• Home
  • IFAD website
  • Subscribe to posts
  • Subscribe to comments

by Marian Amaka Odenigbo & Wanessa Marques Silva

Participants responding to the nutrition related questions during the round of quiz.
On 23 May 2017, the IFAD's Nutrition Team organized a breakout session on mainstreaming nutrition in IFAD financed projects. This dedicated session on nutrition took place during the IFAD’s East and Southern Africa (ESA) Regional Implementation Workshop (RIW) in Kampala, Uganda. The RIW presented a great opportunity to reach out and engage with project teams, country office colleagues and other stakeholders on the conversations on nutrition mainstreaming in IFAD operations. The nutrition session was jointly planned with the Rome based Agencies (RBAs) colleagues, and built on several consultative discussions to accelerate nutrition awareness in operations at country level.

Raising awareness on nutrition

In setting the scene on nutrition awareness and sensitization, participants had a round of virtual quiz to stimulate the discussion on nutrition mainstreaming. Analysis of the quiz exercise showed that most of the participants are aware of the implications of malnutrition to the wellbeing of people and national economy. Interestingly, this exercise exposed that the relation between gender and nutrition is still blurry to many respondents. This is a subject that should be explored further especially during workshops and trainings on nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

Experiences on nutrition mainstreaming

Good practices on nutrition mainstreaming within IFAD-funded operations were presented. Nutrition focal points from IFAD funded projects in Burundi (Aloïs Hakizimana), Malawi (Manuel Mang'anya), Mozambique (Jeronimo Francisco) and Zambia (Martin Lyiwalii) shared their respective country experiences, which consisted of various innovative nutrition activities and different approaches for mainstreaming nutrition. The varied approaches include:
  • Access to microcredit through women groups; 
  • Adoption of local and traditional food to tackle malnutrition; 
  • Promotion of diversified food production and consumption; 
  • Training local promoters on nutrition, food preparation demonstration with active participation of the beneficiaries; 
  • Radio messages, songs and farmers hotline on good nutrition and improved family diet along with income generation of small producers. 
Taking advantage of the presence of significant members of the IFAD-funded projects teams during this session, the key messages of the ESA study: “Mapping of Nutrition-Sensitive Interventions in East and Southern Africa" was disseminated to participants. This study provided insights on the variety of nutrition-sensitive actions being implemented in ESA's portfolio and identified gaps and opportunities for effective nutrition mainstreaming.

Dissemination of FAO Toolkits on nutrition-sensitive agriculture

This session provided the space to learn and disseminate the available resources for agriculture-nutrition projects. Militezegga Mustapha, a colleague from FAO made a presentation that illustrated the need for combined efforts of agriculture, social protection, nutrition education and adequate care practices. She stressed that nutrition is linked to the entire food system including: 1) food production, 2) food handling, storage, 3) food trade and marketing and 4) consumer demand, food preparation and preferences. FAO Toolkit and eLearning modules for nutrition-sensitive programming were discussed and the hard copies of resource materials were distributed to participants. 

RBAs collaboration for nutrition at country level

Tantely Randrianasolo, M&E Manager, and Maria Fernanda Arraes De Souza, Programme Coordinator, from Madagascar and Mozambique, respectively, shared their experiences of successful RBAs collaboration on integrating nutrition in agriculture and rural development investments. Tantely narrated how the joint efforts in AINA programme in Madagascar implemented in collaboration with FAO, WFP and IFAD have addressed various elements of the integrated pathway to nutrition (awareness raising, training, tools, storage facilities, scaling up of experiences). The collaboration has brought significant improvements in dietary intake as well as physical infrastructure and social issues such as school attendance.

On the other hand, Arraes De Souza shared the Mozambique experiences where additional nutrition components were incorporated to the already ongoing projects. The RBAs collaboration in Mozambique is using different entry points i.e. nutrition awareness with leaders, training with women groups in complementing each other’s interventions for optimization of nutrition outcomes.

Furthermore, this forum provided the opportunity to reach out to the project team on the other RBAs collaboration initiatives on nutrition, such as the Nutrition-Sensitive Value Chains (NSVC) and the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) Resource Frameworks.

Indeed, this dedicated breakout session was well appreciated by participants and was followed up by several group and bilateral conversations on specific needs and way forward to accelerate nutrition mainstreaming at project and country levels. This type of outreach is essential to increase awareness and engage with project teams on nutrition in IFAD operations.

By Tiffany Minjauw

©Tiffany Minjauw 

The International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) East and Southern Africa Division (ESA) , the IFAD funded Smallholder Market-led Project (SMLP), and the Microfinance Unit (MFU) in Swaziland jointly organised and facilitated a sub-regional monitoring and evaluation (M&E) workshop for ongoing IFAD funded projects in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, and Swaziland.

The workshop brought together staff (mainly M&E officers and Knowledge Management officers) from the Project Implementation Units. The objective of this workshop was to strengthen the planning, monitoring, evaluation and knowledge management functions of IFAD operations in the five countries by strengthening the technical understanding of the key concepts and by sharing experiences (good practices and challenges).

Held in Manzini from the 17-19 May 2017, the workshop provided theoretical and conceptual guidance, emphasizing real country level good practices. Clarifications were provided on the different monitoring and assessment mechanisms in place for different sources of funding, namely the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
©Tiffany Minjauw 

The interactive nature of the workshop generated rich discussions and insights into methods to overcome challenges and achieve effective monitoring and evaluation.

By the end of the workshop, the 30 participants had a better understanding of the use of the Log Frame, of the measurement of outputs and impacts, and of the principles of the Results and Impact Management System (RIMS) and how to link it to the project M&E system.

"This is the first time that we have had specific training on M&E and K&M. Consultants provide support during implementation missions but it is never as in-depth as what we experienced here" - Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (RLEEP) in Malawi.

"We like that IFAD, unlike many international organisations, is paying great attention to M&E. We hope that more workshops like this one will be organised periodically in the future" - Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SADP) in Lesotho.

Connecting with Nature: Should we eat insects?

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Monday, June 5, 2017 0 comments

By Christopher Neglia

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is Connecting with Nature. In this context, entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects, is a topic that bears consideration, owing to its prospects for food and nutrition security.

Entomophagy is well documented in history, and at one time it was extremely widespread. The first reference to entomophagy in Europe was in Greece, when eating cicadas was considered a delicacy. Aristotle wrote in his Historia Animalium “The larva of the cicada on attaining full size in the ground becomes a nymph; then it tastes best, before the husk is broken.”

For centuries, people have consumed insects. From beetles, to caterpillars, locusts, grasshoppers, termites and dragonflies. Which raises the question: why is the notion of eating insects so taboo in Westernized societies? People in most Western countries have formed a moral judgement against eating insects, which it can be said is perceived with disgust. But it is important to realise that the origins of disgust are rooted in culture. Culture, under the influence of environment, history, community structure and politico-economic systems, define the rules on what is edible and what is not (Mela, 1999).

