada jueves. "Los nuevos turnos de riego nos han permitido renunciar a las palas, azadones y picos, para incorporarnos con las válvulas. Ya no tenemos que levantarnos de madrugada para pernoctar tempranamente".

    Perin Saint Ange es obsequiado con una muestra de productos de Mocha Quero ©FIDA
    La experiencia de trabajo en el Proyecto ha permitido que los beneficiarios adquieran nuevos conocimientos y desarrollen destrezas técnicas, además de fortalecer la coordinación interinstitucional, el trabajo en equipo, la capacidad de entendimiento entre todos los involucrados y un sinnúmero de aprendizajes que contribuirán al ejercicio de nuevas y mejores prácticas. Alberto Flores, operador del sistema de riego del ingreso del agua al reservorio, es un buen ejemplo de ello. Él se encarga de abrir la válvula, verificar las presiones y dar mantenimiento, al tiempo que cuida de un pequeño terreno en el que cultiva mora. Junto a él, 214 familias del ramal San Pedro han aportado un terreno para la construcción del reservorio, y han excavado más de 9.000 metros de redes secundarias, además de adquirir e instalar equipos en las parcelas.

    Ángel Morales muestra el sistema de riego mientras un familiar da de comer a los peces ©FIDA
    La comitiva prosiguió su visita al Directorio de Aguas de la Acequia Mocha Quero, en el cantón Pelileo, donde la implementación de sistemas de almacenamiento y riego tecnificado ha contribuido a la diversificación de la alfalfa, la mora y el tomate de árbol. Allí, Ángel Morales, uno de los beneficiarios del proyecto, explicó a la delegación del FIDA que el reservorio para regadío de su finca lo utilizan también como piscifactoría. Mientras invitaba a la comitiva a descender por su escarpado terreno para mostrar el sistema de riego ante la vista imponente de los Andes, un familiar daba de comer a los peces, destinados de momento al consumo de cuatro familias. "Este es un sueño que el proyecto del Buen Vivir ha hecho posible", comentó con visible emoción. "Me siento muy orgulloso de ser campesino".

    Ángel Morales muestra el sistema de riego mientras un familiar da de comer a los peces ©FIDA

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    By Vivienne Likhanga, PROCASUR


    In November 2016, the Learning Route (LR): Practical solutions to adapt to climate change in production and post-harvesting sectors: the cases of Mozambique and Rwanda was implemented in several districts of Mozambique and Rwanda by PROCASUR Corporation. The IFAD projects: Pro-poor Value Chain Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) in Mozambique and Climate Resilient Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) in Rwanda were selected as one of the best practices in managing climate change and adaptation components under the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region. The LR was organized and co-funded under the framework of the IFAD-PROCASUR Large Grant Programme “Strengthening Capacities and tools to scale up and disseminate Innovations”.

    The partnership between PROCASUR and the IFAD Projects PROSUL and PASP involved the projects acting both as the LR ‘host cases’ on the one hand and as active ‘participants’ and beneficiaries of the learning activity on the other hand. An agreement between PROCASUR, PASP and PROSUL was signed in August 2016 in order to design and implement the LR activity. PROCASUR, PASP and PROSUL staff worked jointly to identify, select and systematize the good experiences to be visited during the LR. In November 2016 PASP and PROSUL, supported by PROCASUR, successfully hosted 25 participants from 7 different countries and implemented all the learning activities foreseen by the LR in Mozmabique and Rwanda through the valuable effort of many local champions.

    Learning Route Participants from the IFAD Project: Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP) in Botswana at the experience of the multiplication of climate-resilient varieties of cassava in Manjacaze District, Gaza Province, Mozambique in November 2016

    Two members of the PROSUL project team participated in the whole LR, culminating in the development of an Innovation Plan (IP): “Strengthening Institutional Capacities to Improve the Provision of Climate Information to smallholder farmers in Southern Mozambique”. The IP aims at establishing an effective climate information system for enabling farmers and agricultural stakeholders to make informed decisions with regards to seasonal planning and monitoring. This is a crucial component in many IFAD-supported projects addressing Climate Change Adaptation, and in particular in the ASAP, as an important adaptation measure to increase small-holder farmers’ resilience to climate shocks.

    Technical Exchange: Enhancement of Knowledge Management in the PROSUL project

    Prior investments on climate information in Mozambique had already been made by the PROSUL project with the aim of setting up an effective mechanism for the provision of climate information such as the rehabilitation of two meteorological stations, in Gaza and Inhambane provinces, and the provision of training to meteorological observers. These activities were done under the scope of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Centre for the Promotion of Agriculture (CEPAGRI), the former leading agency of PROSUL, and the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM). As highlighted in the rationale of the IP, both INAM and PROSUL failed to achieve the expected results due to the weak capacities in INAM in developing readily use messages framed to agricultural sector and to the lack of involvement of the Department of Crops and Early Warning (DCAP) within the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA).

    The IP, designed by the LR’s participants from the PROSUL project, integrates the lessons they learnt during the LR from the PASP project in Rwanda, where the provision of climate information to farmers and the relationships among the government institutions involved has achieved positive results.

    Local Champion, Justin Etienne Mpayimana explaining how he uses the climate information provided by the Rwanda Meteorological Agency to plan his farming activities. Justine is a farmer and a businessman running a small shop at the Mutara village in Ngoma District. He is also a member and beneficiary of the KOREMU Cooperative that illustrates the financial mechanism developed by the IFAD Project: Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) to access to equipment and technology for post harvesting activities under the hub operational model as product and business aggregation points. He is an interesting example of success of usage of climate information that has been adapted in the Innovation Plan of the PROSUL Project in Mozambique.

    From the LR (November 2016 – where the IP idea was born) to date, the IP has been discussed in depth among the PROSUL project management team (PMT), the IFAD country office in Mozambique, the governmental stakeholders involved and with PROCASUR. There has been a renewed commitment from INAM to revisit their objective of increasing small-holder farmers’ resilience to climate shocks. Due to the strong interest and willingness of all the interested stakeholders and the PROSUL PMT to implement the IP, and in line with the recommendations received by IFAD in the mid-term review report, PROSUL expressed the specific request to PROCASUR to facilitate one of the activities foreseen in the IP that will lead to the strengthening of their capacities in collecting and processing climate data and the final and timely dissemination of the climate information to smallholder farmers.

    In this framework, PROCASUR will be organizing a technical – institutional exchange learning activity in Rwanda involving PROSUL, MASA and INAM representatives in order to strengthen their capacities in providing climate information to smallholders and to improve the institutional dialogue by exposing them to the processes and tools used in PASP. This training will be held in September 2017.

    We look forward to updating you on the progress!  Stay tuned for more on the innovation plan implementation and more information on the Learning Initiative on our Website and Facebook Page.

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    It has been one year, that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) established its office in Jakarta, Indonesia. The office serves as a hub for the wider sub-region, covering the Fund's portfolios in  Indonesia, Malaysia, the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. Earlier this month, IFAD commemorated this anniversary with a Forum on Empowering communities, strengthening resilience in Jakarta.

