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    By Christopher Neglia

    At a standing room only event held on Wednesday morning at the Committee on World Food Security (CFS44), speakers and audience members were asked how their respective organizations could ‘Walk the Talk’ in the fight against climate change (some on the panel joked that in the UN we are more adept at the latter). This entreaty arose from a set of recommendations issued in 2012 by the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), which had called for more integration of climate change concerns in policies and programmes that addressed food security and national agricultural sectors.

    Recalling the recommendations adopted at CFS39, the Chair of the HLPE Steering Committee, M.Patrick Caron noted that demonstrable progress has been made in the last five years. Under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) we now have the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). We also have the Paris Agreement, and its financial mechanism, the Green Climate Fund (GCF). We are starting to see climate change concerns integrated in food security policies at the national level, explicitly supporting the resilience of vulnerable groups and food systems.

    Delphine Borione ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca
    First to speak on the panel, French Ambassador Mrs. Delphine Borione underlined the potential of France’s four per 1000 Initiative, whose basic tenet is that by increasing by four percent the carbon storage in the world’s soils we can greatly offset the annual increase of CO2 into the atmosphere. She also pointed to efforts to reduce carbon emissions in France’s livestock sector by 15 per cent.

    ‘We’re combining conditions under climate change with food systems…we need innovation and a transition to organizing new models of land use for growth and employment,’ French Ambassador Mrs. Borione said.

    Hassan Abouyoub ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca
    Similarly, the Ambassador of Morocco, M. Hassan Abouyoub, described his country’s efforts to reorganize society due to chronic water scarcity, pointing out that agriculture consumes about three quarters of water resources. He emphasized the role education plays in influencing policy outcomes.

    ‘We can’t implement policies rationally and efficiently if we don’t teach this in our educational system and have sound evidence present in our decision-making,’ Ambassador of Morocco M. Abouyoub said.

    Faris Ahmed ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca
    At the international level, M. Faris Ahmed of USC Canada, representing the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) of the CFS, recognized the inherent difficulties of addressing climate change through agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors.

    ‘Our sectors are so diverse that it’s hard to bring them together,’ Ahmed proffered.

    These constituencies tend to be the most affected by climate change, while they are also the least consulted. In this context, M. Ahmed underlined the strong human rights foundation of the CFS; an orientation that he said should be applied when engaging stakeholders in climate change action.

    Martin Frick ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca
    Picking up on this point, FAO’s Director of the Climate and Environment Division, M. Martin Frick, advocated for greater land rights for women, both as a matter of social and economic justice, and as a means of improving agricultural production without increasing the environmental footprint of small farming systems.

    On the state of the CFS, M. Martin Frick struck a note of optimism, saying that after 21 years of UNFCCC negotiations, member states had finally accepted that agriculture had a role in climate change debates. M. Frick called for research programmes led by the Rome-based Agencies of the UN to project climate change impacts on agriculture in a much more granular way, primarily as a means of better serving member states.

    For those of us who work with these issues every day, reflecting on where the CFS was five years ago provided a useful contrast to the complex policy architecture that has evolved in the intervening years. This bolsters the prospect that climate action will accelerate further as we approach 2020, when the Paris agreement comes into force.

    Margarita Astralaga ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca
    IFAD's Director of the Climate and Environment Division, Mrs. Margarita Astralaga, who moderated the event, explained that there are still major logistical challenges that relate to monitoring policy outcomes, which is necessary to better understand the role of agriculture in fighting climate change.

    'For developing countries, measuring policies and programmes will require a massive effort as they must account for actions detailed in their NDCs as part of the global stocktake exercise, a key element of the Paris Agreement,' explained Astralaga.

    Amassador Abouyoub agreed that monitoring is an essential component that feeds into the Paris Agreement’s ambition mechanism, and he called for more capacity-building in this area that would support generating better data on the feasibility of climate risk management.

    Nevertheless, in this event the CFS demonstrated its relevance as a forum that reinforces integration of food security and climate change issues, making good on demands by member states for support as they deal with a complex and interrelated set of challenges.

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    Written by Maria Hartl, Senior Technical Specialist, Gender and Social Equity

    In September,IFAD hosted an Expert Group Meeting convened by UN-Women to discuss “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”. The meeting was held in collaboration with the Rome-based agencies to prepare for the priority theme of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2018.

    While IFAD and the RBAs always contribute actively to the annual sessions of the CSW,  they are particularly engaged in preparation for the 2018 priority theme of rural women. Collaboration with UN Women on the organization of the Expert Group Meeting and hosting it was a good opportunity to bring the UN and the global debates to IFAD HQ and to enable many colleagues inside and outside IFAD to be part of the discussions.

    Photo: Beatrice Gerli, IFAD Rome 2017

    With the overall objective of accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all rural women and girls, the EGM assessed three broad, interlinked areas that are critical for rural women’s and girls’ livelihoods, wellbeing, and climate resilience in the context of rural transformation:

    • Rights to an adequate standard of living and ensuring income security and social protection

    • Rights to food and ensuring food security and nutrition

    • Rights to land and productive resources and ensuring land tenure security

    A total of 22 experts participated with a wide diversity of profiles: researchers, feminists, international NGOs workers, private sector workers and representatives of farmer organizations (see full list of experts here). The meeting included many partners and collaborators of IFAD, with whom we have worked on many topics.

    Ruth Meinzen-Dick from the  International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is an important long-term partner of IFAD who has taken the lead on the ground-breaking Women Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI).  

    Reema Nanavaty of the Self Employed Women's Association (India) and Esther Penunia of the Asian Farmers’ Association who are active members and leaders of IFAD’s Farmers’ Forum and have inspired our work in IFAD with  so many innovations over the years.

    Barbara Van Koppen from the International Water Management Institute presented a summary of substantive work on women and water. Her expert knowledge on  Water,  Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)  and Multiple Use (Water) Services (MUS) has played a vital role in keeping the IFAD approach on water and gender up to date.

    Marc Wegerif from Oxfam International was also able to catch up on the gender and lang rights with colleagues in ILC and PTA, who work closely with him.

    Amon Chinyophiro ofMeramo Consulting, one of the champions of the Gender Action Learning System and the Household Methodologies came from  Malawi to talk about food and nutrition security. He has seen huge successes in addressing farmers' economic and gender challenges since the National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi started promoting the GALS in 2013. This motivated him to pilot GALS in expanding the adoption of good agricultural practices in the groundnut value chain to increase farmers' incomes.

    “It was a big opportunity to be the man among women. I learnt how such “women-only-gatherings” provide the rare opportunity for them to effectively communicate their concerns with minimal interruption. I appreciated the goodwill that the female experts have towards rural women. The rural woman has always operated in a world that is unfair for her meaningful survival; now is the time to address all injustices in her life.”  
    Mame Khary Diene, founder and CEO of Bioessence Laboraties, Senegal, represented the private sector and the importance of market-oriented and value chain approaches to empower rural women. Mame is a business partner of women producers in IFAD-supported projects in Senegal, supporting them in standardization, processing and packing of their products and receiving certification. She came with a vision of a profitable business and suggested that we change our perception and representation of agriculture:

    “I am the only one coming from the private sector here. Moving from agriculture to agri-business will change things in favour of rural women and youth. Our image of the private sector is always linked to multinationals, while there is plenty of private sector at national or regional level. We must not be afraid of talking about money, this is how agriculture will attract young people. We need to revamp and re-skin agriculture and leave that image of a very poor agriculture that cannot even feed its own people.”

    Jane Meriwas, Executive Director, Samburu Women Trust could not reach Rome but participated online with her team as representatives of indigenous people, women and girls. Jane had also attended the Indigenous People’s Forum organized by IFAD.  She shared the challenges of rural indigenous women and girls in the drylands of Kenya and ways to support their livelihoods.

    The expert group included Christian Mendoza, a young female expert from the Instituto de Liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir, Mexico who shared at the end of the meeting:

    “It´s been an honour for me to attend this meeting with such an important group of experienced women in this topic. I was able to learn about their research and careers and I feel grateful about it. As a young feminist, I think we need to be more informed and connected with rural women regarding their important role in the subsistence of life and natural resources.” 

    Last not least, we welcomed our former colleague Clare Bishop in her new role as independent expert presenting the main findings from an FAO online discussion on “Rural women: striving for gender transformative impacts”.

    As host, IFAD, together with the RBAs, UN Women, OECD, UNIDO, UNESCO, WHO and ILO were given the opportunity to attend as observers. It was a great occasion to learn from the experts and we were able to contribute our experiences. Without doubt the focus on rural women and girls will be crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the global challenges of zero hunger.

    We thank everyone who participated in the Exert Group Meeting – particularly those of you we haven’t been able to mention by name – and our colleagues in UN Women, FAO and WFP for the collaboration. We are looking forward to continuing to work with them in the lead up to the CSW 2018.

    Read more and find the various papers from the experts here 

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    9thOctober 2017, Nairobi - Kenya

    Procasur Africa's Learning Route: Linking smallholders to commercialization Practices: The case of Farmers Organizations in the Kenyan dairy sectorbrought together 21 participants from 6 different countries implementing six different IFAD funded projects - Cameroon (Agricultural Development Support Project-PADFA) and Du Conseil d’Administration), Kenya (Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries), Malawi (Sustainable Agricultural Production Programme and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development), Rwanda (Rwanda Dairy Development Project-RDDP and Nyagatare Dairy Farmers Union-NDFU), Ghana (Rural Enterprises Programme-REP)and Madagascar (Program for Vocational Training and Improvement of Agricultural Productivity-FORMAPROD and Malagasy Dairy Board MDB). Each country bringing diversity and innovative analysis to play. Thanks to the structure of each group, bringing a mix of  project staff, government  representatives, leaders of  farmers organizations and small scale farmers the participants had the opportunity to see the two case studies from the Kenyan dairy sector through a variety of  analytical frameworks.

    During a  Learning Route participants get together in a practical and interactive setting that promotes direct and active learning, and allows the  host country,  in this case  Kenya, to share their best practices, innovative tools, techniques, and approaches as they promote smallholder commercialization initiatives. During the past week, the different IFAD funded projects put all their analytical focus on dairy value chains, and how the host organizations have successfully contributed towards integrating smallholder farmers into commercialization through the cooperative model. Through a mix of both theory (workshop presentations) and practical field experiences from selected cases in Uasin Gishu and Nyandarua counties of Kenya each participant had  the opportunity to look at the different innovative possibilities for their own projects.