A worldwide inventory conducted by Wagenheim University found there are about 1,900 edible insect species, and insects form a large part of everyday diets for more than two billion people around the world. For example, red maguey worms, are a highly nutritious variety of caterpillar considered a delicacy by Mexican farmers. They are generally eaten deep fried or braised, seasoned with spicy sauce and served in a tortilla (Ramos Elorduey et al., 2007). In Cambodia, a species of tarantula, Haplopelma albostriatum, is typically served fried and sold in street stalls (Yen, Hanboonsong and van Huis, 2013). This goes to show that in most countries, insect consumption is a matter of choice, not necessity, and insects are a part of local culture.

From a nutritional perspective, insects represent a huge untapped source of protein, energy rich fat, fiber and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Edible insects are rich sources of iron and their inclusion in daily diets could improve iron status and help prevent anaemia in developing countries. WHO has flagged iron deficiency as the world’s most common and widespread nutritional disorder (Anaemia is a preventable deficiency but contributes to 20 percent of all maternal deaths).

Gathering and harvesting insects can offer unique employment and income-earning opportunities in developing countries, particularly for the rural poor. In many cases, insect cultivation can serve as a livelihood diversification strategy. For example, silkworms and bees can be harvested for food and fiber. In Thailand, middlemen buy insects from farmers to sell as food to wholesale buyers, who then distribute the products to street vendors and retailers.

When you add up all the benefits, it becomes mystifying why insects don’t make up an integral part of our diets. Perhaps it is time to reconsider our culinary customs and try to reconnect with this abundant, yet neglected, food source.

El mítico campesino

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Wednesday, May 17, 2017 0 comments

Tomás Ricardo Rosada Villamar 

Hace unas semanas viajé a México. Antes de ir al aeropuerto para volver a casa pasé por CEPAL y un buen amigo y colega me mostró un libro que recién había recibido: Peasant poverty and persistence in the 21st century: theories, debates, realities and policies. Me dijo “dale una hojeada, te va a interesar”, y si querés te consigo una copia. En realidad terminó prestándome la suya. Haciendo escala en Frankfurt le mando un Whatsapp y le digo “¡este libro es un bombazo!”. De allí en adelante nos dimos a la tarea de organizar un conversatorio con uno de los autores, Julio Boltvinik.

No conocía personalmente a Boltvinik, pero su nombre y sus ideas me eran familiares desde el año 2002 cuando la red de las universidades jesuitas de América Latina (AUSJAL) decidió diseñar e impartir el primer curso continental sobre pobreza. Mente aguda y muy comprometida con el tema, que habla transmitiendo pasión y sentido de urgencia.

La publicación trata de dar respuesta a dos preguntas: ¿por qué todavía hay campesinos en el mundo? y ¿por qué son pobres? De hecho, haciendo referencia al Reporte de Pobreza Rural 2011 del FIDA, el cual estima en aproximadamente en mil millones el número de personas pobres que viven en el medio rural, sugiere que las metodologías utilizadas para la medición de la pobreza subestiman el fenómeno.

Desde allí quedé enganchado y a medida que avanzaba pensaba en la enorme necesidad que tenemos de hablar de pobreza y campesinos. Pensaba en América Latina, región dizque mayoritariamente urbana, con niveles de pobreza que se han estancado en los últimos años, y con grandes, enormes, deficiencias en las instituciones que atienden la agricultura y a las personas que habitan el espacio rural. Pensaba en esos países donde casi se ha maldecido la palabra campesino, y la ha arrinconado en la esquina de términos peyorativos y politizados, que despiertan reacciones tan viscerales como irracionales.

¡Bien que nos caería reabrir esa conversación! Darle contenido y tratar de entender a ese sujeto tan vilipendiado como mitificado. Sujeto que ha quedado enterrado bajo eso que podríamos llamar los silencios de la ruralidad: el silencio narrativo, pues sabemos de sobra que la manera más efectiva de restarle importancia a algo es ignorarlo, dejar de hablar de ello, dejar de generar estadísticas y medirlo, hacer como que no existe. Y el silencio institucional, que siempre es el espejo operacional de una narrativa, de un discurso político y social que ignora y mira convenientemente hacia otra parte.

La tesis central de la publicación gravita alrededor de la estacionalidad agrícola y las consecuencias que tiene sobre las condiciones de vida del campesino. Es decir, el ciclo de un cultivo, que solamente demanda trabajo por una parte del año, obligándolo a buscar formas de generar ingresos complementarios en otras actividades. Y de la manera en que lo logra se derivan explicaciones de su pobreza pero también de su supervivencia a lo largo del tiempo, a lo largo de la historia. Se trata entonces de entender y proponer formas para resolver la aparente contradicción entre la lógica del mercado, que tiende a organizarse en formas de producción homogéneas y continuas, y las formas de vida del campesino, que son diversas por naturaleza.

Como bien lo describe Armando Bartra, otro de los autores del libro, “(…) los mesoamericanos no sembramos maíz, creamos milpas. Son cosas diferentes. El maíz es una planta y la milpa un estilo de vida. El maíz plantado solo es algo monótono, mientras que la milpa es variedad: en ella, el maíz, los frijoles, los guisantes, las habas, la calabaza, el chile, las peras vegetales, los tomates silvestres, el amaranto, los árboles frutales, el nopal, y la variada fauna que los acompaña, todos se entremezclan. (...) Ellos en climas fríos producen sus alimentos en plantaciones homogéneas mientras que nosotros, cuando nos dejan continuar nuestra vocación agroecológica, lo cosechamos en jardines barrocos.”

En tiempos de alta volatilidad climática y económica es muy importante recuperar perspectiva en la comprensión del campesino, sus formas de vida y su papel en el desarrollo. No hacerlo es seguir insistiendo en un relato incompleto, que ignora o esconde la realidad de una parte importante de Latinoamericana: pobre, rural, y muy desigual.

The mythical peasant

Posted by Francesca Aloisio 0 comments

By Tomás Ricardo Rosada Villamar, Regional Economist in the Latina America and the Caribbean Division at IFAD

A few weeks ago I travelled to Mexico. Before going to the airport to return home, I visited the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) where a good friend and colleague of mine showed me a book he had just received: Peasant poverty and persistence in the 21st century: theories, debates, realities and policies. “Take a look, it's going to interest you, and I'll get you a copy if you would like one,” he said. He actually ended up lending me his copy. I sent him a message on Whatsapp during my layover in Frankfurt and said, “this book is incredible!” We immediately began to organize a discussion with one of the authors, Julio Boltvinik.