    Partners and stakeholders, including government representatives from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, development partners, civil society and private sector, followed the invitation extended by IFAD, the Indonesian Ministry for National Development Planning and the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. Having all partners in one room provided an opportunity to explore enhance cross learning and strengthen linkages within the portfolio: As Island states, the countries in IFAD’s portfolio in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific share a number of similar characteristics related to social, economic, environmental, food and nutrition related opportunities and vulnerabilities.

    We are living in a fast changing and interconnected world today.  This new world calls for joint efforts to create a more inclusive and sustainable development. For joint efforts to work, we need trust and an understanding of our shared interests. We have the global level commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Our gathering today is not independent from this work, but it should complement or even catalyse the process.

    H.E Bambang Brodjonegoro

    Minister for National Development Planning


    Indonesian Minister Bambang adressing the South-South Forum

    In two sessions, participants explored good practices, common challenges and collaboration opportunities. The Project Forum Empowering communities, strengthening resilience focused on exchanging good practices and innovations from project implementation. Bringing together project partners from Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, as well as regional networks and farmers’ organizations.

    We at IFAD are firm believers in the power of partnerships. And our partnership with the Government of Indonesia, with the Governments of the Pacific Islands, with the Government of Papua New Guinea, and the Government of Timor-Leste, and all of you was taken to a new level when we opened the office here. I cannot think of a better way to mark this important step, and to honour the subregional character of our office, than assembling together to facilitate cross-learning and partnership not only within but among our countries.

    Perin Saint Ange, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes

    Participants of the Project Forum


    Key messages emerging from the conversation were:

    • Empowering communities and creating ownership in programmes and processes for all stakeholders and giving rural people a voice and control over decisions that affect their lifes is crucial for development success.
    • Special attention should be placed on engaging young people to build tomorrow’s successful rural producers by bringing in innovative technologies, and most of all, make farming a solid business.
    • Partnerships create opportunities to leverage additional resources. Programmes must put structures and capacities in place so that these can be sustained beyond project completion.
    • Rural women and men’s resilience to increasing risks, such as by the impacts of a changing climate, can be strengthened by better natural resource management, diversifying income sources and mitigation measures such as insurances and savings.

    Discussing how to ensure market access for remote rural villages.

    Empowering our people and strengthening resilience is much more relevant today than yesterday, and much more so in the future, particularly with the increasing challenges through climate change, sea level rising and increasing severity of natural disasters. 

    Balwyn Fa’otusia

    CEO, Ministry of Finance and National Planning


    The key is to activate the community to run with the programme. When programmes do not belong to the community, they will not be sustainable.

    Lottie Vaisekavea

    Programme Manager Rural Development Project

    Solomon Islands

    Introducing coastal resource management practices mot only created additional income opportunities through eco-tourism and better coastal ecosystems. It also enhanced the villages protection from beach erosion and floods.

    Sapta Putra Ginting

    National Project Coordinator

    Coastal Community Development Project


    The High-Level Roundtable Transforming Rural Areas in Southeast Asia and the Pacific centred around the status of rural areas and how they can be transformed into vibrant economic and social centres. Building on the good practices and common challenges identified by the project-level forum, the high-level policy makers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu, also explored opportunities for South-South collaboration.

    The Indonesian Minister of Villages sharing his vision for rural areas.
    We have the dream to turn villages into economic growth centres.

    H.E. Eko Putro Sandjojo

    Minister of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration


    We need to change the way we do development and partnerships if we want to address the challenges that we are facing. More mitigation now means less adaptation in the future.

    H.E. Inia Batikoto Seruiratu

    Minister of Agriculture


    IFAD has been instrumental in designing processes to strengthening communities and giving them a voice in development planning.

    H.E. Tevita Lavemaau

    Minister of Finance and National Planning


    Ministers and high level policy makers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu with IFAD Associate Vice President

    In outlining the way forward, Perin Saint Ange, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes, stressed the need to change mindsets in order to change practices, the importance of sharing knowledge and resources and the need to de-risk the agriculture sector. He recognised the expectation by IFAD’s member states to deliver faster and highlighted IFAD’s approach to develop tailored solutions—together with respective governments and communities. Findings of the forum will be reflected in IFAD’s work going forward.

    Cutting the ribbon to mark the next chapter for IFAD in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

    Indonesian Minister of Finance delivering her remarks.

    The day concluded with a reception to celebrate the office anniversary. In her opening remarks, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, H.E. Sri Mulyani, appreciated the IFAD’s partnership with Indonesia as well as the Fund’s contributions towards Indonesia’s rural development. She further expressed her expectation that with IFAD being on the ground, this partnership can be further strengthened.

    from the left: IFAD Asia and Pacific Director Hoonae Kim, IFAD SEA and Pacific Country Director Ron Hartman, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes Perin Saint Ange, Secretary Department of Agriculture and Livestock PNG Vele Pat Ila' Ava, Minister of Agriculture Fiji Inia Batikoto Seruiratu, Minister of Finance and National Planning Tonga Tevita Lavemaau, Minister of Finance Indonesia Sri Mulyani, Senior Advisor to the Minister and IFAD Governor Indonesia Rionald Silaban

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  • 08/31/17--02:16: IFAD, SECAP and Human Rights
  • By Elsie Fedha

    We are all born with equal rights irrespective of our gender, our religion or our race. As humans, we are given a right to life, right to freedom, right to choice among many other rights. When the United Nations released its UN charter in 1945 and later its International Bill of Human Rights in 1948 it paved the way for member states and agencies. In 1945 the UN Charter was created and its primary purpose was to deal with the "…. problems of an economic,  social, cultural or humanitarian character…and encouraging respect for human rights…" (Article 1). In addition to the UN Charter, the International Bill of Human  Rights were created and played a crucial role in the purpose of the United Nations. 

    As an enforcer of these rules and laws, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) monitors human rights across nations and publishes various documentation on the validity of countries implementation of human rights. OHCHR is an organisation that"… represent[s] the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity". According to OHCHR, they "…have a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights"[1] OHCHR works as a reliable source to analyse the accuracy of a nations implementation of a treaty or a conventions.

    Human rights is a fairly new concept, regardless of its  origins from the Magna Carta, it was introduced with the creation of the League of Nations which later became the United Nations. Today, OHCHR, among many other human rights agencies, plays a critical role in ensuring that human rights are respected among various nations and organisations.

    Comparative Analysis of different human rights assessment approaches

    Apart from nations, international organisations, particularly those a part of the UN system, have a responsibility to ensure that their work with either development or the economy is not in gross violation of any human rights principles. Institutions such as the Danish Institute of Human Rights, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have implemented various precautions and criteria that ensure that their work abides to international standards of human rights laws. The World Bank has an in-depth criteria entitled the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) and it goes into detail through nine steps on how to analyse the international, national and organisational legal framework in relation to human rights.

    Since IFAD is still a growing organisation, in respect to social issues, the social policies already in place (such as the FPIC, SIA, ESMP)  do play a role in the monitoring of human rights. IFAD policies do address indigenous rights, women's rights and rights to land and a clean environment, which are the essential factors when addressing human rights. All these factors of human rights are addressed through the various IFAD policies such as Gender and Land or the SECAP Guidance Statements such as Water, and Physical and Economic Resettlement. The only aspect lacking within IFAD is human rights terminology. While IFAD is trying to remain away from political interference it is essential that human rights is addressed in its policies so as to abstain from any violations.

