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By Vivienne Likhanga

– Organised By PROCASUR, IFAD, TSLI-ESA - GLTN In Uganda (4-10 December 2015):

It is the morning of the 4 of December 2015 and we are excited to welcome the participants to the Learning Route! Finally we meet them after communicating with them for so long in readiness for the trip. Everything is ready now: Let’s start the journey!

First step is the presentation of the main topics by our technical coordinator, Ken Otieno, and an introductive panel discussion with Rebecca Apio, Uganda Land Association (ULA), Peter Kisambira, Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFF) and John Mwebe, a Land Issues-expert lawyer.

Then we jump on the bus and go. Destination: Kalangala islands, on Lake Victoria!

Here we meet our first hosts: the Vegetable Oil Development Project, in its second phase (VODP-II). On this enchanting island, so remote and isolated thus still wild, the project has established a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for the production of palm oil. The Learning Route participants gather with the main actors of the project at all levels (project directors and officers, the private company, the farmers and their association), receiving insights and sharing ideas, comments and points of view.Our hosts were proud to welcome our “Ruteros” and willing to exchange knowledge, answer questions and actively participating at the discussion.
 After two whole days on the island, our journey has to continue, bringing us to different shores.

A long bus drive brings us uphill, on the slopes of Mount Elgon: we reach Kapchorwa profoundly amazed by the landscape: mountains roads, green meadows, waterfalls and the Rift Valley below us! Here, we meet Kawacom Limited, the second Case Study of this Learning Route. Again, a full and intense visit takes us to the offices, the production site and smallholders’ farms, opening our eyes on how Inclusive Business Models can serve as tools for land security– in this case, through the production of organic coffee.

After each visit, our Ruteros are called for the Case Analysis Workshop. The first day, in fact, the practitioners have appointed themselves as “secretaries” of one of the two cases: they have therefore presented a critical analysis of the Lessons Learnt, Challenges and Recommendations for the way forward.

This activity is part of the PROCASUR methodology: the Learning Route is an active learning wherein practitioners receive inputs, giving also back suggestions and different points of view, in a dynamic atmosphere of knowledge exchange.

Day after day, our Ruteros are getting closer, having intense sessions and discussions – the two cases have given us so much food for thought! –but we have had so much fun and laughter as well.

Learning is a journey, this is our philosophy: on the way, we discover new places and habits, acquire knowledge, have new experiences and meet new people. PROCASUR mission is to make sure we don’t waste any opportunity the road offers to enrich ourselves!
To follow more details on the learning route: Kindly follow us on our FacebookTwitterGoogle +LinkedIn for updates! These social media pages are specially dedicated to sharing our experiences, stories and photos from the learning route, so kindly feel free to interact, share and post your own comments, ideas and photos to make this journey more interactive and exciting!! Don't forget to visit our website on the following link for additional reading on the thematic of the Learning Route and for more on Procasur Africa. We are looking forward to sharing our experiences on all these forums.

Unravelling indicators

Posted by Steven Jonckheere 0 comments

In recent years, IFAD has stepped up its efforts to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of the projects and programs it supports. However, it is clear that many challenges still remain. The 2014-15 portfolio review of the West and Central Africa Division (WCA) highlighted project management, and more specifically in the area of monitoring and evaluation (M&E), as being weak. In addition, IFAD is giving more importance to measuring the results and impact of the projects it supports not only to see if objectives are being met according to its mandate, but also to increase accountability towards its Executive Board.

From 14 to 18 December 2015 WCA organised a sharing and learning workshop in Abuja, Nigeria, for IFAD-supported projects from Anglophone countries in the region. The overall objective of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of our stakeholders, mainly project M&E officers and coordinators, but also IFAD country teams, in the area of M&E, its basic concepts and methodological tools including RIMS, in order to improve the performance of projects and contribute to the achievement of its expected results and impact on rural poverty reduction. The event was part of the division’s continued efforts to strengthen the capacity of project management teams and aims at building technical and analytical skills in monitoring and evaluating  the outputs, outcomes and impact of projects financed by the Fund. Sixty-three people participated, coming from Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Uganda and IFAD headquarters.

Logframe & theory of change

The first part of the workshop focused on the logframe and the theory of change. The logframe provides you with a ‘snapshot’ of the project, a roadmap for implementation. It is a management tool, which guides annual planning; monitoring and evaluation; decision making. It has boxes and doesn’t use arrows. The theory of change is a comprehensive description of how change is expected to happen. It includes mapping results: outcomes needed to achieve a goal; and project interventions that lead outcomes. Results mapping uses arrows, focuses on causality and is an analytical tool. Reine Anani gave some suggestions on how to select good indicators: keep it simple; disaggregate by gender and age and ensure that they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). A wide range of measures of verification can be used to monitor these indicators. Rigorous methodologies should be considered, but their cost/benefit should be kept into account. Secondary data can be used, if reliable. Finally, assumptions and risks are critical and need to validated and communicated regularly.