I did not know Mr. Boltvinik personally, but his name and ideas have been familiar to me since 2002 when the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AUSJAL) decided to design and offer the first continental course on poverty. Mr. Boltvinik has a keen mind and is very committed to the subject, which speaks of his passion and sense of urgency.

In his book, he attempts to answer two questions: why are there still peasants in the world, and why are they poor. In fact, referring to IFAD's Rural Poverty Report 2011 -- which estimates the number of poor people living in rural areas at around one billion -- the author suggests that the methodologies used to measure poverty underestimate the phenomenon.

I was hooked from that moment and, as I went on, I thought about how important it is for us to talk about poverty and peasants. I was thinking of Latin America, a region that is supposedly mostly urban, with levels of poverty that have stagnated in recent years and with extremely weak institutions serving agriculture and people living in rural areas. I thought of those countries where the word campesino, like “peasant” in English, has been relegated to the list of derogatory and politicized terms that meet with visceral and irrational reactions, if it has not been banned completely.

How beneficial it could be to reopen that discussion! We should analyse and try to understand the reality of this figure that has been both vilified and mythologized, a figure that has been buried under what we could call the silence of rurality: a narrative silence, because we know full well that the most effective way to downplay something is to ignore it, to stop talking about it, to stop generating statistics or measuring it, and to act as if it does not exist. And then there is the institutional silence, which is the operational equivalent to the narrative silence, a political and social discourse that also ignores it and turns a blind eye.

The central thesis of this publication centres around the seasonality of agricultural activities and its consequences for peasants’ living conditions; in other words, a crop cycle that only requires work for a part of the year and, thus, forces peasants to look for ways to generate a complementary income in other activities. The strategies used to achieve this provide some explanations of both their poverty and their survival over time. It then becomes a question of understanding and proposing ways to solve the apparent contradiction between the logic of the market, which tends to be organized in homogeneous and continuous forms of production, and the peasant's way of life, which is diverse by nature.

As described by Armando Bartra, another of the book’s authors “(...) Mesoamericans do not sow corn, we create milpas. These are different things because maize is a plant and the milpa, a lifestyle: the milpa is the matrix of Mesoamerican civilization. Planted alone, maize is monotony, while the milpa is variety: in it, maize, beans, peas, broad beans, squash, chilli, vegetable pears, wild tomatoes, amaranth, fruit trees, nopal, century plants and the varied fauna that accompany them all intermingle. (...) In cold climates they produce their food in homogeneous plantations whereas we, when they allow us to continue our agro-ecological vocation, harvest them in baroque gardens.”

In times of high climatic and economic volatility, it is very important to regain a perspective on the peasants' understanding, their way of life and their role in development. Failing to do so means continuing to insist on an incomplete narrative that ignores or hides the reality of an important side of Latin America: poor, rural and very unequal. ​

Follow the book presentation on 1 June from 14:00 to 17:30 (Rome time).

By Vivienne Likhanga and IFAD Sudan Country Office  

From the design to the implementation of the Innovation Plan presented during the learning route on “Innovative Livestock Marketing from Northern to Eastern Africa”, held in Kenya in March 2012.

Some of the participants from the LR on Livestock Marketing that was held in Kenya in March 2012
Five years ago a group of 22 participants from 6 countries (Sudan, Somalia, Madagascar, Ethiopia, the USA and Europe) gathered to learn about access to markets and to identify value chain upgrading opportunities in the livestock sector. They did this through the Learning Route: Innovative Livestock Marketing from Northern to Eastern Africa. The learning route that took place between the 28th of February and 10th of March 2012, was piloted in Kenya with the collaboration of the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s Near East, North Africa and Europe (NEN) Division and the technical support of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division (PTA) with a view of reducing knowledge gaps on livestock marketing systems and management.

Innovation Plan follow-up and update

Five years after the 2012 learning route, its benefit is visible, particularly in one of the IFAD funded project in Sudan: the Butana Integrated Rural Development Project (BIRDP) that now is ready and well prepared to implement the Tamboul Slaughterhouse Innovation Plan as designed by the BIRDP participants who took part in the Learning Route on Livestock Marketing in Kenya (2012). This Innovation Plan was particularly drawn from the best practices at the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse in Kiserian, Kenya.

Unfortunately, the implementation of the ambitious slaughterhouse plan as designed by BIRDP participants who participated in the learning route on livestock marketing in Kenya (2012) lagged behind due to difficulties in adequate involvement of the private actors (formal and informal butchers), commitment of the relevant administrative unit not fulfilled and time constraints as effective facilitation requires time, consistency and skills.

As part of the follow-up activities foreseen in the Learning Route, it was decided to hold a learning activity in Kiserian and Amboseli, Kenya, in which selected participants and key stakeholders of the BIRDP Tamboul Slaughterhouse project would share their opportunities and constraints with implementing their Innovation Plan, as well as get further insights on the improvement and potential partnerships for the implementation of their Innovation Plans. The learning activity was held between the 29th January and 3rd February 2017 in Kenya. 
Participants begin their learning activity journey at the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse office in Kiserian, Kenya

The 10 visiting participants came from different sectors building a team of 3 government officials, 4 staff members of the BIRDP and 3 from the private sector (butchers).

The specific objectives of the follow up learning activity were as follows:
  1. Reflect on the February 2012 Learning Route visit to Keekonyokie slaughterhouse (achievements, lessons learnt and experiences);
  2. Identify key knowledge needs of the BIRDP team based on the lessons learnt during implementation of the IPs in order to align the learning process with these needs;
  3. Facilitate practical learning sessions using the Keekonyokie and Mbirikani Slaughterhouses to address the knowledge needs; and to
  4. Develop Innovation Plans and practical action plans following the learning.
A participatory approach in collaboration with IFAD BIRDP project was applied in the planning and implementation of the follow up learning activity with enhanced involvement of the participants. A team of local champions were identified in the two case studies (Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse in Kiserian and the Mbirikani Slaughterhouse in Amboseli) and sensitized on the concept and learning objectives of the activity. In each of the slaughterhouses, selected champions presented different operational areas of a slaughterhouse. Key actors in the meat value chain facilitated discussions between the hosts and the visiting team. A mix of technical experiences and knowledge management practices responded to the knowledge needs of the visiting participants.
Participants at the livestock market learning about the Livestock value chain
The learning activity involved two main knowledge approaches: first, a visit to the slaughterhouses to see and learn first-hand about all operational activities from the main actors through step by step guidance. The second approach interactive plenary discussions between the local champions, technical experts and the visiting team, thus a nearly non-stop learning activity with intensive 3 field based learning days and a wrap up meeting on the 4th day.