    In Kenya the participants will have the opportunity to use different analytical knowledge management and team building exercises from which they  will not only take t the theoretical outcomes but also the knowledge of how to work in a group towards innovative outcomes.   On day one they were taken through an induction process where together with Procasur  they established the learning objectives and had the possibility to be introduced to the whole team.

    The morning was opened by a distinguished guest,  Dr. Kiptarus: Director of livestock production: State Department of Livestock Kenya. Who welcomed the participant to the Learning Route. During his opening speech he  provided the group with key highlights about the dairy sector in Kenya. Dr kiptarus key points included  his emphatic remarks about  commercialization of agricultural activities  as  the engine of economic development in Africa and particularly in Kenya given that smallholders farmers constitute 80% of marketed agricultural products. His speech  also gave the participants important facts about the  dairy sub-sector and its rapid  growth while reminding them that the current growth does not match the projected demand for dairy products. Mr Kiptarus also made a call for innovative approaches that will guarantee transformation of the dairy sector from subsistence farming  to  viable sustainable commercial oriented enterprises. This was the first speech of the morning  and it already  set the tone for participants to think  deeper about farmer organizations and how if they are  run efficiently through systems that will link smallholder farmers to commercialization they can be the engine of agricultural development.

    Currently, the government of Kenya is investing in promoting production, production efficiency, and sustainable use of land resources and creation of market linkages for farmers. By doing this, the government has put in place interventions that focus on policy and regulatory environment, strengthening of farmer organizations, increasing of livestock productivity and increasing market linkages for milk and dairy products.

    During the first day Gerald Katothya introduced himself as the technical coordinator of the Learning Route. Gerald described the Learning Route process as a platform that exposes participants to practical aspects of a process with the aim of understanding what makes it work and learn from it. The Learning Route in Kenya aims at improving the understanding of the visiting participants on how to strengthen farmer organizations capacities aimed at integrating smallholder farmers into commercialization modes. This goals are to be achieved through activities and tools like the case analysis framework. Which is to act as a guide for  understanding the internal organization and governance structures of farmer organizations and other coordination mechanisms that link farmers to commercialization, dairy commercialization service delivery models and interventions applied by dairy development programs to strengthen farmer organizations.

    Already before lunch all participants found themselves involved in  an interesting  dialogue with Norbert Tuyishime. Norbert  shared the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF)experience as a regional farmer organization engaged in policy and political dialogue processes. The EAFF supports its member countries through apex farmer organizations to participate in discussions around regional policies and protocols, participation in agricultural budget analysis processes and influencing  on the regional trade policies and standards.

    Catherine Kilelu, Project Manager for the Wageningen University 3R project in Kenya, was able to share with the participants of the Learning Route 3R’s experiences and their trade and investment approach to commercialization of the dairy sector by supporting dairy smallholder farmers to conduct farming as a business, integrate farmers into markets and strengthening the competitiveness and sustainability of the smallholder farmers. 3R also promotes the adoption of dairy technologies. She noted that, though the Kenyan dairy sector is very advanced compared to peers in the region, it still faces by a myriad of challenges  and so there is space for innovations. Some of the challenges Katherine mentioned include: high cost of production, milk quality and safety issues, gender and social exclusion and climate change, among others. In order to build entrepreneurial capacities for dairy smallholder farmers 3R believes there is a need to: develop relevant business models, develop youth led dairy models, develop dairy business models, develop quality based milk payment system, establish practical training centres and promote low emission resilient production systems. The model is also advocating for the promotion of technologies that are promising for both the youth and women.

    Procasur as an organization that acts as a knowledge broker for the South and its main mandate is to identify best practices and facilitate knowledge sharing. During the Learning Route, Procasur expects the participants to share experiences and learn from the Kenyan cases through a process of analyzing the innovative solutions and evaluating them against what is applicable in their context. The ideal is to establish together with every team what can be adopted and adapted when back in their countries.

    The learning Route participants first destination was Kinangop (Nyandarua county) in the central region of Kenya each IFAD funded project was  called to present their projects, share their experiences on the LR topic and their expectations of the training through an activity called the experiences fair.At the end of the session ,many participants shared how, for them, the value of the activity is in discovering how the challenges affecting smallholder farmers in Africa are often similar and crosscutting in the region. Often revolving around high cost of production, climate change, and challenges with accessing finances, lack of training, poor infrastructure among others.

    In this Learning Route where all participants are members of IFAD funded projects, each project was able to communicate to the different countries the efforts IFAD is making, in collaboration with other partners and including respective country governments, to contribute to poverty reduction, food and nutrition security. Common and cutting across interventions include among others: capacity building and training, adaptive research, commercialization, market linkages creation, capacity enhancement in good agricultural practices and enhancement of competitiveness

    Finally, we want to share some of the main expectations that were expressed by the participants of the Learning Route during the first day of our journey through knowledge:

    • Sharing of experiences and establishing reasons for success and or failure with the case studies
    • Understanding some of the sustainable funding mechanisms for farmer organizations in Kenya
    • Understanding the process of reducing the cost of production at farmer level
    • Understanding how farmer organizations in Kenya deal with governance and management issues
    • Gaining an understanding on how farmer organizations were being supported through public private partnerships
    • Gaining an understanding on the innovative approaches used by framer organizations to ensure their growth and sustainability
    • Finally, understand how farmer organizations are organized in Kenya achieving effective service delivery to members including facilitating the access to markets and marketing allied complementary activities.

    PROCASUR, the participants and the hosts of the LR  are committed to facilitate and contribute during the next days  to the activities and the development of each country's innovation plan  allowing the lessons learned in Kenya to be adapted and replicated in different countries and contexts.

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    Experiences from the IFAD-ESA Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop in Swaziland

    Author: Tirelo Ditshipi - (with contributions from Francesco Rubino)

    The Agricultural Services Support Project (ASSP) in Botswana, a five year project in the Department of Crop Production, the Ministry of Agricultural Development & Food Security was envisaged as model project to support existing government efforts towards improved food security and improving rural livelihoods.

    As  its name suggests, the support aspect  is meant to fill existing gaps in programmes such as the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD),  in addition to introducing new technologies and strengthening capacity building in the ministry’s structures.

    To enhance these technologies, the project also provided equipment and assisted the implementers of the project  in performing their duties through the provision of transport  and office equipment.  
    Additionally, through the institutional strengthening component, the project went a step  further by enhancing the ministry’s training capacity  on Monitoring & Evaluation and Knowledge Management & Learning,  helping to align the project’s mandate to that of the Ministry’s. 

    While the project  made great strides in terms of capacity building, it emerged from the recent Sub-Regional Monitoring & Evaluation Workshop (May 16-19) in Manzini (Swaziland),  in which five countries participated, that Botswana has and could learn valuable lessons on what needs to be in place for the success of the project. The underlying factor  was that Monitoring & Evaluation is the backbone of the project and that it influences the outcome of an effective Knowledge Management &Learning system and that  these need to be established  during the initial phases of the project. Despite thee being just a few months until the project’s closure, following a one year extension, such lessons will prove to be quite useful in terms application to future projects. In this regard, ASSP will be a reference point in what needs to be done and in place to set up a Monitoring & Evaluation system and eventually influence the strengths of other areas of the project.

    As Knowledge Management & Learning Officers we realized that more can be done on that area in the Sub-Region IFAD funded projects. Particularly that Knowledge Management is at times not fully explored, with the risk of being at times underplayed by a strict focus on communications. The main reason behind this gap is the difficulty most officers face in the establishment of Knowledge Management systems for their projects, as a result of the lack of capacity and understanding of what needs to be done to set up the systems. A difficulty that ASSP has faced in its project implementation, as well

    One other key lessons for the ASSP project, as evidenced by presentations from participating countries was the importance of data collection as a way of building on stories to tell and share either positive or negative for future reference. Fortunately for the ASSP project, through the Division of Agricultural Information & Public Relations, in-house channels through both print and broadcast are available to tap into. It is through such channels that the conservation agriculture initiative and the use of Agricultural Service Centres (ASCs) for farmers’ access to services could be examples of sharing lessons and proving that lives have been transformed through such interventions.

    In addition to having a good foundation on intersecting  areas such as Monitoring & Evaluation and Knowledge Management & Learning it is important that component drivers understand that there is a shared responsibility in making these work together.  An important lesson,therefore, is that technical experts in every project need to understand the importance of data collection, storage and sharing for optimal use and visibility of the project, a responsibility that has to be owned by all participants in a project to ensure its success. 

    As a Knowledge Management and Communications specialist myself, it has become evident that I have to constantly remind my team of the importance of documenting their efforts in their respective areas for archiving and visibility of the project for improved impact.

    Documentation and case studies are a reflection of a project’s success, or even failures, that are key in moving forward by assessing what can be done differently moving forward. In this regard, as Botswana prepares for a new project with new components and exploring different sectors, a good base needs to be established. As an immediate intervention, ASSP will archive all the information particularly on stories from the field and radio interviews on the project and its various components to showcase its impact.

    A documentary on ASCs and their effectiveness in attempting to address inaccessibility of facilities for farmers by acting as one stop shops has already been conceptualized with the Broadcasting Unit in the Information Division.Three centers have already been visited and have provided  clips, with subsequent interviews planned.

    Regarding the project’s beneficiaries of conservation agriculture, selected farmers and beneficiaries of the Waste Water Irrigation Scheme, profiles must be compiled for ease of reference in and traceability of the beneficiaries in the future.  Targeted messages on the interventions or technologies that ASSP utilized, including different techniques of conservation agriculture such as basin preparations or ripping have to be produced.  In addition, ASSPs regional collaborations should be strengthened with organizations like the African Conservation Tillage Network, for example, by starting to contribute to their monthly newsletter on conservation agriculture in the region.

    In conclusion, the Monitoring & Evaluation sub-regional workshop has in many ways provided answers on how to “get it right” and continued collaboration with participating countries is key. ASSP took a keen interest in collaboration with groups that have made significant progress in Knowledge Management, such as, RLEEP in Malawi who have compiled their stories from the field and PROSUL in Mozambique whose project is similar to the one currently being designed for Botswana and the Wool and Mohair Promotion Project in Lesotho. ASSP will take advantage of the established social--What sap group: IFAD Monitoring & Evaluation - Southern Africa group, for sharing lessons which is already proving to be a useful platform.