    The following diagram is an example on how to incorporate human rights in relevant projects and ways to take on a human rights impact in our work.

    Map of SECAP and a human rights approach

    What we can learn and accomplish by taking on a human rights based approach is on how to take proper accountability and address the needs of a community in a more sustainable way. IFAD has a responsibility as an UN agency to carry out its work with a human rights mind-set.


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    By Christa Ketting

    “Of course, we can build 197 markets – if we would start tomorrow, then we could be finished in a couple of months. But that is not the point.” says Luthfur Rahman, project director of the Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project –CCRIP- in Bangladesh. “We won’t have any development impact when we randomly construct markets without taking their location into account” he concludes.

    CCRIP constructs climate-resilient road infrastructure and markets sheds in order to improve market access in south-west Bangladesh. The project is implemented in 32 upazilas (unions) in 12 districts in the south of Bangladesh. The 12 districts are known to be among the least developed of the country and vulnerable to natural disasters such as tidal surges, cyclones and floods. The goal of CCRIP is to improve the livelihoods (higher incomes and food security) for poor households. In order to do so, it upgrades markets in the selected areas and rehabilitates the access roads towards them.

    For monitoring and evaluation purposes, the location of CCRIP markets and roads are uploaded in Google earth. As Google earth allows you to consult historical images, the project is able to track how CCRIP markets develop over the course of years. For example, the footage below is that of the “Post Office Bazar” located in the Babuganj upazila of the Barisal district, which has been established in 1988. In 2013, most of the market activities took place alongside the main road. 

    Photo credits: maps prepared by CCRIP Project Monitoring Unit Bangladesh
    In 2014 CCRIP started with the construction of retail market sheds and open platforms, as you can see in the picture below.

    These markets are constructed on government donated land, called “Kash”. Besides market sheds, CCRIP also rehabilitated access roads and internal roads, as well as constructing toilet facilities around the “Post Office Bazar”. Moreover, the project replants trees along side roads in order to make up for the logged trees. To date, 7 kilometers of trees have been replanted.

    The number of sales points considerably increased in the last two years, as shown on the picture below. In particular, in the area West of the market sheds, a livestock market now takes place every Wednesday and Sunday. 

    This growth can not only be attributed to the markets and roads constructed by CCRIP. Yet, it seems increased connectivity and by offering smallholders a place to sell surplus production contributes to livelihood development in the project areas. The majority of CCRIP markets thus saw an increase in goods traded and the number of traders.

    Moreover, site selection seems key in order to trigger growth, especially for the rural poor. Most of CCRIP activities take place in the most remote and poor Upazila’s of Bangladesh. Moreover, the project upgrades “small markets” with around 10-50 outlets that serves the rural population. This stands in sharp contrast to the rural growth centres like the Gosairhat Bazar (below) that are upgraded by other financial institutions in line with their respective mandates. 

    Bangladesh, which is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, has a fast growing economy. Small scaled interventions like the CCRIP road construction and market upgrading allows the rural population to benefit from this growth. However, as implied by project director Luthfur Rahman, these intervention should be carefully planned and well implemented.

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    It was just a “wow” experience with a lot of “aha” moments as we spent nine days in Denmark as UNLEASH participants from IFAD. The UNLEASH Innovation Lab 2017 (hereinafter referred to as UNLEASH) is a non-profit initiative developed and funded predominantly by companies and foundations, such as Bestseller, Microsoft, Dalberg, Carlsberg Foundation and the Confederation of Danish Industry. The idea behind UNLEASH is to identify and gather one thousand young entrepreneurs, academics, professionals, etc. from over 120 countries and bring them together to elaborate disruptive, yet implementable solutions and build lasting global networks around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IFAD was invited to nominate multiple youth delegates composed of Davinia Hoggarth (Global Engagement Unit), Fatima-Zohra Yaagoub (Partnership and Resource Mobilization Office), Thokozile Newman (West and Central Africa Division), Elena Pietschmann (East and Southern Africa Division), Valeria Smarrini (Quality Assurance Group), Maria Luisa Saponaro (Latin America and the Caribbean Division) and Anja Rabezanahary (Policy and Technical Advisory Division).

    SDG 2/Food track at the Folk High School of Ry. Credit to Astrid Maria Rasmussen

    Thinking out of the box and framing the problem first

    The nine days took us all out of our comfort zones and pushed us to think out of the box. It all started with mingling informally, attending inspirational presentations, working together to solve business cases and joining an SDG Roadmap to visit companies that are starting to look beyond corporate social responsibility and try to integrate the SDGs more prominently in their for-profit models.
    Then we were taken to different locations and hosted in different Folk High Schools throughout the country. This offered a deep dive into the Danish culture and the Danish way of living while enjoying a wonderful and conducive environment for creativity. Each day started and ended with a singing session and an inspirational moment. We were divided into teams focussing on specific challenges, and tasked to think, think and think about the problems we were to tackle and come out with concrete solutions which included a business model. This part was truly enriching because we were working with people from different professional and educational backgrounds: academia (32%), entrepreneurs (28%), tech experts (23%), and intrapreneurs (17%). So we had to leave the “IFAD world” and work with new angles and perspectives.

    Team working and inspirations for disruptive and collective action

    A big take away from the UNLEASH experience is how working with different people from different horizons is hard and yet very rewarding when you achieve to find a common solution. Team work is bringing out the best of us…and also the worst! We were all part of a big social experiment. This is why UNLEASH gave an award to the best team work and our colleague Elena Pietschmann was part of it. Besides, talents had the opportunity to attend speeches, interviews and panel discussions with Princess Mary of Denmark, former Prime Minister of Denmark  Lars Løkke Rasmussen, actor and philanthropist Ashton Kutcher, Denmark Minister of Development Ulla Tornaes, “Starchitect” Bjarke Ingels, and much more.

    Receiving an Award for the Best Team Work. Credit to Alex Luka Ladime

    Competing for the best solution for SDG 2 Zero Hunger…and winning!

    One of the seven winning solutions (out of a total of 199!) was Doti Gold, designed by a team of six that included our colleague Anja Rabezanahary. Doti Gold is a social enterprise that will turn trash to gold, transforming organic waste into proteins and fertilizers through a biotechnology. Doti Gold will connect the needs of people living in urban areas to the needs of people living in rural areas. The first ones will contribute to a better waste management and the second ones will benefit from accessible and affordable agricultural inputs to increase their production and productivity. In return, the farmers will provide organic fish, chicken, pork and crop products to the markets. The social enterprise will also create jobs for people living in extreme poverty through the waste collection system. These people will receive income and training that will support them move out of poverty in a sustainable way. In addition, bigger industries/companies will contribute to develop smallholder farming and organic farming and become partners for the SDGs (see below). In sum, the model is creating a virtuous cycle between urban and rural areas for safe and nutritious food for all and will directly contribute to achieving nine SDGs (1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 17).