On the first two days of the learning activity the participants visited the Keekonyokie slaughterhouse in Kiserian, to observe the practical operations of the slaughterhouse during the peak period of operations. They also studied the physical infrastructure and the drainage system of the slaughterhouse during its off-peak sessions. The participants held interviews with some of the actors in the market system including pastoralists, meat traders, live animal traders, slaughterhouse supervisors and biogas plan operators. Follow up workshops sessions brought together the local champions from Keekonyokie slaughterhouse, the technical experts and the visiting team from Sudan for closing some knowledge gaps in a question and answer session. The participants had an opportunity to elaborate the entire market system and how it operated.

The Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse is a private company owned by 16 shareholders who elect 7 board members every year. The board members include the chairman, the secretary, treasurer, managing director, supervisor, biogas departmental head and slaughterhouse departmental head. The Company has by laws that are used to govern the company

The business model applied in the Keekonyokie slaughterhouse involves the provision of a slaughter facility and all the associated slaughter services to traders who supply meat to the Nairobi market and its environs. In addition, it has a live animal market where live animal sellers who bring livestock from the pastoral areas of southern rangelands of Kenya and Northern Tanzania meet meat traders who buy live animals, slaughters and markets meet to end users. Other business lines include packaging of biogas for commercial use which is yet to be marketed after government has formulated a policy to guide biogas marketing in Kenya.

On The third day of the learning activity the participants visited the Mbirikani Slaughterhouse in Amboseli. The participants had a guided tour of the slaughterhouse and thereafter discussions with the main actors and experts in order to address their question on the Mbirikani Slaughterhouse market system and value chain. 
Unlike the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse which is a privately owned company, the Mbirikani slaughterhouse was constructed by the County Government of Kajiado, Kenya and later finished by the African Wildlife Foundation as a support to the Amboseli Livestock Marketing Association (ALMA). ALMA is a community Based Organization that brings together group ranches and women groups in the Amboseli as a structure to enhance market access by the community. The entire facility was set up as a conservation enterprise to help minimize conflicts between wildlife and the pastoralists and develop a sustainable model through which livestock marketing activities are liked to conservation of natural resources. After completion, the slaughterhouse was jointly owned by the community through ALMA and the County Government which necessitated registration of the company called Amboseli Meat Company (AMC) with the county government owning 60% of the shares and ALMA 40%. Through a competitive bidding process, the AMC contracted a private company called Food Tech to manage the company’s operations through a profit sharing arrangement. A comprehensive management contract exists that stipulates the role of each partner in the operations of the business. The profit sharing arrangement involves Food Tech taking 69% of the profit, AMC 30% and 1% of the profit is used for CSR. The company is relatively young and at the start-up phase, hence not much business volumes were reported.

The company is implementing two business models. In the first model the company buys live animals from the Groups affiliated to ALMA slaughters and markets the meat. In the second model, the company undertakes contract slaughtering i.e. getting a contract to slaughter for a client at a fee of KES 1,100 per cow.

Key taken-home lessons by the participants

There were several lessons learnt by the participants among them the following:

  • Private sector players are important anchors in a livestock market system: Public, private, producer / community Partnerships 
  • The informal sector can regulate itself however there is the usefulness of engagement with governments for favourable operating environment 
  • Technology and Innovation in waste management through the production of biogas and fertilizers 
  • The importance of proper sewerage system and an in-house source of constant water supply 
  • Drought mitigation strategies 
  • Gender Inclusion in Livestock marketing 
  • Linking livestock production and marketing with conservation 
  • Proximity to consumer markets 
  • The operational costs and risks of holding Inventory 
The participants’ main interest of importance in the Mbirikani slaughterhouse case study was the ownership and management structure of the slaughterhouse and the shareholding and the management of contracts.

The participants observed that the Mbirikani slaughterhouse in Amboseli has a similar background with the Tamboul slaughterhouse where support is coming from the government and a donor. As such the Mbirikani slaughterhouse was a perfect case for the team to learn about private public producer (community) partnership arrangements being used to manage the slaughterhouse, noting that it would be the most appropriate approach that would enhance ownership, sustainability of the Tamboul slaughterhouse while at the same time enhancing livelihoods of different value chain actors. The Mbirikani slaughterhouse also presented knowledge on gender integration in the meat value chain. The slaughterhouse provides opportunities for women by allowing them to use slaughterhouse by-products (bones, hides, skins and horns) to make artefacts for sale, the women are also involved in fodder and fodder seed production and in livestock trade. The ALMA promotes their businesses through market access and they also gave them an opportunity to run a food canteen and money transfer facility at the slaughterhouse which supplements the women’s income and livelihood.

As a way forward for the Tamboul slaughterhouse, the participants agreed to consult further with the key stakeholders of the Tamboul Slaughterhouse in order to determine what would be the appropriate ownership and management structure. As observed, what drives the business of the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse though privately owned, is that it is fully owned by the community of pastoralists (live animal traders and meat traders) in Southern Kenya and Northern Kenya. The participants noted that it was important to apply a public-private producer partnership model that would enhance the sustainability of the Tamboul slaughterhouse while at the same time ensuring that mechanisms are put in place for community ownership. 
Certificate Presentation at the end of the learning activity
For more information on the innovation plans implemented and the learning materials from the activity, kindly visit Procasur website.

Vaiea Little Farmers

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Thursday, May 11, 2017 0 comments

Nadia with her children in the little farmyard
‘Eww! Yucky!’ the kid shrieked, jumping to avoid an earthworm. His friends laughed at him.
Another shriek erupted from a different corner of the garden when a caterpillar was discovered.
These were familiar scenes when Nadia Fomai and the children of Vaiea village on Niue Island began setting up the prettiest of backyard gardens, using recycled materials, compost, and fermented fish blood.
At least three times a week, in the afternoon, they run to the gardens, eager to learn all about plants, the soil and all the creatures that live in it.
‘Now they are fighting over earthworms – that’s mine, that going in my garden in my plot!’ Nadia related.
‘I think I’ve made a change there – because at first they were screaming like someone hurt someone else or stepped on a nail when it was in fact a little tiny worm. But now no one is scared, as they know the importance of earthworms in keeping the soil healthy and helping their vegetable grow well.
Cabbages and lettuces bloomed out of pallet slats. Handheld spades carved out of empty bleach bottles were used to dig small holes for planting.
‘While they learn about organic gardening and being kind to nature and the soil, they are also taking on recycling ideas,’ she added.
Nadia shares with them the difference between organic and chemical farming methods.
“I tell them organic farming is safe because I believe there’s no harmful chemical left in the vegetables at the point of eating,” she said.
The next step of the project, which has been active since May 2016 (e.d.), is applying organic fertilisers and pest control methods.
“I’ve been experimenting with fish blood for fertiliser and it has worked perfectly on my flowers, and will too on the vegetables.” “When the men in the community return from fishing, I offer to clean the fish so I can collect the blood.
“It stinks really badly so I ferment it away from the community. After several days, the smell dies down. It’s worth the effort!”
Nadia’s garden lessons are supported by IFAD through the Capacity Building for Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific Project under its ‘nutritional gardening for families’ activity.
The project is implemented by the Niue Organic Farmers Association and POETCom.
It started with a drab meat dish Nadia was cooking one day.
“There were no vegetables, no variety that is. We only had ‘bele’ and we were eating it all the time,” she said.
“It’s quite expensive to purchase vegetables from the shops so I thought we could start planting other types besides the local variety because Niue has a great climate for planting.”
“I decided to include the little ones so they would know about the importance of having healthy, nutritious meals, and to inspire them to love gardening, getting their hands dirty in growing plants and having a healthy food supply.
“The vegetables they plant they take home and in this way we help families eat healthy, nutritious food.
“It is important that we work with younger children if we want to keep them engaged in farming.’
“My mother taught me to love gardening and I’ve done it all my life. Remember the Bible teaches us to train up a child on the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it!”

