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#IFAD 2012 staff awards

Posted by Roxanna Samii Friday, December 21, 2012 0 comments

Last Friday, for the third year in a row, IFAD staff came together to celebrate the achievements of their colleagues and peers.

IFAD's staff awards programme is inspired by Daniel Pink’s paradigm. Pink argues that “the secret to high performance and satisfaction is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world”.

He defines these three elements as follows:
  • autonomy, the desire to direct our own lives
  • mastery, the desire to continually improve at something that matters
  • purpose, the desire to do things in service of something larger than ourselves.
IFAD staff award programme  recognizes the achievements and accomplishments of colleagues who as individual or as teams ― have made outstanding contributions as:

  • Leaders
  • Designers and implementers of an innovative and/or outstanding initiative
  • Agents and facilitator of change
What is special and what makes this awards programme different from others is the fact that the nominations come from STAFF. Colleagues nominate colleagues and reward their actions and behaviours because they have done something special.

This year we celebrated the accomplishments of 22 colleagues.

The celebrations started with paying tribute to a cross-departmental team award composed of Tomas Rosada, Natalia Toschi, Rajiv Sondhi, Purificacion Tola Satue, Deirdre McGrenra, Sandra Reyes, Mirka Ferrise and David Hartcher who were involved in a long and difficult negotiation process that culminated in the approval of the debt settlement agreement for the Republic of Cuba.

You should have seen the expression on the face of our lovely ICT colleague, Fabio Mariano, when they called his name... he was in a state of shock and could not believe that they called his name. Fabio received the staff award for his work in advancing ICT's workstation management services which has drastically reduced the time needed to configure and deploy workstations at IFAD.

Silvana Scalzo, was recognized for her initiative of developing "cooperation brief" drawing on a number of databases.

Numerous colleagues were recognized as agents and facilitators of change and they are:

  • Clare Bishop-Sambrook, our gender technical adviser for her commitment and dedication to gender-related issues and for steering the IFAD gender policy.
  • Maria Turco, for having conceived and implemented an innovative security awareness training which benefited not only IFAD staff but expanded to the rest of the UN family.
  • Thu Hoai Nguyen, our programme assistant in Viet Nam country office for spearheading the decentralization of financial functions from HQ to the country office and implementing the financial management and disbursement pilot project system.
  • Rasha Omar, one of the most dedicated and commitment staff of IFAD, a mentor and role model for many, for the way she managed challenging country portfolio, such as Sudan and now DRC Congo.
  • Federica Cerulli Irelli, a solution finder, a wonderful young lady with great sense of humour, the very Federica who broke the mold and did one of the most innovative blogposts of our collection, for helping us become more efficient and effective in using and mobilizing funds.
  • Edward Gallagher, our budget man, someone who everyone wants as friend, for his role in bringing about major changes and improvements in our budgetary processes.
  • And finally in this category, a team of resourceful and creative ladies who came up with a number of suggestions to make current business processes more efficient: Adriana Bombardone, Aisha Nazario, Francesca Tarabella and Tina Frezza
We finished the staff awards by paying tribute to the leadership of Paula Kim, for her role in leading and galvanizing the country office support unit. Paula, with her smooth, soft, elegant and diplomatic manner worked across department and divisions to put in place a robust support system for IFAD country offices.

Last but not least, my own colleague, Bob Baber, the man behind the communications toolkit, who played an instrumental role in coordinating the preparation and production of the toolkit. He definitely made it happen and I must say, we take pride of this gem - a resource which provides practical communication tips  and one that is valued by our colleagues in the field and our sister organizations.

Congratulations to each and every one of you. Happy holidays... And since it looks like the world will not be coming to an end today, check out this space next year for the 2013 staff award edition.
Wishing you all a peaceful and prosperous 2013.

As we look ahead, let’s not leave fragile states behind

Posted by Roxanna Samii Tuesday, December 18, 2012 0 comments

by Tom Pesek, Partnership Officer, IFAD’s North American Liaison Office

As we bid farewell to 2012, it’s useful to reflect on the themes that dominated international development discourse this year. There was considerable focus on inequality, climate change, the agriculture-nutrition nexus, energy, water and land. The continuing effects of the global economic crunch and fiscal austerity were impossible to ignore. The role of partnerships and the private sector was also a recurring theme. Last week, the OECD, World Bank and USAID co-sponsored an event in Washington, DC on another major issue - responding to the complex and rapidly evolving needs of fragile states and middle-income countries. As the development policy agenda for 2013 begins to take shape, it’s worth considering the findings of a new OECD report entitled Fragile States 2013: Resource flows and trends in a shifting world, which was launched at the event.

The report highlights a number of trends that should keep policymakers awake at night. Chief among them is the report’s projection that global poverty will soon become significantly more concentrated in fragile states than it is today. Fragile states are currently home to one-third of the world’s poor. However, the OECD projects that by 2015, half of the world’s people living on less than USD 1.25 a day will be in fragile states. The report classifies 47 countries worldwide as fragile. These countries, including population giants such as India, Pakistan and Nigeria, have a collective population of 1.5 billion. In 2008, former World Bank President, Robert Zoellick observed that “fragile states are the toughest development challenge of our era.” Well, it seems this toughest of challenges is about to get even more difficult.

The report also asserts that approximately half of world’s fragile states will likely suffer reductions in programmable aid between 2012 and 2015. ODA is the largest financial flow to the average fragile state, followed by remittances and FDI. This projected drop-off is of particular concern in countries that are already chronically “under-aided”, aid dependent or confronting slow economic growth. Although per capita ODA to fragile states grew by 46 percent between 2000 and 2010 (USD 50 billion in 2010, or 38 percent of total ODA), this trend is expected to be interrupted by the ongoing fiscal crunch in OECD countries.

Another notable finding is that the profile of the average fragile state is beginning to change. A mere ten years ago, the majority of fragile states were low-income countries. Not anymore. Today, almost half of the world’s fragile states – 21 out of 47 – are middle-income countries, according to the report. If this shift continues, it will change the profile of the typical fragile state from low-income and highly aid-dependent, to middle-income and less aid-dependent. This is likely to further complicate efforts by development institutions to become more responsive to the needs of middle-income countries.

Despite the report’s mostly gloomy findings, there are some glimmers of hope. While ODA to fragile states is falling in terms of overall quantity, the number of actors engaging in these states is beginning to multiply. Multi-pronged engagement (development, investment and trade) has accelerated amongst countries beyond the DAC membership, notably Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the Gulf States. There has also been growth in terms of global funds and philanthropic giving to fragile states. In addition, multilateral engagement remains an important means through which emerging countries are directly interacting with fragile states.

Furthermore, there is already a paradigm shift underway within the development community, as demonstrated by the 2011 New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, which was one of the outcomes of the Fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2011 in Busan, South Korea. The initiative commits fragile states and their international partners to “do things differently” – by designing and implementing interventions with far greater consideration for the unique characteristics of fragile states; and to focus on “different things” – by building their interventions around peace-building and state-building objectives.

