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You are probably wondering, what does Multidimensional Poverty Assessment (MPA) mean?

The MPA project is a collaborative, international initiative led by IFAD to develop, test and pilot a new rapid appraisal tool for local-level rural poverty assessment. The Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) is a project management instrument which measures fundamental dimensions of rural poverty in order to support poverty alleviation efforts in the less-developed world. MPAT provides an overview of the sectors most in need of interventions/assistance at a local-level; thus, there is a strong focus on the fundamental sectors related to human wellbeing. MPAT consists of 10 components:

1. Food & Nutrition Security
2. Domestic Water Supply
3. Health & Healthcare
4. Sanitation & Hygiene
5. Housing, Clothing & Energy
6. Education
7. Farm Assets
8. Non-Farm Assets
9. Exposure & Resilience to Shocks
10. Gender & Social Equality


The MPA Project is primarily funded through an Initiative for Mainstreaming Innovations (IMI) grant from DFID. The IMI provides grants through a competitive process to finance innovative ideas. Our proposal was among many and you can imagine how pleased we were when our proposal was accepted. Keen to get going, we starting our activities in the summer of 2008.

One year down the road, here are some pictures of some of the project’s milestones:

-The MPA Startup Workshop was held in Beijing, on September 24th, 2008,

-The 2nd MPA Workshop was held in New Delhi, on May 15th,

-MPAT has been piloted extensively in Gansu Province (China),

-and Uttarakhand (India).


Thanks to the assistance of IFAD staff and IFAD-supported projects and partners in those areas MPAT has been piloted in well over 500 households and has stimulated a great deal of interest, both among IFAD staff and their government counterparts.


The MPA Wrap-up Workshop is scheduled to be held at IFAD in Rome in September, 2009 –likely preceded or followed by a presentation on the project and MPAT for anyone interested in attending. Once the methodology is finalized, MPA can be used to augment the Baseline, Mid-Term and Completion surveys/evaluations for IFAD projects, or those of other donors and/or governments committed to rural poverty alleviation.


A MPA User's Guide will be published by early 2010 and made available to all online in order to better disseminate this new approach and framework.

For more information please contact:

Mattia Prayer, m.prayer@ifad.org
Thomas Rath, t.rath@ifad.org
Roxanna Samii, r.samii@ifad.org
or Alasdair Cohen, a.cohen@ifad.org

IFAD shares its Community-Driven Development (CDD) Knowledge

Posted by Zoumana Bamba Wednesday, July 15, 2009 0 comments

What is CDD?

Today, we began a two-day knowledge fair on Community-Driven Development (CDD).

CDD recognizes that poor rural people are prime actors in the development process. In CDD, control of decisions and resources rests with community groups, who may often work in partnership with organizations and service providers, including elected local governments, the private sector, NGOs, and government agencies.

Experience has shown that, if rural poor people have access to information and knowledge, they can effectively provide services that meet the needs of their communities.

IFAD since mid-1990s recognized the potential of CDD. The fund and its partners have implemented various approaches to CDD in Western and Central Africa (WCA) which are consistent with the Fund’s mandate. In collaboration with its partners, (governments, development partners, civil society organizations, community organizations, the private sector and farmer organizations), IFAD supported the design and implementation of several projects in the Region. Among these projects are:

- Cape Verde Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme (PLPR) – builds strong partnership arrangements at the regional level (Regional Partners Commissions - CRPs) between central government, municipalities, NGOs and the private sector.
- Mali Sahelian Areas Development Fund Programme (FODESA) - empowers farmer organizations and entrusts them with project management responsibilities.
- Mauritania Oasis Sustainable Development Programme (PDDO) - supports oasis development associations to define oasis development plans.
- Ghana Northern Region Poverty-Reduction Programme (NORPREP) bridges the gap in decision-making processes between the village and the district levels.

IFAD’s Western and Central Africa Division began to support CDD projects about seven years ago. The following initiatives, events and studies have been implemented:
- In 2004, review of five IFAD-supported CDD projects in Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.
- Following the review, IFAD organized a two-day workshop to develop a better understanding of CDD approaches based on experience to date, and to develop a common vision and to identify areas for partnership, innovation and research, and to scale up best practices to increase the impact of CDD projects on rural poverty reduction.
- In 2005, IFAD was asked by a group of donor partners including the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the World Bank to set up a platform for learning and sharing knowledge on CDD.
- March 2006 workshop in Ghana to enhance learning and information exchange on CDD.