This blog was originally posted on POETcom website.

Funding Support Launches Niue-made Maholi banana chips

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Wednesday, May 10, 2017 0 comments

From plastic bags to proper packaging with labels, Niue’s popular Lupe Niue-brand Maholi banana chips has come a long way, and is now a hit with locals and tourists alike.

The European Union-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project, implemented by the Pacific Community, with additional support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), transformed what was once a local savoury into an internationally-marketable product.

It all started in a Tongan woman’s humble kitchen. The woman was struggling to raise her four children all on her own. Her daughter, Feofaaki Fou, watched her mother fry banana chips and pack them in plastic bags day in and day out. The banana chips, which the woman sold at the local market, were a family lifeline – providing just enough to put food on the table and send Feo and her three siblings to school.

School was tough on Feo; she shut herself away, willing the school years to fly by, so she could reinvent herself somewhere else and write a new story for her life. The next chapter would not include banana chips – or so she thought.

For a time Feo worked at Niue’s hospital caring for the elderly, but was unable to make ends meet. ‘I had a connection with my patients and fell in love with my job, but I struggled with the pay’, she said. ‘Mum was getting sickly too, and it struck me right there and then – I could continue what Mum started! I’d watched her many times and all this information was just there at the back of my head where I had pushed it to, in my search for what I thought would be a better job, away from the house.’

Feo decided to pursue the family business, and though she improved on her mother’s packaging, she continued to fry the chips at home.

‘With better packaging I was able to place the chips in supermarkets and the demand grew.’

To expand her market base, there was a need for proper processing facilities in order to obtain health and safety certifications. Funding from the EU, IFAD, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community, allowed Feo to transform her humble start-up into a successful business. With the injection of financial support and her husband’s contractor skills, she was able to build a new kitchen and boost production levels significantly.

‘I’ve also been able to expand to the tourist market and in coffee shops around the island’, Feo said. However, with growing demand, the availability of raw materials has increasingly become a challenge. Sixty bags of chips requires ten kilograms of raw banana.

‘I used to buy [bananas] at NZD 30 a bundle, but as the chips became popular, my suppliers pushed up their prices to NZD 70,’ she said.

In response, Feo has started a banana plantation of 300 trees with the hope it will buffer a shortfall in supply from farmers. Feo is keen to see young farmers start up banana plantations, especially through an organic system.

‘The first day I went to the market to sell my banana chips, I cried because I was so ashamed; and the way [the other vendors] looked at me – I could feel what they thought of me’, Feo recalls. ‘But that day I went home with NZD 1500 in my hands from selling banana chips and jewellery. … I still felt the same the next time I went to the market, but I started to question my feelings seeing that I made so much money’, she added.

Feo was 22-years-old then. Now at 27 she is proud to have built a thriving business from farming, and believes other young Niueans can also benefit from working hard and using the fruits of the land.

‘It was hard but … the funding support has made all the difference … We had the business ideas but it [took] a bit of capital and support to lift us to the next level … and [now] we want to empower others.’

This blog was originally posted on POETcom website.

By Messias Alfredo Macuiane, Monitoring and evaluation officer, ProAqua project

Rita Dickson, a fish farmer from Mucuti, Sussundenda district explaining her vision and how her two children will help her to build a better house through crop production and fish farming. Picture taken by Wendy Lowe.

ProAqua promotes small scale aquaculture in central Mozambique and is funded by the European Union through IFAD, and by the Government of Mozambique. It is a grant-financed project and has been supporting women and men small-scale fish farmers from Gondola, Sussundenga, Mossurize and Gorongosa districts since 2014.

ProAqua started work under the EU-funded initiative to accelerate progress towards MDG 1C in the country, to “Halve between 1990 and 2015 the portion of people who suffer from hunger in Mozambique”. Activities have now been aligned with the new 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG2 on Zero Hunger.

So far, the project has helped over 630 families to build more than 500 new fish ponds. ProAqua considers gender equality as a key requirement for increased fish production and consumption and therefore recommends that 60 per cent of participants should be women.

In April 2017, ProAqua organized training on the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) in order to introduce the methodology to project extension activities and strengthen equality and empowerment of female fish farmers.

Sixteen fish farmers from Sussundenga took part in the training, together with 12 extension workers, 2 staff members from the Agency for Manica Development (responsible for the Saving and Credit Groups Development), 1 officer from Initiative for Community Land, 1 officer from Provincial Services for Rural Extension) and 2 staff members from the ProAqua Management Unit.

After the third day of the training, participants recognized that each tool integrated into GALS unlocks their minds towards gender issues at community and household level, which directly influence the development of aquaculture.

During the sessions, male and female participants:
  • identified six indicators that hamper development (alcoholism, women’s workload , domestic violence, laziness, lack of access to education, insecure property rights) 
  • identified what should be done to solve each gender-related indicator 
  • assembled an array of appropriate approaches on how to solve each barrier based on available resources.
After the training, each participant will act as a catalyst to promote GALS through peer learning with individuals, families and groups or associations. The aim is to build gender equality in community development during the remaining period of project implementation and enable participants to adopt aquaculture as an additional income-generating activity.

GALS starts in the home, and all participants were requested to present their visions for the future during the sixth day. Shared responsibilities among family members, reduction of unnecessary expenditures and open discussions among family members were ranked as key aspects that require immediate actions for the achievement of the vision.

Rita Dickson, a fish farmer from Mucuti community said that her life will be changed. Her two children are true gifts for her success.

“I sat down with my children to share GALS and we all agreed to build a better house using our resources,” she said.