    Partnering for global solutions

    UNLEASH aims to generate youth-led innovative, implementable and scalable solutions to the SDGs in partnership with leading companies, research institutions, foundations, non-profits, and investors. What we took home is that UNLEASH really had the potential to be life-changing on many levels for all participants: from meeting investors and possibly securing funding to receiving quality feedback on one's ideas and insights, to enhancing a whole set of soft skills. The idea is now to replicate UNLEASH and make it become a recurrent event.

    Many of the teams – whether or not they have been awarded - have concrete plans for implementing the ideas they developed during UNLEASH. UNLEASH organizers promised to set up a global platform to support the implementation of the various solutions and continued network opportunities.
    IFAD can play a role and be part of key partners – where the very definition of partnership can evolve when such diverse points of view are (ex)changed. UNLEASH definitely presents a new modality with which IFAD can collaborate with the private sector in a youth-inclusive manner, for example through our grant programme.

    The full programme, winners of the seven SDG themes, and partners can be found here:,, and

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    By Maria Hartl, Senior Technical Specialist – Gender and Social Equity
    On 8 September, we celebrate International Literacy Day. But is there reason to celebrate when the number of illiterate people – the majority of whom are women – is not declining, and we are witnessing a donor fatigue in supporting literacy classes? 
    Literacy is one of the benchmarks of the Education for All (EFA) Framework and is included in the 2030 Agenda (SDG 4.6). For more than 60 years, UNESCO has been leading global literacy efforts advancing the vision of a literate world for all. Yet in 2017, we are still far from achieving this goal. According to the UNESCO 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report, some 758 million adults worldwide, 63% of them women, have not attained even minimal literacy skills.  They live in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States and in South and West Asia.
    Illiteracy is a marker of deprivation. In some countries, including Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Nigeria, less than 10% of poor rural women can read; in Niger, the rate is only 2%. Large gaps in literacy rates between women and men also exist in Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo. In Latin America, illiteracy rates among indigenous women are often more than double those of non-indigenous women.  
    Burundi: a literacy class for adults
    Many illiterate people, especially among the older generations, have never been to school.  Others completed some years of primary schooling, but dropped out and are not using any literacy skills that they do have because they live in a non-literate environment. 

    The persistence of such high numbers of people who cannot read and write, compounded by high levels of poverty, demographic pressure, and lack of schools and teachers , raise questions whether even with strong political will and injection of resources, the literacy goals will be achieved as envisaged. Children may be enrolled, but leave school with minimal levels of literacy – because they do not attend, or the teacher does not show up, or there are emergencies that result in the closure of classes or schools. Malnutrition also makes it more difficult for children to regularly attend school and to learn while they are there. Special efforts are required to meet the needs of drop-outs from formal schooling.

    Many of those who are unable to read and write are rural poor people, the targeted participants of IFAD-supported projects. If literacy is a driver for sustainable development and greater participation in the labour market, if it improves child and family health and nutrition, reduces poverty and expands life opportunities, what can be can be done to reduce illiteracy? The challenge seems gigantic.

    Capacity-building and training are major investment activities in most IFAD-supported projects, and adult literacy training is also undertaken in some cases as part of overall community development. When rural poor people are consulted in participatory community development efforts, the request for literacy training is very often among their top priorities. 

    Over the last years, I have seen some projects where literacy is very much on the agenda. There I have met mostly women who were highly motivated, proud of attending and forever grateful to the project for teaching them how to read and write and bringing them to the same level as their children who attend school.

    Literacy classes can be a stepping stone

    Functional literacy programmes bring best results when they are linked to other project activities   and work as a stepping stone for further interventions.

    In Burundi, the Value Chain Development Programme – Phase II makes it a precondition that participants attend literacy classes before joining local solidarity groups and cooperatives. The project uses the REFLECT methodology, an innovative approach to adult learning and social change developed by Action Aid in the 1990s. Over 500 organizations in 70 countries worldwide who use REFLECT as an approach to literacy and a people-centred development and advocacy method. 

    When we visited a literacy class last year in Burundi, the topic was hygiene and nutrition. The teacher introduced words related to health and food, and then the class was built around these words.  This approach also prepares the participants for later activities in the project such as nutrition training for young mothers. The literacy classes enabled participants to acquire not only numeracy skills, but also basic knowledge about the functioning of savings and credit groups, which they subsequently joined. Using mobile phones, doing calculations and other practical operations such as storing phone numbers, are also practical skills taught in the literacy class. 

    Madagascar: out-of-school-youth meeting after course
    In Madagascar, the  Vocational Training and Agricultural Productivity Improvement Programme (FORMAPROD) targets and provides training – including functional literacy training – to young farmers, agricultural technicians and extension agents, and supports continuous vocational training in all 13 regions of the country. The project specifically focuses on uneducated youth and young women (18-25 years) who are heads of household. Special activities are provided for young people aged 14 – 18 years with little or no formal education to give them a second chance. UNESCO is a partner for the training of out-of-school-youth. The 1535 rural youth (including 453 young women) accomplished a 3-month residential course followed by artisan training and development of business plans. In the next step, the project is supported their professional start-up projects.

    In Morocco, the Agricultural Value Chain Development Programme in the Mountain Zones of Taza Province enabled 1440 participants including 960 women to participate in functional literacy training in 2016. Once they have completed their literacy training, trainees will start income-generating activities.

    Recently I received a beautiful letter from a group of women in Taza, whom I had met on a previous field visit.  They wrote:  "we were not able to attend school before, but thanks to the project we could realize our dreams and carry the torch of knowledge and learning into our daily family live and professional activities. The classes enabled us to participate in our personal and local development initiatives. Thank you!"

    Read more:
    For more information in English and French about PRODEFI, see also the IFAD website: Madagascar- Burundi

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    A Multi-sectoral, Gender-sensitive Approach is the Way Forward

    By Judith Francis and Jana Dietershagen
    Garlanding chief guests of the workshop: From left to right, Mr. Christoph Wagner, Howard Politini  and Sakiusa Tubuna
    The Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO), in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) held a national workshop in Suva Fiji on 28-29 June on 'Promoting Nutritious Food Systems in the Pacific Islands' within the framework of the ongoing CTA/IFAD/PIPSO project.

    The aim was to present different viewpoints, exchange knowledge, and spark discussions around the multifaceted and multidimensional aspects of the agri-nutrition challenges in Fiji, which led to key recommendations that inform national policy and programmes. The event was attended by 63 participants (46% female), comprising representatives from public and private organisations. The workshop was officially opened by Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation of the European Delegation for the Pacific, Sakiusa Tubuna, Sub-Regional Coordinator of IFAD in the Pacific, and Howard Politini, Chair Board of Directors, PIPSO.

    “Addressing agricultural challenges in an innovative way is what this workshop is about” – stated Wagner, adding that “The European Commission has a strong focus on public-private-partnerships.”

    IFAD views the CTA/IFAD/PIPSO collaborative project as an opportunity for developing and piloting innovative approaches that strengthen the agriculture-nutrition nexus and increase people’s access to nutritious and healthy foods.