M&E tools

During the second part of the workshop attention was given to tools that have proven to be effective for monitoring and evaluating projects. Good monitoring is important for projects to track progress made in achieving planned objectives and results and for decision-making. Two examples were shared: one on the use of GPS and SACCO registry in Uganda and another on the use of earth observation data in The Gambia. IFAD’s Asia and Pacific Division shared examples of their effort to shift the focus from impact documentation at completion to outcome measurement during project implementation. Annual outcome surveys are used to measure more regularly the positive or negative changes/outcomes taking place at the household level, provide early evidence of project success or failure and deliver timely performance information. Finally, Ghana’s experience with impact assessments was presented, where the use of sensemaking and the Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning Approach were piloted.

M&E system and RIMS

A group discussion was held on M&E systems and two projects presented their M&E system. While in The Gambia, the project M&E system directly feeds into the National Agricultural Database, in Ghana GIS is being used to monitor the different rural enterprises that are being supported by the project. Projects from Malawi and Sierra Leone presented their computerised systems for managing M&E data. RIMS was identified by many projects as being a challenge. It was emphasized that the priority of projects is the M&E system of which RIMS is a only a part that will automatically follow. Special attention should be given to identify evidence for outcome and to undertake quality control. Good experiences with RIMS reporting from Nigeria and Sierra Leone were presented.


The Annual Workplan and Budget (AWPB) is an essential managerial tool to: guide and regulate all activities and investments; set times, deadlines, targets and responsible parties; allocate appropriate resources to achieve proposed objectives and outcomes. Good practice AWPBs contain: an introduction; a summary Project description; a previous AWPBs implementation assessment; strategic direction, activities by component & resources plan; a summary training & technical assistance schedule; a budget & financing plan; a procurement plan; and, a M&E plan. Projects took the opportunity to develop their 2016 AWPB.

M&E officer

Participants also talked about the roles and responsibilities of the M&E officer. They should manage the “M&E process”, which includes many tasks and many people, advice and train the people involved; ensure data quality control and its utilization. Active management support is essential for good M&E. Management includes Project Coordinators/Managers, but also Managers in implementing institutions, and in IFAD. They should show interest, demand information, provide feedback; Act on non-compliance and non-performance; and give physical progress information the same attention and follow-up as financial progress information. A M&E training plan should be created to systematically build capacity.

Use of M&E data

Finally, the use of M&E data by three key stakeholders, project coordinators, the government and IFAD was discussed. The focus on M&E to support internal learning and management does not mean ignoring wider upward and downward accountability. Projects have important responsibilities to primary stakeholders, government agencies, funding agencies and society at large to account for their expenditures, activities, outcomes and impacts. In turn, supervising and funding agencies must account to their governments and tax payers for the investments made.

By Juliane Friedrich and  Marian Odenigbo

In the past years, the topic of nutrition faced numerous challenges, amongst which was the lack of political will to invest in this area. This year thanks to the Global Goals and the adoption of different nutrition-related declarations such as Scaling Up Nutrition Global Gathering (SUNGG), Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) and Committee on World Food Security (CFS), nutrition not only back on the agenda but also considered as a driver of the sustainable development goals. Furthermore, increasingly the development community is paying attention to the nexus between gender and nutrition.

Scaling Up Nutrition, or SUN, is a unique Movement founded on the principle that all people have a right to food and good nutrition. It unites governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, businesses and researchers in a collective effort to improve nutrition.

Under the SUN movement 55 countries and the State of Maharashtra have committed to scaling up nutrition and working collectively as a movement to reduce the percentage of stunting. The SUN countries are home to 85 million stunted children. And this translates into 80% of the stunted children worldwide.

The fact that IFAD is investing in all the SUN countries, puts us in a vantage position to dialogue with governments and partners thus ensuring that nutrition is integrated and mainstreamed in development investments. Furthermore, considering one of the many focuses of IFAD-funded investments is addressing the needs of women farmers, we not only will be able to tackle the challenge of malnutrition at household level, but more importantly put a gender lens on nutrition and development related activities.

The onus to implement the nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive strategies and address malnutrition is on governments, as action happens on the ground and by people and not at global gatherings.

At the plenary session of the SUN Global Gathering in Milan which took place in October 2015, the participants reviewed the recent Global Nutrition Report on investment in nutrition. It was interesting to note that for every dollar invested in nutrition the return is $16. This means the benefit to scale up nutrition interventions in 40 low and middle-income countries is 16:1. Key note speakers and panelist stressed the importance of addressing teenage pregnancies because these pregnancies carry an extreme risk of underweight babies and thereby perpetuating malnutrition in the lifecycle.  

Power of good data 
In light of the increased political will on nutrition, at this year's SUN Global Gathering, participants from different governments including the parliamentarians put a lot of emphasis on availing of quality and convincing data for advocacy purposes. ‘Without data we are stuck’ said a parliamentarian from Uganda. Similarly another parliamentarian from Malawi said "If you give me good data I can make sure my country has a better nutrition programme."

Participants from the academic institutions underscored the important links between the work of policy-makers and nutrition scientists. They voiced their willingness to contribute to research and data generation for communication and advocacy purposes.

