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    In a little bit more than 24 hours, I will have the privilege of being part of and experiencing  the buzz of the sixth Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW6) organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in  Africa (FARA) which will be focusing on  "Africa feeding Africa through agricultural science and innovation".

    The readers and followers of IFAD social reporting blog know that this theme is very close to IFAD's heart and one that we all feel passionate about. At IFAD, we believe that Africa CAN feed Africa and more importantly we are convinced that Africa WILL feed Africa.

    On 18 July 2013, IFAD President, Dr Kanayo Nwanze (@knwanze), a scientist by training and with a career spanning over three decades, will deliver the keynote address at this event highlighting the unprecedented opportunities that the agriculture sector offers and how right policies and increased investment in agriculture, research and infrastructure will allow Africa to FEED itself.

    The event will focus on how and what researchers,  scientists and development community need to do to make sure that:

    • smallholder farmers can take full advantage of agricultural growth
    • science and appropriate technology can bring about greater productivity, ensure food security and improve nutrition for all and doing all of this while respecting the environment.

    We will be reporting live from the event on Twitter - @ifadnews, on FacebookGoogle+ and on IFAD social reporting blog and proud to be part of #aasw6 social reporting team.

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    By Clare Bishop Sambrook

    On Friday 12 July, the IFAD gender desk hosted a very stimulating presentation by Ranjitha Puskar, senior scientist from the WorldFish Center in Penang, who is heading up the gender activities in the CGIAR Aquatic Agricultural Systems. WorldFish is taking the lead on promoting gender transformative approaches (GTA), a step beyond ‘business as usual’ by addressing not only the consequences of gender inequality but also its causesThe event attracted interest from around the house and colleagues from WFP and Gender inAgriculture Partnership (Global Forum for Agricultural Research).

    GTA provides the chapeau for the ongoing work that thegender desk is undertaking to promote household methodologies in order to realise the productive potential of smallholder households. A workshop/writeshop will be held in Uganda in October, with financial support from the Government of Japan.
    Moving beyond closing the gender gap

    Close the gender gap in access to resources and services, and ensure women have a voice!

    This has been the mantra of the gender and development community for decades
    And progress has been made

    We now see women ….
    Gaining new skills and seizing opportunities
    Engaging in market-linked activities
    Accessing finance
    Entering the world of profitable entrepreneurship
    And participating and leading groups, from small producers to apex organizations

    But is this enough?

    Is a woman empowered….
    If she has no voice within her home?
    Is overburdened by laborious household tasks that consume her time, energy and damage her health?
    Does not control the income she earns?
    Is unable to prioritise the use of scarce household resources?
    Cannot determine the number of children she willbear?
    Is subject to domestic violence?

    No! Merely closing the gender gap is necessary but not sufficient

    We need to move beyond addressing the symptoms of gender inequalities
    To understand the underlying norms and cultures
    That determine behaviour and shape attitudes
    That define power relations in the household, community, market and organization
    That are the fundamental barriers to achieving sustainable development for all

    Society has demonstrated it hacapacity to change
    Norms and practices that were once considered sacrosanct and inviolable
    Have been adapted tthe new social realities,
    Such as abandoning widow inheritance in high HIV-prevalence communities

    And how can we do this?

    We need to identify and address norms that perpetuate social inequality and women’s vulnerability
    Engage with men and women for participatory learningdialogue and action
    Support household planning to work towards common objectives that benefit all householdmembers
    Create an enabling environment at the community level to support behaviour change

    And then we need to ensure
    That our understanding of the livelihoods, underlying norms and social behaviour of rural women and men
    Lie at the heart of the design and implementation of IFAD-supported projects
    To really enable the rural poor to overcome all forms of poverty.


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    By Evan Axelrad


    Small fish species are an integral part of the diets of many living in coastal or water-rich areas of the developing world. They provide important proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to compliment the consumption of carbohydrate-rich staple foods such as rice or maize. But paradoxically, even as rural fishers are beginning to improve their livelihoods by engaging in aquaculture and commercializing their catch, malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies have persisted or worsened in places like Bangladesh, where approximately half the population lives below the food poverty line.


    Experts from WorldFish at IFAD
    This is because commercial aquaculture has emphasized the production of more profitable large fish species such as silver carp but overlooked the nutritional contribution that small fish can make, says Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, Senior Nutrition Adviser to CGIAR’s WorldFish Center. Dr. Thilsted, along with Dr. Patrick Dugan (Deputy Director General of WorldFish), came to IFAD headquarters in Rome on Friday, July 12thto discuss the important role which small fish can and must play in aquaculture in the developing world. During their well-attended morning presentation, they also shared some of the latest findings and successes from a relevant IFAD-supported project in Bangladesh.


    Dr. Thilsted noted that official estimates of fish production and consumption tend to exclude fish caught, consumed, and traded in rural areas – therefore, the nutritional benefits of the small fish that are widely eaten in such areas remain poorly documented and largely underestimated. Additionally, preliminary data has found that fish intake in rural areas of developing countries is decreasing due to factors such as population growth, increased urbanization, and changing consumer preferences. The situation is particularly acute in Asian countries such as Bangladesh, where recent changes in rice production systems have diminished small fish habitats and affected migratory routes and breeding grounds. At the same time, pond aquaculture has become increasingly centered on the production of larger species of fish; in Bangladesh, the cultivation of these fish for markets has involved the practice of poisoning all smaller fish species in the pond, under the false notion that such small species compete with larger species for resources. All of these factors have led to decreased small fish intake – and therefore decreased nutrient intake – among the rural poor.


    But research done by Dr. Thilsted and her colleagues at WorldFish is working to bring small fish back to their rightful place at the table. The research has highlighted that small fish can provide an excellent and sustainable source of both income and nutrition for poor fisher communities. Importantly, WorldFish research has also found that small fish tend to promote more equitable intra-household food allocation than do larger species, benefiting women and children. This can be particularly crucial for pregnant or breastfeeding women and their infants, who need the nutrients offered by small fish for their physical and cognitive development.


    Toharness the potential of aquaculture to improve nutrition and health, WorldFish has partnered with IFAD in Bangladesh on a grant-funded project, Linking Fisheries and Nutrition: Promoting Innovative Fish Production Technologies in Ponds and Wetlands with Nutrition-Rich Small Fish Species in Bangladesh. The project targets approximately 1,500 households with small fish ponds in the northwest districts of Rangpur and Dinajpur – areas that experienceparticularly high poverty rates and seasonal food insecurity (‘monga’) – and approximately 500 households in the northeast district of Sunamganj, an area dominated by wetlands and open water fishing. The project has focused onintroducing  small, nutrient-dense fish species, particularly Mola (Amblypharyngodon mola) in highly efficient, diverse polyculture systems that include high value fish such as carp and freshwater prawn. It has involved the deployment of recently developed technologies and better  management practices for small fish production, including the introduction of Mola broodfish in sanctuaries, closed fishing seasons, fishing gear regulations, and market linkages for small fish commercialization. Preliminary results show that small fish productivity in the project’s ponds has increased from less than one to more than three tons per hectare, with concomitantly significant increases in household incomes and nutrition.

    Fisher in Bangladesh.
    As part of this project, household members involved in small fish production have also been trained on methods to effectively process and cook small fish, with a particular emphasis on nutrition education. Getting mothers to value small fish so that they are used in the household’s meal preparation is an important aim of the project, says Dr. Thilsted. Finally, so that the important role of small fish may be better understood and more widely accepted, a consumption survey will be conducted in the project’s households. This survey, the first of its kind, will seek to capture species level consumption information as well as seasonal trends in fish consumption related to micronutrient nutrition.


    Through such advocacy and education, WorldFish and IFAD are working together to spread awareness of the big part that small fish can play in improving nutrition. Hopefully, the idea will “catch” on.


    • Estimated number of small household ponds in Bangladesh: 4 million
    • Estimated minimal production of Mola/pond/year: 10 kg
    • Estimated contribution that Mola production can make toward adequate vitamin A intake in Bangladesh: an additional 6 million children 







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    by Clement Kofi Humado and Kanayo F. Nwanze

    Grace peeling cassava and plantain
    to use in the local food in Asueyi.
    ©IFAD/Fabiana Formica
    Agricultural development is essential if Africa is going to feed itself and reduce poverty, which we believe it can. It is also central to achieving other priorities, including economic and industrial growth to provide jobs for young people, and promote political stability. Science can help deliver on these long-term national and regional goals, but only if it receives proper support—especially within Africa itself. Some steps have been made, but more needs to be done and done quickly.