CDD Knowledge Fair


Three years down the road, we are organizing a knowledge fair on CDD. Knowledge fairs, with their dynamic and interactive people-to-people and marketplace approach, can readily stimulate new ideas, effectively capture good practices and make the exchange of knowledge more engaging. The Knowledge Fair organized in Rome from 15-16 July 2009 is part of the West and Central region-wide meetings organised for taking stock on community driven development and a continuation of the Knowledge Share Fair organized in January 2009 by the Rome-based UN agencies.

Studies have also shown that CDD can increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of projects or programmes. This has led to an increasing interest in how to scale-up CDD. Through examining the conditions and processes in the last years, we hope to derive widely applicable principles and lessons as to how best to stimulate, facilitate, and support the scaling-up of CDD in different contexts–as well as what not to do.

The objectives of the knowledge fair on CDD are to:
- take stock of what has been achieved in CDD, mostly in WCA;
- discuss today’s challenges as well as the opportunities for CDD to be an effective instrument for fostering social and economic local development, particularly in the context of increased decentralisation and rapidly transforming rural and agricultural sectors; and,
- identify a set of options which would guide future policies and investments in agricultural and rural development in the WCA region.

Results expected from the workshop are the following:
- Sharing knowledge on CDD from the different projects and programmes in the WCA region;
- The launching of the publication Decision Tools for CDD and Guidance Notes for institutional analysis in rural development programmes
- Hearing from governments, farmer organizations, private sector and development partners and learning about their point of view on CDD and future prospects.
- Discussing future strategic investment options in terms of fostering rural local development.

The “Good Practice” Marketplace

To stimulate interaction among participants and support knowledge sharing, we will use speed-geeking to share our CDD experience. The fair operates as an interactive marketplace. Like any trade fair or marketplace, the Knowledge Fair had dedicated spaces to exhibit different types of knowledge and resources. The fair will feature “good practices” from West and Central Africa region, as well as a selection from other parts of the world such as Colombia and Vietnam.

For this particular workshop, what helped was:

- To have Administration Services dealing with the entire logistics at -1 level
- To have Nancy White, Michael Riggs from FAO and the KMCop, particularly Willem and Roxy to help with facilitation
- to have participants as well IFAD staff committed and willing to share lessons and experiences.

Look for my blogpost after the event to hear my opinion and experience.

Read more about at
http://www.ifad.org/english/cdd/index.htm

Blogging - so can we!

Posted by Hazel Bedford Monday, July 13, 2009 2 comments


This is a continuation of the previous blogpost

Once upon a time I realized I wanted to learn something about blogging and tweeting, so I went to a workshop with 12 other people and Nancy and Roxy.

Here are some of the key things we learned:

  • How to search in blogs to find info.
  • Blogs get searched earlier than information posted on websites.
  • Blogging is potentially very addictive.
  • You need to take care of your digital identity.
  • You don't have to be a journalist to blog.
  • Blogs can be used as a social communication tool internally within a division.
  • Twitter allows you to listen to what people are saying about your organization and to respond.

Some of us were beginners. Some more advanced bloggers wanted to learn more about how to use labels, categories and tags in the most efficient way.

And we had some questions:

  • Is blogging safe?
  • Is it useful for our daily jobs?

We agreed that to really get the hang of this, we needed a longer session with more hands-on learning. You can see the resources we used here.

Yes I can blog!

Posted by Roxanna Samii 2 comments



My name is Monica Bugghi and I have just made a mistake with my first blog! I have volunteered to post this blog on behalf of the group that today met in room C300 to attend a great session on Social Reporting organized by Roxy Samii. We discovered that there is a whole world of potential and innovation. We just need to replace some of our old activities to find space to do this!