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    By Samir Rayess Calvo

    H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa (State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and Ato Aytenew Endeishaw (Deputy Head of Bureau of Agriculture in Amhara Region), inaugurated the irrigation scheme at Amhara Regional State.

    The second phase of the Participatory Small-scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP II) became effective on 13th February 2017. Building on the lessons from the previous phase, PASIDP II aims to develop 18,400 ha of small-scale irrigation schemes and 60,000 ha of adjacent watersheds, directly benefitting 108,750 households in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and SNNPR regions. By improving their prosperity, food security and nutrition, farmers enhance their resilience against external shocks, including those induced by adverse weather and climate change. PASIDP II places great effort on enhancing smallholders’ access to markets by ensuring schemes’ financial viability and developing agribusiness linkages through training in agribusiness skills for all the participating farmers. Furthermore, the programme has increased efforts in making the irrigation schemes climate resilient through a landscape approach to watershed management, ensuring that irrigation command areas and downstream private and public facilities are protected. In this regard, the programme benefits from a USD 11 million grant sourced from IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) Trust Fund.

    On the 13th October 2017, a mission comprising PASIDP II staff, Steering Committee members of PASDIP II and IFAD visited the project area in the Amhara Regional State. On this occasion, the irrigation scheme in the Special Zone of Oromia in Amhara region (Jille Timuga Woreda) was inaugurated by H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa (State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and Ato Aytenew Endeishaw (Deputy Head of Bureau of Agriculture).  The scheme, was the first scheme to be finalized in the second phase of the programme. A total of 240 watershed committee members and 97 Irrigation Users Association members are the backbone of the scheme’s operation and sustainability, ensuring adequate conservation of the adjacent watershed and operation and maintenance of the scheme’s physical infrastructure. Obtaining water resources from Sewer river diversion, the scheme will irrigate 97 HA of land, benefiting 115 households (from which 23 are female-headed).

    Thanks to the financial support from ASAP, the Regional Project Coordination Management Unit specialists have provided training on watershed management to 11 community watershed members, 8 Kebele (local administration) watershed committee members and 6 woreda (district) technical committee members.

    H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa  (State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and Ato Aytenew Endeishaw (Deputy Head of Bureau of Agriculture) inaugurating the irrigation scheme

    H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa acknowledged the commitment of the regional government and particularly the villagers who hosted the field visit, and encouraged the stakeholders to develop irrigation in the area and work towards prosperity. The Deputy Head of Bureau Agriculture promised to provide all the necessary support needed and appreciated the commitment from all actors in the area.

    The inauguration was followed by an interactive session in which the zonal head and PASDIP II irrigation engineer gave a brief presentation about the scheme, acknowledging the active involvement of all actors throughout the development of the scheme. Key stakeholders and irrigation users engaged in a fruitful discussion, appreciated the presence of the State Minister in the field visit and committed to strengthen their efforts to develop sustainable irrigation schemes. The Programme National Coordinator provided guidance for the key actors in the woreda and farmers to work towards the innovative features of the second phase of the programme, highlighting the importance of considering farming as business and rehabilitate the surrounding watershed in the area to sustain the irrigation schemes.

    Field visit and interaction with farmers

    At the end of the field visit, the Zonal Head offered the traditional costume of the area as a present to the key stakeholders, including IFAD, in recognition of their support to the farmers in the area.

     H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa and Aytenew wearing the present given form the Zonal Head

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    by Francesca Romana Borgia

    Documenting good practices, gathering data, updating baselines, and analysing documents are great ways of deepening the knowledge and performance of IFAD operations, but often projects lack time and the time and resources to do it. Meanwhile, hundreds of students around the world are enrolled in universities studying Development and competing for jobs in an industry where field experience is key.

    Based on the interest expressed by IFAD projects to host students to help them collect and analyse data, IFAD entered into a strategic partnership with a network of universities. The Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) was competitively selected from over twenty universities and university consortia that applied for the grant financing for this initiative. This network comprises 34 universities/higher education institutes that are located both in the Global North and Global South. The Masters attracts both young and seasoned students with previous work experience who bring their own expertise to the research. The grant design allows IFAD projects and partners (IFAD grant recipients or implementers of IFAD projects) to agree with the student on a specific deliverable (e.g. an action plan, baseline, database, etc.) that will be presented at the end of the three to six month field experience.

    The IFAD-Universities win-win grant benefits both IFAD operations and universities in four different ways:
    • IFAD project teams benefit from additional analytical work carried out by passionate and competent students
    • Universities can offer their students the opportunity of having field experience with an international specialized UN agency/IFI
    • students can get hands-on experience and exposure to the work of IFAD
    • IFAD as an institution gets more visibility and impact as a learning institution and attract qualified students who are at the beginning of their development careers. 
    The IFAD grant funds a scholarship of up to US$5,000 to students who are citizens of borrowing members of IFAD studying in Global South universities of the Global Association and aims at building local talent. Since its kick-off in 2016, twenty-six students have been matched to IFAD projects and partners requests for research. So far, twelve have already completed their field experience, mostly in projects located in East and Southern Africa, five are still in the field and nine more will reach field destinations between now and the end of the year.
    Pictures courtesy of: Andres Felipe Morales. Andres is the first person from the left in the bottom right-corner picture
    Among those who had recently finished their dissertation there is Andrés, a Colombian citizen enrolled in the MDP at the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia. Andrés spent three months in Jordan hosted by the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, which implements the Rural Economic Growth and Employment Project (REGEP). He developed a feasibility study and an action plan to strengthen the linkages between producers of oregano and sage and tourism sector in Jordan. The IFAD project director, Dr Samia Akroush, considers Andrés' work very helpful for both the project and the communities and reported as a success "…the development of research tools for data collection and action plan developed of value chain linkages of small farmers with the eco-tourism sector".

    In Africa, Bolanle flew from her home country, Nigeria, to Kenya where she spent four months hosted by the Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International, a recipient of an IFAD grant that implemented the Sorghum for Multiple Uses Value Chain Project. Bolanle researched the impact of the project on the food security of smallholders in Kenya. Her supervisor mentioned that Bolanle's study Informed the organization Africa Harvest and will aid future design and implication of projects. It is a clear indication of what worked best and what needs improvement or adjusting given the impacts achieved by our interventions.
    Bolanle and the AHBF team in Kenya. Bolanle is wearing a light blue top and is the second from the right
    Bolanle and Olufemi, fellow students from the University of Ibadan, had the chance to present their research at the International Conference on Sustainable Development, held last September in New York. The Conference was organized by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, where the Secretariat of the MDP Global Association is hosted by the Centre for Sustainable Development headed by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs.
    MDP students and the ICSD in NY, including Olufemi and Bolanle
    Three of the students who had benefited from the IFAD grant and completed their field work will be in IFAD Headquarters on 6 December 2017 to share their experiences.

    For more information, see Frequently Asked Questions in English, French and Spanish and visit

    Contact for more information.

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    By Salvador Santiesteban

    On 9 October 2017 IFAD  met with other United Nations agencies and international financial organisations and institutions at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina. Discussions revolved around the new paradigms that are reconfiguring rural areas in Latin America and the Caribbean, and participants reaffirmed the urgent need to devote more attention to the rural sector.  

    The seminar was inaugurated by the Governor of Mendoza, Alfredo Cornejo, whose words of welcome emphasised "the need for more specific and intelligent interventions by public and private agencies and, therefore, the tremendous benefit of everything that has been done, and that can be done, in partnership with IFAD."

    The event was particularly relevant to a region such as Latin America where, despite considerable economic growth in the last decade, 175 million inhabitants continue to live in poverty and another 70 million suffer from extreme poverty. One out of every two Latin Americans living in rural areas is poor. While the rate of poverty in Latin American cities is 24 per cent, in rural areas this rate almost doubles to 46 per cent. The dramatic impacts of rural poverty are, furthermore, practically invisible.

    "In spite of these challenges, Latin America as a region invests less, proportionally, in the agricultural sector. During this meeting, IFAD and its partners reiterated the need to reverse this trend and devote more attention to the rural sector", commented Joaquín Lozano, Director of IFAD’s Latin America and the Caribbean Division. "We are facing a decisive moment for agriculture and in the fight against rural poverty, and this within the context of a critical moment for rural development in Latin American and Caribbean countries", added Lozano.

    During the seminar the need was also emphasised to transform the narrative that is currently marginalising rural areas by taking advantage of the opportunities arising from the urbanisation process to strengthen the links between urban and rural areas. Daniel Pizzi, President of the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, commented on this by highlighting the need to examine the development of rurality and all its cross-cutting elements, "which include not only agriculture, but also infrastructure, climate change and social organisation, among other issues."

    Hugo Beteta, Director of the Subregional Headquarters for Mexico of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) highlighted the significant gaps that are most often eclipsed by general statistical averages; therefore, he recommended that all of IFAD’s strategies include an inequality-based approach. In Beteta’s opinion, "the place, gender, ethnicity and class into which a person is born determine to a great extent their fate. In fact, in Latin America, a person’s origin is their destiny."

    Inequality and exclusion were the focus of a significant part of the discussions. After highlighting the solid working relationship between IFAD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Julio Berdegué, FAO’s Deputy Director General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, affirmed that the region has lost ground in rural poverty reduction in recent years, with only five countries remaining consistent in their indicators. Berdegué highlighted that the percentage of rural poor people who are destitute has increased from 50 per cent to 61 per cent in recent years. He therefore believes that persistent poverty is not so much an issue of deficiencies as it is one of social exclusion, an exclusion that, in the words of Ana Touza, Regional Adviser for the World Food Programme (WFP), has the face of a woman and is rural, indigenous, landless, without access to education and vulnerable to food insecurity.

    According to Edith Obschatko, Agricultural Policy Specialist from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the current definition of the rural population is too simplistic, and she highlighted that rurality is an essential part of each country’s identity. This observation becomes especially relevant at a time when the international community, and donors in particular, are giving greater attention to low-income countries, in spite of the fact that 72 per cent of the world’s poor live in middle-income countries. In this sense, Héctor Bravo, Chief of Staff of Chile’s Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP) highlighted the importance of targeting small-scale producers among native populations, and within a framework that includes municipalities, to implement programmes that are committed to reducing rural poverty.