    "This project is an opportunity to mainstream nutrition in agriculture. Therefore we need to pull together all the expertise", said Tubuna.
    From left to right: Fantasha Lockington (CEO Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association), Emil Jejov and Judith Francis (CTA)
    Judith Ann Francis, CTA’s Senior Programme Coordinator S&T Policy and leader of the CTA/IFAD/PIPSO project, presented an overview of the innovative tools and approaches that will be used for achieving the project goal, such as seed-funding; value chain coordinating/agricultural innovation (VCC/AI) multi-stakeholder platforms; and an innovation credit facility for small and medium enterprises (SME) development.

    According to Francis, “through these innovative tools, the project will support communities to find solutions that build on traditional knowledge, agri-businesses to harness the social and intellectual capital and producers to engage in inclusive value chain development.” 
    Participants discussing and suggesting strategies during roundtable exercises 
    Dr. Jimaima Lako, a CTA consultant, presented her research findings from a rapid country scan on the Agriculture Nutrition Nexus in Fiji, which formed the basis of the highly interactive 2-day workshop. Key highlights include:
    • High prevalence of non-communicable diseases – (NCDs) (35.8%) and micronutrient deficiencies especially iron deficiency anaemia (32.4%) 
    • High dependence on imports and calorie intake from imported foods and processed foods that are generally cheaper and less nutritious, with negative impacts on health; 
    • Multiple policies and frameworks covering agriculture, health, women etc. that do not specifically address the nutrition challenges and in some cases are contradictory. 
    • 16 national policies and frameworks are in place across various line Ministries (Agriculture, Fisheries, Health, Education etc.) but these are not specific enough on addressing nutritional challenges.
    • Need for more research (including on the relationship between agri-nutrition outcomes by academia) to support the Ministries in their work, as well as private sector/businesses.
    • Major gaps in Agri-Nutrition nexus identified include Weak or absence of nutrition link in the National Development Plan and Policies in use by the various line ministries, Lack of commitment and poor coordination of the Fiji Plan of Action on Nutrition( FPAN) with multi-stakeholders and partners and Limited awareness and availability of nutrient dense local foods.
    • “Policies on agriculture, health, nutrition exist in Fiji but they are not aligned. Agriculture can change the nutrition paradigm of NCDs and anaemia.” Dr. Lako, explained. 
    Other presentations and interventions on current issues in agricultural development, food security, crops and fisheries value chains and women’s empowerment by the diverse multi-sectoral panellists provided additional meaningful insights and sparked fruitful discussions during the round table group sessions. For example, Joann Young, Assistant Representative at FAO, triggered the reflections by questioning: “What is the cost of a nutritious diet?” Dr. Isimeli Tukana, Director Wellness in the Ministry of Health, advocated for agriculture as the solution to the nutrition challenges: “Fiji is going through nutrition transitions. Unless the laws change, nothing will happen. The solution for NCD’s is in agriculture.”

    Women play a critical role in Fiji’s agricultural sector 
    Female participants discussing during the group exercises
    Cherie Moris, from Fiji Women in Fisheries Network, emphasised on the importance of women as custodians of knowledge in sectors such as fisheries; finding new markets and the cost and time of processing are just a few barriers they have to overcome. Other obstacles can be lack of access to expertise and difficulties complying with food safety standards.

    Sian Rolls, from Femlink Pacific, further explained, “the biggest gender gap is in decision-making. Women feel frustrated because, despite the development changes, they have not been seeing improvements in their economic and nutrition status.”
    Cherie Moris Fiji, Women in Fisheries Network
    SMEs to accelerate value chain development

    “SMEs create the most jobs in Fiji. They need support and capacity building,” emphasized Ravi Chand, CEO, National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprise Development.

    Business in Fiji is not just about trading any more, but is gaining an inclusive community engagement role. Together the government and the private sector can contribute to sustainable economic development. 
    Products of participating producers were displayed during the workshop
    Save Waqainabete, Business Development Analyst at Joe’s Farm, explained: “Agri-businesses can play a vital role in addressing agri-nutrition”. Agribusinesses need to overcome financial and technical challenges while reducing costs so that fresh local produce and value added products can be affordable for local consumers. While subsistence farming is the main activity, there needs to be a shift to semi-commercial operations – this is one way to address supply issues to respond to market demand.

    Workshop outcomes: Three strategies for national development consideration 
    Participants presenting results from group discussion on women’s empowerment

    An immediate reaction to the Fiji roundtable workshop was a request by a representative of the Ministry of Economy to submit three major strategies for their consideration in Fiji’s National Strategic Plan, which is currently being developed.
    1. Setting a high-level political agenda and urgent multi-sectoral approach to addressing agri-nutrition and tackling NCDs in Fiji. 
    2. Establishing stronger collaboration and relationship with academia and private sector for evidence based policy and strategic planning 
    3. Partnerships and collaboration between Government Ministries, communities, private sector, and academia, need to be strengthened and their ongoing activities aligned. Joint interventions could include media campaigns, agribusiness/farming communities’ initiatives with schools, promoting local produce and local cuisine, to name a few. 
    Moving forward with the project

    In the next few months, similar national policy roundtables are rolling out in the other project’s target countries: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Priority value chains are analysed to launch the Value Chain Coordination/Agricultural Innovation platforms and to identify the challenges and opportunities for investing in weather risk insurance - another innovation that the project will explore in consultation with producer organisations and representatives of the public and private sector.

    According to Emil Jejov from CTA: “Index based insurance is suitable where many smallholder farmers operate. Insured farmers are able to save more and invest more in inputs and other production assets. Multi-stakeholder consultations are crucial in developing successful insurance products.”

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    Rural areas are not only home to millions of people, they are full of opportunities and investing in them benefits everyone, as our infographic for Indonesia shows.

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  • 10/02/17--01:29: How did GIADP do on gender?
  • By Nancy Kaawe, Philipp Baumgartner, Weijing Wang 

    Quite well in our estimation, during the project completion review mission in May 2017. Targeting of beneficiaries in the project was highly gender sensitive, with women accounting for 53.1% of direct project participants and 47.6% of total beneficiaries. Gender targets were met, as the project began with a baseline of 46.6% of women in the population of target townships.
    The portion of active participants among female beneficiaries was roughly 3% more than that of male participants.

    While the high participation of women in the project can partly be attributed to the growing feminization of rural agriculture in China as a result of increasing migration of men to the cities, it was also noted that: (i) the project management displayed commitment to gender concerns and working closely with women's federations at all levels, with clear targets in the manuals from the PPMO; and (ii) project interventions prioritized women and also fit demands of women. The modular approach to project implementation made it possible for Village Implementation Groups (VIGs) to request specific modules of interest to their communities.
    One of the many testaments to the latter was in Baishou Township, Yongfu County, where the mission met with the VIG members of Chao Yang village. The group was composed of 11 members (5 of which were women), who recounted having requested the rural environment component of the project, and among other benefits, reported that in 2016 they had gone from selling oranges at 10CYN/KG to 12CYN/KG (20% price increase) and were selling at higher prices as compared to other villages that did not receive this component. They attributed this to having a cleaner and more sanitary environment which attracted buyers and allowed them to sell at higher prices. The data snapshots (below) providing an overview of women outreach and participation by project modules; in fact show-among other things- participation of women in the rural environment component on the higher end.