As Stewart Patrick pointed out this month in the Council on Foreign Relations, there may be a critical role for the G20 to play in getting the international community to prioritize fragile states. Many G20 countries, such as Brazil, China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey, have already been steadily increasing their engagement in fragile states. In addition to providing development assistance, G20 countries increasingly represent key trading partners and sources of FDI for fragile states. The G20 could potentially play a critical role in harmonizing global approaches to poverty reduction in fragile states, including by leveraging support and resources for the New Deal for Fragile States.

At the event in Washington last week, Juana de Catheu, co-author of the OECD report, indicated that numerous bilateral and multilateral development institutions have begun to prioritize fragile states, choosing to fight poverty where it is most concentrated. This will require them to confront the tension between quickly delivering results versus making the long-term, context-specific commitments required to build the capacity and strengthen the resilience of fragile and conflict-affected states. Ms. De Catheu also observed that investing in fragile states is a high risk, high reward endeavor. One might also argue that the risk of not investing in fragile states is substantially higher.

Read more: Fragile states: Working to build resilience

Susan Beccio, Photo Editor in IFAD’s Communications Division, is in São Tome and Principe this week, documenting IFAD-supported activities in the island nation off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. Here are some of her impressions, in words and pictures. 

All photos ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

Solar drying of cocoa beans.
I shot the photos on this page during my visit to the Participatory Smallholder Agriculture and Artisanal Fisheries Development Programme. Cofinanced by IFAD and the French Agency for Development, the programme began in 2003 and is ongoing. Its most successful aspect has been the revitalization of cocoa production and export in São Tome and Principe.

More than a decade ago, cocoa producers here were suffering because of falling global prices for their exports. Many abandoned their plantations. But today, with support from IFAD and its partners, 1,800 small-scale producers have a total of about 2,400 hectares under cultivation for cocoa. They all belong to the Organic Cocoa Export Cooperative, and their cocoa is certified as organic or fair-trade for sale to the international chocolate industry. This is what a revitalized cocoa sector looks like....

Bagging the beans: The cocoa grows well in the shade forest that was planted many years ago by the 
Portuguese. It looks like a jungle and is full of bananas, coconuts, mangos, papaya and breadfruit. The 
terrain is very rough and uneven, not like you would imagine a plantation to be. It is naturally organic, so 
the local producers are able to tap into the organic and fair trade markets. 
The weighing station: The growers have learned to make the most of their three local cocoa varieties by
adapting sustainable breeding methods such as grafting. The farmers do what is called a ‘first drain’ to 
eliminate a portion of the moisture and ferment the cocoa beans. Then the beans are brought to the 
collection point in Monte Forte, where they are weighed, dried in solar driers, re-weighed and readied for 
export to France (certified organic for chocolate) and the United Kingdom (certified fair trade for cocoa 
powder drinks).  
Bags ready for export: The cocoa producers here only dry and ferment the beans – they do not process
them into cocoa powder or chocolate. But because they have teamed up in a larger cooperative and are 
able to sell internationally, they have made a lot of headway.

Building peace through smart development

Posted by Greg Benchwick Wednesday, December 12, 2012 1 comments

Peace is possible within our lifetime. As a matter of fact, if we want to end rural poverty, feed the world and protect our little blue planet in peril, achieving peace is not just a lofty goal… it’s a necessity.

Nowhere is this more true than in Latin America and the Caribbean, where violence – against women, young people, poor people and the earth – is hindering development initiatives, lowering economic potential and literally pulling the fabric of societies apart one string, and one lost opportunity, at a time.

But we can only achieve this goal by making smart investments today that will provide young people and marginalized communities with the tools they need to plant and nourish the basic seeds that will lead to a kinder, greener, smarter, more equitable future.

If we look at the region as a whole, four basic pillars to achieving peace through sustainable rural development emerge.

Pillars of peace
1.    Better incomes – After all, violence stems from poverty and lack of assets. Increase your income and asset base, and you decrease violence.
2.    Jobs – Provide alternative ways to build a better life. 
3.    Education – It doesn’t take much training to lift a pistol. But how hard is it to build a profitable business? 
4.    Think green – Malthus was right. We do have limited resources. Protecting our natural resource base is essential to creating a more peaceful world.

Conflict at a glance
Just how serious is the problem? According a recent World Bank report “Central America's spiralling wave of crime and violence is threatening the region's prosperity as countries face huge economic and human losses as a result of it.”

“Aside from the pain and trauma inflicted upon victims, violence can cost the region up to 8 per cent of its GDP when taking into account law enforcement, citizen security and health care costs,” the Crime and Violence in Central America – A Development Challenge (2011) report argues. “This is no small change for a region that in 2010 grew around 2 per cent of GDP, while the rest of Latin America grew around 6 per cent.”

We know that violence is primarily an urban phenomenon in Latin America. In fact, the Poverty and Inequality 2011: Latin America Report indicates that urban areas in the region are primarily facing challenges of inequality, security and economic dynamism, while rural areas show lags in access to services and basic rights such as health and education.

But the problem of violence does not stop at the city’s edge. This lack of access to basic rights in the countryside is fuelling a rapid urbanization rate, and providing new fighters, new gang members and new thieves that fan the fires of violence in the cities.

Conflicts over natural resources are also on the rise. In Bolivia, for instance, there are over 1000 standing conflicts between communities, businesses and international interests. Much of these conflicts are centred on water and land use, thus making it essential to build sustainable systems to manage these scarce resources, title land and weave the strand of ecological idealism into a new social fabric.

So what are we doing about it?
Throughout the region, we are funding peace by investing in youth, job-creating rural enterprises, training programs, market access, education and protection of Mother Earth.

For example, the IFAD Executive Board approved in April a new US$36.5 million poverty reduction project for Peru. The project looks to nearly double rural incomes, build social inclusion, and will be key in achieving the Peruvian government’s goal of reducing poverty by 10 per cent by 2021. Additionally, the project includes a US$1.5 million IFAD grant to further public-private partnerships between local communities and mining corporations to improve water management in the highlands.

The Executive Board also approved two new projects for Brazil in the same session. The projects will benefit over 80,000 poor rural families at a total cost of US$133 million, with US$56 million in IFAD funding. The projects focus on education as the central tool to overcoming poverty.

We also signed an agreement in October with the Brazilian state of Paraíba for a new US$49 million social inclusion project that will work with traditionally marginalized groups like women and youth to provide them with the tools and technologies they need to build their businesses, improve household assets, reduce child malnutrition, overcome rural poverty and contribute to a sustainable natural resources management.

In Colombia, we continue to fund innovative poverty reduction projects designed to build peace and enhance social inclusion. We recently signed a new loan agreement with the Government of Colombia for the US$69 million Trust and Opportunity Project.

The project seeks to improve food security, ease access to financial and community services, increase incomes for small-scale producers by as much as 32 per cent, and create mechanisms to rebuild the social fabric of a country that has witnessed war and endemic violence for more than 30 years.