    While spending on agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa grew by 20% between 2001 and 2008, most of that growth was in just a few countries. Only 8 of 31 countries have met the target for agricultural R&D investment of 1% of GDP, which was set at the 2004 AU Summit in Khartoum, Sudan.

    The Sixth Africa Agriculture Science Week and the General Assembly of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) taking place in Accra draws attention once again to the benefits that agricultural science and innovation can deliver. The development of a Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa under the auspices of FARA, a process that is Africa-owned and Africa-led, is an important step toward improving the transfer of the outcomes of scientific research to end-users.

    It has been estimated that for sub-Saharan Africa, growth generated by agriculture is eleven times more effective in reducing poverty than GDP growth in other sectors. Agriculture can drive African development forward, and science can drive agriculture toward greater productivity, better nutrition and improved sustainability.

    The need is urgent. Africa has the fastest growing population and the highest rate of urbanization in the world, along with a growing middle class. A productive and efficient food and agricultural sector are essential for sustainable economic growth, food and nutrition security, and stable communities and nations. Africa’s potential is enormous: the continent has the largest share of the world’s uncultivated land with rain-fed crop potential, underutilized water resources, a developing middle-class market for value-added food products and an underexploited intra- regional trade. Unlike many other parts of the world, in Africa there is room for agriculture to expand.

    But it is also a continent of small farms, and to get the maximum returns, development efforts must focus on this sector. Small farms account for 80 per cent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa. In some countries, they contribute up to 90 per cent of production. Without them we cannot meet the growing demand for food, nor lift millions of Africans out of poverty and hunger.


    Peeling and washing cassava on
    Josma Agro Ind. Ltd. Mampong, Ghana.
    "We plant our own cassava and also
    buy from other people".
    ©IFAD/Nana Kofi Acquah

    Ghana’s support for the cassava sector is a good example of how science and agricultural development can work hand in hand to empower the smallholder farmer of Africa to reduce hunger and poverty. The first phase of the IFAD-supported Root and Tuber Improvement Programme which began in 1999, targeted the development, testing, multiplication and distribution of new varieties of roots and tubers, mainly cassava. The new varieties had faster growth, better taste and higher yield. Today,  cassava, once considered a subsistence crop of the poor, has been transformed into a cash crop producing enormous profits along the value chain, including small farmers, who are themselves part of the private sector. Better linkages with markets can enable them to realize higher incomes and enhanced livelihoods. Currently the Roots and Tubers Improvement and Marketing Programme is proving that cassava can generate income for processing enterprises as well as millions of farmers, the majority of whom are women and youths. Uganda presents another success story, where the introduction of cassava varieties resistant to cassava mosaic virus (CMV) have resulted in an average yield increase of 10 tonnes per ha .Science can also produce more nutritious crops, such as Quality Protein Maize, which has been widely used by farmers and is reducing malnutrition in developing countries. NERICA rice (New Rice for Africa) is helping reduce rice imports  across many countries in Africa and helping poor farmers increase incomes.

    These examples show how science and research can stimulate agricultural modernization and attract private investment in agricultural value chains that are profitable, generate employment and incomes, and diversify smallholders’ livelihoods while making them more resilient to climate change and market price fluctuations. Successful technology development has made cassava an economic and strategic crop with multiple uses: as food, industrial starch, sorbitol for brewer's yeast, biofuel, glue, animal feed, and many others yet to be exploited by African agricultural research and development.This success story tells us another lesson: that research and development are most effective when they focus on primary concerns of their users. Technologies are only going to be adopted when agricultural businesses see their benefits, such as increased productivity, profits and resilience, or reduced production and marketing risks. Sustainable development means making our enterprises, including small farms, more productive and competitive.

    But scientific innovation alone is not enough; getting the innovative technologies and approaches into the hands of farmers is key, hence the role of agricultural extension services must be strengthened. Coordination both nationally and regionally is important to develop and to transmit research—putting scientific advances to work on the ground. The private sector also has a key role to play in the growth of agriculture and the many related benefits for poor rural people and communities. That is why there is a loud cry now for productive and beneficial public-private partnerships to develop agriculture in a socially inclusive manner.

    To ensure a sustainable food supply for a global population that will surpass 9 billion by 2050, more research will need to be directed towards agricultural growth that is ecologically sustainable, conserves biodiversity and ecosystems, and ensures that the land will be able to provide for future generations. As we look toward the post-2015 development agenda, clearly food and agriculture must have a central place, as they are vital to transforming rural areas. Therefore, let the celebration of the “6th Africa Agriculture Science Week” be a wake up call for African Governments, global partners, policymakers, research and science administrators, producer organizations and agribusiness entrepreneurs to embrace the Science Agenda, and to take action to enable science to play its part in developing agriculture to feed Africa and the world.



    Originally posted on AllAfrica



    The authors are: Clement Kofi Humado, Minister for Food and Agriculture, Republic of Ghana and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome, Italy.

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    When was the last time you thanked your boss for making your job easy?

    Earlier today, IFAD President, Dr Kanayo Nwanze, delivered a passionate speech to the over 1200 participants of the sixth Africa Agriculture Science Week in Accra, Ghana and received a standing ovation.

    As communication professionals, we stride to craft statements that are both thought provoking and touch the audience's heart. But that is just one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is the combo of being given the necessary space to craft a thought provoking and emotional speech and having an orator who delivers the statement with flair and passionately.

    When this happens, you are on cloud nine!!!!! Because you are not only able to share soundbites that go viral on social media but also your job of rallying journalists and organizing interviews becomes easier.

    This morning, I was lucky enough to experience this first hand. And believe me it was a rewarding experience.

    After the inaugural session and the press conference, my colleague Daniela and I had to manage the assault of journalists who wanted to interact and interview the President. The readers of this blog know that the President is one of our main social media champion. And as such he was kind enough to also spent some time interacting with the army of social reporters.

    The President's messages are being echoed by all the speakers who followed him. His messages and call for action are travelling beyond the conference hall in Accra and are travelling across the African continent.

    This speech will be one that will be remembered and cited for many years to come.


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  • 07/22/13--09:14: Article 0
  • East and Southern Africa Annual Regional Knowledge Managment Workshop  at Laico Regency - Nairobi, Kenya 13-16 August 2013

    PICO Knowledge Net is organizing the IFADAfrica East and Southern Africa (ESA) Annual Knowledge Management Sharing Workshop, to be held on 13 – 16 August 2013at the Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.  This is a follow-up workshop to the ESA All Country Learning Workshop that was held in Nairobi on 19 – 22 June 2012, under the IFADAfrica Regional Knowledge Management Network – Phase I. IFADAfrica Regional Knowledge Management Network-Phase II is being managed by PICO Knowledge Net with the overall aim of enabling continuous learning and sharing to achieve impact.
    The IFADAfrica Regional Knowledge  Management Network – Phase II which started early this year 2013, is focusing on putting the knowledge management into practice, testing and applying the framework, and learning what is needed to make the KM and learning system work and institutionalize it in the countries. It will focus on developing the competencies that project and government staff needs to incorporate the integrated KM system into their daily work.
    The IFADAfrica Regional Knowledge Network-Phase I project focused on setting up the foundation for using knowledge management and learning, by building buy-in among project staff, developing a model for integrated knowledge management (KM) system and a conceptual framework and guidelines for how to operationalize KM in projects.
    To facilitate efficiency and effectiveness in the learning process, three country groups were formed during IFADAfrica Regional Knowledge Management Network – Phase 1. These consisted of Group 1:Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania; Group 2: Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda; and Group 3: Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. A series of meetings were organized for the groups, which culminated in the June 2012 all-country group workshop. The workshop participants shared their practical experiences of integrating KM and learning in their projects, the challenges experienced, and the strategies employed to address those challenges.  They also discussed the importance of peer learning, and communities of practice in facilitating learning across sectors within projects. At the end of the workshop, project teams developed action plans illustrating concrete actions and targets for adapting and operationalizing KM and learning that were to be achieved by June 2013.
    It is expected that the above activities will strengthen knowledge management (KM) and learning at project and country programme levels. This is a priority for the IFAD ESA Division and is consistent with IFAD’s knowledge management strategy, which aims to strengthen knowledge-sharing and learning processes. The overall purpose is to improve project management processes by fully integrating knowledge management into all aspects of project management, including M&E, financial management, supervision and reporting- all aimed at enhancing the impact and scaling up of innovations and good practice
    IFADAfrica goal is to connect people, organizations and networks for the communication of experience, mutual learning and innovation for rural poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa. This network is about sharing, uptake and utilization of information, knowledge and practices generated by development projects and programmes supported by IFAD and other development partners in the region.