You will undoubtedly agree that over the last years we've made a lot of progress on the food security front. At the same time, we know that we need to do more and better on  collecting, compiling and collating evidence base data to show the outcome of  nutrition related interventions.
At IFAD we believe that focusing more  nutrition-related aspects will increase the impact of investments and underscore IFAD’s commitment to achieving the goal of improving nutrition and reducing poverty. It will also position IFAD as a leader in the arena of food, agriculture, and nutrition and promoting the sectors contribute to improving nutrition.  

IFAD’s focus on nutrition is not just an add-on but as an essential part of what IFAD already does and as a contributor to investment quality.  IFAD’s emphasis on nutrition and nutrition-sensitive agriculture reflects an understanding of the importance of nutrition in development and the role of food and agriculture to improve nutrition.

We must not fail! We have committed to Nutrition! By joining forces we shall make zero stunting a reality!

Written by Elisabeth Steinmayr, Land tenure consultant, IFAD, and Tenagne Kebede, CBINReMP Focal point at the Bureau of Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use, Ethiopia.

Tenagne Kebede receiving the IFAD Gender Award for East and Southern Africa
from IFAD’s Associate Vice-President Périn Saint Ange ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
Women’s empowerment is a crucial element of sustainable rural development. Women tend to invest more in education and health to the benefit of all household members. Enabling them to access productive and financial resources has proven to be a good recipe for change.

Similarly many development actors now recognize the importance of land tenure security, not only as an end itself but also as a means to strengthen the benefits of other activities. When people have more secure tenure, they can commit to activities with a longer time frame. They are more likely to invest in their land, plant trees and use environmentally sustainable agricultural methods. Moreover tenure security reduces the risk of conflict and can contribute substantially to women's empowerment by acting as a source of collateral.

This strong nexus between tenure security and women's empowerment has once again been highlighted during the 2015 IFAD Gender Awards. The award for East and Southern Africa was given to the Community-based Integrated Natural Resource Management Project in Ethiopia (CBINReMP). The project is supporting the issuing of land certificates, which have been given to all women heads of households in the target area. In married households, family land is being registered and certificates are being issued with husband and wife as co-owners. The project is directly benefiting 450,000 households.

Empowered women taking on new roles

What this means for the well-being of women and households was vividly explained by Tenagne Kebede, the CBINReMP focal point at the Bureau of Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use in Ethiopia. Tenagne, who accepted the award on behalf of the CBINReMP, transmitted her enthusiasm for the project during the award ceremony on 25 November and the Special Gender Breakfast the following day. She explained how the project has made a huge difference to many women's lives.

Women are now happy to invest in their land and are for example planting perennials and trees and use soil and water conservation methods to increase the productivity of the plots, which enabled them to increase their income. This allows them to buy more food and to raise poultry and cattle – things which have helped them to increase and diversify their family's diet, leading to higher food security.
Being respected and having a voice in the community is often linked to owning assets. As women now are landholders, they are joining elders’ and land administration committees or are functioning as arbitrators in land disputes. Needless to say that all of these positive changes have increased women's self-confidence, empowered them on many levels and enables them to serve their communities.

Awareness raising as a key for success

When Tenagne is asked about the "how" regarding the great success of CBINReMP, her answer is many times "awareness raising". The project has sensitized communities with regard to women's rights and land, which is the fundamental element for economic empowerment. It has raised awareness about land laws (land proclamation, regulation and procedures), land transaction (including inheritance, donation or gift and rent), and long-term land investments as mentioned above. Activities targeted men and women, both together and separately, in a range of institutions, especially at the grassroots' level, the elders' and land administration committees, and groups of women.

The CBINReMP has demonstrated the close link between women's empowerment and land tenure security. The communities in the project area, Tenagne, her colleagues, the Bureau of Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use and IFAD can be justly proud of their great achievements.

Read more: Factsheet on Strengthening women’s access to land in Ethiopia

The Sting ̶ starring Anagyrus Lopezi and featuring IFAD

Posted by Jessica Thomas Wednesday, December 16, 2015 0 comments

An IFAD project is helping to thwart food security threats

What do wasps and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have in common?

Both of them are fighting to curb the threat to food security, particularly in South-east Asia and Indonesia.

Cassava is a well-known staple food and in South-east Asia it is the third-largest source of calories after rice and maize. It is a key crop in Indonesia, a nation which is among the world’s major cassava producers.

The country sees more than one million hectares of cassava planted every year, half of which is directly consumed as food, and the crop supports an estimated 40 million people. It's also a very significant source of income in the region. In 2014, for example, Viet Nam's export of cassava amounted to US$1.3 billion.

The plant's value is built on its many and varied uses. Directly or indirectly, cassava is an essential support for smallholder incomes, so keeping the plant healthy is vital.
But smallholder farmers across the world are faced with  a big problem.  And the problem is called the mealybug (phenacoccus manihoti. Mealybug is one of the most virulent cassava pests globally. The pill-shaped invader sucks sap from crops causing them to wither and die.
In the 1980s, mealybug, also known as the pink mealybug, almost eliminated African cassava and severely threatened the food security of the region. During this period the farmers faced record yield losses of up to 82 per cent.
How did the African smallholder farmers fight this the problem?