    On a more critical note, the data also indicates two areas that stand out with low figures in women's participation: (i) agricultural technical extension stations and (ii) project management. Low participation of women in township agricultural stations was explained by the project as a result of limited interest or attraction of women to work in this area. It was also reported that in many cases extension staff travel to villages unaccompanied, and quite often return to the townships late in the evening, making women less suitable for this work due to security concerns.  Project management however is key and cross-cutting, and further reflection and analysis of shortfalls in this area could present a learning opportunity for future projects in the country programme. Interestingly, the mission did not perceive any issues regarding the representation of women in project implementation and there is no allusion to any such issues in the documentation through the life of the project. But the numbers are what they are, and while VIGs were an overall success with good representation from women and supported collective and unanimous decisions by the villagers, the data suggests that there is still room for improvement in women's participation in project management (VIGs and PMO training).
    There is a possibility that these figures may have been caused in part by the preferences of women farmers. Should we, (and if so how do we) factor such eventualities in our targets and reporting?

    This remarkable lady in Pingle County made it known in no uncertain terms to the mission members that she had absolutely no interest in participating in most of the project activities, which she preferred to let her husband 'deal with'. It was quite clearly her choice.

    She is a beneficiary of the community infrastructure and rural environment components in Xin Da Lang village, where they innovated the use of alternative waste (persimmon peels) to fuel biogas.

    Another area of interest is the project support to farmers' cooperatives, which displays a great deal of potential for positive outcomes and impact. This area has been satisfactory where initial increases in women's participation and household incomes are concerned. In Leye County, women's participation in cooperatives reached 45.8%, while in Longzhou County; women's participation reached 48.1%. The overall average falls at around 50.3% women participants in cooperatives. A chicken cooperative in Longzhou County increased its membership from 16 to 67 in a span on 3 years of operation. While interviewing 3 women in the cooperative, economic empowerment showed through as members were able to sell around 5,000 to 6,000 chickens a year.
    Cooperatives also have potential to provide opportunities for further employment to farmers/members in the processing part of the value chain, as seen in two cooperatives in Pingle County. One of the main challenges however, is in ensuring that poor smallholder farmers, especially women and minorities continue to be included in these cooperatives beyond the life of the project. The cooperatives module in GIADP involved concerted efforts between the implementing agencies, project management offices at provincial, county and township levels, to apply stipulations for household inclusion of productive poor smallholder farmers. These targeting efforts will need to be sustained by poverty alleviation programmes set by local governments.

    This IFAD-supported sweet potato cooperative in Zhangjia Township, Pingle County is led by a woman, Ms. Li Zhen, who also employs mostly women farmers to work on sweet potato processing which is done by hand. This allows them to supplement their income with around CYN 60 per day, working close to their homes. The women interviewed told of having more decision power and reduced disputes in their homes because they also have an income.
    Ms. Zhen, who is divorced with two children to support, recounted a story of 'very low production' and hardships before she began to benefit from the project's support to her cooperative. With increased production, her livelihood has significantly improved, and she encourages poor farmers to become commercial producers and join the cooperative. With pride, she informed the mission that last year (2016), she was selected as a people's representative for the county, and finally, she shared that being empowered and successful, she now has many suitors and can be more selective this time around!
     And in a photo that eerily echoed the mission's concerns about the sustained inclusion of IFAD's target group in cooperatives, a woman smallholder farmer (indicated by the arrow) in Leye County stood aside as the cooperative boss engaged with mission members.

    This image was used in the mission's presentation during the wrap-up workshop to emphasize IFAD's recommendation for continued support to cooperatives to remain inclusive after the closing of the project.

    In conclusion, the GIADP project performed well on gender, but was not without challenges. Clear successes, shortfalls and everything in between should provide for valuable lessons and further reflection for the country programme going forward. GIADP is one of the projects selected for an IFAD ex-post impact assessment, and no doubt the additional data will help us glean further insights and conclusions.
    Until then,
    Thanks for reading!

    The Guangxi Integrated Agriculture Development Project (GIADP) in China became effective in 2012 and completed on 31 March 2017. Covering eight counties in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the project aimed to improve livelihoods of over 933,000 rural women and men, through production support, enhanced service delivery in extension and market access and improved community infrastructure. The total costs of GIADP was about USD 96.86 million, financed by an IFAD loan of SDR 29.65 million (about USD 47 million) and counterpart contributions including government financing of USD 46.4 million and beneficiaries’ contributions of an estimated USD 3.44 million.

    GIADP completed with 99.8% of project funds invested, reached most of its targets and overall achievements are high. In total, 355.181 households and over 1.3 million rural men and women (1,339,189) benefited from project interventions

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    Have you ever heard about PlantWise, Plant Clinics or Plant Doctors?
    As you might have guessed, these initiatives are about plants - healthy plants, reducing crop losses, and mostly, sharing knowledge.  

    Plantwise is a global initiative led by The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), focussed on increasing rural households’ access to rural services, including agricultural extension services. Farmers often have nowhere to go to get advice about pests or diseases affecting their crops, as they don’t have regular or easy access to extension services. Plantwise brings these services closer to farmers by setting-up regular venues staffed by trained extension specialists (Plant doctors) where farmers can get advice on plant problems and best control measure. Plant clinics are set-up in local meeting places like markets, village squares, and human health clinics. 
    To understand more about the pests and diseases that farmers face, to be able to track pest and disease outbreaks and to check on the advice given by the plant doctors, data is collected about the farmers, the crop problems and the advice given.  This data is then stored in an open-access Knowledge Bank database that is shared with national plant health partners working in research, government, national service offices, academics, and NGOs. Results have shown that 80% of farmers have increased their yields by consulting plant clinics.
    To date, the Plantwise network covers countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia, with 1800 clinics, 5000 trained plant doctors and has reached 4.5 million farmers.

    What does Plantwise offer to IFAD’s target groups? 
    In December 2016, at the end of the project implementation phase, the Policy & Technical Advisory Division  (PTA) conducted an After Action Review (AAR) on the performance of the IFAD’s support to CABI’s Plantwise programme.  PTA identified lessons and recommendations that can be used by the new CABI-led grant programme on “Integrating ICT Tools into Plantwise to Support More Effective Data Capture and Use” sponsored by SKD’s Research and Impact Assessment Division (RIA). Beyond the grant funding, PlantWise is complementing the investment projects in Uganda (PRELNOR link), Rwanda (KWAMP l PRICE l PASP) and Mozambique (PRONEA) to collect impact studies, expand plant clinic networks and support policy changes. 
    The AAR brought some recommendations and lessons for IFAD and CABI to consider for in the implementation phase of the new grant programme. For one, increased reach can be achieved through innovations at clinic level such as mobile clinics to reach new areas, and plant nurses who allow more clients to be dealt with per session. The networks themselves can have growth opportunities through partnerships with government and NGOs who in becoming convinced of the approach, are willing to invest. Second, data management and use of ICT will enable plant doctors to enter the data directly into tablets to facilitate the timely sharing of information.  