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    IFAD’s mandate is a noble one, enabling  poor rural people to overcome poverty in developing countries and my passion for it dates back to when I was a student. I’ve been working with IFAD since the 90’s.  At IFAD, we, regardless of our functions - be it administrative or operational -  put  all our energy  and professional knowledge  to contribute to IFAD’s mandate. But  it’s when you are on the ground that you fully understand  “why” and” how” IFAD makes  a difference in transforming  the lives of millions of smallholder farmers.

    28 June 2013: The opportunity

    Business as usual until 10 a.m., then Roxy, my manager, asked me “Daniela, the President is travelling to Ghana to participate in the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week,  would you be available to join the delegation?" I thought “oh wow, first ever in my career at IFAD I was asked to join the President’s delegation” and guess what? My answer was “ YES”.

    2 – 12 July: Getting ready

    Hectic days! Little time to deal with all the logistic and administrative stuff you have to do before leaving on duty travel. Visa,  tickets, information kits you CANNOT forget at HQ, medical check, security clearances and hotel booking.

    Have you ever tried to book an hotel a week before an event attended by more than 1000 people? If you did, you know  how hard it is! But if you have extraordinary colleagues like our team based in IFAD Ghana  Country Office  (thanks Sarah, Niels, Ulaç, Emmanuel and Daniel!) you can manage to have a  roof on your head  and we (Roxy and I) got a nice one, very close to the conference venue.  Kudos to the travel unit as well, the latest version of the integrated travel  module made my life much easier. Everything was well in place the  day before  “flying” to my destination, Accra, Ghana! 

    16 – 18 July :– Our days in Ghana
    The main event that the President had on his agenda was his participation in 6th African Agriculture Science Week , "a continental gathering of all stakeholders involved in Africa agricultural development” focused on the theme “Africa feeding Africa through agricultural science and innovation”.



    In addition to 6th African Agriculture and Science Week  sessions,  Ulaç, our country director in Ghana, organized a number of high level meetings including a bilateral meeting with the Vice- President of the Republic of Ghana.


    What a week!  I can’t even remember how many meetings the President had during those days but there is something I will never forget: the  standing ovation for  IFAD’s vision presented by our President to  the 1200 participants, experts with extensive knowledge of African agriculture  and  science for agricultural development,  attending  the opening of the 6th African Agriculture Science Week. Why a standing ovation for  IFAD’s vision ? Because  IFAD’s vision is what is needed to move from a stagnant agriculture to a productive and remunerative one.  Unfortunately, today we still have too many young people leaving Africa’s rural areas because there is no  future for them there. But rural areas can change.  African smallholder farmers can grow, and IFAD can help them grow by playing its role as development partner. But all this can happen only if governments, development partners and smallholder farmers change their mind-set and invest in agriculture, rural infrastructure, create vibrant markets and attract  the private sector. Strong public and private partnerships will enable poor rural people to become successful business farmers  and this is something that it’s already happening.

    Meeting with Ministers of the Republic
    of Ghana : an opportunity to be educated on the great job
    IFAD does in Ghana where baobab  fruit production
    can become a profitable business for Ghanaian
    small holder farmer.


    This is IFAD’s vision, this is what our President said at the opening of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week,  this is why he received a standing ovation and inspired an engaging conversation on the social media channels.

    That’s the difference we make!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Below some interesting blogs:



    To  read more search the hash tag #AASW6







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    Learning Route in Vietnam opens to share knowledge and scale up innovations (Chapter 1)


    Quang Binh 22 July: Taking place for the first time, a 7-day innovation and field-based training program called “Learning Route” was opening for implementation in Vietnam. Co-organised by PROCASUR and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the program focuses on main theme of “Strengthening Farmers’ Organization, Sustainable Business Models and Public Private Partnership in Agriculture”.  The training builds around innovative models implemented by two IFAD financed projects in central region, the Decentralized Programme for Poverty Reduction in Quang Binh and Improving for Market Participation in Ha Tinh, and is intended as a knowledge management and capacity building tool to replicate and scale up best practices and innovations.
    Over forty participants, with over one third of them are women from several IFAD financed projects take part in the Learning. They include projects implemented in Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Tuyen Quang, Ninh Thuan, Gia Lai, Dak Nong as well as the two hosts of Quang Binh and Ha Tinh. All participants are ready to play their part in an action-packed journey that will take them to project sites between 22 and 27 July 2013.

    Ms. Nguyen Thi Hue, Knowledge Management Officer of Developing Business with the Poor Project in Cao Bang in Northern Uplands said she is extremely excited about the learning opportunity and the week ahead. “This is the first time I am participating in this Learning Route program. I hope to learn about new approaches, good practices in the host projects, in particular those about income generation and improving the lives of poor farmers and communities”, she said.
    Mr. Ho Minh Trung, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of Tam Nong Support Project Gia Lai (TNSP) in Central Highlands shared that the project has been implemented for only two years, therefore he and his five colleagues from TNSP have a lot to learn. “We hope to capture knowledge about set up and sustain Common Interest Groups and Cooperatives, and how to develop income generation at households. Also the we plan to organize Learning Route at provincial level”, he said.

    “Learning Routes will be an effective learning mechanism for us all”, acknowledged Mr. Ha Van Hoa, Project Director of TNSP Tuyen Quang who speaks on behalf of the participants about their learning objectives and expectation. “We often organize field visits without clear vision of how to use the newly gained knowledge in our own context. So the Learning Route certainly provides us with a new and methodological approach to expose, document and apply knowledge which could be very practical”. He also said that knowledge learning and sharing are so critical for all IFAD financed projects and thus the Learning Route should be institutionalize as a system that enhances dissemination of best practices and innovation for their scale-up, and therefore annual planning should include this activity and resource allocation.
    According to PROCASUR, the Learning Route is a way to promote rural development knowledge that positively includes learning among project staff, grass root organizations, private sector and local champions. This will continue after the end of the journey itself, allowing development projects the methods and tools to adapt and expand innovations and best solutions for the rural poor communities.

    The end goal is for the local participants to become more effective and strategic in their own context. The Learning Route encourages each participant to come up with a concrete innovation plan for actions.
    Ms. Le Thi Van Hong, Acting Project Director of DPRPR Quang Binh stressed that “sharing and learning from successful experiences is the ultimate goal of all IFAD funded projects. I do hope that through “Learning Routes”, participants will be able to get good experiences and new perspectives so that they come back with new solutions to address poverty in Vietnam while improving efficiency and impact of all our projects”.
    Written by Phạm Tùng Lâm

    Best Innovation for Replication and Scale-up

     Chut and other team members from Dak Nong.
    27 July 2013, Ha Tinh, Vietnam: The final day of the Learning Route on “Strengthening Farmers Organization, Developing Sustainable Business Models and Public Private Partnership in Agriculture” looked extremely vibrant and exciting. Over 40 route participants busily exchanged views and debated with other members of their groups to crack down final details of their innovation plan – a final stage of conceptualizing what they have learned and taken home after their seven-days journey which have taken them to good project models in districts of Bo Trach and Quang Ninh in Quang Binh and Thach Ha district in Ha Tinh. The program was jointly organized by IFAD Vietnam and Procasur.
    Completing his group presentation, Mr. Lai Van Chut, a farmer representative from Dak Long, Dak Nong province in Central Highlands felt motivated than ever. Having worked in the field for more than twenty years, he is inspired to turn the newly- gained ideas from the Learning Route into an innovation plan that will not only benefit his households but also his community at large.


    “We had a failure of setting a common interest group (CIG) on clean vegetables in the past. But we have now gained new insights and energies from the Learning Route to start it over again”, shared Chut. “We will find innovative way to strengthen our group by increasing the skills of key members and giving them clear responsibilities and incentives. These will unite and tie our group members together based on our common interest”, continued Chut.

    From the field visits, idea from Hoang Ha Safe Vegetable Cooperative in Tuong Son, Thach Ha District Ha Tinh has motivated Chut to replicate a new vegetable CIG for his  own community.

    “For Hoang Ha cooperative, as farmers get together, they could jointly decide what are the best products for growing during a particular period of time and sell in bulk instead of by individual households. Thus they gain better access to big market and higher price”, he said while referring to the key lesson learned he takes home from the learning route.
    According to the idea of Chut and his group members, they would like to start off a pilot of commercial vegetable farming on a land of 3,5 hectares that will increase profits for 30 local women and men by at least 10%  to 15%.