Here are some of the key learnings from our workshop:

  • How to use Blog in a professional way
  • Possibilities available to communicate with friends and colleagues
  • Huge potential of social reporting tools
  • Be strategic about creating blogs
  • How to join the IFAD blogger community
  • Useful tips to select informative blogs
  • How to search for blogs
  • Becoming part of the GMail world: so easy, if only I knew before!
  • More about Twitter
  • Becoming more familiar and confident in using Web tools

Few concerns:

  • Twitter and blogging are scary. How to trust the source?
  • Not enough time to practice the new tools
  • How to balance real life and social networks
The lucky participants were:
  • Daniela Cuneo
  • Daniela Capitani
  • Linda Orebi
  • Florence Papitto
  • Martina Spisiakova
  • Monica Angelini
  • Isabelle Stordeur
  • Richard Aiello
  • Willem Bettink
  • Mylene Kherallah
  • Sopie De Vos
  • Zoumana Bamba
  • Jessica Thomas
  • Christian Assogba
  • Alessandra Zusi
  • Chitra Deshpande
  • Yasmina Oodally

A million thanks to Roxy and Nancy!

Ms Ursula Schäfer-Preuss, ADB’s Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development joined IFAD’s Asia and the Pacific Division in two seminars on 7 July 2009. Ms. Schäfer-Preuss is responsible for ADB's Regional and Sustainable Development Department, Economics and Research Department, and the Office of Cofinancing Operations. Since joining ADB in November 2006, she has significantly contributed to the re-establishment of ADB’s focus on agriculture. Mr A. Andrea Monari, ADB’s Resident Director General for the European Representative Office, also joined the meeting.

Food security, financial crisis and economic slowdown in Asia and the Pacific: ADB’s instruments and response
In the morning, Ms. Schäfer-Preuss presented ADB’s analysis and responses to food security, financial crises and economic slowdown in Asia and the Pacific. She stressed the importance of land use and management in the context of climate change and environmental issues, especially as the soil is directly linked to food security.

Global imbalances

The root cause and impact of the global financial crisis is related to US current account deficit: over-consumption and Asia’s current account surplus: overproduction. The main concern is how to sustain the level of production. The main impact on Asia’s development relates to:
  • Decline in external demand
  • Reduced access to external finance
  • Reduced FDI and capital flows
  • Declining remittances – in Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and the Philippines, remittances fell by 4-7 % in 2009 compared to 2008. While the Philippines expect a 6-9 % growth rate, statistics show that Filipinos are coming back to their country. It is important to use remittances productively.
Forecasts for development in Asia show a slowdown in the growth of GDP, consumption and welfare. In 2009, Asian GDP is expected to grow at only 3.4% compared to 6.3% last year. In China alone over 20 million workers (mostly low skilled migrant workers) have lost their jobs. Middle income strata have also been largely affected.
Crises, poverty vulnerability and food security
With the world economic and financial crisis, poverty has increased. Women are among the most vulnerable people. As jobs are lost, women workers are among the first to be fired. Food supply is affected not only because of the crisis but also because of lack of irrigation and investment. Limited access to food, instability of the food system in terms of its utilization and nutritional security are among the key problems in Asia.

According to ADB’s analysis, in 2010 poverty and vulnerability are expected to decrease compared to 2005. Without a crisis, poverty and vulnerability should decrease from 27.1% and 54% in 2005 to 16.7% and 40.7% respectively. With the crisis, about 19% of Asians are expected to remain poor and 44.4% vulnerable in 2010.

ADB’s poverty estimates and forecasts seem pessimistic taking into account the role of public investment and agriculture especially for China and India. However, all projections are based on imperfect information. In the past, ADB has been criticized for being too optimistic.

What can we do to re-balance Asia’s growth?
  • Promote SME and service industries by lowering entry barriers
  • Develop financial systems
  • Strengthen domestic competition to foster domestic production and increase the consumption of domestic products
  • Strengthen regional cooperation to produce food and make it accessible to consumers e.g. GMS is promoting stable and equitable growth through greater trade, creating more job opportunities, increased mobility between countries, common-use of health facilities and access to better farming technology.
Climate change: additional challenges

Asia's challenges in terms of resilience to climate change means that any future investment, including ADB’s response to the crisis needs to take into account climate change impacts. We should not look at addressing the financial crisis in the short term but in the long term by taking into account the implications of climate change. Adaptation to climate change and mitigation of climate change impacts must be integrated within the development process.

ADB with IFPRI undertook a study on climate change and energy to advance energy efficiency and the clean energy agenda with focus on two aspects – financing (both public and private including commercial financing), and technology transfer and diffusion issues. The key messages of the study are that adaptation to climate change requires investment in agricultural research, irrigation and technology. Mitigation strategies exist but have to be exploited especially in relation to crop productivity, and soil and water conservation techniques.