In our latest edition of Rural Perspectives, we take a look at how IFAD-funded projects are seeding peace in places like Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru. These projects look directly at traditional development as a mechanism to improve the social fabric of the local communities. In the end, only strong threads can withstand the forces of violence and conflict. Only strong threads can weave the textile of peace.

En español
Ventana Rural | Construir la paz usando el desarrollo inteligente 

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Learning the "ins and outs" of sound procurement process

Posted by Roxanna Samii Monday, December 10, 2012 0 comments

Workshop description

The Near East, North Africa, and Europe Division held a 5 day Procurement Training in Marrakech, Morocco from 19-23 November 2012. It brought together 30 participants, including representatives from IFAD-Funded projects in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen, and Gaza & West Bank. Project procurement officers and project staff involved in procurement, all actively participated in the training providing examples from real life experience.

Professional procurement specialists Mr. George Jadoun and Ms. Blerina Pogace from the International Training Centre of the International Labour organization (ITC/ILO) prepared and delivered the training material in Arabic based on IFAD procedures and drawing from practical experiences in the region.

Objectives and outcomes

The main objective of the workshop was to provide a knowledge sharing platform and training on procurement, in the NENA countries.  More specifically, the workshop aimed to:

  • Provide an overview of the procurement process, from planning, identification of needs and methods, to the tendering process. 
  • Familiarise participants with IFAD requirements and guidelines on procurement.
  • Better understand and apply country specific procedures while offering a platform to share with the participants’ best practices in procurement

To achieve the objectives of the workshop, the sessions were designed to be interactive with each country team expected to briefly present the issues they are facing with regards to this field. In this context, the various teams also suggested possible solutions for improvements.

The expected outcomes of the workshop were:

  • Improved effectiveness of the functions discharged by project staff;
  • Improved implementation performance with regards to procurement;  and 
  • Resolution and clarification of recurring issues during project implementation.

Average overall rating by participants for training relevance, effectiveness, quality of delivery and impact was 86% (this includes 100% rating for quality and relevance and 97% for objectives met, post-training application and overall satisfaction)

Rural women’s voices, loud and clear in Nepal

Posted by Timothy Ledwith Friday, December 7, 2012 0 comments

By Katie Taft 

Development workshops are, generally speaking, filled with practitioners, policy makers, donors and academics mulling over a problem and – among break-out sessions and working groups – coming to a consensus on how best to approach it. These tend to be technical discussions on technical problems and, as such, they can become lifeless, without the passion and emotion that prompts the workshop in the first place.

A workshop session in Kathmandu. ©IFAD
A workshop held in Kathmandu, Nepal last week by the UN Joint Programme on Accelerating Progress toward the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women was far from this typical scenario. Following speeches by three Nepali women farmer leaders in the opening session, the two-day workshop remained filled with tense debates, passionate pleas and rallying cries from an audience composed mainly of rural women.

The joint programme is a five-year initiative of UN Women, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme. It will be implemented initially in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda. Consultative workshops at the country level are being organized to shape the programme goals and activities, based on national priorities, including in Nepal.

Although there have been significant improvements in Nepal’s poverty level in recent years, it is still considered a food-insecure country. Women make up 65 per cent of the labour force. And while they work more hours and produce more than their male counterparts, many rural women are hampered by less access to credit, land and services. Often, their opinions are not sought out. But at the workshop, they demanded to be heard – and given the reaction of the audience, who applauded and sometimes “whooped” in support, they were.

Below are excerpts of the rural women’s speeches. They not only set the tone of the workshop, they set the tone for the entire joint programme.

Raj Kumari Chaudary, Kailali district: “Empowerment can help us”
“I am bringing my problems here – to represent  all small women farmers’ problems. We rural women have to work very hard, and although we put in so much work, we are not recognized. Women in the villages are oppressed. We cannot overcome these challenges alone. We can’t even get a decent meal. We work hard but cannot produce enough food for our families.

Raj Kumari Chaudary says women must be heard. ©IFAD
“We have to work all the time. When we go to the hospital, we don’t get any support. Empowerment can help us because we are in a lot of trouble. No one hears us, and because of this I say it here: We demand that we be heard.”

Nanu Ghatani, Kavre district: “I am not afraid”
“I lead women farmers in my district. There have been positive changes that have taken place. For example, our credit group with 600 members is able to distribute low-interest loans for farming-related equipment. If we are to complete seven steps on the ladder – we have three steps left. We have access to food, but we don’t have control. We only eat whatever remains after feeding our families. Women farmers do not get any honour. They say: you have land and you have food, but we have no control inside the house.

“Agricultural programmes do not need to just focus on rural women’s production. We need to be entrepreneurs, and be our own businesses. If we can become business leaders, we can have more income in our hands. It’s not that we don’t give it to the men, we just want it to be equal. Women know about their children that they give birth to, but not about the plants that they grow. We must get more information about the nutritional information of the products we can grow. Women’s groups help build trust and support. I am not afraid like I was before. I am not alone.”

Radha Kunwar, Kaski district: “Among us there is trust”
“I am the chairwoman of the cooperative. It took us a lot of trouble to form the cooperative. They accused us of trying to spoil rural women – they didn’t trust us with the money. Now there are more than 1,000 women in the cooperative. Among us there is trust and respect. All of the women pay back their loans on time and help move us forward. They put it towards sustainable things like goat breeding. One goat costs 5,000 rupees [about US$50]. Perhaps we can give loans without interest for a year or two, so that they can build a business and they can make more income. They need to prepare for the next cropping season. When they distribute the budget for supporting rural women in the villages – women must be given a certain amount.

Radha Kunwar calls for women's inclusion. ©IFAD
“But still, women are kept from the process. We are still not given a priority. If we don’t demand it, they don’t give it to us. They make it difficult for us to request our part of the budget – they makes us bring letters, forms. We are happy to go through the process, but there is no monitoring of this. There is not evaluation of monitoring. We feel they should come and look at our work and encourage us, but they don’t. This will help encourage us, and by honouring and acknowledging our work, we will be motivated to do more. We need a voice to demand it. I was a housewife, always inside the house, and now with your support I am able to come and speak here with all of you to tell you of the challenges.”

Update: News stories
Here are some links to news stories about the Nepal workshop on the economic empowerment of rural women. The stories include reporting on the UN joint programme, the need for women to gain greater access to agricultural technology and skills, and the imperative for them to be more involved in local development decisions.

In English:
United Nations in Nepal NewsInsight, Oct.-Nov. 2012 [PDF, see pg. 5]
Kathmandu Post National Daily, 30/11/2012

In Nepali:
Kantipur National Daily,  30/11/2012
Karobar National Daily, 2/12/2012

by Aissata Cheick Sylla and Adriane Del Torto

This morning the Minister of Agriculture Dr Yaranga Coulibaly officially opened the National Roundtable workshop for the Mali Country Programme Evaluation undertaken by IFAD’s Independent Evaluation Office. To mark this special occasion, two members of Government, the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Mr Makan Aliou Tounkara and the Minister of Employment and Vocational Training Dr Diallo Deidia Katara, the Commissioner for Food Security, Mr Yaya Tamboura and the President of the Assemblée Permanente des Chambres d’Agriculture du Mali. (APCAM) Mr Bakary Togola, the Interim director of the Independant Evaluation Office Mr Ashwani Muthoo and the Director of the West and Central Africa Division of IFAD, Mr Ides de Willebois all participated in the workshop.