Here comes our hero: angyrus lopezi, aka the parasitic wasp

This program is part of a much bigger project addressing cassava threats and diseases in the region, funded by the European Commission (EC), through IFAD and other strategic partners  under the EC/CGIAR Programme. IFAD has been managing the 'Emerging Pests and Diseases of Cassava in South East Asia: seeking eco-efficient Solutions to Overcome a Thread to Livelihoods' project which is funded by the EC under the EC/CGIAR Programme.

Parasitic wasp is the natural enemy to the pink mealybug and its introduction is considered as one of the most successful pest-control programmes in the world.

Recently, pink mealybug spread throughout South-east Asia, and once again presenting a catastrophic threat to cassava-based livelihoods and food security.  
But this time, 3,000 tiny parasitic wasps took part in a major 'sting'.  The first stage of the project was to release the wasps in an infected field in Indonesia. Nature took its course and they deposited their eggs. The hatching larvae consumed the mealybugs from the inside, slowly mummifying and killing them. The wasps quickly adapted to local conditions and reproduced, and they were then released into an open field.
Eliminating the pest in its early phase is vital to ensure continued economic prosperity for millions of farmers and this was the first stage of a larger eradication campaign. And the method is also environmentally friendly  ̶ it doesn't involve any spraying of pesticides and the wasps pose no threat to humans, animals or other insects because they only feed on the cassava mealybug.

Cassava is a crucial crop, and depending on the region, is prepared in different ways. The boiled root is similar in taste to potato. Once mashed and sieved, it can be used as flour, as porridge or tapioca, or as a thickening agent. Industrially, there is a growing demand for cassava pellets for animal feed. Furthermore it can be distilled to produce alcohol; and it has a variety of uses in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. And the starch is used to make paper, wood and textiles.

Mealybug infestation on a cassava leaf/Neil Palmer - CIAT

This is an example of using nature itself to overcome the threat to food security (with a little help from IFAD).

Courage Brigade

Posted by S.Sperandini Tuesday, December 15, 2015 0 comments

By Maria Hartl, Senior Technical Specialist – Gender and Social Equity, PTA
We celebrated this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November 2015 with the Shaurya Dals (Courage Brigades) in Madhya Pradesh.    
During the workshop on gender and nutrition organized by IFAD’s Policy and Technical Advisory Division, the Asia and the Pacific Division  and the India Country Office for the New Delhi Hub, a field trip took us to a  village in Dindori, - a predominantly tribal district of Tejaswini project where Self-help Groups (SHGs) and the Courage Brigades have changed the life of the community.  Initiated by the IFAD-supported Tejaswini Rural Women's Empowerment Programme in Madhya Pradesh, which was also the exquisite host of our workshop, we could witness how tribal women have been empowered in the course of several years.
About 230 SHGs with over 3000 members have been established, grouped into village committees and federations to become actively involved in community matters and economic activities.  To tackle violence in the community, and in particular violence against women, they established  the Shaurya Dals, small village groups consisting of ten members, with five women from SHG, and the remaining five people – usually men – respected residents of the village.
The groups sensitize the community and intervene directly on all forms of violence in the community, including domestic abuse, rape and molestation of girls, discrimination against women and girls including in matters of food and malnutrition. The Shaurya Dals are well known and their members have authority, so people call on them to take action at any time of the day or night to prevent violence from escalating.
During our visit, we heard the moving testimonials of four representatives. One women told us how the group was called by the  family of a man who was heavily drunk, behaved badly in public and had a row with his wife. The Courage Brigade gathered in the middle of the night to stop the abuse and teach the husband a lesson that his behavior was not tolerated. When a poor widow arranged the marriage of her teenage daughter to an older man, the Courage women suspected that the girl would be trafficked into prostitution. They stepped in when the “groom” arrived to pick up his bride, stopped the transaction and handed the man over to the police, whose confidence and support they have gained over a period of time. When they found out that this poor teenage girl had been abandoned by her mother, they collected funds to send her to a boarding school. They also take a stance against neglect and insecurity. For example, some children found objects that turned out to be explosives used for warding off animal menace. While playing with them, one of the girls lost several fingers. The Courage Brigades charged the men of neglect and endangering the life of the village people,  and arranged for the child to receive medical treatment.
Our staff from 15 projects in India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka participating in the workshop were deeply inspired by the testimonials we heard. We admired how women and men take their destiny into their own hands, finding and negotiating solutions to end and prevent violence in their community. The model of the Courage Brigades  has been so successful that the Government of Madhya Pradesh decided to scale it up across the state and replicate it throughout all districts.
For me, the example of the Courage Brigades shows that society and IFAD have come a long way in addressing violence against women. Only a few years ago, proposed activities to combat violence against rural women were turned down with the argument that these were not rural development issues. Now poor rural women, who have been economically and socially empowered, also through the IFAD-funded programmes, teach us a lesson. Once they have a voice, they use it to address the discrimination they are facing. Gender-based violence – at the household, community and state levels – is the most universal attack on women’s dignity and their human rights.  It may not be explicitly mentioned in IFAD’s global mandate, but it remains one underlying cause of poverty. When rural women are empowered, they also speak out and address violence. 
The Tejaswini Rural Women's Empowerment Programme is an important IFAD investment programme (total project cost: US$ 223.7 million; IFAD loan: US$ 54.4 million. Directly benefiting 1,120,000 households) implemented in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh by the Maharashtra Women's Development Corporation and the M.P. Women's Finance and Development Corporation, respectively. The Maharashtra Tejaswini Rural Women's Empowerment Programme received the IFAD gender award 2015 on the same day we visited its sister project in Madhya Pradesh.