    In the case of Argentina, one of the world’s main food exporters, one third of its 3.5 million rural inhabitants are poor. Although the Government has made reducing poverty one of its priorities, and significant progress has been made, poverty continues to be especially severe in indigenous communities and it forces many rural young people to migrate. Aylen Azzaro, a participant in the Inclusive Rural Development Programme (PRODERI), financed by IFAD and implemented by the Unit for Rural Change (UCAR), noted the challenges that many inhabitants of rural areas still face in accessing water.

    In his closing words, Mendoza’s Minister of Economy, Infrastructure and Energy, Martín Kerchner, emphasised that it is critical that all actors involved in rural development have a very clear path to fulfil their mandate.

    In the second part of the seminar, Promoting and Financing Inclusive Rural Transformation, the principal international development financial institutions compared their respective definitions of the rural sector, the type of agriculture that they promote, and their different financial strategies. They also examined changes in the demand and supply of financial products to evaluate the efficacy of current instruments and identify innovations. 


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    Por Salvador Santiesteban

    El Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA), junto con otras agencias de las Naciones Unidas, organismos e instituciones financieras internacionales, debatieron el pasado 9 de octubre en la Universidad Nacional de Cuyo en Mendoza, Argentina,  sobre los nuevos paradigmas que están reconfigurando el mundo rural en América Latina y el Caribe y reafirmaron la necesidad imperiosa de brindar más atención al sector rural.

    El seminario fue inaugurado por el Gobernador de Mendoza, Alfredo Cornejo, quien destacó en sus palabras de bienvenida la "necesidad de una intervención más específica e inteligente de organismos públicos y privados, por lo que es de gran utilidad todo lo que hayamos hecho, y podamos hacer, en conjunto con el FIDA."

    El evento cobró especial relevancia en una región como América Latina, cuyo considerable crecimiento económico en el último decenio no ha sido suficiente para que 175 millones de sus habitantes salgan de la pobreza, ni  para que otros 70 millones encuentren alivio a su situación de extrema pobreza. Uno de cada dos latinoamericanos que vive en zonas rurales es pobre. Mientras que en las ciudades de América Latina la incidencia de la pobreza es del 24%, en las áreas rurales este porcentaje casi se duplica, con un 46%. El drama de la pobreza rural es, además, prácticamente invisible.

    "A pesar de estos retos, América Latina es la región del mundo que menos invierte proporcionalmente en el sector agrícola. En este encuentro, el FIDA y sus socios han reafirmado la necesidad de revertir esta tendencia y brindar más atención al sector rural", comentó Joaquín Lozano, Director de la División de América Latina y el Caribe del FIDA. "Vivimos una etapa decisiva en materia agrícola y en el combate a la pobreza rural, en medio de un momento crítico del desarrollo rural de los países de América Latina y el Caribe", añadió Lozano.

    Durante el seminario se hizo hincapié también en la necesidad de dar un giro a la narrativa que hoy en día marginaliza a las áreas rurales, de forma que se aprovechen  las oportunidades que brinda el proceso de urbanización para fortalecer la vinculación entre áreas urbanas  y rurales. En esa línea se expresó Daniel Pizzi, rector de la Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, quien destacó la necesidad de aceptar el desafío de dar una discusión relacionada al desarrollo de la ruralidad y las miradas transversales que intervienen ese desafío, "que no sólo incluyen a la agricultura sino también a la infraestructura, el cambio climático y la organización social, entre otros temas."

    Hugo Beteta, Director de la Sede Subregional en México de la Comisión Económica para América Latina (CEPAL) destacó las grandes brechas que se suelen esconder detrás de los grandes promedios, por lo que recomendó que el FIDA incluya en todas sus estrategias un abordaje a la desigualdad. En opinión de Beteta, "el lugar, el género, la etnia y la clase donde se nace determinan en buena medida el destino de una persona: de hecho, en América Latina, el origen de una persona es destino."

    La desigualdad y la exclusión centraron buena parte de los debates. Tras destacar la sólida relación de trabajo entre el FIDA y la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura (FAO), Julio Berdegué, Subdirector General y Representante Regional en América Latina y el Caribe de la FAO, constató cómo la región ha perdido ritmo en la reducción de la pobreza rural en los últimos años, con apenas cinco países capaces de mantener los indicadores. Berdegué destacó que el porcentaje de personas pobres rurales que son en realidad indigentes rurales creció del 50% al 61% en los últimos años, por lo que considera que la pobreza que persiste no es tanto un problema de carencia como de pobreza por exclusión social. Una exclusión que, en palabras de Ana Touza, Asesora Regional del Programa Mundial de Alimentos (PMA), tiene un rostro femenino, rural, indígena, sin tierra, sin acceso a la educación y sujeto a la inseguridad alimentaria.

    Edith Obschatko, Especialista en Políticas Agropecuarias del Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA), consideró que la definición actual de población rural es demasiado simplista y destacó a la ruralidad como parte esencial de la identidad de cada país. Esta observación cobró especial relevancia en un momento en el que la comunidad internacional, y los donantes en particular, están concentrando  una mayor atención en los países de renta baja, a pesar de que el 72% de las personas pobres del mundo viven en países de renta media. En este sentido, Héctor Bravo, Jefe de Gabinete del Instituto de Desarrollo Agropecuario (INDAP) de Chile destacó la importancia de focalizarse en pequeños productores de pueblos originarios y en aquellas estructuras que incluyan a las municipalidades para implementar programas como un compromiso para reducir la pobreza rural.

    En el caso de la Argentina, uno de los principales exportadores mundiales de alimentos, un tercio de los 3,5 millones de habitantes de zonas rurales son pobres. Si bien el Gobierno ha hecho de la reducción de la pobreza una de sus prioridades y se han logrado avances significativos, ésta sigue siendo especialmente severa en las comunidades indígenas y fuerza también a muchas jóvenes rurales a migrar. Aylen Azzaro, participante del Programa para el Desarrollo Rural Incluyente (PRODERI), financiado por el FIDA e implementado por la Unidad para el Cambio Rural (UCAR), recordó los desafíos que todavía encuentran muchos habitantes de las áreas rurales para acceder al agua.

    Las palabras de cierre correspondieron al Ministro de Economía, Infraestructura y Energía de Mendoza, Martín Kerchner, quien consideró fundamental que todos los actores implicados en el desarrollo rural tengan una ruta muy clara para poder ejecutar su cometido.

    En la segunda parte del seminario,  Promover y financiar la transformación rural inclusiva, las principales instituciones financieras internacionales de desarrollo en la región compararon sus respectivas definiciones del sector rural, el tipo de agricultura que fomentan, y sus diferentes estrategias financieras. Asimismo, se examinaron los cambios en la demanda y oferta de productos financieros para evaluar la eficacia de los instrumentos actuales e identificar innovaciones. 

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    FMD has successfully concluded the Financial Management Workshop for global and regional grant recipients, held in Bangkok from 25 to 27 October 2017. The Workshop was attended by 34 invitees managing Global/Regional grant recipients, representing 87 ongoing projects in 67 countries.

    As acknowledged by Ruth Farrant, FMD Director, "The attendees keenly participated in the discussions and activities, and provided feedback on their experiences. Overall, the attendees expressed great appreciation for the initiative, considering it an unparalleled opportunity to exchange knowledge with IFAD staff and with their peers to ensure the effective and efficient execution of their projects. IFAD, on the other hand, was able to gain vital practical insight into common portfolio strengths and weaknesses."

    IFAD was represented by staff from AUO, ETH, LEG, FPD, ACD and QAG, who went to Bangkok to deliver presentations and interact with the recipients. The presentations delivered are provided below, for the benefit of IFAD staff and other current and/or future recipients who were unable to participate in the event.

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    Accelerating the progress of nutrition-sensitive investments at country level

    By Marian Amaka Odenigbo and Roberta Carino 

    On occasion of the 44th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the Rome-based Agencies (RBAs - FAO, IFAD and WFP) organized a side event onFostering Nutrition Mainstreaming through RBA Collaboration for Africa– Accelerating the progress of nutrition-sensitive investments at country level which was held on 13 October 2017 at FAO HQ.

    The main aim of this side event was to put on the spotlight the collaborative efforts on improving nutrition among RBAs and the nutrition-sensitive initiatives of partners towards fostering nutrition mainstreaming in Africa.

    The event was divided into two complementary panel sessions i) Agriculture for Nutrition and ii) Broadening Partnerships for Nutrition Mainstreaming. The first panel session highlighted collaborative efforts at country level on nutrition mainstreaming by relevant partners such as Hivos, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and NEPAD. The second session presented the work of RBAs technical working groups - Sustainable value chains for nutrition, food loss and waste, Home grown school feeding, and the group on accelerating Nutrition Mainstreaming – in Africa.

    Mr Sana F. K. Jatta, IFAD's East and Southern Africa Regional Director, opened the side event with an inspiring speech on the importance of investing in nutrition, particularly in the African region, through concerted actions. He underlined how all forms of malnutrition clearly have negative economic consequences on public health expenditures causing high losses on a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
    Sana F.K. Jatta (IFAD) ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca
    “Investing in nutrition cannot be business as usual”, Mr Jatta said. He added that there is an urgent need of establishing a holistic multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach in integrating nutrition into agriculture, social protection and other broad rural poverty reduction strategies to achieve better results on nutrition.

    According to the ESA’s Regional Director, RBA collaboration is crucial for mainstreaming nutrition at project and country level, especially if we want to tackle the different causes of malnutrition and ensure sustainable lives for all.

    A short documentary on modern fish processing in Zambia illustrated an innovative entrepreneurship to produce more food products from fish, thus increasing utilization, efficiency, contribution to nutrition and reduction in waste and losses. The protagonist of the short documentary is Ms Kasazi Nyendwa, a young woman beneficiary of the IFAD-funded Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Programme (SAPP) and a fish farmer producing a variety of innovative and nutritious fish products to the Zambians communities. 

    Richard Abila (IFAD) ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca

    In appreciation of this video, the IFAD Senior Technical Specialist on Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mr Richard Abila, highlighted the role of fish as a critical vehicle for food security and nutrition, providing food and income for households. He also mentioned that one of the challenges that RBAs need to collectively address is to identify means of implementing technology at lower level for easy uptake by the rural people and for contributions to their food security and nutrition status.