During his opening speech, His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture expressed the great honour that it is for the Government of Mali to host this important event, demonstration of the excellent partnership between IFAD and Mali, partnership that has been quite strong over the past years. In fact, this excellent partnership has now been fruitful for the past 30 years. The Minister conveyed his satisfaction with IFAD’s engagement and determination in its fight against food insecurity alongside the Republic of Mali. He concluded by guaranteeing that the Government of Mali will stop at nothing to invest in this partnership further and will accompany IFAD in designing new projects and programmes.

The Director of the West and Central Africa Division of IFAD saluted the fruitful and sustainable collaboration between IFAD and Mali as well as the Government’s strong engagement and active participation in the workshop. He confessed being proud of the quality of the partnership built over the past 30 years. One of the reasons for the success of this partnership, he explained, is its alignment with national strategies and objectives in agriculture, as well as the flexibility of its programmes and project to integrate the view of the Republic of Mali in its rural development programmes, assuring their sustainability over the years.

The Interim Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation addressed the objective and the importance of such a workshop. He insisted that two Country Evaluations in a five year span demonstrates the importance of the Mali Country Programme ,not only for the West and Central Africa Division, but also for IFAD as an institution. He insisted on the importance of the workshop objectives which includes setting the way forward for operations and partnership with Mali. .

Finally, during the opening Mr Fabrizio Felloni, Senior Evaluator, made a presentation on the main conclusions of the report where he stressed the positive outcomes of the evaluation. According to the extensive study in the country, there are many positive outcomes of the Mali Country Programme needing further visibility and capitalisation. These include community investments and community driven development, sustainability of infrastructure, land tenure, gender, environment and natural resource management and decentralisation. Recommendations for improvement include giving greater importance to geographic distribution of poverty in Mali and the risks related to the occupation of the North and climate change and all related topics.

par Aissata Cheick Sylla et Adriane Del Torto

Ce matin, le Ministre de l’Agriculture Dr Yaranga Coulibaly a officiellement ouvert les travaux de l’atelier national de restitution de l’Évaluation Externe du Programme Pays FIDA au Mali. Pour l’occasion il avait à ses côtés deux autres membres du Gouvernement, le Ministre de l’élevage et de la Pêche, M Makan Aliou Tounkara et le Ministre de l’Emploi et de la Formation Professionnelle Dr Diallo Deidia Katara, le Commissaire à a Sécurité Alimentaire, Mr Yaya Tamboura et le Président de l’Assemblée Permanente des Chambres d’Agriculture du Mali. (APCAM) Mr Bakary Togola. Pour FIDA, le Directeur intérimaire du Bureau Externe de l’évaluation M Ashwani Muthoo et M Ides de Willebois, Directeur de la Division Afrique de l’ouest et du Centre du FIDA ont ausssi participé à l’atelier.

Lors de son allocution, Monsieur le Ministre de l’Agriculture a signalé grand honneur pour son pays héberger cet atelier, image de qui montre à suffisance que le partenariat entre le Mali et le FIDA se porte bien. En effet, ce très riche partenariat entre dans sa 30e année d’existence en 2012. Il se dit satisfait de la détermination et de l’engagement du FIDA à accompagner le Mali dans la lutte contre la précarité et l’insécurité alimentaire. et a conclu en assurant que le Gouvernement du Mail ne ménagera aucun effort pour accompagner le FIDA dans la conception de nouveaux projets et programmes.

Le Directeur de la Division Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre du FIDA a salué la collaboration profonde et durable avec le Mali ainsi que l’engagement du Gouvernement, même dans sa participation active à cet atelier. Il s’est dit fier de la qualité de ce partenariat tissé au fil des 30 dernières années. Dans ce de cadre il a rappelé que le FIDA a financé 12 projets et programmes au Mali pour plus de 475 million de dollars ou environ 240 milliards de francs CFA. Le portefeuille du FIDA au Mali répond à une certaine pertinence vis-à-vis les priorités du gouvernement et s’est montré flexible dans ses interventions. Il a promis que le FIDA continuera relever les défis de la pauvreté rurale avec le Gouvernement du Mali.

Le Directeur intérimaire a adressé l’objectif et l’importance de l’atelier de restitution de l’évaluation indépendante et a insisté sur le fait que le portefeuille du Mali est particulièrement important pour le FIDA, raison pour laquelle le Programme Pays a été évalué en 2007 et de nouveau en 2012. Il a insisté sur la pertinence de cette session de travail pour bien élaborer t les lignes directrices pour mettre en œuvre les recommandations et pour renforcer le partenariat entre le FIDA et le Mali qui est déjà indiscutable.

Lors de l’ouverture, M Fabrizio Felloni, Evaluateur Principal a fait un exposé sur les conclusions principales de l’évaluation. Il a souligné les résultats positifs sur lesquels il faut capitaliser d’avantage et que le Mali doit partager. Ces thèmes incluent : la maîtrise d’ouvrage communale, la durabilité des infrastructures, le foncier, le genre, l’environnement et la décentralisations. Pour les futures interventions on recommande de donner plus d’importance à la géographie de la pauvreté, des risques liés aux conflits ainsi que les risques climatiques dans la région.

Le FIDA et le Mali - de quoi célébrer

Posted by Adriane Del Torto Monday, December 3, 2012 2 comments

Le mercredi 5 décembre 2012, le FIDA et le Gouvernement du Mali fêteront les 30 ans de partenariat pour le développement agricole.

Musée National, Bamako
Les festivités se dérouleront dans le jardin du Musée National à Bamako, à partir de 14h. Les célébrations seront ouvertes par Son Excellence Dr Yaranga Coulibaly, Ministre de l’Agriculture de la République du Mali et par Monsieur Ides de Willebois, Directeur de la Division Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre du FIDA.

Cet événement est une opportunité pour les partenaires et la société civile de connaitre le FIDA et ses activités au Mali. Il sera possible de visiter les stands préparés et animés par les projets en cours d’exécution. Des paysans venant de différentes régions du Mali, ayant reçu un appui du FIDA, partageront avec nous leurs témoignages et histoires de vie. La fête sera animée par un groupe musical de la Région de Kidal, qui se trouve dans le Nord du pays.

Lors des 30 dernières années, le FIDA a financé 12 projets et programme de développement au Mali pour un total de plus de 471 million de dollars des États-Unis. De ce montant, environ 186 million sont des fonds propres et plus de 289 millions de dollars ont été mobilisés auprès de nos partenaires principaux au Mali : la Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement, (BOAD), la Banque Mondiale et le Fonds Belge pour la Sécurité Alimentaire.