    “We have just grown vegetables based on season and based on our own needs, and our quality and  quantity never meet big contracts. Seeing good experiences in the host community in Ha Tinh has sparked our thinking differently in how to increase our income selling as a group in larger quantity and directly to market”, he noted.
    Mr. Tran Van Toan, Head of Agricultural Services of 3EM Dak Nong said that this innovation is  truly based on ground context where the projects is proposed as well as from extracting and analyzing the three cases they have visited.  “Innovative, practical and impactful are key things we are looking for in this project”, stressed Toan. “It can connect many people working for a common objective. We should think big, but start small and build on opportunities and successes along the way of implementation”, he said and stressed that the 3EM project will be willing to co-finance this innovation.

                                                                                                                LR participants visit Hoang Ha Safe Vegetable Cooperative.

    Being a host as well as a participant of the Learning Route, Nguyen Viet Son, Chair of Hoang Ha Safe Vegetable Cooperative is content with the process, outcomes and increased awareness on tools available for rural development by all participants.  “In these seven days of journeying and learning together, we have seen very good cases in business models and group strengthening activities. We take back very positive lesson learned and experiences”, summarized Son. “I am very happy to go to Dak Nong to support Chut to set up a group on clean vegetables”.

    The innovative idea of Chut and Dak Nong was not just alone. Many other initiatives and new proposals were presented by other participants. They provide innovative ways of addressing rural poverty by strengthening farmer organization, business models and scale up best practices.

    Coming also from Central Highlands, Mr. Trinh Quoc Viet, Director of Agricultural Extension Gia Lai shared that the approach of the learning route is to bring those who in needs to learn from the best practices and for the best practices cases to learn from other participants’ experiences, so as to better off mutually. He said “It is new and very open way of learning. I also have to learn from this approach to organize the same activities in my province”.

    Following the Learning Route, view updates and full innovation plans from 8 IFAD funded project in Vietnam in the coming days here:

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    Raquel Cupa de Justo (in the middle) accompanies
    IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze on a visit to Sibayo, Peru.
    ©IFAD/ Oscar Durand
    Raquel Cupa de Justo projects a quiet dignity earned over years of facing down adversity and reaching for her dreams in the rugged, unforgiving landscape of Peru’s highlands. Today, in Talaca, Candarave, a town located at 3,350 meters above sea level in the south of the country, she is a successful oregano farmer and founder of “Asociación de productores agropecuarios ecológicos Imperial de Talaca” and contributed to the founding of an umbrella organization,“Central de Asociaciones de productores de oregano de Candarave (CEAPRO)”.

    Life has not always been kind to Raquel. Born in Payaya, located in the region of Tacna, in the southern most point in Peru, as a young woman, Raquel worked the corn fields for 10 soles (US$ 3,6) a day. At the time, she had two small children and a husband. When he left her, after 15 years of marriage and she became head of her household, she learned that it would be impossible to raise her two adolescent boys, Jose Antonio and Henry, with her meager income. It was only normal that Raquel felt depressed. But, her brother told her: “Don’t waste your time crying, just work very hard and focus on educating your children and putting them through college”.

    And so, Raquel set out on a mission. She started an oregano plantation in the mid- 1990s, with the price of oregano at about 4 soles (US$ 1,4) per kilo. Today, a kilo of oregano sells for 7.20 to 8.20 soles, nearly double. “Oregano takes time,” Rachel says. It took her two years to make any profit, but she thought, “If I dedicated 22 years of my life to my children and educating them, I can dedicate two years to start up with oregano”. Her first big success came in 2006, when Imperial de Talaca sold 300 kilos of oregano. With the money she earned, she was able to buy a few hectares of land and added to her holdings in 2011 when she bought land in Sama, on the coast of Tacna, where her children also grow oregano.

    CEAPRO was founded in 2007 and, in the same year, won a CLAD award (Comites Locales de Asignacion de Recursos), a local competition through the Sierra Sur Project, funded by the International Fund for Agrucultural Development (IFAD) and Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture, to start up their business. Now, CEAPRO manages 203 hectares and has 231 members. Oregano is grown on about half of the land, while they cultivate thyme and rosemary on the other portion. Her association’s long-term vision is to become a direct exporter of oregano, and they are well on their way, already exporting to Chile through a broker for its national markets.

    Their next milestone will be when their products are certified organic. CEAPRO was one of numerous organizations which participated in an annual rural development fair and competition earlier this month under the Sierra Sur project. The event took place in Quequena, Peru and coincided with the visit of IFAD’s President, Kanayo F. Nwanze, and Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Josefina Stubbs.

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    13 July 2013, Nairobi –  Participants from the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region are gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for the ESA Annual Knowledge Management Workshop taking place from 13 – 16 August 2013 hosted by IFADAFRICA. A total of 84 participants, from 40 IFAD-supported projects from a total of 12 countries (Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) are attending the meeting. The participants included thematic networks coordinators, project/programme coordinators, M&E officers, KM officers and IFAD Country Office staff from Ethi
    Participant in the Setting the Scene at the Start of the Workshop
    opia, Rwanda and Uganda
    The main aim of this workshop is to launch the IFADAFRICA Phase II.
    Amidst fears that the workshop could have been cancelled as a result of the fire that razed down the arrivals section of Kenya’s main airport, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, most participants managed to arrive in Nairobi as scheduled except those from Madagascar and a few from Malawi whose flight were cancelled but are expected to arrive on the second day of the workshop.

    This annual forum gives participants an opportunity to take stock of their experiences in putting knowledge management and learning (KM&L) into practice, sharing the lessons, impacts and challenges, and looking deeper into institutionalization of KM&L in IFAD country programmes and projects.  Participants will also share on ways of promoting online Communities of Practice (CoPs) as a learning tool. 

    The opening remarks were provided by Helen Gillman (IFAD HQ) and Harold Liversage (Regional Office, Nairobi) representing the Nadine Gbossa - Director, Kenya Programme and Head of Regional Office in Nairobi. The two IFAD representatives emphasized the importance of KM specifically for IFAD as a learning organization. The two speakers highlighted the importance IFAD places on KM was the rationale for the support of IFADAFRICA Phase II. The projects were encouraged  to use this opportunity to share their KM experiences through this find ways and means to improve the impact of their programmes through learning from each other.  

    The participants focused on the milestones and challenges faced in the IFADAFRICA Phase I, which ended in 2012. The project components of the second phase of IFADAFRICA were also analyzed. Some of the key issues that emerged were the need to emphasize not only why KM is important, but also what needs to be done to achieve integration of KM. Participants, the greater percentage of whom were first time attendants, indicated that they would like the workshop to focus on institutionalizing and demystifying KM & L, integrating.

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    President Kanayo F. Nwanze visited Peru and Colombia earlier this month. The visit was an opportunity to meet and discuss the progress and challenges of IFAD programs and projects in the two countries  with beneficiaries, community leaders, regional governments,  high level decision makers and the media.

    Peruvian president Ollanta Humala, center left, meets with IFAD president Kanayo Nwanze at Peru's
    government palace in Lima, August 5, 2013.

    The mission took place at a pivotal moment in both countries. Peru has taken the political decision to reduce poverty and to close the inequality gap by investing in the poor and  the excluded, with resources and technical assistance. The country is also working to  deepen its democracy. Communities propose what they want to do for and by themselves. At IFAD we believe that poverty reduction encompasses inclusion, transparency and community involvement and our discussions on the ground focussed largely on how IFAD can accompany the country as it seeks to achieve all of these objectives. In Colombia, as the country pivots away from years of conflict and towards the promise of sustainable peace, the launch of the “Building Rural Entrepreneurial Capacities – Trust and Opportunities Programme” (TOP) during our mission is another evidence of IFAD’s commitment to supporting the country as it seeks to write a new chapter in its history. 


    Meeting IFAD-supported project teams and partners

    In both Peru and Colombia, local development projects are entirely demand driven and community groups are in charge of directly managing the resources allocated to their initiatives. Building capacities, increasing participation of communities and strengthening transparency in the use of public resources are common goals in IFAD’s programs in Peru and Colombia. We witnessed with our own eyes this community involvement when we attended  the Intercon event organized by the Sierra Sur Project in Peru. The Intercon is a knowledge fair and competition for new projects in the region of Arequipa where dozens of beneficiary groups presented their products. Milton Von Hesse La Serna, the Peruvian Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation accompanied the the IFAD delegation.

    Juan Moreno, IFAD officer in Peru, Josefina Stubbs, IFAD director for
    Latin America and the Caribbean and IFAD president Kanayo Nwanze,
    from left, meet with Peru's minister of economy and finance
    Luis Miguel Castilla Rubio (not pictured) in Lima, Peru, August 5, 2013.