    About "40% of the fish is thrown away. We need to develop cost-effective technologies for reducing these losses”, said Mr Abila in his concluding statement.
    William Chilufya (Hivos) ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca

    Advocating for diversity in the agriculture sector is one of the solutions to ensure nutritious and safe food and combat overall malnutrition said Mr William Chilufya, Regional Advocacy Officer at Hivos. “We need to diversify our eating habits”, he echoed after sharing Hivos’ positive experiences in fostering nutrition in Africa by promoting diversity in production and consumption through so-called food change labs.

    He also emphasised the need of bringing together stakeholders to discuss about problems around food and diets diversification and find concrete solutions to the problem of malnutrition.

    Similarly, Mr Hiroshi Hiraoka, Senior Advisor for the Japan International Cooperation Agency 
    Hiroshi Hiraoka (JICA) ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca

    Hamady Diop (NEPAD) ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca

    Louise McDonald (IFAD) ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca

    (JICA), shared his valuable experiences in the context of the recently launched Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security for Africa (IFNA) where the partnership with RBAs clearly represents a fundamental step and concrete action to accelerate the efforts to alleviate hunger and malnutrition and scale up nutrition interventions in Africa.

    He then concluded by assuring that, “JICA will continue the proactive engagement on food and nutrition activities” particularly in ten target countries and it would work with other organisations toward solving the world's food and nutrition problems.

    “Nutrition is a social investment,” echoed Mr Hamady Diop, Head of the Programme Natural Resources Governance, Food Security and Nutrition at NEPAD. He further highlighted how several regions in Africa have already embarked on a process to mainstream nutrition into the Regional Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development (CAADP) Compacts and respective investment plans in the context of the Programme. Interestingly, Mr Diop outlined how access to food is one of the key priorities for the RBAs.

    Ms Louise McDonald, IFAD Programme Officer, elaborated on the necessity of working together with the government as the only way to tackle the multiple burden of malnutrition in Africa. After briefly highlighting few successful ongoing RBA collaborations in African countries (e.g. Kenya, Mozambique and Madagascar), she then concluded by encouraging partnerships on taking into consideration their respective strengths in fostering the nutrition agenda. 
    Abla Benhammouche (IFAD) ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca

    IFAD’s Zambia Country Director, Ms Abla Benhammouche, who moderated the first Panel Discussion, also acknowledged RBA collaboration among other institutional collaboration platforms as a good approach to tackle malnutrition in all its forms. She closed the panel discussion by saying “if nutrition is already mainstreamed, there is always the need of doing more collectively”.

    The event proceeded to a second Panel Session on Broadening Partnerships for Nutrition Mainstreaming, moderated by Ms Marian Amaka Odenigbo, IFAD Senior Technical Specialist in Nutrition. This session focused on the perspectives to strengthen RBA collaboration in the nutrition agenda and the global initiatives. 
    Maya Takagi (FAO); Mutinta Hambayi (WFP) ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca
    The first panelist was Ms Maya Takagi, FAO Deputy Strategic Programme Leader for Reducing Rural Poverty (SP3), who talked about the linkage between SDG 1 and SDG 2. She strongly stated that investing in nutrition is key to poverty reduction, as well as an investment that benefits the poorest, the communities and the families. According to Ms Takagi, there are two pathways through which access to a more diversified food and sustainable nutrition can be fully achieved with positive outcomes on poverty reduction at the same time: i) through nutrition-sensitive agriculture, and ii) by integrating nutrition into social protection programmes.

    As a follow up on the global initiative, Ms Mutinta Hambayi
    , Chief of Nutrition Sensitive Unit at WFP HQ, underscored the importance of adopting a multi sectoral approach to tackle malnutrition in all its forms. Ms Hambayi described malnutrition as a multidimensional phenomenon driven by various determinants, requiring a strategic collaboration that effectively takes into account other sectors i.e. safe water, sanitation, social protection, health, climate and environment. Furthermore, she articulated what nutrition sensitive programming is and made a call for action in different sectors, among RBAs in order to improve nutrition outcomes and nutrition objectives.

    To showcase the work of the RBAs, the representatives of the RBA working groups on Nutrition Sensitive Value Chains (NSVC); Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) and Nutrition Mainstreaming gave sound bites on their objectives and the basis for enhanced collaboration in view of nutrition mainstreaming. 

    David Ryckembusch (WFP); Marian Amaka Odenigbo (IFAD);
    Florence Tartanac (FAO) ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca

    According to FAO Senior Officer Ms Florence Tartanac, project interventions require going beyond a traditional value chain approach, commodity and market focused to investments with a nutrition lens. What is strongly required is to broaden the concept of value chain from a purely economic focus to one that encompasses gender, nutrition, health and environmental dimensions and to identify entry points along the entire value chain for enhancing nutrition at all levels.

    Similarly, Mr David Ryckembusch, WFP Senior Programme Adviser, emphasized the multisectoral approach of the Home Grown School Feeding programme and its multiple benefits from improving nutritional status, health and cognitive development of children, to facilitating access to school and increasing attendance rates. “School meals are a good nutrition-sensitive investment that not only positively benefits children, but the entire community overall”, he said enthusiastically.

    Militezegga A. Mustafa (FAO); Cheikh Sourang (IFAD)
    ©FAO/Riccardo De Luca

    Finally, Ms Militezegga A. Mustafa, FAO Nutrition Policy Consultant talked about the Nutrition Mainstreaming group. Ms Mustafa emphasised that mainstreaming nutrition requires continuous financial and political commitment, capacity building and coordination.

    In the event’s closing remarks, Mr Cheikh Sourang, Senior RBA Advisor, reminded the audience that RBAs need to work together in a systemic and proactive way in order to fully integrate nutrition into agriculture projects. He pointed out that there is still so much to do in terms of development of capacity, scaling-up and strengthening RBA collaboration for accelerating the progress of nutrition-sensitive interventions across Africa.

    The scale of malnutrition and its impact on health and economic growth are serious global concerns. The three key words as the way forward of fostering nutrition mainstreaming through RBAs collaboration together with relevant partners and the government are: complementarity, alignment, coordination.

    See also: Nutrition Ambition: It takes coordination, alignment and collaboration

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    By Kalin Schultz

    Women and men taking part in a wealth ranking excersise of a farmer field school in Mbuzini on at Pemba island in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
    Issues of gender equality and agricultural development are deeply intertwined. Powerful voices, including that of IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo, have made clear that if we do not empower women, we will not eradicate hunger or poverty by 2030.

    The October Gender Breakfast gave participants at HQ a window on successful experiences in Tanzania, where IFAD has been funding two programmes – the Agriculture Sector Development Programme-Livestock (ASDP-L) and the Agriculture Service Support Programme (ASSP) – to improve agricultural technology and production practices along with gender sensitization among smallholder farmers.

    For the first time ever, participants at a Gender Breakfast were connected directly with people from the field. This presented a unique opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with those who are both implementing and taking part in IFAD-funded initiatives.

    Project Gender Focal Point, Asha Omar Fakih, coordinated the discussion in Zanzibar through the Tanzania Country Office. Mwajina Hassan, a woman participant in the programmes, shared her experiences. Both programmes have worked through Farmer Field Schools (FFS), where smallholders learn techniques and skills to improve their production and yields.

    At first, only men attended the project meetings in Zanzibar. Fakih recounted that she had to emphasize that the project was intended to sensitize the entire community on issues of gender inequality, so it required at least 40 per cent of the group participants to be women.

    She told the men “we need the women as well”.

    Due to cultural norms in Tanzania, women do not normally hold leadership positions, mix with men or make an independent income. The programmes aimed to challenge these assumptions through gathering men and women together to learn within the context of knowledge-sharing and development.

    Fakih and Hassan presented some of the challenges and the successes of the programmes. They spoke of the initial discomfort that the participants felt in the mixed-group setting. The women did not feel they could express their thoughts or ask questions. However, Fakih recounted that the women began to change over time. Each meeting, there would be more progress and engagement.

    Slowly, the women in the group started asking questions more confidently and taking the lead on different projects. The women would also often share their new knowledge throughout the community, improving their own production practices alongside their neighbours’. Hassan had even taken on a leadership role as a Farmer Facilitator as a result of her personal progress and empowerment.

    Investment in women’s education and economic participation gives significant social and economic returns. As the women in Zanzibar learned new skills, they were producing more crops. Wives began bringing home higher yields than their husbands. And as their production and income increased, they became economically empowered, resulting in improvements in individual, family and communal wellbeing.

    As Fakih and Hassan from Zanzibar spoke to the Gender Breakfast participants, the multiple implications of empowering women through these projects became clear. They emphasized that many women have begun playing an active role in the local economy and in local government. Women are increasingly sending their children to school because they have the money to pay tuition fees.

    As women become more economically empowered, their self-esteem and motivation increases. They begin to speak out and voice their concerns to their local representatives. They seek to educate themselves and their families further. In a place where women were not traditionally viewed as capable of earning an income or filling a leadership role, they begin to recognize their own potential.

    The October Gender Breakfast made it possible for IFAD staff in Rome to hear directly from the people on the ground in Tanzania. The stories told by Fakih and Hassan about the impacts of the two programmes were powerful and truly exemplified the transformative nature of initiatives that focus on gender equality.

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    By Richard Abila and Laura Sollazzo

    Crocevia: Snapshot of the infographic on the VGSSF

    The event was held to reflect on the lessons and outcomes of the small grant, providing an opportunity for the Grant recipients to share with IFAD and other stakeholders their stories from the field by highlighting what actually happened and what were the challenges and success factors.

    Where did the grant idea come from?

    IFAD’s involvement in this small grant responds to a specific request by farmers and rural producers organizations at the 5th Global Meeting of the Farmers Forum (FAFO) hosted by IFAD in February 2014 where a special session on small-scale fisheries was organised. Specifically, the FAFO requested IFAD to ''establish a global grant programme for direct support to organizations of farmers and fishers to increase their capacity in policy and economic areas and to strengthen their initiatives''. Towards this aim, IFAD forged a working relationship with civil society organizations, networks and platforms representing the interest of small-scale fishers at a global level. In particular, four organizations have been instrumental in driving this collaboration, namely; the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fishworkers (WFF), the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP), the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) and coordinated by Centro Internazionale Crocevia, who were competitively-selected as the grantee of the small grant.