Suite aux événements du 22 mars 2012, le FIDA continue à œuvrer aux côtés du Gouvernement du Mali dans sa lutte contre l’insécurité alimentaire. En effet, pour atténuer les effets de la crise, le FIDA et le Gouvernement du Mali ont conclu une stratégie pour affronter cette période transitoire. Dans ce cadre, des partenariats avec AVSF (Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières) pour la distribution d’intrants agricoles dans le Nord et avec OMS (Organisation Mondiale pour la Santé) pour distribuer les fournitures aux dispensaires dans le Nord afin d’en assurer leurs activités quotidiennes ont été conclus. (voir article blog du 14/08/2012)

Aussi dans le cadre de cette stratégie, le FIDA commence la conception d’un programme d’insertion des jeunes dans les filière agricoles (pour un montant de 30 million de dollars) preuve concrète de l’engagement ferme du FIDA pour aider le Gouvernement du Mali à améliorer les conditions de vie des paysans.

On Wednesday 5 December 2012, IFAD and the Government of Mali will be celebrating 30 years of partnership in rural development.

The festivities will take place in the garden of the National Musem of Bamako, starting 2 pm. The celebrations will be opened by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Mali, Dr Yaranga Coulibaly and by the Director of the West and Central Africa Division of IFAD, Mr Ides de Willebois.

National Museum of Bamako
The event is an opportunity for partners and civil society to gain knowledge on IFAD activities in the country. Throughout  the afternoon, each ongoing IFAD project will be animating a stand where information can be gathered. Also, farmers from the different regions of Mali have been invited to share their experience and life stories with the public. The ambiance will be animated by music groups from the Kidal region in the North of Mali to give the event a festive touch.

Over the past 30 years, IFAD has financed 12 development programmes in Mali with approximately 186 million dollars of its own resources and over 289 million dollars mobilised with cofinanciers such as the West African Development Bank (BOAD), the World Bank, The Belgian Fund for Food Security and others for a total of over 471 million dollars of investments.

Following the coup of 22 March 2012, IFAD is continuing alongside the Government of Mali in its fight against food insecurity. In fact, IFAD activities in Mali are ongoing and an intermediate strategy has been agreed upon between IFAD and Mali for this transition period. Activities in the North are being ensured by a partnership with AVSF (Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières) for the distributin of agriculture inputs directly to the farmers via the Niger Rive and WHO (World Health Organisation) who is ensuring that health centres are receiving the necessary supplies to maintain regular business. (See blog article of 9 August 2012 - Promoting sustainability in a humanitarian crisis).

As part of the imlementation of the medium term strategy, IFAD will be designig a new Youth Integation Project for approximately 30 million dollars - a strong and firm demonstation of IFAD ongoing commitment to helping Mali out of poverty.

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Climate Conversations - Planting for a harsher climate

Posted by Roxanna Samii Thursday, November 29, 2012 0 comments

By Philippe Remy

Fishermen work in the early evening in Segou, Mali.
Photo: Amadou Keita/IFAD
The hunger crisis in the Sahel region and the ongoing conflict in the northern part of Mali is threatening the lives of millions in the country and across the region.

Compounding this, a changing climate is already eroding the natural resources of poor rural people in many parts of Mali, and contributing to a situation of escalating environmental degradation, hunger and poverty.

“When we were young, 40 or more years ago, it rained a lot more than it does now, and there was grass all year around,” says Hama Barry of Youwarou village, president of the Foulbé Wuelebé herders’ association in Mali.

For the people living in the Sahel region of Mali, climate change is not a question of debate; it’s an undeniable reality and a pressing concern. For decades, the climate has been getting hotter and drier.

“There were many more trees. We have seen changes taking place around us; the rain has become less abundant and the forests and grasslands are disappearing,” Barry continues. “There were two huge droughts in 1973 and 1984. That was when the trees began to die, and the floodwaters of the delta began to recede. In recent years we’ve lost many animals in the dry season, because there isn’t enough for them to eat.”

The experience of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has shown that, similar to growing trees, adapting to a changing climate doesn’t happen overnight. It takes sustained investment so that once the roots of adaptation practices take hold in one rural community, they can continue and be shared among others and for future generations.

And the benefits can go beyond supporting communities to prepare for a harsher climate, to include enabling rural women and men to build a better life for themselves.

For example, the IFAD-supported Sahelian Areas Development Fund Programme, implemented in the Sahel region of central Mali, is helping to build the capacity of local communities to restore trees and vegetation and improve agricultural productivity. It aims to break the cycle of degradation and to ensure that there is enough to sustain a growing population, now and for the future.

Planting Bourgou

The programme has contributed to the extensive planting of bourgou, a rich native grass of the delta region, which was disappearing rapidly. So far, close to 1,500 hectares have been planted with plans for more in the near future. The programme has set up and equipped small-scale village nurseries using species adapted to local conditions and resistant to drought, such as eucalyptus. It also encourages communities to develop small market gardens and grow fruits and vegetables year-round to supplement income and sustain productivity through the seasonal cycles.

To date, the programme has planted 2,835 meters of live hedges and 36 hectares of eucalyptus and other trees, and created and equipped 23 village nurseries in the Mopti region. It has supported the elaboration of numerous local resource management plans, from local fisheries to the management of bourgou plantations.

The response to the programme has been enthusiastic. Communities are eager to continue learning to restore the natural environment. They recognize the need to shift their approach.

“This kind of work is just a beginning,” says Mamadou Tiéro, the programme coordinator. “It needs to be continued and adopted throughout the region. Only a long-term impact can be considered a successful outcome.”

Philippe Remy is the Mali country programme manager for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). IFAD is co-organising Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day on Dec. 3, held in parallel with the climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

Originally posted on AlertNet

Written by Gernot Laganda, Climate Change Adaptation Specialist at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

©IFAD/Amadou Keita
Less than a decade back, climate change adaptation was considered a white flag of surrender to a warming world. The dominant chorus was that there is only one way to address climate change, and that is reducing the greenhouse gases that drive it. Some people even argued that in the context of climate change, advocating for adaptation means advocating for a non-response: If we can adapt our way out of the problem, then what is the point in reducing greenhouse gases in the first place? At this year’s UN climate change conference in Doha, these entrenched positions have all but disappeared. People seem to have realized that the world they were born in has gone, and that they will never really recapture its climate, its seasons, the way its plants grew and its animals lived. It has started to sink in that we will be locked into a world that will be at least 2 degrees warmer than the pre-industrial average by the end of this century. A confirmed warming record of 0.8 degrees puts us almost half way there, and the temperature rise we are already committed to, based on the current amount of global greenhouse gas emissions we are emitting, is almost certain to do the rest.

This renewed awareness of global change has been buoyed by a steady stream of scientific reports, catastrophic events and climate activism over the past few months: Satellite imagery of the lowest arctic sea ice on record have startled even the most critical climate scientist, while a new World Bank Report examining the risks of a 4 degree hotter world by the end of the Century had a similar effect on many people in the development community. This report makes it clear that 4 degrees of warming confront us with the limits of incremental adaptation; 4 degrees is the scary realm of large-scale tipping points, positive feedbacks and ‘nasty surprises’ in the climate system. Disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in the US, which have been analysed by many against the backdrop of a warming world, would multiply in scale and severity, plunging many countries over a ‘climate fiscal cliff’.