For more information:
·         The power of  Courage Brigades (Video)

By Marian Amaka Odenigbo, Eric Rwabidadi and Richard Abila

Eritrea has an untapped gold mine…. And that is the Red Sea. This body of water is rich in biodiversity and home to a vast variety of fish species. Literally, fish run to you when you get to the sea bank, as if they are asking you to catch them!

Sitting on such an abundance fisheries resources, one wonders why  malnutrition remains persistently high in Eritrea. Eritrea is among the sub-Saharan African countries with critical state of malnutrition and a stunting rate of 50.3 per cent.

Mountain Highland view: Asmara to Massawa, Eritrea 
In late November, we had the opportunity to participate in the IFAD and Government of Eritrea joint implementation support mission of the IFAD-funded Fisheries Development Project (FDP) and the National Development Project (NAP) and were tasked to support the nutrition mainstreaming interventions in this project.

During our interactions with different ministries and government officials we were very happy to see the high level commitment to nutrition.

‘We have a meeting today which is specifically focused on nutrition and the Minister will participate in that meeting’ said Amanuel Negassi Hagos, the Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture.

Hagos informed the mission about the government's intensified activities on nutrition, the establishment of a Steering Committee on National Food and Nutrition Security to improve nutrition situation of vulnerable groups.

 Hagos informed us of the following  initiatives which the government of Eritrea has put in place to improve nutrition:

  • Production of fortified baby food-DMK plant in Dekemhare, a small agricultural town South East of Asmara
  • Creation of the dry Fishmeal processing plant in Massawa City on the Red Sea
  • Increased productivity of locally produced complementary foods such as mushroom and sweet potatoes

We wanted to better understand the reasons for low fish consumption and poor nutrition among the traditional fishers and communities in the coastal areas, most of whom are the target group of  FDP.

We therefore embarked on a trip to Massawa, the Pearl of the Red Sea. It was a breathtaking two hour ride; scaring mountains heights, view of varied livelihood, changing landscape from the green forest to the sandy sea shore You can imagine  the spectacle as we got an experience of three seasons: thick fog, bright sun and extremely cold weather during our  drive from over 2000m to the Red Sea level! All this in a span of less than two hours! Incredible, you need to see it to believe!

Sea View: School of fish, literally will come to you
as you get to the sea bank
Eventually we got to the magnificent view of the Red Sea and immediately our attention was drawn to the abundant fishes in the sea.  What came to mind was- why Poverty and Malnutrition where there is such an abundance of Fisheries Resources?

We met and interacted with the Ministry of Marine Resources at Massawa,  to learn about FDP's progress. The Fisheries Resource Development Department (FRDD) is doing a tremendous job in strengthening the capacity of fishers’ cooperatives and artisanal Fishers.   The Director of FRDD, Tewolde Woldemikael, a very interesting and highly motivated person, told us that IFAD's support to FDP has given the department a good sense of direction to build the capacity of fisher folks.

‘There is very high demand for fishing input now and the capacity of artisanal fishermen is rising’ said Woldemikael.

The visit to the landing sites at the Fishing Port in Massawa, was an eye opener, as we witnessed the progress that the Ministry has made, thanks to FDP's activities.

One of the ice plants established through FDP 
Today, the provincial office is keeping immaculate records  of the fishing activities, including records on the quantity of fish catch for each boat, income of fishermen, and number of days the boats take out to the sea. The ice-making machines installed by FDP are functioning to full capacity.  The demands for ice from fishermen has increased tremendously and FDP is trying to meet that demand. This means the fishers need more ice making machines.

Still on our journey to understand the underlying causes of poor nutrition among the traditional fishers and communities in the coastal areas we had a consultative meeting with the Dean and staff of Massawa College of Marine Science and technology (COMSAT).

COMSAT is one of the implementers of FDP supporting the activities and training on fish processing and handling. They highlighted the following challenges for poor utilization of fish:

  • some of the fishing communities live in very remote areas with few facilities
  • unfamiliarity with fish as a source of food 
  • lack of awareness raising campaigns on benefits of fish
  • poor handling and processing technologies for value addition
  • cost of fish in the market

Acknowledging that fisheries resource is essential to ensure food and nutrition security of these coastal communities, FDP has renewed its focus on:

  • Capacity building of women groups/cooperatives to improve dietary intake at household level. These women can play central roles in improving family diet and care giving since the fishing activity takes the men out in the sea for several days.
  • Strategic dissemination of new and simple technologies on fish handling, processing and value added product development by COMSAT for community outreach.
  • Inclusion of nutrition education in the curriculum for Fisheries Trainings and nutrition sensitization in the training plan and capacity building provided by the Fisheries Resources Development Department and Fisheries Regulatory Services Department. 