    The need for the SSF Guidelines featured at the FAO 2008 Global Conference on Securing Small-Scale Fisheries held in Bangkok, as a means to harmonise international and national level policy interests with regard to small-scale fisheries. The FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) approved the development of the SSF Guidelines at its 29th session, while at the 31st session of COFI the SSF Guidelines were endorsed for implementation. Through this grant, IFAD has demonstrated a strong commitment in moving the SSF Guidelines forward from development to implementation phase. Small-scale fishing communities will only see the full benefits of the SSF Guidelines if they are at the fore-front in implementation and ensure their interests are taken into account in all key decisions.

    The IFAD-funded small-grant was approved in August 2015 and has just completed its activities last month. The small-grant had four key objectives:

    (i) promote awareness about the SSF Guidelines among small scale fishery workers, their communities and organizations and to mobilize their support for implementation;
    (ii) initiate capacity building programs for the fishers organizations and position them as key actors in the implementation of SSF Guidelines;
    (iii) identify priorities and indicators for monitoring the implementation of SSF Guidelines through bottom-up approach and;
    (iv) enhance the skills and capacity of the implementing organizations and other small-scale fishery workers’ organizations for a more effective role in policy dialogue and decision-making processes.

    What actually happened and what were the success factors?
    Artisanal fishery project Mozambique - IFAD Image bank

    The project concentrated on raising awareness about SSF Guidelines amongst organizations of small-scale fishery workers and their communities through actions at local, national and sub-regional and building capacity for implementation in pilot countries. This was achieved through three sub-regional workshops held in Thailand, Nicaragua and Uganda; and seven national workshops held in India, Brazil, Ecuador, Pakistan, Morocco, Myanmar and Tanzania. Participants included representatives of different interest groups in small-scale fisheries such as: Civil Society Organizations, marine and inland fishing communities, women and youth groups, indigenous people, co-operatives, government departments, inter-governmental bodies including FAO and IFAD; Non-Governmental organizations, research institutions and academia etc. The workshops enabled these key stakeholders to understand how they can contribute in policy making processes which affect the livelihoods of rural poor communities that depend on artisanal fisheries. It was especially noted that many government representatives were unaware of the importance of SSF Guidelines, a critical gap considering the role Government has to play in domesticating the Guidelines in national policies and regulations.

    The project made efforts in recognizing the role of women in the fisheries sector and, as a consequence, women were well represented in all the workshops and had a chance to have their voices heard. In her presentation at the meeting, Ms Editrudith Lukanga, co-President of WFF, explained how the Tanzanian national network of women increased their visibility in the international arena. Ms Gabriela Cruz Salazar, President of the National Federation of Fishery Cooperatives in Ecuador (FENACOPEC) told us about the practical difficulties they face in trying to make SSF Guidelines recognized and adopted by some of Latin American countries, partly because Government officers do not understand the benefits. Many organizations in her country would be interested in adopting SSF Guidelines as a way of protecting small-scale fishers, however there are constraints in the fishing laws on demarcating boundaries between fishing communities and the private sector.

    Booklets, posters and video presentations were produced and distributed in targeted countries for disseminating information on the Guidelines. A short infographic video on SSF Guidelines was produced with translated text in French, Spanish and Portuguese. To reach a wider audience, articles on the workshop were published in the small-scale fisheries newsletter, SAMUDRA Report.

    A major challenge now is how to expand awareness about SSF Guidelines to many other countries and communities that were not reached in this intervention and who still are not aware of them.

    What actually needs to happen to make the change?
    1. Mobilise the involvement of communities: this first step generates support through different methods adapted at the local and regional levels by advocating to governments and non-government stakeholders who were not informed of SSF Guidelines.
    2. National level processes: make use of a pool of actors that can guide and trigger the process of change at the local levels.
    3. Policy maker awareness: fishers groups go through guiding principles and ensure that the relevant policies can protect their interests and help build their capacities. SSF Guidelines talk to the people: it’s all about the fisher organizations to identifying themselves with the Guidelines.
    4. Enhance opportunities for civil society and indigenous people to engage at the international level, including international platforms supported by IFAD such as Farmers Forum and Indigenous Peoples Forum.
    5. Advocacy and building capacity are key to moving forward implementation of the SSF Guidelines by strengthening national level awareness campaigns and adapting them to the specific national contexts. 
    6. Country-level strategies and plans of action need to be developed which will articulate practical steps for implementing SSF Guidelines.
    “Civil society organizations create possibilities to make this change happen” said Naseegh Jaffer, Secretary General of WFFP. Naseegh comes from the small scale fishery sector where he has been active with community development work for the last 30 years and was deeply involved in the civil society processes for development and adoption of the SSF Guidelines.

    The IFAD small grant was complementary to the activities being undertaken by FAO globally in relation to the Guidelines. It has raised the profile of fishers organizations and enhanced their participation in the FAFO and other international fora. There is still a high degree of disconnect between SSF Guidelines and policy level engagement and it will take a while and more awareness raising for the Guidelines to make sense to policy makers. While this grant made valuable steps in awareness and capacity development, a lot more need to be done at the national level to make everyone’s voice heard and a trigger positive reaction within Government.

    What was the “take home” message that emerged from this event?

    Civil society organizations are pleading for more support from IFAD, FAO and other partners in support of SSF Guidelines implementation. They are asking for assistance of IFAD networks and projects to inform local leaders to bring up the importance of the Guidelines to higher levels.

    Following the IFAD AAR on the small-grant, the expert pool on small-scale fisheries moved to FAO to attend the CFS 44 side event on SDGs and small-scale fisheries: meeting commitments and realizing the right to adequate food. This platform also contributed to advocating the importance of the SSF Guidelines especially in the developing world.

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    by Jonathan Agwe 

    Background: The Outreach Project - Expanding and scaling-up innovative financial inclusion and graduation strategies and tools in Africa has been successfully piloted. ‘The ‘Outreach Project’ (in short) was a two-year pilot implemented through a south-south-and-triangular collaboration (SSTC) in knowledge, technology and skills transfer between Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), East and Southern Africa (ESA) and West and Cenetral Africa (WCA) from August 2015 – September 2017 in three Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries – The Gambia, Mozambique and Tanzania. The pilot implemented by Fundación Capital - FundaK (www.fundació is now being scaled-up. It was funded by IFAD through a PTA small grant, which leveraged 250 per cent co-funding from other partners, including the Skoll Foundation, UN Foundation, The Gates Foundation, Swift Foundation, Irish Aid, Amplifiers and the governments of the three participating countries.

    Participating to target the Last Mile at the bottom of the income pyramid: Thirty-two participants attended the event – some in person at IFAD HQ and others remotely via video or telephone from international locations including Kenya, Mozambique and USA. At the knowledge sharing and learning event, FundaK – the recipient of the PTA small grant co-presented with FAO, the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF), BRAC-USA and two IFAD Country Offices (Tanzania and Mozambique). The general focus of the event was on how to best deploy pro-poor digital financial services (DFSs) as part of the graduation programming in financial inclusion for effective livelihood improvement activities (aka, productive safety nets).

    This picture shows The Last Mile– i.e., the ultra-poor for whom the “push” and the “pull” mechanisms in the financial system are yet to be very effective. This lack of effective push and pull mechanisms necessitates targeted and specialized interventions to ‘graduate’ the ultra-poor into economic citizenship.

    Highlights, giveaways and echoes from the event are diverse and varied: The graduation programming package for livelihood enhancement comprises of a combination of conditional cash transfers (CCTs), consumption support, coaching/mentoring especially in income generation, savings mobilization, linkages to the formal financial system, linkages to pro-poor value chains with remunerative prices. 
    • IFAD has at least 12 on-going projects with financial graduation programming interventions (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, India, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uruguay). One financial graduation programming intervention has just recently been approved by the Executive Board (EB) for Burundi and one for Mozambique is on schedule for approval in December 2017. The FundaK piloted successes in ESA are being scaled-up through IFAD-supported operations, including but not limited to Tanzania’s Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition and Rural Finance Support Programme (MIVARF) and TASAF; and Mozambique’s Artisanal Fisheries Promotion Project (PROPESCA) and the Rural Enterprise Financing Project (REFP). Observation: Lessons on graduation programming are now trickling in from within IFAD’s current portfolio.
    • BRAC implements the world’s largest successfully scaled Graduation model targeting households in ‘ultra’ poverty. BRAC has “graduated” some 1.7 million+ households from extreme poverty since 2002. The longest running Graduation RCT was on BRAC’s programme, showing a continued climb out of extreme poverty seven years later. Six international RCTs prove Graduation works internationally. At the intersection with social protection, BRAC says, graduation plays a vital role by shifting focus from ‘graduation out of a social protection programme’ to ‘graduation into a social protection system’. Observation: Graduation programming is a feasible business proposition for reducing perpetual ultra-poverty. 
    • FAO challenges the dependence on CCTs in graduation programming by asking the question – is there need to place conditions on cash transfer to obtain desirable outcomes? FAO posits that there should be flexibility for households to manage their expenditures. Observation: Unconditional cash transfers (as well) lead to significant social and productive impacts on beneficiary households. 
    • TASAF on deepening digital financial inclusion (digital financial services – DFSs) for Tanzania cash transfer beneficiaries says, they are “in the process of digitizing its payment system under which the Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) beneficiaries will be empowered to receive their cash transfer payments direct into their mobile or bank accounts”. The establishing this ePayment system is demand-driven and is designed according to the needs of the beneficiaries. A testimonial from one beneficiary says, “I was very happy to receive money via my mobile phone, my daughter was very sick I didn’t have money at that time. I thank God for TASAF. I went very fast to Mr Mushi [Mobile money agent] within 3 minutes I had cash in my hands”.
      Observation: In spite of these successes, challenges still exist that hamper the uptake of DFSs to scale for the economically active poor and more so, for the ultra-poor. These challenges which should be surmounted with time and appropriate investments include: low functional literacy levels of beneficiaries to quickly grasp the digital technologies, absence of most financial service providers (FSPs) and interested mobile network operators (MNOs) and/or weak network signals in the rural districts. 
    Watch this video on including graduation programming for a transformative social protection intervention for graduating The Last Mile into Economic Citizenship.

    For all presentations at the event and more on financial graduation programming at IFAD, please, contact Jonathan Agwe, Senior Technical Specialist.