For governments, development agencies and NGOs, the resurgence of adaptation presents a new paradigm: Pitching wide but shallow criticism at an imperfect international negotiations process is not going to make them any safer. Too many friction losses are built into the negotiation of a post-Kyoto agreement: Which time period such an agreement should cover; which type of commitments should be specified; how the burden of climate protection should be shared between developed and developing countries; and if there should be a global plan or an array of decentralized alliances. Faced with the stark realities of a warming world, many countries have started to focus on adaptation planning and financing. Rather than complaining that they are heading into a train wreck, they have started to check the location and specifications of their seat belts. 

IFAD’s new Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) is a good example of a UN agency helping countries make this transition. The programme influences a third of IFAD’s new lending, and introduces a much stronger appreciation of risk and resilience to the design and monitoring of rural development programmes. ASAP provides room for countries to scale up those tried and trusted approaches that have shown to deliver livelihood and resilience benefits to smallholder farmers: Watershed management, agroforestry, conservation agriculture, mixed crop-livestock systems, integrated coastal zone management, land restoration and disaster preparedness, to name a few. Back to back, ASAP is introducing some new ingredients which have long been overlooked: Better seasonal forecasting, access to insurance, training on risk analysis and GIS, robust infrastructure that is protected from extreme weather, and empowerment of small local institutions to engage with national policy processes.

Programmes such as ASAP are a credible and large-scale effort to translate the urgency of climate change adaptation into an ambitious institutional programme that can achieve big leaps in climate risk management. In a time in which politicians argue that the climate crisis is every bit as real as the fiscal one, this is a very credible response.

Climate Conversations - Turning waste to energy in China

Posted by Roxanna Samii Wednesday, November 28, 2012 0 comments

By Sun Yinhong 

A couple in Rongpeng village use biogas to cook in their rural home in
Dujie town, Longan county, West Guangxi, China.
Photo: Susan Beccio/IFAD
Access to energy is key to eradicating poverty and ensuring food security. Rural communities need energy for a variety of purposes including cooking, lighting, heating, and powering farm and other production tools and equipment.

Globally, about one in five people lack electricity to light their homes or conduct business. In rural areas in developing countries, many people use indoor wood fires for energy, which can cause chronic respiratory diseases and increase mortality rates - not to mention the time spent in collecting firewood, a burden that falls more heavily on women and children.

Biogas is a type of fuel produced from organic waste such as dead plant and animal material, or human and animal waste. This methane gas can be used for lighting and cooking and provides benefits to the environment, as it helps reduce deforestation by reducing the need for fuel wood. In addition, capturing methane from waste reduces the damaging effects of global warming (methane is 22 times more potent than carbon dioxide in driving climate change).

This is good news for rural communities who can benefit from low-cost energy sources, as they do their part not to contribute further to climate change.

In China, population pressure and growing demand for food is straining the productive capacity of the 10 percent of China’s land area that is suitable for sustained cultivation. An increasing number of livestock compete for fodder on fragile rangelands. Flood-prone areas and deteriorating irrigation systems result in waterlogging and salt contamination. Encroaching deserts threaten formerly productive land.

An IFAD-funded project in China’s Guangxi province works with rural communities to install biogas converters. “We used to cook with wood,” said Liu Chun Xian, a farmer involved in the project. “The smoke made my eyes tear and burn and I always coughed. The children, too, were often sick…. Now that we’re cooking with biogas, things are much better.”

Each household involved in the project built its own plant to channel waste from the domestic toilet and nearby shelters for animals, usually pigs, into a sealed tank. The waste ferments and is naturally converted into gas and compost.

As a result of the project, living conditions and the environment have improved. Forests are protected, reducing greenhouse gas emissions through deforestation. A large amount of straw, previously burned, is now put into biogas tanks to ferment. This further reduces air pollution from smoke and helps produce high-quality organic fertilizer. In addition, the project has resulted in better sanitary conditions in the home.

Families, especially women, save 60 work days each year by not having to collect wood and tend cooking fires. This additional time is invested in raising pigs and producing crops.

With more time to spend improving crops, farmers in Fada, a village in the project area, increased tea production from 400 to 2,500 kilograms a day over a five-year period. Average income in the village has quadrupled to just over a dollar per day at end of the project.

This is significant in a country where the poverty line was 26 cents per day. And as a result of the project, 56,600 tons of firewood can be saved in the project area every year, which is equivalent to the recovery of 7,470 hectares of forest.

Another IFAD project in China supported the construction of about 63,700 biogas units for rural households in Mianyang Prefecture, Sichuan province. This was part of the post-earthquake disaster rehabilitation efforts.

The biogas systems provide a steady source of rural energy for those affected households and reduce their spending on energy. Application of biogas slurry also helps to reduce household spending on chemical fertilizers while improving soil and reducing pesticides.

Sun Yinhong is the IFAD country program officer based in Beijing, China. IFAD is co-organising Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day on Dec. 3, held in parallel with the climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

Originally posted on AlertNet

Increasing farmers access to markets

Posted by Roxanna Samii Tuesday, November 27, 2012 0 comments

by Lynn Kota

The LUSIP-GEF Sustainable Land Management Project is empowering livestock farmers in the Lower Usuthu region  reap financial benefits through sharing technical expertise and connecting them to steady markets  

At first impression, Thabiso Khumalo appears to be an impressionable young man who is still dependent on his parents for his livelihood. In fact, he is a resourceful 33 year old poultry farmer who has been responsible for his own livelihood since turning 18 years. His experience as a small stock farmer is relatively fresh and he attests that his engagement with the LUSIP-GEF Sustainable Land Management Project which was initiated in his community in the beginning of this year could not have come at a better time.

Khumalo has been running a small-scale, home-based poultry business for 3 years, through it managing to earn just enough money to sustain his own livelihood and meet the operational costs of the business.

Agricultural Productivity Sustains Livelihoods Better Than Formal Employment
 “I started keeping and then selling poultry out of a love for farming which I developed from living with my grandfather who kept goats, pigs, indigenous chickens and cattle. My High School grades did not qualify me for entry at University. I then upgraded the subjects I did not do well in and thereafter managed to enroll for a Certificate in Public Relations at Damelin College in 2001. This certificate combined with experience gained after my first job as a Conference Assistant at a local Game Lodge enabled me to be in employment on and off for four years ending in 2010 after which I Iost my job. That is when I decided I was better off committing to working full-time as a self-employed indigenous poultry farmer, instead of chasing after jobs that took most of my time but gave me little in return.”

Khumalo explains that reaching the decision to become a full-time farmer was based on more than just his failure at formal employment.

“I committed to becoming a farmer full-time because I realized that I actually made a better income when I was self-employed than when I was employed by companies. The jobs I got essentially enabled me to keep my other interests going instead of raising my income to the level where I could solely depend on my salary,” he shares. Khumalo goes on to explain that his working experience actually began before he entered formal employment.