We are confident that with the commitment of the government to nutrition and FDP's focus on nutrition together, we will be able to take concrete actions to achieve the goals set by Sustainable Development Goal #2 and to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture in Eritrea.

Jonjon Sarmiento
By Alessia Valentini
Today, at COP21, IFAD interviewed another farmer from the World Farmers Organisation (WFO). His name is Jonjon B. Sarmiento, and he is a sustainable agriculture practitioner from the Philippines.
IFAD: What are the impacts of climate change in your country?
Jonjon: Climate change is affecting us more and more every day. We are struggling because of the weather’s unpredictability. We are experiencing floods, droughts, and just recently we were hit by the strongest typhoon that, in less than four hours, wiped out all our livelihood and permanent structures. We also have a problem with the salinity level of the water, long dry spells and lack of rain that brings the decline of crops.
IFAD: What are the outcomes you would like to see from COP21? 
Jonjon: I would like to see agriculture in the agreement. Agriculture is one of the major solutions to climate change, and still it is being neglected. Instead of introducing chemical farming, which is changing the landscape of farming in the Philippines and depriving us of our agricultural biodiversity, I would like to see an agricultural transition from chemical farming to agro ecology. This is what us smallholder farmers need and this is what I expect from COP21. It’s good that food security and ecosystem were included in the preamble of the text. However, the agreement needs to be translated into real action to provide a better future to the generations to come.
IFAD: How can IFAD support you in achieving what you need?
Jonjon: IFAD should continue to reach smallholder farmers with its projects. We are the ones on the front line of climate change, and we need the right information and tools that can help us face this serious threat. Climate change is a major global challenge and in order to fight it, more power needs to be given to the farmer sector. In particular, I believe that IFAD should invest more in agro ecology as in the Philippines we use this as a tool for rehabilitation from the impacts of climate change.

World Farmers' Organisation Delegation to COP21
By Alessia Valentini
On 9 December, at COP21, IFAD interviewed another rural farmer from the World Farmers Organisation (WFO). His name is Dr. Dinesh, and he is the Chief of Indian Cooperative Council at WFO.
IFAD: What are the impacts of climate change in your country?
Dr. Dinesh: Climate change is very visible in India, with particular impact on the farming community. We are an agrarian society, with approximately 150 million hectares of cultivable land, where more than 70% of the people live on farming. The agriculture situation has changed drastically due to the effects of climate change. For example, December and January used to be the coldest months of the year but now the temperature is over 15 degrees back home. The northern part of India is experiencing serious droughts while the south is suffering from floods. People have been talking about climate change for a while, but only now farmers realize how climate change is impacting their lives and their farming system.
IFAD: What are the outcomes you would like to see from COP21? 
Dr. Dinesh: First of all, I would like for the farming communities to be at the centre of attention during the negotiations, as farmers are the ones who need to become more climate resilient. Secondly, I would like for the negotiators to understand that it is crucial that the adaptation techniques adopted are based on the local resources and knowledge, as they need to consider the local context and culture of the Indian farmers. 
IFAD: How can IFAD support you in achieving what you need?
Dr. Dinesh: IFAD has been doing very good work in India up to now. What I would like is for IFAD to replicate the success projects it has undertaken in my country, so that the knowledge and techniques are not limited to a few areas but rather extended, to provide other farmers in other areas with the same knowledge and support.

Posted by Vea Azore Thursday, December 10, 2015 0 comments

The Annual Country Portfolio Review  of IFAD funded programmes in Laos was participated by all stakeholders with interactions among projects team.  Program status, challenges and way forward for better program performance was discussed during the first day.  ACPoR is being held on  09-11 December at Luang Prabang, PDR.

Climate change and the role of markets and trade: Leveraging co-benefits

Posted by Christopher Neglia Wednesday, December 9, 2015 0 comments

By Christopher Neglia

A high level side event brought together three international trade institutions- UNCTAD, WTO and ITC- and their United Nations partners today on the sidelines of COP21. Trade has an important role to play in accelerating the development of markets and diffusing low carbon technologies. At the same time, climate policies do influence trade among countries by promoting more sustainable emission patterns. Although trade is not a headline topic at COP21, it is certainly on the agenda in the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation, which works on cross cutting issues. The international trade institutions have contributed to and benefited from this work.

Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of ICT asserted that at the interface of trade and climate change, we should not only look at big business, but also at small and medium size enterprises, which represent the majority of economic agents in all countries. The main thrust of her organization's work on climate change is in response to three main questions: 1) how can trade organizations support the mitigation efforts of small enterprise? How can trade be used to create new opportunities that are climate sensitive? 3) how can multilateral cooperation support public policies and development objectives?

Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD recognized the role of habitats in determining the products that people produce and trade. But due to climate change he noted many habitats are undergoing dramatic changes. For instance, in Mesoamerica where higher temperatures are creating conditions whereby fungi and disease are destroying Arabica coffee plants. Moreover, fishing stocks are collapsing everywhere due to overfishing and ocean acidification. According to Reiter, trade policy makers must stop doing the wrong things by ending trade distortions in the form of subsidies that prop up wasteful and destructive economic activities. And we must put a premium on doing the right things, by extending carbon markets and supporting product certification standards.