    What are Plantwise results? 
    The main result in the three target countries of the first IFAD grant, exceeded the foreseen objectives regarding numbers of plant doctors trained, plant clinics established and farmers reached. For example, in Mozambique, 80 clinics were embedded in the IFAD investment projects, far exceeding the planned nine clinics. Impact assessment found that PlantWise positively impacted yield increases, increased the use of non-chemical pesticides, increased household income after visiting a plant clinic and increased farmers linkages with the private sector and farmers’ organizations. It was interesting to learn that governments in Uganda and Rwanda have expanded the awareness of plant clinic through mass media. The Plantwise programme collaborated with the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) housed in IFAD, to seek guidance for a timely response to pest management in Uganda and to carry-out a feasibility study on “Crop Pest and Disease Management in Uganda: Status and Investment needs." The report was presented to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Industries (MAIF) and other stakeholders in a High-level Workshop in Kampala on the 29th November 2016 and has received support from Government officials and the interest of development partners. This report includes a technical and financial proposal to upgrade the plant health system in Uganda, and it includes several activities directly linked with PlantWise.

    So what happens now that the grant is completed? 
    For one, Plantwise would like to pursue its ambitions. The principle idea is to reach more farmers, expand its outreach in more countries and ensure food security through reduced crop losses to improve livelihoods. CABI is also thinking about reaching acceptable levels of sustainability by helping the participating countries take ownership of the programme themselves. 

    What can we really teach the next programme that just started this year?
    One of the recommendations was to ensure that a better data collection method is put into place so that plant doctors can collect data electronically instead of filling in cumbersome forms which often take a long time to complete. In response to this gap, CABI informs that the next programme will explore the possibilities to develop a Data App to help improve data collection previously done manually. Similarly, information exchanges can be sent to plant doctors via tablets (see pilot experiences in Kenya) – an area the new grant promises to look into to evaluate the current ICT efficacies in each country for data collection and elaboration and learn from countries that are already using these technologies. Plant clinics should also include data and advisory services on post-harvest losses in addition to losses in its production stages.  
    The programme also highlights a few predominant pitfalls and challenges.  These include government up-take of running costs for plant clinics, coping with institutional problems associated with high turn-over of extension and senior staff creating execution delays that could be avoided if there would be more cooperation between different government departments. Also, clinic data can be viewed as trade-sensitive causing un-avoidable political pressures. It might be necessary to tailor to the country context explaining how the data is fed into the Knowledge Bank and how it is managed and used. The programme also identified the need for plant doctors to network with sources of diagnostic support as the first point of detection of new pests and pest outbreaks. The location of plant clinics might be another area to look into to include more strategic and remote areas such as outside the marketplace or in agricultural service hubs. Perhaps, in the next project, mitigation measures can be explored to overcome these pitfalls that the previous grant is now teaching us.

    Plantwise in the News, something IFAD is proud of 
    Last month, CABI won two prestigious Awards: (1) the Bond Development Award for Innovation. This award was granted for Plantwise’s initiative that implements inventive approaches to adapt to complex and changing external environments and (2) the St. Andrew’s Prize for the Environment. This award recognized significant contributions to environmental conservation. The prize money will be used to scale up Plantwise digital tools and applications to make quicker and better diagnoses and recommendations by improving the speed of data collection and analysis.
    IFAD is proud to be associated with the donor group supporting PlantWise and commends Plantwise for its work in improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through development of sustainable agricultural practices on a global scale.

    Investment projects in Uganda (PRELNOR link), Rwanda (KWAMP l PRICE l PASP) and Mozambique (PRONEA)

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    By Manda. M. Sissoko*,  Lisandro Martin* and Natalia Toschi

    Transparency implies pro-activity

    Two words define transparency in the context of development: openness and sharing. Transparency is about creating access to timely, reliable, comprehensive and comparable data on development aid resource management. It should be clear how much aid is flowing into a country, where and how aid is spent, and what results are achieved.

    However, openness is only one dimension of transparency.  The other is sharing lessons and knowledge about what works to support decision-making on the allocation and management of development aid resources.  While openness sets the stage, sharing determines the true dynamics of transparency. These words explain colloquially the core of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard.

    Becoming truly transparent is expensive: it requires investments in capacity and systems.  But the dividends are high, and in the long run, significantly outweigh costs. In this sense, the availability and ease of access to aid information are simply the means. Organizations are called on to adopt transparency standards into their operations and processes for the aim of achieving better development results.

    Transparency is a transformational force

    The main reason transparency matters is that it alters traditional accountability relations among development actors. With open and easily accessible information, citizens can actively participate in policy-making regarding their futures and gain ownership over their development aspirations. Informed citizens are conscious of their needs, they are empowered to hold their governments –and organizations like IFAD- accountable for their decisions, and can influence those decisions.  Likewise, timely and accessible information on future planning and flows of development financing helps donors and recipients to hold each other to account for mutual commitments. Transparency, therefore, enhances national awareness of the results achieved from aid resources and strengthens "Mutual Accountability." Finally, the comparability and comprehensiveness of information shared forms the basis for coordination and harmonization of country-level development partners' activities.

    At IFAD

    The IFAD11 business model recognizes that transparency is perhaps the most transformational of all the elements of a results culture.  The Fund has a long history of disclosure, and in 2010, adopted the principle of presumption of full disclosure policy. The latest business model, presented at IFAD11 Replenishment Consultation last June, proposed for IFAD11 (2019-2021) to increase the importance of transparency in all of IFAD's operations at a corporate and operational level. IFAD Management stated that "considerably more weight will be given, organization-wide, to transparency."  Transparency and Openness Action Plan is currently being developed for approval by the Executive Board in December 2017.  As part of this plan, phase I of IFAD's automatic publishing to IATI has concluded, a significant step in making the Fund fully compliant with the IATI standard.  Now, information about the Fund's approvals and disbursements is provided to IATI automatically and in real-time. A small but significant step to amplify IFAD's contributions to development results.

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  • 10/11/17--06:01: 2016 IFAD Grant Awards

  • By Ivan Cossio, Rima Alcadi, Julie Danskin


    The notion of the IFAD Grant of the Year Awards was introduced as part of the 2015 IFAD Grant Policy, as a means by which IFAD intends to expand its knowledge and experience to enrich its lending operations, advisory services and knowledge products. The IFAD grant of the year award is awarded jointly to the IFAD grant sponsor and the grant recipient. IFAD has introduced 4 categories of Grant Awards: (a) Good Practice in Design; (b) Impact on Poverty Reduction; (c) Knowledge Sharing and (d) Innovation.

    As the Grant Policy became effective in 2016, the 2016 IFAD Grant Awards were the first grant awards ever. The IFAD grants award committee was composed of 6 members: Sheila Mwanundu and Luisa Migliaccio from PMD, Torben Nilsson from SKD, Hazel Bedford from COM, Federica Cerulli from PRM and the Vice President, who was the Committee's Chair. QAG staff (Ivan Cossio, Rima Alcadi and Julie Danskin) acted as Secretary to the committee.