“After getting my Public Relations certificate in 2001, I tried hard but couldn’t find a job. I realized that even my high school classmates who had managed to get University degrees were in the same predicament of unemployment as I was.  So I looked at what other things I enjoy doing which have given me other skills, and that’s when I began deejaying at local clubs. At the time I was living at my grandparents place in Piggs Peak. My deejaying paid me enough to be able to start a small spaza shop in the area where I sold airtime and a few other essential groceries and was able to make a living and not burden my grandparents with my needs. I did this between 2001 and 2006 when I got my first job at Maguga Lodge and had to suspend my after-work projects because I worked late shifts. My next job which was at a guesthouse however enabled me to rekindle my other interests and that’s when I used my salary
to purchase a few chickens from my grandfather and breed them for sale. ”

For a year Khumalo raised the conventional mixed breed of chickens most rural Swazi homesteads keep for food and used his salary to buy chicken feed to enhance quality and productivity amongst his chickens. At Christmas time when the demand was high, he sold 50 chickens that were between4-5months old making approximately E800. It was at that time that he discovered that the specialized indigenous chicken breed, Morris, are in high demand not only amongst individuals but also in restaurants, and that the selling price of these is much higher, which meant he could earn even more. At the same time, he lost his job and decided to move to his father’s place in Siphofaneni, where the LUSIP-GEF SLM Project site office is also located.

Indigenous Poultry Farming in Rural Areas and Associated Challenges   
Starting his indigenous poultry farm in Siphofaneni in December 2012, Khumalo soon discovered it would be a worthwhile, albeit challenging venture.

“I arrived here with a couple of the chickens I kept in Piggs Peak. Prior to my arrival, I had done an assessment to establish if this would be an appropriate environment to do my business. From this assessment I learnt that the climate was suitable with warm to hot temperatures throughout the year, and that though water is not easily accessible, there are means to ensure that there was enough to run a successful poultry business. Local residents would also provide a reliable market for selling my produce. On arrival, I soon learnt of other air-borne and two and four-legged threats, namely, eagles that swoop on unsuspecting chicks and uncovered eggs, as well as humans and squirrels who also steal the full-grown chickens!” he says laughing.

The location of Khumalo’s new home however had unique benefits for countering these challenges. “Located near my home, were the offices of the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Siphofaneni Rural Development Area (RDA) Office which I promptly approached to get more advice on farming indigenous chickens in the locality.  This is when I discovered the LUSIP-GEF project which is housed by SWADE and met the Livestock Coordinator in this Project, Mr Mlangeni who has been advising me on the business since.” he adds.

LUSIP-GEF is a pilot project promoting sustainable land management practices amongst agro pastoralists in the dry Lower Usuthu region of Swaziland as a way to combat climate change and increase food security. The project is jointly funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD), Government of Swaziland and the communities involved (read more in insert box).

LUSIP-GEF Project Technical Assistance Helps Farmer Improve Agricultural Productivity
Undeterred by the theft and other business teething challenges, in January 2012 Khumalo forged ahead on his mission to build an indigenous poultry business and purchased 4 hens and 2 cocks of special breed which brought the total to 9 hens and 3 cocks including the chickens he had arrived with from Piggs Peak. He created an 8mx4m fenced shelter installed with grass-thatched laying pens in a shaded area in his front yard to address the challenges he had so far faced. “Mr Mlangeni in the LUSIP-GEF project advised me on where I could buy the indigenous chickens at a cost I could afford, further recommending best feeds and approaches to bolster growth including mixing the feed with sand and grass to aid digestion,” he shares.

In 3 months his chickens had grown to a brood of 27 and he was getting ready to take them to the market when disaster struck again. Disease and the winter cold hit hard on Khumalo’s stock and he lost all the chickens and chicks remaining with only three.

“The disease outbreak struck in the space of less than one week and I was really devastated at the loss. The chickens would emit a white substance from their beaks, would shake uncontrollably and eventually die with hung heads; I had never witnessed anything like it”. Not one to back down from difficulty, with the two hens, one cock and some unhatched eggs left, Khumalo called on Mlangeni and the MOA RDA office to get technical assistance on tackling the disease outbreak.

Livestock Coordinator in the LUSIP-GEF SLM project, Ntandoyenkosi Mlangeni states that after examining the chickens with the MoA Veterinary Officer, they deduced it was newcastle or joint disease both of which are well known poultry plagues.

 “Having been working collaboratively with Khumalo for over four months by then, it was easy to visit his home and together with the MOA RDA office organize Terramycin to help him prevent the remaining chickens and chicks from contracting and succumbing to the illness. We also recommended that Khumalo buy multivite to boost the health of the chicks and to make sure that all the chickens got the recommended medication in order to eliminate the outbreak”.

Mlangeni explains that the LUSIP-GEF SLM Project broadly aims to promote alternative livelihoods in the target area through making community livestock production more
efficient and sustainable, hence the support to Khumalo. “Mr Khumalo is one of the first success cases in this endeavor and we hope to assist 30 more farmers by the end of the year.”

Project Establishes Strong Partnerships for Sustainability 
The involvement of the Ministry of Agriculture local office in addressing Khumalo’s challenges is by no means incidental. The LUSIP-GEF SLM Project is implemented in partnership with various stakeholders from non-governmental agencies operational in the project area and several government departments under the Ministries of Agriculture, Tinkhundla and Decentralisation, Natural Resources and Energy, Economic Planning and Development, Health as well as Finance. The non-governmental partners include World Vision International, Africa Cooperative Action Trust (ACAT), International Relief Development, Women in Development and many more. The government departments involved include:

  • Veterinary services and animal nutrition, crop production, research, home economics & food security, Swaziland Dairy Board (SDB) and National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBOARD) all under the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Swaziland Environment Authority (SEA), Swaziland National Trust Commission (SNTC) and the Surveyor General’s under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy
  • the Decentralisation Unit within the Tinkhundla Ministry

A Sustainable Future through Livestock Farming
The collaboration between the LUSIP-GEF SLM Project and the MoA RDA office eventually saw Khumalo fighting off the plague and his chickens growing to 30 again in two months. He shares that this was possible from following the extensionists’ advice, as well as keeping the remaining eggs and chicks warm inside his house throughout the rest of the winter. “I had to keep the chicks inside the house and feed each one with doses of the recommended treatment in order to curb the disease spread and ensure they survived.”

With marketing assistance from the project in May he was able to sell-off 27 chickens to a restaurant in the business hub of the country, Manzini earning E680. Khumalo used the income to extend the fencing of the shed where he breeds his chickens. “By August I hope to be having over 60 and plan to continue to extend my business. With the support I continue to get from the project and MoA I know I will make a success of this venture,” he says beaming with hope.