    In Colombia, an exhibit with samples of project-related products was set up at the Cultural Center Gabriel García Márquez in Bogota as part of the launch of TOP. We had a chance to meet with representatives of several farmer associations who are successfully marketing their goods and services as entrepreneurs. Their products ranged from public private partnership initiatives between producer associations and companies such as a Frito Lay and fair trade. 

    The TOP focuses on helping reconstruct the socio-economic fabric and respond to the needs of those who are returning home to rural areas by creating jobs and support micro enterprises and economic initiatives. 

    IFAD president Kanayo F. Nwanze visits the International
    Potato Center (CIP) with Director Pamela Anderson in Lima, Peru.

    In addition to visiting the sites of IFAD-supported projects and bilateral discussions with top government officials, the delegation also had a chance to visit the two CGIAR centers in Peru and Colombia:  CIP (International Potato Center) in Lima and to CIAT ( Centro Internacional de Agricultura y Tecnologia) in Cali. The delegation had the opportunity to tour the genebanks of potatoes (in the case of CIP) and of beans (in the case of CIAT), an amazing experience. During the visits, CIP and CIAT colleagues shared the progress made by both centres following the CGIAR reform, and we discussed possibilities for deeper collaboration between IFAD and the centres; in particular with the Latin America and Caribbean program.

    Women from Sibayo, a town in Arequipa, Peru, wait for visitors
    at a ecomuseum, a place where visitors can learn about
     the alpaca craft making.

    ©IFAD/ Oscar Durand
    Opportunities for the future
    The President’s timely visit to these large Middle Income Countries was an opportunity to explore IFAD’s experience in the region and how our work in Peru and Colombia can show the way for others.  In Peru after decades of innovation with pro-poor rural programs, which have been embraced and replicated by governments to become national programs and a matter of policies, new innovations are necessary.  In the context of new fiscal and social developments, regional governments in Peru are seeking to engage with direct lending from IFAD.

    In Colombia, where rural development and land is the cornerstone of a Peace Accord that is rapidly coming to fruition, the relevance of IFAD’s work was confirmed by the Minister of Finance, local leaders and the President of the Country..  Lending and non-lending activities, knowledge and technical assistance, and bringing IFAD’s global knowledge were areas of potential partnerships. 
    IFAD president Kanayo Nwanze meets with Peru's minister
    of economy and finance Luis Miguel Castilla Rubio
    in Lima, Peru, August 5, 2013.
    ©IFAD/ Oscar Durand
    Implementing pro-poor rural development in Colombia and Peru is clearly a political and fiscal decision.  Reducing inequality and opening new opportunities for the rural poor to be part of and to benefit from growth was stated by the ministers of Finance and Hacienda in both countries.  And this was clearly underlined as a commitment by President Ollanta Humala of Peru and President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia with whom the mission had the honour to meet.

    In conclusion of his visit President Nwanze said "we have witnessed the energy, the potential and the commitment of rural communities to offer what they have and to put it to work for the development of their territories, their cultures, their organizations, their ideas and their capacities. Like Peru, other countries in the world are still striving to build inclusive, prosperous rural areas.  I thank you all for the opportunity you have given me to learn what you are doing, to see at first-hand how you are doing it, and to share your challenges and your achievements.”

    IFAD president Kanayo Nwanze attends the IV INTERCON 2013 fair in
    Quequeña in Arequipa, Peru August 3, 2013.




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  • 08/19/13--00:04: Sobre pobreza e inversiones
  • por Kevin Cleaver
    (Vicepresidente Asociado de Programas del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA)

    En los últimos 20 años, en el contexto del desarrollo rural en las zonas pobres de los Andes peruanos, se han hecho evidentes las ventajas de los programas a escala en lo que se refiere al aumento del crecimiento agrícola y a la lucha contra la pobreza. A raíz del crecimiento constante del sector agrícola, a una tasa de aproximadamente 4,4 por ciento por año entre 1990 y el 2000, el Perú se considera ahora como un país con “buenos rendimientos agrícolas”. Esta experiencia demuestra que el éxito en cuanto al crecimiento agrícola incluyente depende de dos elementos fundamentales: el compromiso gubernamental de operar a gran escala y el compromiso de los donantes en apoyar al gobierno a largo plazo.

    El Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA) ha invertido en programas agrícolas gubernamentales desde los años 1980, hasta un total de US$ 144 millones. El FIDA empezó con pequeños programas innovadores tales como el aporte de líneas de crédito, mejoras a la tecnología y nuevos acercamientos a las comunidades aisladas. También  fomentó concursos como una forma de involucrar a los pueblos indígenas en el diseño y en la gestión de sus propios programas de desarrollo rural: una táctica muy exitosa ya que movilizó el talento local y fomentó la confianza.

    Existen hoy tres proyectos apoyados por el FIDA en las regiones norte, centro y sur de los Andes peruanos. Una revisión institucional del FIDA, realizada por el Brookings Institution en 2011, indica que el programa de desarrollo de las tierras altoandinas del Perú representa un ejemplo de ampliación de escala eficaz.

    En la mayoría de los países de bajos ingresos, la agricultura sigue siendo el sector económico más importante que emplea la mayoría de los trabajadores. En condiciones adecuadas, un aumento sostenido en la productividad agraria incrementa igualmente los ingresos de los pobres al mismo tiempo que fortalece el suministro de alimentos a nivel nacional.

    Según el Banco Mundial, la agricultura es al menos tres veces más eficaz en aumentar los ingresos de los pobres que las inversiones no agrícolas. Este fenómeno no es nuevo. El crecimiento agrícola respaldó el desarrollo temprano en Europa occidental,  Japón y Estados Unidos, y posteriormente en la China y en la República de Corea.

    Aunque existen amplias pruebas para demostrar que mayores programas de gasto público en la agricultura, junto con mayores asignaciones de ayuda, estimulan el crecimiento agrícola, existen también otros elementos claves: buenas políticas, buena gobernanza, un potencial agrícola satisfactorio y una infraestructura funcional. Cualquier vacío en estas áreas, o conflicto civil prolongado, puede contrarrestar el impacto de los grandes proyectos y presupuestos.

    El primer paso es mejorar el acceso de los agricultores y de la agroindustria a los mercados. Además, es importante crear lo que se conoce como un ‘entorno propicio’ para la inversión privada en la agricultura, la comercialización, el suministro de insumos agrícolas y la agroindustria. La atención gubernamental e internacional es también crítica. Por otro lado, los agricultores a pequeña escala tienen necesidades específicas de información e  infraestructura, y estas juegan un papel importante en la reducción de la pobreza.

    Aproximadamente 2 mil millones de personas en el mundo dependen de los agricultores a pequeña escala para su subsistencia.

    La ampliación de los programas de desarrollo agrícola con el fin de aumentar su impacto es “misión crítica” para el FIDA. Mientras los gobiernos nacionales desempeñan una función primordial en la ampliación de escala, los donantes pueden ayudar o perjudicar en esta agenda. La enorme cantidad de donantes y de proyectos puede ser un problema en sí.

    La información sobre la ayuda  en el año 2010 del Brookings Institution indica que existen 924.000 proyectos relacionados con 322 organismos donantes. Esta fragmentación de la intervención y la inversión, muchas veces en entornos de políticas débiles, conducen a resultados deficientes en cuanto al número de personas que se salen de la pobreza o al aumento sostenible en la productividad agraria.

    Una estrategia eficaz para el desarrollo agrícola consiste en ampliar los proyectos que han tenido éxito. La experiencia peruana es un excelente ejemplo. Los donantes pueden ayudar mediante el cofinanciamiento de las intervenciones ampliadas que apoyan los programas nacionales. Solo al operar a escala se puede tener el nivel de impacto que logrará sacar a millones de personas de la pobreza y revitalizar las áreas rurales.