ADB screened its loan portfolio to assess the risk to climate change. This analysis will enable the bank to ‘climate proof’ its investments. All its activities will include climate resilience investment money. Risk management policies are to be included in ADB programmes

Climate change is affecting food security in terms of:
  • Decreased crop yields
  • Reduced land area and suitability for crops
  • Higher food prices
  • Poor food utilization: high incidence of vector- and water-borne diseases
ADB response:

  • Subregional and regional initiatives
  • Support for public expenditure
  • Support for trade financing
  • Mainstreaming climate adaptation and mitigation in the context of new and ongoing investment
Resources for ADB’s response:
  • General capital increase tripled to $165 billion for poor countries such as Cambodia, Nepal (China and India don’t have access to these resources)
  • Asian Development Fund X: up 60% to $11.3 billion
  • New financing facilities – Countercyclical Support Facility, Trade Finance Facilitation Program, Asian Infrastructure Financing Initiative, Climate Change Fund (US$ 40 million grant open to all countries for activities relevant to climate change), Water Financing Partnership Facility (also looking at climate change elements)
What can we do better to work jointly and not to re-invent the wheel?

Regional cooperation in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and south-south cooperation is necessary for addressing important issues. However, business should be done differently than in the past. ADB is moving away from traditional business to a new way of working. For example, it has a sustainable transportation policy for building roads. It is now looking at urban transportation e.g. bus systems, greenhouse gas aspects and sustainable energy policy. It also uses quick disbursement funds directed to social protection.

Development missions should be more coherent to re-balance Asia’s growth. They should also include aspects such as energy and the environment. ADB is making its development approach more coherent. For example, it is trying to help its partners implement the Paris Declaration by increasing their efforts in alignment and managing aid for results. However, partners don’t always respond actively. ADB is also supporting governments to get their own strategies in place. ADB has a positive experience with Viet Nam which is a good example of harmonizing procurement. This is because Vietnamese partners put much emphasis on harmonizing the agenda and streamlining procedures with the donor community.

Supporting long-term development is necessary. G8 is favouring greater investment in sustainable development rather than reliance on emergency food aid. How to get small farmers on board remains an issue.

The private sector can play a significant role in development. ADB has a private sector operations department that provides direct assistance (financial and technical) to private sector projects with clear development impact but which may have limited access to capital.

Can cooperation minimize crises in the future? ADB collaborates with ASEAN on health and security issues where ASEAN plays an active role. Collaboration between IFAD and ADB is about how to complement each other. Collaboration should not be a gap filling exercise. IFAD comes where ADB doesn’t have experience. Collaboration is about know-how, how we sharpen our knowledge to implement our activities.
Knowledge management agenda for rural poverty reduction in Asia and the Pacific: ADB’s plan of action
In the afternoon, Ms Ursula Schäfer-Preuss presented ADB’s strategy and action plan for KM. IFAD’s partnership, which was based on co-financing in the past, has been broadened to include KM. For example, IFAD colleagues participated in an ADB retreat in April 2009.

KM is a real challenge for both organizations. ADB's Strategy 2020, approved in April 2008, reaffirms both the Bank’s vision of Asia and the Pacific free of poverty, and its mission to help its developing member countries improve their living conditions and quality of life. To achieve it, the strategy supports the following strategic areas – inclusive economic and environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration.

ADB’s five drivers of change are the following:
  • Development and operations of the private sector
  • Good governance and capacity development
  • Gender equity
  • Knowledge solutions
  • Partnerships
Action Plan for ADB’s Knowledge Management, 2009–2011
The proposed plan presents a coherent and practical agenda of actions to advance the Bank’s KM agenda. The fundamental premise considered when drafting it was: "What does ADB need to know to achieve its goals?" The associated questions considered regarding knowledge in ADB were: "When do we need it?", "Where do we source it from?", and "How will we use it?".

The Action Plan focuses on four core areas:
  • Sharpening the knowledge focus in ADB operations.
  • Empowering communities of practice to enable them to capture and share knowledge, especially in the areas of gender, infrastructure, governance and environment.
  • Strengthening external partnerships to acquire and disseminate knowledge.
  • Further enhancing staff learning and skills development.
The Bank’s rationale is that knowledge needs to be firmly embedded in operational work, while audiences, clients, and partners can and are keen to contribute. Collaboration mechanisms such as communities and networks of practice play a vital role in accessing and transferring tacit knowledge, but also require visible sponsorships, clear objectives, and strategic investments. The rapidly changing nature of development work demands diverse competences from staff members.