Posted by Christopher Neglia Tuesday, April 25, 2017 0 comments

Par Marie-Clarisse Chanoine Dusingize

Le lancement des activités financées par le Programme d’adaptation de l’agriculture paysanne (ASAP en anglais) a eu lieu le 14 et 15 mars 2017 à Morondava, à Madagascar. Ce don s'insère dans la phase II du Projet d’Appui au Développement de Menabe et Melaky (AD2M II). L'atelier organisé fut une opportunité pour l'équipe de projet et ses collaborateurs clés (les ONG de terrain et les partenaires nationaux et régionaux) d’apprendre les uns des autres et d’échanger sur le thème de l’adaptation aux changements climatiques dans le secteur agricole.

L'atelier a débuté par l'organisation d'un jeu de rôle. Cette animation ludique a été menée par l'équipe FIDA pour sensibiliser les participants à l’ampleur des impacts du changement climatique sur la sécurité alimentaire et sur le développement agricole et rural à  Madagascar. Les participants ont donc pu incarner les rôles de responsables institutionnels et d'acteurs locaux en charge de la planification rurale sur une période de 5 ans. Grâce à cette simulation, ils ont ainsi dû décider d’investir soit dans les opérations courantes soit dans l’adoption de mesures innovantes afin de se prémunir contre les effets dévastateurs liés aux changements climatiques tels que les sècheresses et les inondations. Les participants ont pu expérimenter la prise de risque inhérente au statu quo – risque de famine en cas de sécheresse - et les coûts liés à l’adoption de mesures d’adaptation et d’atténuation aux changements climatiques - adoption de techniques et technologies innovantes et plus coûteux. Ce divertissement a suscité des discussions riches sur les enjeux inhérents au développement agricole et rural et les mesures d’adaptation locales.

L’atelier s’est poursuivi par des présentations courtes sur l’état environnemental et les changements climatiques à Madagascar, et plus particulièrement dans les régions du projet, Menabe et Melaky. Les intervenants ont mis en exergue les déterminants et les contraintes qui exacerbent la vulnérabilité des populations rurales causée par la dégradation environnementale et les changements climatiques. Ils ont ensuite émis des suggestions quant à la bonne mise en œuvre du projet. Pour garantir le succès du projet les participants ont recommandé, sur base de leurs expériences de terrain,, d’accentuer la mise en pratique des approches participatives, le partage et la mutualisation de la prise de risque inhérente à l’adoption d’innovation (partage des coûts), la vulgarisation et la diversification des semences améliorées, la promotion de la production intégrée (végétale, animale et la pêche) et le renforcement des capacités locales et des réseaux d’échanges des savoirs et des expériences.

Getting to grips with IFAD’s new Glossary on gender issues

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Thursday, April 20, 2017 0 comments

By Claire Ferry

Every month IFAD’s Gender Desk offers home-made cakes and coffee and the chance to learn about new gender-related initiatives and network with colleagues. At this month’s Gender Breakfast, Belen Couto and a team from IFAD’s Language Services presented the new Glossary on gender issues.

The Glossary contains 130 terms and aims to standardize the use of language related to gender issues in official IFAD documents and publications. Meticulous referenced translation into the four official IFAD languages—Arabic, English, French and Spanish—is a key resource for translators, editors, writers and interpreters. The Glossary is a unique product that will benefit all UN Rome-based agencies and other organizations, and it has been posted on the FAO Term Portal database .

The glossary does more than just standardize language, though. A flip through its pages offers education on key issues facing women and men in the drive towards gender equality.

For instance, the term "femicide" was new to me before it caught my attention in the glossary. The entry includes a definition as expected, but it also cites a source—specifically, the new law in Brazil offering greater protection in the face of the deliberate killing of women. The document offers guidelines for usage, highlights topics of importance and supplies a source for more information.

Importantly, the glossary also clarifies terms that we often take for granted or misuse.

"Gender equality" and "gender equity" are only a few letters different, but they are not interchangeable. The former refers to equal opportunities among men and women, while the latter addresses measures taken to ensure that equality. As the glossary puts it, "Equity can be understood as the means, where equality is the end." Before we slip one of these terms into our next email or publication, understanding its full meaning is key to communicating effectively.

Even the concept of marriage is more complex than first appears. I've often heard the term "arranged marriage," but I unknowingly and wrongly equated it with "forced marriage." The Glossary helped clarify the difference, and it also brought other marital gender issues to my attention—namely, child and early marriage. I found that, not only had I been using some terms incorrectly, but I was also unaware of some important related issues.

A significant amount of work went into providing complete definitions for each term, and their translation into other languages was just as involved. The Language Services team explained the nuances of translating the terms, including the difficulty of maintaining meaning across languages. They also explained the hierarchy of sources used, where international conventions are regarded as top sources.

With positive responses from IFAD staff and other UN organizations, Language Services is considering creating glossaries on other topics. The creators of the Gender Glossary describe it as a "living document," which will be expanded and revised where necessary. Colleagues wishing to add terms to the Glossary were invited to write to Language Services with their proposals.

We sometimes pay scant attention to the words we use in everyday language, but perhaps we should be more attentive. As one of the participants at the breakfast said, “Language can be a wall and language can be a window." As IFAD continues its work to empower women, using the right words is an important tool.

By Elisabeth Steinmayr & Steven Jonckheere

"It is important, when so much effort is being put into irrigation infrastructure and a lot of opportunities are created by a project, to make sure that people can actually benefit from it. We have built the infrastructure and are now aiming at maximizing the impact."

This is what Doro Niang, one of the local champions of Maghama in Mauritania, said with regard to the use of land developed through an IFAD project. We met Doro Niang during the 10-day Learning Route on Securing Land and Water Rights in Senegal and Mauritania from 6 to 16 March 2017, orga-nized by Procasur with technical support from IPAR (Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale) under the IFAD grant project Strengthening Capacities and Tools to Scale Up and Disseminate Innovations.

The importance of land and water in contributing to the increase of agricultural production, income, health and sustainable land use have separately been recognized, however, little is understood about their interface. The intricacies of land and water governance are only beginning to be understood. Securing access by rural poor people to land and water rights is key to reducing extreme poverty and hunger, since land and water are among the most important assets that poor rural women and men have.

From Dakar to Maghama and back – the Learning Route 

Procusar took up the challenging task to organize a Learning Route with 22 participants from 9 countries (Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone), crossing the border, and thus the river Senegal twice, travelling 1.800 km by bus and car, giving us the possibility to meet with 250 crop and livestock farmers, project coordinators and local champions, translating at times into four different languages.