    As appeared in LaRepubblic.pe

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    Pass On What You Have Learned, ESA Projects Urged
    By Betty MwakelemuTole, Documentation and Learning Officer, IFADAFRICA  

    The four-day IFADAFRICA East and Southern Africa (ESA) Annual Knowledge Management Workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya, drew to a close on the evening of 16 August 2013.  Helen Gillman, IFAD’s Knowledge Management Coordinator in her closing remarks, captured the mood of the workshop. “We now understand knowledge management and learning is about changing the way we work in order to achieve results. Take your commitment to monitor, assess and document what you are doing seriously, and pass on what you have learned,” said Ms. Gillman. Ninety-five Project Coordinators, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Knowledge Management and Communication Officers of over 40 IFAD-supported projects, as well as few government and IFAD Country Programme Officers from ESA region attended the workshop.  The workshop was facilitated by Jurgen Haggman and Edward Chuma, of PICOTEAM, and Miriam Cherogony, the IFADAFRICA Project Coordinator. 
    Narciso from RFSP, Mozambique presents his learning
    The workshop agenda gave project officers an opportunity to share their achievements and challenges in integrating knowledge management and learning (KM&L) in their projects in the last one year using mini workshops and open space. The methodologies used enabled other participants to learn, critique and understand what other projects were doing and also explore new ideas to address challenges in implementing KM&L. The projects reported increased awareness of project results amongst the target audience, enhanced focus on result-based M&E, integration of lessons learned in the formulation of Country Strategic Operational Plans (COSOP), increase in allocations towards KM&L activities in budgets and workplans, and mainstreaming of KM&L in the design of new projects, among other practices.
    At both project, and country level (as members of the Country Programme Management Team of IFAD-supported projects), participants shared the challenges they are grappling with in mainstreaming KM&L in government, facilitating KM&L at grassroots level, making Communities of Practice (CoPs) work, setting up and managing a learning oriented M&E, developing capacity of KM&L, and documenting and disseminating knowledge.  In groups, participants held discussions on how some of them have addressed these challenges and came up with new suggestions. 
    Aileen Ogolla of Practical Action shares their KM experience
    To enhance further understanding of KM&L, Jurgen Hagmann, Picoteam took the participants through the integrated knowledge management system, which highlights the five interconnected functions that form the foundation of KM&L system.  These include learning and adaptation, monitoring and evaluation, internal and external communication, innovation and experimentation, and information management. In addition, the framework for putting KM&L into action, as outlines in the 11 cornerstones for integrating KM into projects and programmes was also discussed.  Knowledge management partners, Practical Action and Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) presented their work on the use of “Practical Answers” which is their focus on knowledge management and Maarifa Centres or community information centers respectively that provide knowledge harvesting at the local level. Elizabeth Ssendiwala, IFAD Regional Gender Specialist, ESA did presented on gender mainstreaming and use of KM using the case of Bukonzo Joint Cooperative in Western Uganda using visioning  to address cross cutting issues of gender and land.
    Mosarwe from ASP, Botswana presents their action plan
    Ms. Miriam Cherogony made a presentation on facilitating online CoPs. This was an important activity for IFADAFRICA, which will assist in the continued KM discussions in between the face to face meetings. Most of the CoPs discussion was drawn from the recent online facilitation training by Nancy White, Fullcirc focusing mainly on value proposition, tools and stewardship of the CoP. Edward Chuma, Picoteam led the participants in a discussion on KM strategy development. This was based on requests from a number of projects who have planned to undertake this activity in the coming months. Participants eventually developed country action plans for continuing implementation of KM&L.
    Reflection and Way Forward
    ·         Although there has been marked improvement in the understanding of KM&L among the projects there is still need for hand holding through coaching and mentoring to provide assurance that they are in the right direction.
    ·         A number of projects are keen to pursue some sort of documentation of their experiences and are interested in support of institutions such as Practical Action and Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) who demonstrated good hands on experience and possible linkage. IFADAFRICA will develop a documentation template to ensure proper harvesting and documentation of knowledge products for sharing and to populate the website (www.ifadafrica.org)
    ·         The annual face to face meetings are too far in between to make them effective hence the need for the online facilitation and development of CoPs for the ongoing discussion. The priority areas focused on documentation, learning oriented M&E and KM at the community level.
    ·         There is an urgent need to address the online facilitation platform to enable the CoPs to flourish. Several suggestions were put forward that the platform must be user friendly, interesting and linked to some of the attractive social media like Face book and tweeter.
    Paulo from Mozambique leads participants in appreciation of presenters
    ·         The use of open space and mini workshops was very effective in getting the participants to share their experiences. In future this should be encouraged and primed properly to ensure interesting cases are shared. The invitation of other KM institutions such as ALIN and Practical Action added quite some flavor to the discussions.
    ·         There was a strong push to develop some simple monitoring and evaluation indicators for KM&L to enable Projects and IFADAFRICA to know whether they making an impact or not.  PICOTEAM promised to complete the KM&L Performance Framework started in Phase I to enable IFADAFRICA to select some key indicators to monitor KM&L at all levels. This will be discussed and shared with the projects.
    ·         Due to time constraint the participants only managed to develop their country action plans. There is need to do immediate follow-up and ensure the project plans are completed. IFADAFRICA coaching and mentoring will be provided to ensure they are implemented.   
    ·         For IFADAFRICA to maximize the limited resources there is a strong case to focus on the new projects with both KM in the design and old staff from closed projects that are fully sensitized to ensure they mainstream KM&L.
    ·         The commitment of the Country Programme Manager remains important to projects mainstreaming KM&L. IFADAFRICA to champion discussions with the CPMs and Regional technical experts based at the Regional Office to ensure we come up with a common strategy to ensure KM&L are supported to take root in projects and ensure results.

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    By Benoit Thierry, Yvonne Diethelm and Bashu Aryal

    Warm Greetings from IFAD Nepal! We are pleased to announce that we have begun planning for the upcoming IFAD Nepal Retreat/Training to be held from August 22-26, 2013. The event will gather 60 people from IFAD-funded projects and government of Nepal.

    The retreat will be held in Hotel Chautari in Nagarkot, 2 hours drive from Kathmandu. Getting away from regular workstations will be a great opportunity to relax as well as plan for constructive ways to improve project performance.

    As we are all aware, performance level of IFAD funded projects in Nepal is below the regional average. We need to gear up, sharpen our focus and reflect on the gaps in order to improve our performance. Thus, the fundamental objective of this event is of three folds:

    •  improving the performance and delivery of each project thereby contributing to the performance and delivery of the whole country portfolio; 
    • capacity building of the country team in various aspects of project management
    • finally it will be the opportunity to strenghten team spirit and synergies among projects in implementing the new Country Strategic Opportunity Programme (COSOP) 2013-2018.
    Watch this space for regular updates!

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    IFAD Nepal Country Programme Training/ Workshop
    22-26 August 2013
    Hotel Chautari, Nagarkot

    International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), together with the five on-going Projects/Programmes under IFAD portfolio in Nepal: Western Upland Poverty Alleviation Programme (WUPAP), Leasehold Forestry and Livestock Programme (LFLP), High-Value Agriculture Project in Hill and Mountain Areas (HVAP), Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) and Kisanka Lagi Biu-Bijan Karyakram/Improved Seeds for Farmers Programme (KUBK-ISFP), has jointly organized a five-day (22-26 August 2013) workshop/training program at Hotel Chautari, Nagarkot. The fundamental objectives of the event are to:

    • improve the performance and delivery of each project thereby contributing to the performance and delivery of the whole country portfolio
    • strengthen the capacity building aspects of the country team in various aspects of project management and synergies.  
    This is the first time such event is organized in Nepal gathering key staff of all projects under implementation.

    22 August 2013 

    The workshop/training started with an evening reception on 22 August where the 70 participants from five IFAD-funded projects participated in an interactive introductory session.  Participants are coming from all regions of Nepal, from remote districts in mountain and mid-hills.

    23 August 2013: Morning session

    The first day of the event focused on Project Performance and Country Programme Improvement aspects. Mr. Rajendra Adhikari (Joint Secretary Ministry of Agricultural Development) and Mr. Benoit Thierry (CPM) inaugurated the event by watering the Kisanka Lagi Biu-Bijan Karyakram/ Improved Seeds for Farmers Programme’s (KUBK-ISFP) potted plant.

    Mr. Rajendra Adhikari (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agricultural Development), Mr. Benoit Thierry (CPM), Mr. Naba Raj Poudel (Foreign Aid Division Office, Ministry of Finance), Devendra Yadav (Livestock Coordinator, LFLP), Mr. Uttam Prasad Nagila (Project Coordinator, WUPAP), Mr. Rajendra Bhari (Project Manager, HVAP) and Ariel Halpern (Procasur) chaired the opening session.

    Mr. Naba Raj Poudel (Foreign Aid Division Office, Ministry of Finance (MoF)) delivered the opening remarks on behalf of MoF. He highlighted the potential impact of the workshop in improvement of IFAD-funded project performance and claimed that this workshop could be a baseline for similar events. Mr. Poudel also talked about National Project Performance Review (NPPR) annual and quarterly meeting for evaluation of donor funded projects commenting that the capital expenditure is very low.