What does ADB need to know to achieve its goals?

Though KM is evolving in the right direction, the Bank needs to do more. In 2008, ADB conducted a review of its KM practices with the support of GTZ. The review concluded the following:
  • While the main thrusts of its KM framework remain valid, ADB needs to make adjustments to strengthen its work on knowledge.
  • Adjustments to the KM framework must be practical, incremental, and forward-looking, and in particular be aligned progressively to the new corporate strategy 2020.
  • Emphasis should be placed on improving ADB's ability to deliver more adequate and focused knowledge support to its developing member countries.
  • A renewed effort in KM is needed vis-à-vis the coordination mechanisms that drive internal and external knowledge partnerships.
  • KM is an ADB-wide responsibility and all departments have important roles and accountability.
To preserve knowledge, the Bank is undertaking various activities such as retreats, meetings, collaboration with external agencies, high level regional conferences and support for international agriculture research.

Operational Plan for Sustainable Food Security under Strategy 2020

The Operational Plan aims to mainstream food security, agriculture and rural development in the overall path of the sustainable economic transformation, against three binding constraints:
  • stagnating food productivity and production
  • lack of access to resources, infrastructure and markets
  • climate change and climate variability
GMS Subregional Cooperation in Agriculture

ADB is involved in a number of sub-regional cooperation initiatives. One of the most active ones is the GMS cooperation covering Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, PRC, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Among the nine sectors of GMS regional cooperation, the agriculture sector is prioritized by all the countries. Transport investment is another important sector. In April 2007, the GMS Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting endorsed the Strategic Framework for Subregional Cooperation in Agriculture and the Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP). The CASP consists of projects under the following strategic components designed to sustain and further accelerate cooperation in agriculture:
  • facilitating cross-border agricultural trade and investment
  • promoting public-private partnerships to share agricultural information in various countries
  • enhancing capacity in agricultural science and technology
  • establishing emergency response mechanisms for agricultural and natural resource crises
  • strengthening institutional linkages and mechanisms for cooperation in agriculture.
To date, ADB has supported the GMS Working Group on Agriculture through regional technical assistance worth about US$4.6 million.

Reducing poverty in China

In China, ADB has a long-standing involvement through a TA Facility for Policy Reform and Poverty Reduction (TA 4933-PRC). It provides knowledge support for sectoral policy studies, capacity building and innovations in poverty reduction. China considers ADB to be a knowledge bank rather than a development bank. For example, through ADB’s assistance, China is upgrading its knowledge base on sustainable agriculture, ecosystems and water management.

Study on climate change

A study on climate change titled ‘Regional Review of the Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia’ is the outcome of ADB regional technical assistance that was implemented last year in collaboration with United Kingdom.

The study provides a review of the economics of climate change in the sub region. It confirms that Southeast Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change and demonstrates that a wide range of adaptation measures are already being applied.

The study estimated the economy-wide cost of climate change for Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It shows that if the world continues its ‘business-as-usual’, by 2100 the cost of climate change for the four countries could be equivalent to losing 6.7% of their combined annual GDP by 2100 on average, more than twice the global loss. The report also shows that the region has a great potential to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

ADB has four approaches to integrate climate change programming in Southeast Asia:
  • provide technical/financial support for taking appropriate action to combat climate
  • support regional responses to climate change and regional cooperation initiatives in climate change
  • strengthen land use and forestry policies and explore opportunities for carbon sequestration (Thailand & Viet Nam)
  • enable the private sector to invest in mitigation and adaptation.
What needs to be done?

ADB is implementing or planning the following actions to address climate change:
  • Enhance the focus on climate change in its operations.
  • Increase lending for agriculture/rural development and social safety-nets.
  • Build partnerships for knowledge and research.
  • Support global dialogue actions.
GMS knowledge sharing platforms

ADB uses two main platforms to consult and communicate regional issues in rural poverty reduction. These are:
  • GMS Working Group for Agriculture
  • GMS Working Group for Environment
Through the Working Group for Agriculture, IFAD financed a study on biofuels and rural renewable energy development in GMS in 2008. The study forms the basis for a new GMS Rural Renewable Energy Project which is now in the pipeline.