 The participants, mainly IFAD supported project and government staff, and the team of the Learning Route, made up of Procasur, IPAR and IFAD staff, met up on 6 March in the IFAD office in Dakar for the kick-off workshop, already having in mind the three objectives of the learning experience: Besides learning more about the methodology of the Learning Route, the participants, all working in the field of land and water governance, also shared their previous experience in the thematic areas, the issues their projects are dealing with and the learning needs and objectives they had identified for themselves.
Participant Mato Maman talking about land tenure security in Niger

Land use and allocation plan in Diama 

The day after we embarked on our trip and drove from Dakar north to the region of Saint Louis where are first visit introduced us to the community of Diama. In the region, rich in land and water resources, irrigated agriculture, flood recession farming, and rain-fed agriculture are practiced. The community had been part of the Support Programme for Rural Communities of the Senegal River Valley (PACR-VFS) (2008 - 2015), supported by the French Development Agency and the Irrigation and Water Resources Management Project (IWRM) (2009-2015), and supported by the Millennium Challenge Cooperation. The local champions and community members introduced us to two innovative tools meant to complement institutional arrangements and correct shortcomings of the land legislation:

Land use and allocation plans (POAS) 

The POAS, which development are undertaken in an inclusive and participatory way, identify land use zones, giving priority to activities without excluding others (residential zones, pastoral zones, agro-pastoral zones etc.) The plans essentially consist of rules governing the management of space and natural resources, an organizational framework for decision-making and M&E, and mapping tools. The POAS are legally binding and can be enforced.

Land use and allocation plan in Diama

Land information system (SIF) 

The SIF is a set of principles governing the collection, processing, use and storage of data on the occupation of public land, which informs decision-making. It allows to document three dimensions of land tenure: "who? and how?" by carrying out socio-economic land tenure surveys; “where?" by mapping and a plot numbering strategy. The system is made up of registration procedures, a land allocation map, land administration forms, a register with requests for land allocations, a land regis-ter, and can be managed autonomously by the local authority. Beyond land allocations management, the SIF coupled with the POAS allows a gradual improvement of local territorial and land policy, through a clarification of geographic and land tenure information. The inclusive and participatory approaches used by the community of Diama foster good local governance, democratic processes and representative decision-making. After having spent a very interesting day and a half in Diama, including delicious local food, dance performances and a theatre play by the local youth to celebrate the International Women's day on 8 March, our next destination was Maghama in Mauritania. Our drive took us from Rosso to Kaedi where we spent the night, and allowed for a short stop-over and half-day workshop in M'bout and PASK II where we learnt about the challenges faced when developing land agreements (entente fonciere). The land agreements there are social agreements and are not legally binding: through a territory-centred approach and a consultative process, groups of producers agree on the use of the land. The many hours of driving finally brought us to Maghama, where we were overwhelmed by the welcoming and hospitality of the local community.

Entente Fonciere in Maghama 

When the IFAD-supported Maghama Improved Flood Recession Farming Project (PACDM) (2002 – 2009) was being designed in the 1990's, it was noted that families with a weak status in the in the community would not have been able to access and benefit from the 9000 ha of land that were to be developed. This is why IFAD made the establishment of the entente fonciere, the land agree-ment, a pre-requisite for its funding. The agreement that was then developed in a long consultative process is based on three key principles: justice, solidarity and efficiency.

Field visit it Maghama

What was interesting for all participants was the establishment of the National Coordination, an informal body with representatives of all villages in the Walo (flood recession farming area). Those representatives were natives from the villages, but resided in the capital. Their role was to facilitate the negotiation phase of the agreement while also defending the interests of the beneficiaries during the period of drafting and signing the protocols of the agreement with the State. Not only the learning opportunity was unique in Maghama – far away from hotels and guesthouses we had the chance the live with the community for three days, stay in people's houses, eat delicious food and enjoy an evening of theatre and music performances. Another drive and adventurous boat ride took us then to our last stop in Matam, and thus back to Senegal.

One household, one hectare & pastoral units in Matam/Senegal 

The Agricultural development project of Matam (PRODAM) in Senegal is supported by the West African Development Bank (scaling up of former IFAD-supported project (2003 – 2011)). PRODAM contributed to improving land tenure security by supporting the one household, one hec-tare-principle for allocation of land in village irrigation schemes and the establishment of pastoral units responsible for the management of pastoral resources. In order to guarantee land access in the irrigated areas to returnees and dispossessed people, PRODAM facilitated a regrouping and redistribution of land amongst all families effectively living in the village. Each household could receive only one irrigated plot of up to one hectare, the size of which was calculated on the basis of their operating capacity. By facilitating access to land for returnees and dispossessed people the project hoped to improve their socio-economic situation. Special attention was also given to ensure that also women were recognised as land owners.

Participants and local champions discussing village irrigation schemes

PRODAM has also supported pastoral units to ensure good rangeland management, improve access to water and reduce pressure on the grazing lands. A pastoral unit is made up of a group of localities that - given their economic interests, historical ties and physical proximity - share the same pastoral and agricultural areas and use the same water points.

What did we learn? 

Once back in Dakar we spent one last day together in the IFAD office, holding a wrap-up workshop. This very instructive learning experience left us with some main conclusions: In many cases, water rights become operationalized through user organizations. Ensuring that women, smallholders, livestock keepers, or other poor and marginalized water users are represented in these organizations is an important step to strengthening their water rights. However this is often difficult because of overt resistance from those who do not want to share water rights and decision-making, or because of social challenges of including marginalized groups in local organizations. With irrigation becoming an increasingly private investment, access to capital becomes a determining factor for access to water and land for vulnerable groups.

Participants from Nigeria and Sierra Leone are discussing the take-aways from the Maghama case

 Participants from Nigeria and Sierra Leone are discussing the take-aways from the Maghama case. Officially-recognized rights help ensure that their holders have a “seat at the table” in discussions about further water development or land use changes that may impinge on their rights. Joint plan-ning and modelling of water resource development with government agencies and different user groups helps to put this into practice, but it may require strengthening the capacity of both the agencies and the users. There is no single, optimal property right system for irrigations systems—in developing countries or elsewhere. Rather, we need a range of options and the understanding necessary to be able to tailor them to their (ever-changing) physical and institutional context. This, however, requires that enough time is dedicated to understanding the local context and reaching a consensus through an open and inclusive dialogue.

What's next? 

During the learning journey the participants had worked on their own innovation plans, aimed at replicating innovations in their country/organizations/projects, and the last day provided the space to present the first drafts of these plans and to give a first round of peer-to-peer feed-back. It is important to put enough effort in projects dealing with land and water issues in irrigation schemes into joint planning and modelling of water resource development, promoting more equitable access to water and irrigated land, addressing the issue of access to capital. At the same time we should step up our efforts of documenting and sharing the experiences of IFAD-supported projects in dealing with land issues. This Learning Route and a paper written on the three cases for the 2017 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty are a first step in the right direction. The end of the Learning Route left all participants tired but satisfied and inspired. It is now up to all of us to capitalize on this experience and support the implementation of the ambitious innovation plans. And since after the game is before the game, Procasur and IFAD are already starting to think about the next Learning Route on land tenure – we'll let you know more about it soon.