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    By ORDA

    The Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA), a strong and reliable developmental partner of the people and government of the Amhara region, is strategically filling developmental gaps in its short and long term projects and programs. ORDA implements a project in Mout Guna area which is characterized by rugged topography manifested with devoid of natural vegetation, soil erosion and severe land degradation. Although livestock asset is one of the major sources of household income, its productivity is very low. To change these adverse situations and improve livelihood of farmers, ORDA fruitfully delivers improved agricultural technologies and integrated watershed development practices.

    ORDA financed by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with a 37.3 million Birr, has started to implement Sustainable Adaptation to Climate Change in Lake Tana Watershed under Community-Based Integrated Natural Resources Management (CBINReMP). It is called IFAD Guna Project which has been working in 15 kebeles of Farta, Estie & Lay Gayint Woredas of South Gondar Zone since 2015. The intervention kebeles consist of 23, 000 households and covers about 51,184 hectares of land which directly benefits 8,000 households (40,000 people).

    The project distributed various livelihood options like 17 rope and washer pump, 13, 298 hop seedlings, 107 quintal potato tuber, 2,901 propagated apple seedlings, 4 kilogram vegetable seed/carrot, lentil, cabbage and salad/, 162 quintal of livestock forage, 166 fuel saving stove, 9 biogas, 42 cubic meter compost and 396 solar lantern for 1,232 households (91 female headed) in Ata Meher and Arga Meher intervention kebeles in a clustered approach.

    The project targets to achieve outputs: Integrated Runoff Reduction and Moisture Retention Practices, Forestry & Agroforestry Technologies, Alternative Energy Sources, Water Resources Developed & Efficiently Utilized, Agricultural Productivity & Employment Opportunities, Increased Crop, Productivity & Soil fertility, Increased Livestock Productivity, Employment Opportunities created, Access to Social Services Improved, Access to Education Services Improved.

    Target beneficiaries have been progressively changing their lives. Farmer Kindalem Feleke is to be mentioned forefront. He lives in Guna Begie Midir (formerly Farta) Woreda of Arga Didim kebele at Enset Village. The farmer and his wife woizero Alemnat Fenta have two sons & two daughters. Three of their children attend in a primary school. This poor farmer owns a quarter of a hectare of land and obliged to harvest a few crops, such as potato, wheat and triticale/a breed of oat and wheat/. He got insufficient production from his small plot of farm land. Hence, he was assisted by the government productive safety net program to cover the family’s annual food consumption. Moreover, he frequently used to get debts to buy house expenditures, such as sugar, food oil, salt, onion, soap, and agricultural inputs.

    To beat poverty, the farmer was courageously got a debt of 6 thousand birr for sheep rearing and other agricultural input use. But, he was very much challenged as his sheep all dead. This time, he was put in a bankruptcy and aggravated his life from bad to worse. This farmer lost human dignity by the local community for not having been able to repay the loan in time. Amazingly, the loan exceeded about 12 thousand birr and he was in dilemma for migration. He said, “I never forget that I was in desperate situation to survive.”

    At this critical time, he was selected as one of beneficiaries of ORDA-IFAD Guna project. In his village, a small river known as “Enset” percolates from the top Guna Mountain to Arga Didim villagers. However, no farmer was aware to use it for irrigation. Then, Kindalem with other farmers trained on vegetable production and apple propagation using irrigation. The project delivered him the necessary agricultural inputs (spade, irrigation watering can, vegetable seeds and apple seedlings. He practically started vegetable harvesting from irrigation since 2012.

    The optimistic Kindalem was determined to escape from poverty. He produced vegetables three times a year and paid off a 12 thousand birr debt. He also bought 5 quintals of teff to an annual family diet. Consequently, he was very much encouraged and worked day and night. In 2013 and 2014 irrigation year, apart from fulfilling all his family’s food and other needs, he changed his small hut to a full- fledged 53 corrugated iron sheet top and bought a mule for a 10 thousand birr.

    In the years of 2015, 2016 and 2017, he expanded his farmland for vegetable and fruit production. A farmer's livelihood is being improved. Food is already secured for the family. Now, he began building asset and saved money for a family’s clothes, schooling materials, and other issues. In this case, when his ox died in 2016, he immediately bought a horse for 9 thousand birr. This horse is now serving for both farming and transporting fruits and vegetables to market.

    This person now has built a 60-corrugated iron sheet top house of what he has inherited from his father’s land at Kimir Dingay which is the capital of Guna-Begie Midir Woreda.

    As a result of the training and tools for apple propagation provided by the project, the farmer has earned an average annual income of about 4 thousand birr. He is now selling a grafted apple for farmers & government offices in the surrounding.

    Since 2013, the farmer and his wife Alemnat saves 30 birr monthly and have a total of 5 thousand birr in ”Megabe Enset” Village-Based Economic and Social Association (VESA). In addition, he saved 5,000 birr at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).

    ORDA – IFAD Guna project benefited the farmer to use solar lantern. As a result, he was able to save money he spent for gasoline. The children also have been able to attend school without any health impacts. The farmer, who had been disrespected for being poor, has made a remarkable difference. Today, he becomes a model farmer that various offices and farmers across the zone frequently visit his garden to share his experiences. He’s also coaching farmers and found many successors in that village.

    Generally, farmer Kindalem has totally changed his life style and he is in rapid progress. Everyone who visits his home can be a witness for his livelihood improvement. Currently, he gets a nutritious food, uses solar lantern (children can study better during night and reduced eye sight problems), saves money and builds asset, implements better with the skill and knowledge developed towards using agricultural inputs and technologies.

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    By Giulio Fabris

     Climate change, migration, conflicts, hunger. Global challenges cannot be tackled individually by states or organizations, but require an international approach. Preventive actions to address these challenges should be based on an inclusive and sustainable development.

    Global issues require constant and deep collaboration, partnership and commitment from all stakeholders.

    The VII edition of the Diplomacy Festival in Rome was the occasion to gather and discuss with ambassadors, experts and representatives from all the political institutions based in Rome. Also known as the Capital of Diplomacy, Rome hosts over 140 embassies to Italy and the Vatican, 130 missions to international organizations, as well as cultural institutions, NGOs and international universities. The aim of the one-week Festival is to recognize the identity of the international community that works and lives in Rome and to foster dialogue and collaboration..

    The event Global Challenges for UN Agencies in Rome at SpazioEuropa discussed the UN agenda and the role of UN agencies and other stakeholders in addressing international issues. Moderated by journalist Tommaso Polidoro, it brought together Jan Tombiński (Ambassador of the EU to the Vatican and UN agencies in Rome), Giorgio Bartolomucci (General Director of the Festival), Francesco Luna (WFP representative in Italy), Elisanda Estruch (FAO Lead Economist) and Mattia Prayer-Galletti (Lead Technical Specialist at IFAD).

    The first speaker, Jan Tombinski, pointed out the urgent need of further cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations to tackle the huge challenges we are facing today, especially the refugee crisis. The Ambassador also highlighted the huge investments that the EU is allocating to sustainable development projects in partnership with the Rome Based Agencies, with a particular focus on fighting poverty and hunger.

    Giorgio Bartolomucci, General Director of the Festival, highlighted the central role of Rome in the international diplomacy and focused on the opportunities offered by embassies, IOs and international actors. Unfortunately, he said, the city has not always made the most out of the presence of such a big number of international organizations and institutions.
    The representative of WFP, Francesco Luna, called attention to the Sustainable Development Goals and to the impelling urgency to stop conflicts, which are deeply connected with hunger and food insecurity. Mentioning the The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report, he made it clear that peace and stability are pivotal to achieve Zero Hunger and the other Global Goals by 2030.

    The economist of FAO, Elisand Estruch, talked about the link between food security and migration, which was also the theme of World Food Day 2017. Addressing the root causes of migration through investments in rural areas of developing countries, she said, will help eliminate malnutrition and hunger, as well as reducing the migration flows. 

    Lead Technical Specialist Mattia Prayer Galletti spoke on behalf of IFAD, presenting the role of the organization in rural development. He showed the impacts of over 250 active projects around the world in terms ensuring food security and providing technical assistance to developing countries. In particular, he outlined the importance of investing in rural areas to create opportunities for young people: urbanization and unemployment are issues that can be addressed by investing in new technologies in rural areas in order to give youth the choice and the possibility to secure their future without migrating to big cities.

    Learn more about which investments can create jobs for rural youth and download the latest IFAD and World Bank Rural Youth Employment paper.

    Also, read about how IFAD-supported projects are working to support and employ youth in rural areas from this recent blog post.

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  • 11/08/17--04:52: The Agriculture Advantage
  • 7 November, Bonn

    The agriculture advantage: the case for climate action in agriculture, an IFAD and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Programme of the CGIAR (CCAFS) led series of events at the opening of COP23.

    This session, A framework for agricultural development under climate change was led by CCAFS' Director Bruce Campbell and the Executive-Director of Sygenta, Simon Winter.

    Then followed an interactive panel with speakers from each of the events that will come in the next week: The Gender Advantage, The Land and Water Advantage, The Low Emissions Advantage, The Policy Advantage, the Breeding Advantage and finally The Business Advantage .

    Winter set out his and Syngenta’s views on effective multi-stakeholder investment. He talked of the risks faced by smallholders and the many possible ways in which that could be alleviated – including SMS technology, improved crop varieties, weather risk insurance and many others.

    He acknowledged that the problem is big and there are no easy solutions, but that he had high hopes for the next two weeks in Bonn and especially the Agriculture Advantage series of events where people could come together and debate and reason out new strategies.

    He went on to talk of the need for Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), something IFAD has long championed. He talked of the last decade, which has been great for PPP, but also highlighted the lack of system wide uptake and also the downside of PPP. Namely that some companies were using the terminology to attract donors support, but with no attention to results and impacts nor intention or knowledge for replicability.

    “We need to make sure farmers are always front and centre of any initiatives,” said Winter.

    Bruce Campbell talked of agricultural transformation under climate change.

    "While we want agricultural production to increase for these smallholders, we don’t want back-breaking work done mostly by women to increase,” said Campbell.

    "With 815 million people hungry and the planet in need of one gigaton of emissions to be sequestered by 2030, if there is even a hope of keeping global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the time is now to act."

    Campbell believes that cellular technology is key, and said that within a decade he fully expects every farmer in Africa to have access to a smartphone and all the information this implies. He thinks that international development should focus on this massive uptake of technology and utilise the reach in order to tailor solutions all the way down to the farm level.