Efforts to control transboundary animal disease continue. Specific actions include participatory research on patterns of livestock trade and disease control in the GMS, upgrading of regional and national laboratory facilities, and training laboratory staff.

Access to agricultural information is being expanded through the Agriculture Information Network Service (AINS). The service aims to provide access to up-to-date information on agriculture in the GMS to support exchange of information and to foster inter-regional trade of agricultural produce and value-added products.

Currently, ADB is conducting a study on Cross-Border Agriculture Trade Facilitation and Strategy in GMS. It assesses opportunities for harnessing the GMS economic corridors for cross-border agriculture trade and investment, including contract farming.

Continued support to development partners is needed to build capacity to:
  • boost subregional agricultural competitiveness
  • develop regional safety standards and institutional capacities on food safety, sanitary and phytosanitary standards in the GMS
  • secure rural renewable energy
Collaboration with CGIAR centres to facilitate KM

ADB’s main concern is that Asia and the Pacific does not get forgotten by research focusing on Africa. Agriculture is very important in the region and the Bank can only finance activities related to agriculture research. In October, ADB will organize a regional conference with some of the research centres to come up with a research proposal for the Asia and the Pacific Region. The programme should relate to themes such as commodities and climate change.

Collecting and synthesising information

We are increasingly confronted by changing circumstances. Data takes time to analyse and as a result they might not be used for decision-making. It also costs a lot of money to have separate knowledge products. We should be working in partnership to develop knowledge products.

Innovation and knowledge management
ADB doesn’t make a distinction between innovation and knowledge.

Advocacy
ADB has its own advocacy role with members. However, its approach should be more coherent.

ADB’s regional conference
The Bank proposed to IFAD a partnership related to the planned regional conference. The Bank is trying to convert it into an investment forum.

Communities of practice
The effectiveness of ADB’s communities of practice depends on how active their chair is, whether they have funds available to get external people to come in, how attractive the theme is, personalities involved, and availability of time.


Our last day in this little spot of paradise concluded with two early morning visits.

The first visit gave a unique chance for us to explore one of the renowned activities of the women of the island – octopus fishing! Mrs. Lima Casimir, in the business for more than 15 years, explained to us how fishing has always been an integral part of her life.

Mrs. Casimir showed us her impressive hand harpoon with which she catches the octopuses, and her techniques of drying, cutting and selling them.

Dried octopus is a popular delicacy both in Rodrigues and in Mauritius. The Malagasy ladies were very interested as octopus fishing is also practiced in Tamatave (east coast of Madagascar). However, octopuses are only sold fresh at the local market in Tamatave. The transformation technique of drying used by women in Rodrigues adds considerable value to the product. Mrs. Casimir tells us that dried octopus is monetarily worth more than 10 times the value of fresh octopus! Yet another bit of very useful information for the Malagasy ladies to take back home and share with their communities.

On the second visit, we met with the executive members of a village till (caisse villageoise) called “Lévé-Diboute”, which translates into “Get up and Stand up”. The till was first established by a UNDP project in 1999 with start-up capital of 5-million rupees (USD 156 250).

Members are recruited by members of the till itself as they are the ones who can distinguish the good from the bad debtors. Here, again, solidarity, understanding and support are essential. Members who are not in a position to effect their payments are encouraged to explain their situation openly, where other members offer their help and advice to find a solution. The obligation of every member to the rest of the group is strongly reinforced by the fact that new loans will only be given if all members have completely repaid the preceding loans.

This system is working well with 100% of reimbursements and has been completely autonomous since 2002 when the UNDP project closed. Ninety-percent of the members are currently women.

We now come to the end of our knowledge exchange visit, rich with new experiences, filled with incredible stories. We hope that this visit will inspire those interested in enhancing rural communication networks and serve as a catalyst for many more to come.

Many thanks to all colleagues in Mauritius, Rodrigues, Madagascar and Italy who have contributed to this visit. Special thanks to Pamela Sooprayen (assistant coordinator) and Martine Clair (financial officer) of the IFAD RDP project for their efforts and collaboration that made this visit a success.

Our message to all of the hard working rural ladies of the world:
“You have an enormous potential to lift yourselves and others out of poverty. Therefore, brush all of your fears and doubts aside and go for it!”