The Learning Route team – happy about the success of the route © Veronica Wijaya

Useful links 

IFAD brings together experts on migration and remittances

Posted by RachaelKenny Thursday, April 13, 2017 0 comments

IFAD brought together leading experts on migration and remittances in the historical city of Perugia to look at why migrants matter, both in Italy and back home.

Over 80 attendees, including students and journalists, gathered to hear top experts discuss issues around migration and remittances at the panel session, Money Talks - Why Migrants Matter at the International Journalism Festival, the largest annual media event in Europe.

Over 80 people attended the session "Money Talks - Why Migrants Matter" at the International Journalism Festival
The panel of experts included: Adolfo Brizzi, the director in the Office of the Associate Vice President at IFAD; Charito Basa, the founder of the Filipino Women's Council(FWC) and Leon Isaacs the CEO of Developing Markets Associates. Moderating the event was Karima Moual, an award-winning journalist, whose writing and reporting focuses on the Arab World, Middle East policy, Islamic issues and immigration/migration.

The panel discussed the impact money from remittances has on local economies. Last year, 250 million international migrants sent almost half a trillion US dollars back to their communities in developing countries, 40 per cent of which – around US$200 billion – reached rural areas.

"Migrants’ money represents a critical lifeline for millions of households,  helping families raise their living standards above subsistence and vulnerability levels while investing in health, education, housing as well as entrepreneurial activities," said Adolfo Brizzi, Director in the Office of the Associate Vice President at IFAD. "Remittances can reunite families, promote development and slow migration. In Italy for example, migrants send back home about 25 per cent of their earnings, while 75 per cent stays in the country – this is contributing to the country’s GDP and is a win-win situation all round.”

Remittances also offer other opportunities, in particular, "remittances are a great possibility for investment, as they give the opportunity to rebuild rural communities and stabilize families, " said Charito Basa, the founder of the Filipino Women's Council  (FWC). Basa is an economic migrant herself whose reason to come to Italy was to help her family back home.

IFAD estimates that one in ten people originating from a developing country either sends or receives international – or domestic – remittances. Although remittances are critical for communities in developing countries, there is always a risk when sending money.

According to Leon Isaacs, CEO of Developing Markets Associates, migrants lack financial protection when making these transfers:
"To transfer money, different countries implement different laws for the legal and informal migrants,” Isaacs noted. “There is a danger for everybody that wants to transfer money, especially in countries where there isn't a well-developed financial system, if a legal migrant transfers money, they have some sort of protection, but an informal migrant has none, and the country on the receiving end also needs information for its use".

The panel later opened to questions from the audience. One, in particular, addressed the role of women within migration and remittances. 
"Women are great factors of stability due to their remittances, as a majority of international migrants that send money back to their communities in developing countries are women," said Karima Moual, the moderator of the panel.
The panel wrapped up with an interesting view on remittances  mentioned by Adolfo Brizzi is that it might be a way to halt migration, after all, who really wants to leave their home, their country when they are able to live and work there.

Over the last ten years, IFAD has given rural people and communities more options to invest their money and create opportunities for business development and employment in approximately 40 developing countries by piloting over 50 programmes. Learn more about our work with remittances here.

Watch IFAD's Rome to Home video to learn more about migrant remittances.

By Nerina Muzurovic 

Britain’s Prince of Wales visited the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 5 April 2017.

As part of the British Royal’s visit, the Permanent Representation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations invited Dr Khalida Bouzar, IFAD Director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, to introduce the work of IFAD in Somalia.

“We have been investing in rural people for the last four decades – targeting the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the most remote areas,” Dr Bouzar said, after greeting His Royal Highness. “IFAD’s investments have so far reached about 464 million people.”

Almost half of IFAD’s ongoing operations are in fragile and conflict-affected countries like Somalia, she added, where IFAD has supported 9 programmes since the 1980s for a total cost of US$140 million and an outreach of 1.8 million people.

In places like Somalia, IFAD’s work is more important than ever, she said. “Many activities designed and financed by IFAD in such areas have proved to be resilient to conflict and still continue.”

Noting that the United Kingdom has demonstrated active leadership in raising awareness of the current food crisis in Somalia, she added, “Our experience shows that even in the most challenging circumstances, investment can bring about positive change in the lives of poor people.”

One good example of positive change brought about under challenging circumstances is the IFAD-financed North-Western Integrated Community Development Programme (Phase II), which ran despite a devastating drought and ongoing conflict in Somalia from 2010 to 2015. The programme reached 1.4 million beneficiaries, of whom 40 per cent were women. Working with 124 communities in 9 districts, this programme focused on improving farming in areas where water is scarce.

Among other measures, the programme helped introduce 15 sand storage dams to hold and absorb floodwater. These dams replenished water sources and allowed people to farm profitably in a community where, previously, water scarcity caused frequent disputes. The Prince of Wales noted that he was familiar with sand storage dams, having seen them in India.

In addition to empowering communities, the sand dams had a markedly positive impact on local women’s lives. “With this project, we see how resilience, security and gender empowerment go hand in hand,” noted Dr Bouzar. “In the village of Aada, for example, a woman herder told us, ‘we used to walk long distances, sometimes the whole day to get water. Now fetching water is easy; in just a few minutes we have water for washing, cooking and cleaning. And a lot of women have become interested in farming.’”
Speaking before the British Royal, Dr Bouzar also introduced two new IFAD projects in Somalia. The first, co-financed by the Italian Development Cooperation, is aimed at irrigation needs in Somalia’s Lower Shebelle region. The second, funded by a regional grant covering Djibouti and Somalia, will provide technology for enhanced farming, rangelands, and watershed management.

Famine begins and ends in rural areas, which is why measures like resilience building, strengthening livelihoods, and keeping animals alive are key. With an eye to the future, IFAD is currently also using climate modelling to carry out climate change vulnerability mapping, along with the World Food Programme (WFP), to assess effects on smallholder agriculture in Somalia.

“Sustainable rural development can be a potent stabilizing force—which is why we have established “FARMS, ”the Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement and Rural Stability,” Dr Bouzar concluded. “We believe tools like FARMS are powerful means of change in places like Somalia, where there are currently 1.1 million internally displaced people.” Giving people the ability to feed their children today is crucial, but it is also of paramount importance that we help the rural poor to secure sustenance for future generations. To accomplish this, IFAD plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between humanitarian assistance and long-term development.

Despite ongoing conflict in the region, where security remains a problem, IFAD’s work in Somalia will not slacken, she said. At present, new collaboration is being planned with the Italian Development Cooperation to address food insecurity in the country’s Puntland area.