    Mr. Rajendra Adhikari (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agricultural Development) marked the closing of the inaugural session by delivering his remarks on behalf of Ministry of Agricultural Development. Mr. Adhikari mentioned the new Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) highlighting the importance and impact of public-private partnership and the significance of marketing and effectively utilizing the agricultural production to ensure subsistence. He also said that Nepal needs subsistence agriculture for which the farmers need to be integrated into value chain. “This event should find the such communication mechanism to share our knowledge,” he said emphasizing the use of communication as the major key.

    23 August 2013: Afternoon session

    Benoit Thierry (CPM) made a presentation on the new Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) and upcoming Country Programme Integrated Support Unit (CPISU). His presentation highlighted the following points:

    • Country Programme Evaluation conclusions
    • Portfolio results and Expenses Analysis 
    • Indicators of Annual Performance based Rating
    • Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) goal and objectives

    Each project made a brief presentation on the factors impeding project performance and proposals to resolve the problems.

    After the presentations, the participants were asked to vote the implementation issues on the basis of prioritization. The following issues were identified

    • Sustainability: 20 votes
    • Implementation in design: 14 votes
    • Monitoring and evaluation: 11 votes
    • Gender and inclusion: 9 votes
    • Staff: 9 votes
    • Aptitude to agribusiness: 9 votes
    • Fiduciary: 8 votes
    • Coordination at local level: 8 votes
    • Rural finance: 5 votes
    • Longer project time needed: 3 votes
    • HQ planning to field implementation: 2 votes
    • Expectation management: 2 votes
    • Nutrition: 1 vote
    • Time management: 1 vote

    After a brief tea break, the participants worked in four different groups split by   projects to find answers to the following questions:

    • How to retrofit the existing portfolio into the new COSOP RMF (Result Management Framework)? 
    • How does the RMF affect our individual projects? 
    • How to improve synergy, learning exchange and cooperative behavior?

    After a 40-minute group discussing the project groups came up with constructive outcomes that will be incorporated in the Road Map at the end of the workshop. The roadmap shall be jointly agreed in policy dialogue agenda for country portfolio.


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    Beginning of Day 2 - IFAD Nepal annual retreat:

    All the participants were seen more enthusiastic to participate in the working groups on the second day of the event with the objective to improve project delivery. 
    The work was conducted through the world café method where the groups had to rotate tables and exchange their ideas for the solutions for the project implementation issues identified on the first day. The group formation was by their functions and speciality. There were four groups with 8-10 participants per group: Project managers and Accountants, Implementers, M&E and Planning Officers and Technical staff. 
    Most of them did not know about the world café’ method, however it was welcomed with much eagerness and excitement. Some of the participants were so interested and gripped to their own groups that they didn’t want to change tables !!!






    LOVE SONG and portfolio performance:
    During the retreat, the project participants had nice entertainment sessions in-between intensive group works where they sang traditional Nepali love songs. Listen to this one of Deuda style from the far-western part of Nepal which starts with: “You were beautiful, well dressed and went to the temple with me. You adored me, put your hands on my head … and your love tainted my heart".

    Soon after work resume with presentations of priorities for projects performance improvement. More tomorrow with the country programme road map.


    Flying Tiger reports from the Himalayas.
    (formerly known as flying cpm).

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    By Lorina Sthapit, Bashu Aryal, Yvonne Diethelm,
    IFAD Nepal Country Programme Workshop Day 2 
    24 August 2013


    On the second day of the event, the participants worked in thematically composed groups to find self-identified and self-monitored solutions for the project implementation issues identified together on the first day
    -The planning and monitoring officers worked on sustainability and monitoring and evaluation related issues;
    -The implementers worked on Institutional Development and Scaling Up (Policy and Dialogue) related issues;
    -The project managers worked on staffing and fiduciary issues and
    -The technical staffs worked on issues related to business Inclusion and implementation modality.
    The group works were conducted through the world café method where the group members had to change tables on rotation basis and exchange ideas. The solutions envisaged by the working groups were presented on flipcharts and metacards, which will be incorporated in the Country Programme Road Map and translated into policy dialogue agenda for country portfolio.

    In the afternoon session, SNV’s Senior Technical Advisor Mr. Piet Visser made a presentation on Partnerships elaborating the following points:
    • Building examples of Agro-Enterprise Centers (AEC)
    • How SNV partnership works
    • Components of SNV: Value chain Development (SNV/AEC), Inclusion and Support for Value Chain Initiatives (GoN/SNV) and Project Management
    • Role of business linkages
    • Capacity strengthening of value chain actors


    Mr. Visser also talked about their efforts in mentoring the Agro-Enterprise centers from Federation of Chamber of Commerce so that they (AEC) can take over SNV role after three years.
    Likewise, Benoit Thierry (CPM) addressed the Governance aspects of the IFAD funded projects in Nepal highlighting the significance of effective project design, project implementation and completion evaluation for the success of the project.
    The following aspects were discussed under the three components:
    Design
    Implementation
    Completion Evaluation
    IFAD
    GoN
    IFAD
    GoN

    Concept
    Project Design Report
    (PDR = Main report + Working Papers)
    Implementation Support
    Formulation
    PIM
    - Manual admin procedures
    - Manual of Monitoring and Evaluation
    - Implementing guidelines
    Supervision Mission/Joint review mission (IFAD+GoN)
    Appraisal/Final Design (PDR)
    Annual Workplan and Budget (AWPB)
    Mid Term Review Mission
    Evaluation Missions
    Financing Agreement
    Letter to the borrower
    Fiduciary management
    Withdrawal applications
    Register of staff, contracts, procurement…
    Completion Mission





    Mr. Thierry also underlined the role of various documents such as the Letter to the borrower which contains the project financial management aspects and the Project Implementation Manual/ Manual of Operation, which contains Admin and financial procedures, Implementation modalities and M& E system. Similarly, he also highlighted the fiduciary aspects: Financial software, Procurement, Register of assets, Registry of staffs, Registry of contracts and Withdrawal Application.
    Towards the end of the day’s agenda, Bashu Aryal (CPO) discussed about the initiation of the Country Programme Implementation Support Unit (CPISU). The unit will be called ‘SahaYatri’ which means ‘companion’ in Nepali or “walking together with a same goal”.SahaYatri will bring together experts from each project to support problem projects and develop synergies. Mr. Aryal, commenting on the issues and solutions identified by the working groups, suggested to build close connection among the projects, IFAD and the Government through CPISU as this could solve the correspondence issues raised.

    In the evening a Marketshare fair was organized by Procasur where all the five projects presented their evidence-based best practices and innovations, scaling up approaches and tools, multiple stakeholder approaches and new KM and communication strategies. Marketplaceisa public space where people supplying and demanding knowledge meet to "negotiate" the exchange of ideas and innovative practices, as well as tools and approaches with high potential for up scaling.
    HVAP’s innovations on multi-stakeholder platform, ‘respiration check’, data management framework and value chain analysis bagged 26 votes in a total of 50 and became the winner of the Marketshare. The leader of the team will receive a full schalorship to attend the Learning Route in Thailand in October.


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    IFAD Nepal Country Programme Workshop Day 3


    25 August 2013, 
    by Lorina Sthapit, Benoit Thierry


    The day started with the recap of the previous day when the project staffs developed solutions for the implementation issues identified on the first day of the workshop


    This day 3 was dedicated to planning, targeting, monitoring and evaluation and communication.


    IFAD consultant Ms. Monique Trudel made a brief presentation on Livelihood and Development Challenges. The first working group exercise in the morning session was based on this presentation and following questions on targeting and inclusion:
    1. How to make sure that development actors take into account « social inclusion » meaning not only women but different groups – disadvantages group, youth elder in the value chain? 

    2. How can who measure the flow of benefits best, when and how?

    3. How can our “beneficiaries” shape and profit from the KM and learning and innovation agenda?

     The groups worked together for 30 minutes and came up with constructive answers, including ways to avoid elite capture during implementation. The prioritized outcomes were incorporated in the road map.




    The group work was followed by a video on WUPAP gender activities: "We were like frogs in a well!" 



    As the day’s theme focused on Learning, Knowledge Management and M&E, the project M&E Officers elaborated the findings of their community of practice which has been active for the past 18 months.


    Linked to the theme of M&E, Mr. Krishna Thapa from HVAP presented about the HVAP’s tablet based management information system. A revolutionary system which will help shortening and improving the management information system by entering data directly from the field. See specific post.