    Those of you who assisted the Grants Award Ceremony yesterday know who the winning grants were. However, you may not know that very few grants were shortlisted - only between 3 and 5 for each award category. All grants shortlisted were impressive, in their own unique way, and choosing the one grant to award has not been an easy task. We tried to be as objective as possible in the selection process, basing ourselves on predefined criteria. It would be remiss of us not to pass on this information: in reality all grants shortlisted deserved an award.

    Having said that, for those of you who were not at the ceremony, let us update you on the winning grants:


    Good Practice in Design: this award went to the grant programme "Improve Dryland Livelihoods in Djibouti and Somalia through Productivity-enhancing Technologies," sponsored by Kaushik Barua. The proposal was developed by the consortium led by the private company Transtec with Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Suisse (VSF); and the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, of the Bern University of Applied Sciences (HAFL) - who were competitively selected. For the first time, specific annexes on financial governance and the selection process were added to the President's Report to reassure the EB: a best practice that is now being replicated for all private sector recipients. Co-financing of 100% was mobilized.


    Impact on Poverty Reduction: this award went to the grant programme "Strengthening the Productive and Organizational Model of the Cooperativa Integral Agrícola Mujeres 4Pinos - Phase II", sponsored by Juan Diego Ruiz Cumplido. This small grant is making a big difference to the lives of indigenous women in Guatemala. In the past five years, the number of members has increased from 175 to 450 and 450 jobs have been created. Their production and sales figures have risen steadily: from US$770,000 in 2011 to over US$3.6 million in 2016. Without doubt, one of the transformative achievements of the cooperative is that, in less than three years, 70% of their members have increased their incomes to the extent that they are no longer living in poverty.


    Knowledge Sharing: this award went to the PROCASUR grant "Strengthening Knowledge Sharing and Scaling up of Sustainable Innovation Using Learning Route Methodology - Phase II", sponsored by Benoit Thierry. The programme enhanced learning, sharing and innovation within the Asia and Pacific Region based on three core elements: 1) Mapping and packaging local solutions into live-field trainings, guided by farmers and government officials, 2) Building on the capacity of IFAD-supported projects and partner institutions to expand the use of the Learning Routes Methodology, 3) Enabling rural entrepreneurs/local champions to perform as peer to peer trainers and technical assistants, recognised by the government. Thanks to the engagement of provincial government decision makers and leaders from the Women´s and Farmers´ Unions, Innovation Plans were designed through Learning Routes benefitting over 47,000 rural people.


    Innovation: this award went to the grant to Fundacion ACUA for the "Programme to Increase the Visibility and Strengthen the Entrepreneurship of Rural Afro-descendant Communities in Latin America," sponsored by Jesus Quintana. The aim of this regional grant was to overcome the social inequalities facing afro-descendants, who are among the most vulnerable populations in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. By the end of the grant, the income generated by the 44 afro-descendant entrepreneurs supported increased by nearly 50%, and 22 of their products have penetrated the national markets - for example a pesto made of aromatic herbs and a flour made of an indigenous vegetable. In collaboration with Slow Food organization, a tourist gastronomic route  has been established. Thanks to our collaboration with Fundación ACUA, IFAD is now one of the most prominent development agencies to support directly Afro-descendant communities.


    As was stated by the Vice President in his introductory remarks, through this process, we gained a deeper appreciation for the results and impact that we are achieving through our grants portfolio. We also saw how much energy staff members are investing in managing these grants. Our deep appreciation goes to these committed IFAD staff members who are sponsoring these grants - going through a tough and rigorous screening and review process, reporting, supervising and sharing the resulting knowledge. Through this exercise, it was indeed evident that there are some very valuable jewels in our grants portfolio.


    We already look forward to start working on the 2017 Grant Awards soon! Please do leave your comments on how you think this process can be improved.

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    By Laura Carnevali, Anna Pierobon, Raniya Sayed Khan and Lisandro Martin

    Big goals and big gaps

    In the global efforts towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the development community and governments have agreed on over 230 indicators to track progress. Tracking is needed for informed decision making. First, robust tracking is essential in finding solutions to challenges that are dynamic, such as those caused by climate change; for example, climate resilient agriculture is a moving target as climate patterns continue to mutate.  Second, tracking is essential in adapting global solutions to specific contexts, addressing root causes of fragility has for example cultural elements.  Thirdly, without robust data, governments and development partners cannot assess the trade-offs of pursuing multiple goals: more aggressive growth requires more energy and water, and can endanger forests.

    So when development agencies talk about building capacity to monitor the SDGs, they are in fact implying much more than bean-counting.  It is about instilling a culture of results that enables governments and development partners to learn from project implementation, to make timely mid-course corrections, and to refine the propose solutions regularly, moving away from rigid blueprints.  It is ultimately about connecting measurement with management to do development differently.  This is one of the pillars of the proposed new business model for IFAD.

    Given these global partnerships, doing development differently requires that adequate capacity to track results is built for all stakeholders.  At the base of the pyramid are Governments, the foundation of the global data architecture to manage towards the SDG targets. In the middle layer, development partners must be able to consume country-level data to fine-tune their services and provide more effective solutions; and to be accountable to beneficiaries and taxpayers for their own contributions. At the top, global leaders must inform policy and multi-stakeholder dialogues with evidence.  Unfortunately this pyramid is shaky. We all recognize that efforts must be made to improve data at their source through direct support to governments to build M&E capacities. This is where the Program in Rural M&E (PRiME) comes into play.

    Transforming reality

    IFAD’s Results Management Framework (RMF) includes 21 indicators directly linked to seven SDGs. Data sources for these measures are both UN and IFAD databases, which draw data from IFAD’s projects.

    But is the data of the right quality, and is it used for the right purpose? To answer this question, IFAD conducted a survey among M&E officers working in IFAD-supported projects. Three main problems emerged:

    • M&E data is not leveraged enough – Responses indicated that M&E data is not used for decision-making. Over 90 per cent of project officers use M&E data merely for generating monitoring reports for different stakeholders rather than providing substantive inputs into managerial decisions.

    • Data collected is not helpful – Roughly 50 per cent believe that collected data are incorrect and that tracking is requested on too many indicators that do not support meaningful conclusions. Similar weaknesses emerge in their type and relevance: 60 per cent of respondents believe that projects do not always include “SMART” indicators and, if so, they are not appropriate to measure projects’ objectives.

    • M&E staff is not making the difference – People performing M&E functions in rural development projects don’t feel that they have the right capacities, exposure or authority to be able to have an impact on how decisions are made within their projects.

    Consequently, there is evidence that current efforts to track results must be stepped up. Numbers are being produced; transforming reality based on those numbers is a different matter.

    A new mindset

    IFAD has partnered with The Centres for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) in creating PRiME to systematically train project staff to
    instil a culture of results in project management units. Transforming resources into results is another key area of IFAD’s new business model.

    To this end, this week, 50 individuals from 46 different countries performing a variety of roles (from M&E officers, to project directors and M&E assistants) gathered in Rome to take part in the first ever training on Fundamentals of M&E in rural development. The customized curriculum is an adaptation of a classroom-style training that incorporates peer-to-peer learning, experience sharing and learning theory through practice.

    For more information visit the following links:

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