Tim Groser, Minister of Trade and Climate Change in New Zealand spoke in favour of a radical reform to fossil fuel subsidies, which have no place in a sustainable economy, he said. This is a critical point at COP21 more broadly, since the IEA estimates eliminating all such subsidies would achieve a further ten per cent reduction in global carbon emissions by 2030. Let that sink in for a moment. Fortunately, some countries are moving further down this track, with Indonesia, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates all pledging to dramatically reduce their own fuel subsidies. 

Margarita Astralaga, Director of the Environment and Climate Division in IFAD noted that agriculture, deforestation and land use together represent about twenty five per cent of global carbon emissions. Agriculture is therefore part of the problem and solution to climate change. With better soil and water management, supported by international climate and sustainable development agendas, smallholder farmers in particular (since there are simply so many of them) can make a significant contribution to mitigation efforts. Furthermore, smallholders have the potential to take advantage to a greater extent in nascent value chains. Studies done by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) suggest that the market for certified organic agriculture is expected to rise from US$ forty billion in 2008 to two hundred and ten billion by 2020. We expect that the private sector will come and partner with small producers around the world to access markets at fair prices, Astralaga added.

By Alessia Valentini

On 8 December, at COP21, a side event on climate finance was led by UNDP with the support of IFAD, UNCDF, FAO, WHO, UN-OHRLLS, UNECA, UNECLAC, UNEP and IPCC. This event explored the lessons learned from the UN and member states on climate finance, particularly in delivering co-benefits for development. The discussion focused on actions needed beyond Paris to maximize the development effectiveness of climate finance for the broader post-2015 development agenda.

H.E. Mrs. Janine Felson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Belize to the United Nations and Lead Climate Negotiator of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), opened the event by explaining how this discussion is critical for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) where the impacts of climate change on sustainable development are extremely high. “We need to make sure that what is being delivered as climate finance is reaching those in need and, in particular, those least developed areas, such as the SIDS, that are particularly vulnerable”, said Ms Felson.

Michael Jacobs, Senior Advisor of The New Climate Economy, illustrated how countries at all income levels have the opportunity to build lasting economic growth and at the same time reduce the immense risk of climate change. “We live in a moment of great opportunity and great risk”, he said. The opportunity is in the expanding capacities of human intelligence and technological progress to improve the lives of the majority of the world’s people. 2.4 billion people still live on less than US$2 a day, and urbanization, rising consumption and population growth have put immense pressure on natural resources. “A lower-carbon pathway can bring about multiple benefits leading to higher productivity”, said Mr Jocabs.

Gernot Laganda, Lead Adaptation Specialist from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) presented IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme(ASAP). “Our main clients are those 2 billion rural people in the world whose lives depend directly or indirectly on agriculture,” said Mr Laganda. It is for them that IFAD is investing in better analysis of new and emerging climate risks in agriculture; technology, information and financing for better climate risk management; and scale mechanisms and pathways for sustainable management of landscapes and natural resources.

By Alessia Valentini
What’s your name, country of origin and what type of farm do you work in?
My name is Julie Nakalanda Matovu, I’m the East African Convenor for INOFO, the Intercontinental Network for Organic Farmers' Organizations. I come from the central part of Uganda, and I am an organic vegetable farmer. I cultivate fresh vegetables and do direct marketing. Where I come from, there are different groups working in different parts of the city autonomously that deliver vegetables to communities on a weekly basis, with door to door deliveries. Right now these deliveries are done with my small car, based on the little time I have available, so we are working on organizing monthly deliveries that should start in April this year. All the members of my community are actively involved in this job as we want to guarantee to the public real, organic food. Participation is a key aspect in this kind of arrangement as we are working in a growing market. Our first target is of 100 households, but we aim to later reach out to the near clusters. However, working out the logistics is not easy.

What are the impacts of climate change in your country?
The impacts of climate change are very visible in Uganda. First of all, let me say that I’ve studied agriculture and years ago we used to have a weather pattern that was very clear. Today, instead, this is no longer the case. For example, we should be preparing for the end of the rainy season now, but we are experiencing long rains and we are not sure when they are going to end. Of course, this is an advantage for us as we grow vegetables but we still do not have the technology to face this much rain. Another impact of climate change is the drastic change in the temperatures, which leads to crop failure. We try to mitigate and cope with the effects of climate change but this is not easy. Agriculture is one of the main forms of living for people in Uganda as we grow pretty much everything in our homes. We all have little gardens where we grow our own food and encourage practices that will help us minimize the loses that come with climate change.

What are the outcomes you would like to see from COP21? 
First of all, I want my government to realize that they have a role to play. I’ve learnt a lot from these meetings at COP, as they are bringing a lot of information to people that is going to be helpful. Unfortunately, this information is not always put at good use. For example, back home we have many projects ongoing, such as one in Lake Victoria, where trees, that play a key role in the survival of nature, are being cut down to start palm oil projects even though we know that this is not the best type of oil for us. This is bringing indigenous people to leave the area with negative repercussions on the lake, which is a very important natural asset to our country. What makes me sad is that when you look at our paper work on the projects, everything looks fine, but that’s not real in practice. Secondly, I would like my government to consider inclusion towards the people that are affected by climate change. We should set up programmes that reach out to women and children that are part of the process, to make it more sustainable and make them feel included. Lastly, we need more commitment in farming to invest in the appropriate technology that will make farming easier and more fun for the people and, therefore, more productive so that farmers can enjoy doing the work and feed the world.