    The day’s agenda ended with a detailed presentation of the Country Programme Road Map (based on the outcomes from working groups) points by Mr. Bashu Aryal (CPO) and IFAD senior yeti Mr. Rudolph Cleveringa. The roadmap is divided into 5 key chapters grouping a set of 25 recommendations for action. Each project will now deepen the CPRM to adapt it to project specifities and set deadlines and responsabilities.

    For the presentation on the Road Map.
    1. strengthen project management


    2. streamline fiduciary aspects


    3. enhance M&E, KM, innovations and communication


    4. prioritize field outreach ad technical implementation


    5. expand national and international partnerships



    Before closing the day, the ASAP project design mission arrived and was introduced to the plenary. The 4 and last day of the workshop will be dedicated to the ASAP design brainstorming. More tomorrow on this blog !

     


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    Derived from an interview with Jasper Hatwinda, Rural Finance Project, Zambia

    IFAD provided a three-year grant to IFADAFRICA towards integrating knowledge management and learning in IFAD supported projects in Eastern and Southern Africa. Through this grant, projects were brought together and began to explore how to improve project performance and create greater impact for project beneficiaries.


    After three years, Jasper Hatwinda shares what he has learned and how the Zambia portfolio has benefited from the KM initiatives, what they have achieved, what they are doing differently, and what they would like to do differently when it comes to integrating KM in projects and institutions.

         
    To have relevant KM initiatives, there is need to start by identifying existing bottlenecks, setting objectives and coming up with an action plan on how to change the situation

    Jasper Hatwinda, shares the Zambia KM experience
    After the first KM workshop, the Zambia team sat and agreed on what the priority areas would be. The starting point was what they wanted to see changed. They agreed that what they wanted to see was: 1) more government ownership of projects initiatives and improved policy environment, 2) Enhanced project design that was more inclusive, and 3) Meaningful Country Programme Management Team Meetings.


    For each of these, the team identified the entry points or existing opportunities. For instance, the existence of a Programme Reference Group for Rural Finance provided a good opportunity for making project design more participatory and inclusive. This Group made it mandatory for projects to share lessons learned and with time, these lessons had to be utilized in future designs. With the knowledge management initiative, the mandate of the PRG for Rural Finance to ensure that projects are put to task to share lessons learned.


    The policy dialogue initiatives have been useful in responding to the need for improved delivery of rural financial services in Zambia. Consequently, a Rural Finance Policy has been developed. This is one of the concrete results of the understanding of what Knowledge management, learning and sharing involves, and how it enhances delivery of results.


    What are you doing differently?


    To this question, Jasper’s response is an explanation of the various small, subtle but very crucial things that they do in what to him is a more effective way. First has been the requirement that all projects include ‘lessons learned’ in the Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWPB), as well as in the Annual Report. The projects also started holding workshops to share the AWPB, to review these plans and tease out the lessons learned and what can be done differently to get better results. These workshops have served as accountability forums and they make each participant think through what they have done, what they are going to do and how to improve. In these meetings, there is an opportunity for peer review and critiquing, which makes clearer the issues for improved implementation.
    Knowledge management and learning opened our eyes to see what we were not doing very well, what we could do better
    As a result of the awareness created in us by the KM&L forums that we could do things differently and better, we took an initiative to take a study visit to Uganda and Tanzania to learn about the policy environment and structures for putting up functional rural finance policy. In Malawi the Community Based Financial Institutions Promoters learnt about the Village Savings and Loans Associations and upon return streamlined the savings and credit approach across all partners and adopted the VSLA methodology comprehensively. In particular expansion initiatives were included where the Village Agent and Cluster Committee framework later assisted the RFP to increase its coverage, efficiency and sustainability, says Jasper.


    Enhanced project design is another key benefit for Zambia, which has directly resulted from the awareness and integration of KM&L. Before, project design was entirely a preserve of IFAD consultants and the IFAD country office. Project staff and government participation was limited, and including project experiences was not desired as part of the design formation and conceptualisation.  However, with the KM&L initiatives, projects started to push for the inclusion of lessons learned from implementation of other projects in new project designs. An in-country design team, led and chaired by the line ministry is mandatory for the design of new projects. This has so far worked well for the design of the new Rural Finance Expansion Programme, which is based on the lessons learned from the Rural Finance Programme.


    The Zambia team also sees a difference in the way Country Programme Management Team (CPMT) meetings are conducted. Previously, these meetings were held in a hotel in Lusaka and participants relied on stories that various project teams shared. They were mostly ceremonial but did not include discussion of the real issues faced in day to day implementation. With the lessons derived from the KM&L initiatives, the country team decided to hold these meetings in the field while visiting respective project sites. Project teams were required to collect and document lessons learned between meetings, and these lessons were used to write an official communiqué to ensure that those issues that needed follow-up could be followed. KM&L changed the face of CPMT meetings. Currently, there are greater synergies between projects as a result of sharing of experiences, lessons and challenges. The most important change is the now clear understanding by project teams that there are ways of doing things differently, it is okay to try these different ways, and that even when something does not work, there is a lesson to learn.


    Participants of the KM&L workshop 2013

     


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    IFAD Nepal Country Programme Workshop Day 4 (Closing)

    26 August 2013

    By Kaushal Shrestha, Benoit Thierry


    The fourth and last day of the workshop began under the sun ( finally) with a video, though much humorous, also reflecting the poor relationship people have with mathematics – “25 divided by 5 equals 14.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omyUncKI7oU

    Videos were a deliberate tool used in this workshop to introduce new concepts and practical innovations to the participants without boring them. Thus, Benoit used a short eight-minute film on WUPAP and remittance to begin conversation about the new project “Rural Micro-enterprises and remittances.” The major focus of this project would be capital formation, not only for returning migrant workers, but the entire community.

    WUPAP and remittances: Traveller’s Tales – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSIdkNLOQqw

     

    Similarly, conversation on a new ASAP funded project, entitled AIMHE (Adaptation in Mountain and Hills Ecosystems), also began with short hard-hitting clips on climate change and its harsh impacts, especially in the developing world.

    IFAD, Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M244FoHpoVk

    Worldbank/FAO, Mountains and Climate Change: A Global Concern –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCPbV_KODbI

     

    As portrayed by the videos, the projected impacts of climate change are severe, and the necessary responses are urgent. Tackling such a global issue, according to Peter Situ, the project design team leader, is a massive challenge for a country like Nepal and its people. Therefore, in order to soften the impacts effectively in particular in the agriculture sector, interventions must consider a number of issues to increase efficiency and improve impact.

     

    Utilization of existing resources is among the major issues. AIMHE intends to make maximum use of available services, knowledge and expertise, government and non-government institutions, for greater efficiency and to eliminate duplication of activities and resources in the field. In this process, the project will work towards the capacity building of service providers engaged in climate change adaptation activities (livestock insurance, food banks, renewable energy etc), be it government or private. Further, AIMHE is intended as an add-on component to existing IFAD funded projects, seeking climate smart activities and scaling up best practices with thousands of existing farmers groups. This last day of the workshop was the first step of this intention, introducing AIMHE to the current projects, and exploiting the years of ground level experience of project members to seek ideas and potential activities.

     

    Practicality was another important factor voiced by the experience of participants. All members of current IFAD-funded projects collectively agreed on the importance of site-specific agriculture and business models. While members of LFLP promoted agroforestry and silvopastoral systems, they also noted the necessity of contextual planning – for example, using market led approach in promoting particular products, or simply not promoting plantation of ginger on sloped lease lands.Inclusive targeting was also regarded as a practical way of action for the project. While the project will definitely focus on the most vulnerable, especially women, Peter was clear to mention – “There will be no divisions.”  And the project will therefore focus on social inclusion.

     

    Even more stress, perhaps, was on the participatory design of the project. As it is the vulnerable that are most aware of their own local realities, the inclusion of the community for organizational and technical input is only logical. Thus, AIMHE will actively adopt bottom-up participatory strategies to simultaneously improve the management of natural resources, including agriculture, reducing vulnerabilities and increasing resilience of local communities to climate change impacts (through the LAPA system).

     

    The closing ceremony was organized in the afternoon. Key speakers emphasized that this workshop/retreat enhanced family spirit among IFAD funded projects, and will produce nice synergies. Others noted the workshop as the first step to improve programme performance, with more to come in the future to deepen technical activities. The roadmap produced during the workshop will be a key tool to monitor this progress. Finally, in the concluding remarks, words of thanks were addressed to participants, organizers, facilitators, and the workshop management team. 

     

    Rendezvous: August 2014, to continue the new tradition of the country programme workshop !!




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