Sbulelo working in her garden 

By Lynn Kota

Sbulelo Gamedze is full of smiles as she opens the gate and welcomes us into her beautiful garden. She has never been involved in any form of farming, before she became interested after attending trainings conducted by LUSLM (Lower Usuthu  Sustainable Land Management -GEF) Sustainable Agriculture coordinator Mr NormanMavuso on Permaculture gardening. She started attending the trainings which took place at Madlenya area, beginning in July 2012 and two months down the line she has her own beautiful permaculture garden which has already started to help her feed a family of 6 people.   So far from her garden she has harvested spinach and lettuce which takes a much shorter time to be ready for consumption. Her garden has other vegetables such as beetroot, carrots, garlic, onions and cabbages. Through attending the training she was motivated her to start a garden and what motivated her even more was the thought of saving money because if she had a garden then she won’t have to spend money buying vegetables from the markets.

 “Madlenya area is  faced with a serious issue of  shortage of water so this is the perfect way of growing vegetables because you only water the garden twice a week and your produce is very good and healthy’’ she notes. “The water that we are encouraged to use is ‘grey water’, which is water that we have already used for other purposes in the household, like washing dishes and bathing. We are then taught how to purify this water for re-use in our gardens”, she adds.

All was not smooth as she faced some challenges in establishing her garden ”I didn't have all the necessary garden tools to start and maintain a garden but during the trainings we were encouraged to use any available tools around the house, I didn't have a fork so I used a hoe instead, I also didn't have a watering can so I used a bucket to water my garden.  For preparing liquid manure, I used an old drum, which had been lying around in the yard”.
She continues to explain more of her challenges to us. When starting her garden she didn't put enough mulch when making the seedbed and this has resulted on her garden having too much weed.  As she lifts one of the leaves of the spinach you notice some whitish powdery stuff which she says appeared after the heavy rains we had a few weeks ago, Mr  Vusi Dlamini who is one of the LUSLM technical coordinators suspected that the spinach is infected with blight or mildew. He then encouraged her to use pesticides spray which she can actually make on her own with the aid of notes she received during the trainings.  These are natural pesticides made from a variety of plants that are known to repel pests.

She also shares with us that she recently attended a food processing training which was  facilitated by Mr Mavuso from LUSLIM )LUSIP-GEF) and the home economics officer, Mrs Nonhlanhla Shabalala from the Ministry of Agriculture. At this workshop, she learnt a lot about different healthy ways of cooking her produce. From the training she picked a few new recipes which her family enjoys a lot. Through the training she also learnt how to preserve the food through bottling, for use at a later time when the particular vegetable is not available.

Gamedze has great plans for the future of her garden. She hopes to extend it to a larger scale for commercialization. She says this won’t be too difficult for her since she won’t be spending too much money because she will use already available resources to start and maintain her garden. She dreams of supplying stores with her good organic produce one day.  “I would encourage every member of my community  to try this kind of gardening they will not regret it just like me, I now have something to keep me busy all day when my family is out some working and some at school. Most importantly I now save a lot of money and hopefully I will make some money in the future through this practice” are her parting words.

by Nicolo Berghinz

“This is just the beginning”: this is the recurrent expression from IFAD members and IFAD-supported participants at the end of a very productive week in terms of partnering, networking and opening new spaces, opportunities and paths aiming at concretely, effectively and efficiently scaling up the best south-south and triangular cooperation practices.

19-23 November hasn’t been a week like many others. It has been a special week. At the Expo, IFAD was represented by the Strategic Planning Division (Mr Gary Howe, Mr Cheikh Sourang, Mr Edward Heinemann, Mr Nicolo’ Berghinz, Ms Maria Luisa Saponaro), by the Asia Division (Mr Benoit Thierry), by the Policy and Technical Advisory Division (Mr Karan Sehgal) and by the Communication Division (Mrs Sophie De Vos).

Moreover, we sponsored the participation of several IFAD-related projects, programmes and activities. Among them, representatives from PROCASUR, from the Guangxi Integrated Agriculture Development Project (Mr Weichao Chen - GIADP – eco-farming biogas development), from a Kenyan portable biogas initiative (Mr Dominic Wanjihia); other relevant and possible future partners have also been invited, like Mr Hafeez Rehman From TERI (The Energy Resources Institute).

IFAD’s relevant contribution began right during day-1, during the High-level opening ceremony, the Leadership roundtable and the launch of major initiatives and partnerships; in particular, that contribution appeared during the Leadership roundtable, where IFAD offered its “knowledge” on the scaling up topic, asked ‘hard questions’ to the audience and opened a constructive and useful reflection/discussion among participants.

IFAD actively participated during the various sessions and, above all, co-led and co-sponsored (with FAO and UNIDO) Solution Forum 4 on “Energy, climate change and food security” during the third day. Several planning and debriefing meetings in preparation for -and as follow up to- this Forum (and other relevant events) have been organized. The Forum has been structured with 3 successive panels, with a total of 15 participants. The discussion has been extremely rich, dynamic and interactive, with many contributions and questions from the floor. The main focus was on how to scale up successful south-south and triangular cooperation positive experiences. The 3 moderators were:

  • Mr Cheikh Sourang (IFAD) 
  • Ms Hana Mitri Shahin (Executive Director, King Hussein Foundation)
  • H.E. Xia Jingyuan, permanent representative of China to IFAD, FAO and WFP. 
Among other participants, Mr Ye Anping (China, MoA), Mr Mpoko Bokanga (UNIDO), Mr Asai Makoto (JICA) and Mr Edward Heinemann (IFAD).

IFAD organized also 3 exhibition-stands where IFAD engagement in SSTC, as well as its best supported practices, have been showcased to the audience, estimated in more than 1,000 global SSTC practitioners (UN agencies, governments, field projects and programmes, NGOs, private sector,etc.). Several side-events meetings (bilateral and multilateral) have been organized and have given concrete fruits.

The Expo hasn’t just been an Expo. The meetings haven’t just been meetings. IFAD, through its proactive participation, opened new paths for its scaling up engagements through the SSTC tool. New basis for SSTC activities have been built (e.g. cooperation in China and with China), and a strong commitment on following-up the Expo (especially with Forum 4 partners and UNDP) outputs and outcomes has been taken. This is just the beginning.

IFAD has also been protagonist, during the fourth day, of the High-Level Meeting on “Innovative approaches towards effective development”.

IFAD’ s contribution to the Expo has been constantly recognized during the week, and this is something that we must be proud of. It is not a case if for next year’s  Expo, as well as for the forthcoming 1st Regional Arab Expo (May-June 2013), UNDP global organizers have explicitly requested for IFAD – during a bilateral side-event - an even more important and crucial role in the organizational phase, directly guiding the strategic content and the inputs of the event (e.g. co-sponsorship of the Arab Expo, co-leadership through participation in the Expo Board of Directors, participation in all meetings, fora, events and side-events through several IFAD representatives, etc.). IFAD welcomed the invitation and the kind request, and will soon have further talks with UNOSSC (in particular with its Cairo regional office) after in-house consultations with involved divisions and colleagues.

For more information/documentation, please contact us (Mr Sourang, Mr Berghinz, Ms Saponaro) or visit the Expo website  or the newly established IFAD webpage on South-South and Triangular Cooperation

And remember…this is just the beginning.