How can IFAD support you in achieving what you need?
What we need is capacity building and more support for appropriate technologies. I think IFAD has already given us some support and we really appreciate that. However, we need further capacity building so that we are able to build a resilient system of governance and bring down the activities to our communities. In my opinion, funds should be invested in projects that provide farmers with the right knowledge and tools that will help them become more resilient to climate change. We shouldn’t depend so much on first aid, but rather understand how to manage and respond to the impacts of climate change. If this were true and people knew what cutting down trees meant, they wouldn’t do it. But if they don’t know, they are hungry, and their only source of income is to cut down a tree, they will. This is the reason why we should really think about an inclusive system of development.

Climate Innovators: Empowering a new generation of young people

Posted by Christopher Neglia Tuesday, December 8, 2015 0 comments

By Christopher Neglia

This afternoon at COP21 a panel discussion featuring a young entrepreneur from France, a small coffee farmer from Uganda, a youth delegate from the Cook islands and an activist from the Philippines explored how young people, who are an under represented demographic in high level political fora, can get involved in the fight against climate change.

In his opening remarks, Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) suggested that climate change and youth unemployment are two related and very pressing crises. In fact, global unemployment levels exceed 200 million, and over 75 million are young people. As the impacts of climate change disrupt key economic sectors and value chains, it will be young people who will bear most of the burden.

At the same time, there is a great opportunity to engage youth in growing economic sectors such as renewable energy technologies, waste management and sustainable agriculture. According to Serge Bounda of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), young people are an enormous asset that countries should do more to invest in, especially countries entering what he called the demographic dividend - when rapidly declining fertility rates and a high proportion of working age people without dependants lead to high economic productivity.

The panellists were all highly motivated and working in their respective fields for climate action. But they also acknowledged there are many barriers holding young people back from taking an active role in their own communities. Denis Kabito, a smallholder farmer from Uganda said that when he was a child his mother used to tell him to study hard so he could get an education and get out of agriculture. Farming is tedious, she told him, and it doesn't produce much income. But even though Denis did go to university and became an agronomist, he returned to rural Uganda believing that in order to advise others on their farming practices, he must experience farming himself. He now sees that climate resilient approaches to agriculture can provide a good way of life for people his age. And it's not just about convincing those who are born on a farm to stay there, but also about convincing those who have migrated to cities to return, Kabito said. IFAD has provided extension support to build the skills of farmers like Denis in Uganda, which is a sensible investment given changing climate patterns and the need to adapt traditional practices.

The proposition that youth have a great deal to offer as climate innovators was proved by the dynamism in the room, including from the audience who raised issues such as involving women to a greater extent in decision-making processes, and using information and communication technologies to organize direct action for a low carbon future. Their message resonates with other youth delegates participating in the COP21 proceedings: young people are not waiting to receive solutions to climate change. Instead they are authoring their own.    

The Knowledge and Learning Market-Policy Engagement in the Philippines was held on 25-26 November 2015

The ribbon cutting headed by DAR Usec Rose Bistoyong , Farmer Representative Jovela Samtican, IFAD Country Programme Officer Yolando Arban and other stakeholders officially started the Interactive Exhibits

Different exhibitors from all over the country showcased knowledge products and processes related to family farming. Indigenous products, good practices and advocacies are also present. The exhibits mirror this year’s theme: “International Year of Family Farming +1 Partnership For Food Security, Nutrition and Climate Resciliency: Increasing Farmers’ Market Power”.
 Not only does this generate income for the farmers, it also serves as an avenue for drawing lessons from current models and innovations on climate resilient agriculture, institutional purchase and farmers’ market, and agri cooperatives. 

 According to CIP- Food Start Exhibitor Ms. Arma Bertuso, the exhibits have evolved and became more diverse as it now includes more farmer groups. “The exhibit is a way to promote our project and also to increase awareness on root and sugar crops among the people” she added.
Another exhibitor, Mr. Stepher  Banhan of CHARMP2 also shared “Magandang pagkakataon ito para ipromote yung mga magagandang products natin sa Cordillera. Isa ito sa mga paraan para maging mas malawak ang market at mga networks namin” (This is a good chance to promote our products in the Cordilleras. This is a good way to widen our market and networks).

Participants include different partner organizations and agencies in service for the development of Philippine agriculture including Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice), Procasur Corporation, Rural Micro Enterprise Program (RUMEPP), Rapid Food Production Enhancement Program (RAFPEP), Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project 2 (CHARMP2), Food Start, Consortium for Unfavourable Rice Environments (CURE), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (ASIADHRRA)  Medium Term Cooperative Program with Organizations in Asia The Pacific Phase II (MTCP/ PHILFO)  and Federation for People Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC).// Arianne Robea Nebrida