    Carl Deering from CARE told us how the Gender Advantage event on the 8th November is important because in terms of smallholder development, absolutely nothing that has and will be talked about will ever succeed without acknowledging the fact that most farm work is done by, and indeed most farmers are, women. And usually women in extremely marginalised areas.

    Ilaria Firmian of IFAD talked about the Business Advantage event on 13 November. She said that to achieve transformation in agriculture we need more investments in the sector, and climate finance has the potential to leverage private sector investments, as shown by IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme. Effective action, however, requires strong partnerships among a multitude of stakeholders (investors, farmers, scientists, development practitioners, etc.).

    This is shaping up to be a truly exciting series of events where participant deep dive in how we can have smallholder farmers making more money, having better nutrition, not increasing workloads and having better access to markets.

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    UNFCCC COP23, Bonn, 8 November

    Here in Bonn, IFAD and the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) held the first session of the Agriculture Advantage Series– The Gender Advantage.

    The event brought together representatives from CCAFS, IFAD, the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Women Environmental Programme (WEP) and CARE.

    IFAD’s Ilaria Firmian gave the first presentation of the day, stating that the gender advantage in agriculture is already known. FAO research shows that if women were given access to the same resources as men, agricultural output in developing countries could increase by up to 4 per cent and the number of hungry people could be reduced by 100-150 million.

    She illustrated how IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), the world’s largest climate change adaptation programme focused on smallholder farmers, addresses gender equality and women’s empowerment issues at project design stage.

    Firmian highlighted the three main objectives of IFAD’s gender policy - economic empowerment, decision-making and representation, and equitable workload balance. “Equitable access to information channels and adaptation knowledge is critical," said Firmian. "When women are left out of early warning systems, their potential to contribute to household and community responses is not fulfilled and it results in their greater vulnerability to extreme weather events.”

    A key focus of the alliance between IFAD, CCAFS and CARE has been to generate lessons on integrating gender in adaptation projects with smallholder farmers.

    “We need to transform the gender disadvantage,” said CARE's Tonya Rawe. “There is an unfair labour burden on women. They work farms, are responsible for food security and have to do domestic chores. We cannot add more work to this, but must also make sure that this existing workload doesn’t hinder women’s involvement.”

    Sophia Huyer spoke of the ASAP projects PRELNOR in Uganda and PAPAM/ASAP in Mali, and their victories and challenges when it came to gender empowerment and equality.

    Priscilla Achakpa, the executive-director of the Women Environmental Programme (WEP) and one of the negotiators here at COP23 also gave a presentation on the role that the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AWGGCC) plays in Africa’s engagement in the regional and global gender and climate change processes at the UNFCCC.

    She spoke of the varying challenges Africa is facing when it comes to women’s empowerment, from religious and cultural differences, to diluted and fractured messages coming from different countries.

    “We now come with the message from Africa, united by our group experience," said Achakpa. "We need to focus on the institutionalisation of gender – not solely on outcomes.”

    “We need to safeguard women’s rights while staying open to opportunities,” Bimbika Sijapati Basnett from CIFOR said in her closing remarks. “We cannot operate in silos, we must also include men and boys in the process or risk its failure.”

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    By Oliver Mundy
    The UN systems side event "Climate action for food security: harvesting adaptation and mitigation benefits in the land sector" was jointly organized by IFAD, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNESCO, UN Women, WFP and FAO. 
    Martin Frick from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) moderated the panel discussion and underlined that agriculture is always amongst the sectors that are the most effected by climate change. 
    The Political Perspective:
    Climate-resilient agriculture is a topic Mr. Tekini Nakidakida from the Fijian Ministry of Agriculture wants to see discussed at the climate summit in Bonn. Fiji's agriculture is especially hard hit by cyclones and dry spells. Climate-resilient agriculture is needed to restore marginal lands, fight erosion and prevent pests and diseases. 
    The Youth Perspective: 
    "Young people are very innovative", stated Mr. Divine Ntiokam from the Climate-Smart Agriculture Youth Network. He sees youth as an integral part of sustainable development. They offer solutions, but need to be involved in decision making at all levels. Divine is one of six youth representatives from the network IFAD partnered with to participate at UNFCCC COP23. 
    The Indigenous Peoples' Perspective:
    "Land and forests are our supermarkets," said Ms. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an indigenous leader from Chad. She sees land rights as crucial to overcome climate change. Communities that have secure land rights have more sovereignty. This encourages them to invest more in their land leading to greater food security. She urges UN agencies to work together on land, agriculture and climate change and pointed to FAO's voluntary guidelines on land tenure. 
    The Women's Perspective:
    Ms. Katia Araujo of the Landesa Rural Development Institute highlighted the importance of land rights for rural women. By strengthening these women can play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation in the agricultural sector. International policies and frameworks on land tenure have to take gender into account. 
    The Finance Perspective:
    Mr. Juan Chang from the Green Climate Fund looked optimistically towards current investments from the fund in land with regards to mitigation and adaptation measures. Currently, the Green Climate Fund has approved US$2.6 billion in projects of which US$1 billon is directly related to the land sector. Yet, results on the ground have to be seen because the release of funds only started two years ago. 
    The Research Perspective:
    Dr. A.K.M. Saiful Islam, Professor at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology presented some insights of their climate and crop models for Bangladesh. He described the country as more vulnerable to floods and increased salinity due to sea level rise. Yields for some of the main rice varieties grown in Bangladesh will decrease. He urged for urgent action to be taken to reach the 2 °C warming target. 

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    By Oliver Mundy and Ilaria Firmian

    Developed countries have committed to mobilising $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020 to support climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. A large part of the money is meant for rural communities in developing countries, but how can the finance get to them?

    This question was discussed at an event organised by IFAD as part of the Climate and Development Days in Bonn "How can communities access financial support for strengthening resilience?"

    Public institutions, especially local governments, are in the best position to channel funding to vulnerable communities. They know the specific needs of their often very diverse communities. 

    The county of Makueni in Kenya has established County Adaptation Planning Committees to help prioritise investments. Grass-roots committees guide the county by telling them what needs to be done. Alice Caravani from the Overseas Development Institute explained that similar activities are also being undertaken in Ethiopia.

    IFAD's "Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme" channels climate finance to smallholder farmers by co-financing IFAD's regular agricultural programmes. 

    Carl Wesselink, Director of South-South North said that attain results at scale we have to work within the system and work together with public institutions.

    Many public institutions are often underfunded and lack the capacities to access and manage climate funding. Most do not have mechanisms in place to set up programmes and activities for their communities. At the same time funding procedures are complex.

    Local governments require massive capacity building to be able to set up the right frameworks and design programmes that help their communities to adapt. Local communities have to participate in this process to express their diverse needs.

    Financial institutions such as the Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility and IFAD have to help set up effective mechanisms to channel financing to communities through governments.

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    IFAD partnered with the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) to come to UNFCCC COP23 in Bonn this November. IFAD and CSAYN have a shared passion for raising awareness of climate change impacts and actions amongst young people in rural communities.
    Today’s generation of youth is the largest the world has ever known: 1.2 billion young people are between the age of 15 and 24. People under the age of 24 account for the largest share of the population in almost all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in many countries in South Asia, East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa.

    Youth are two or three times more likely than adults to be unemployed. The majority of working youth are poor and employed in vulnerable low-quality jobs in the informal sector.

    Today saw the joint side event: Youth Engagement in Climate: Climate Smart Agriculture and Smart Education. Speakers came from CSAYN, the Research Programme for Climate Change and Food Security (CCAFS), IFAD and the African Union

    Ajayi Olu from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA asked why should we focus on youth?
    “Over the next ten years, one in six youths will be unemployed," said Olu. "The only option for youth in developing countries seems to be migrate to Europe and the hope of a better life. This is a problem for both developed and developing countries.”

    “We don’t want to talk just about the problems though, we want to talk about the solutions.”

    Amanda Namayi from CSAYN explained how it is presently in 30 countries and expanding working with farmers on the ground to achieve results.

    “How many people here had breakfast? How many people want lunch? Agriculture will never go out of fashion, it can’t, because everyone needs to eat,” said Namayi.

    “We need to empower young people with access to land, training, and capacity building," said CCAFS's Catherine Mungai. "First and foremost we must change the youth perception of farming and make it cool again.”

    “There are many opportunities to engage with youth, and one way is to not solely focus on production, but all areas of the value chain.”

    But all these ideas cost money

    The question still remains - how will we pay for this?

    Ayalneh Bogale from the African Union Commission talked about how, according to the UN’s FAO, the world will need to increase food production by 50 per cent by 2050. But population predictions for Africa have its population doubling by 2050, which means its food production will need to increase by 100 per cent not just 50.

    "With this challenge, and in the hopes of achieving SDG1 and SDG2 (no poverty or hunger), we cannot afford to neglect the role agriculture will play,” said Bogale. "Agriculture is responsible for employing over one billion people worldwide and generates US$2.4 trillion for the global economy."

     “The youth are the innovators. The older generation are risk averse and stick to the status quo. If we want true agricultural transformation it can only be done by the youth. Youth want more wealth than their parents. They will look elsewhere if agriculture cannot provide a different life. One simple way of doing this is to ensure agriculture is a year-round job. Six months work and dependency on seasons is not attractive. High value and high yield crops, paired with effective irrigation systems can provide year-round employment and income – this is key."

    He also mentioned how this idea can be boosted with the inclusion of other income diversifying tactics (some that IFAD is already using), such as bee keeping and land regeneration with perennial crops.

    IFAD’s Amath Pathe Sene then gave insight into IFADs work and the struggle developing countries are facing.

    “Opportunity is key, opportunity for land rights, opportunity for access and loans, finance training," said Sene. "These limits on success need to themselves be limited.”

    Representatives of Ibn Zohr University in Morocco promoted two of their programmes: The Butterfly Effect and Eureka. Both work extensively with young people to increase capacity for more productive and secure farms of the future. They currently cover 52 per cent of Morocco and have over 125,000 student members and focus on learning, research and development, expertise and capacity and skill building.

    The audience of over 70 people then had the chance to give their own insights and ask questions of the panellists. Many sought a future partnership with youth networks such as CSAYN and all agreed by the closing that the most important message of the day was:

     “It is always better to plan with than for youth”.

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