The team has left the Maniema Proveince a few days ago, but I still need to talk about the farmers that live live along the RN 31 after we made it there! Luckily Roberto (Longo, Farmer Organisations Technical Advisor) joined the team to better target questions and respond to the queries of our agricultural entrepreneurs.
After discussing how the women are organised, the methods they used and the like, the team concluded have concluded that what keeps this association of 23 women’s groups together, is the charisma and leadership of their President as well as the bonding factor brought in by having common fields where women have more time to socialise together even if they are working. The IFAD team asked the women what it is they would like as support for their group. Incredibly enough, what marked the women’s group from many others is that their request was Knowledge! The women asked for training to better manage their resources and to be able to acquire credit to buy a rice processing unit. This is becoming a pressing need because production is increasing and surpluses have a much higher value if already dehusked. This was really an encouraging group!
by Clare Bishop-Sambrook, PTA and Alessandro Marini, ESA
A participant from a mentored household
showing her land registration certificate
Earlier this week, Lawrence Kasinga, Programme Coordinator, and Judith Ruko, Rural Sociologist, from the Programme Management Unit of the District Livelihoods Support Programme in Uganda explained how household mentoring has enabled the programme to deepen the programme’s level of engagement in addressing poverty. The success of household mentoring has been recognised by the Ministry of Local Government which is keen to promote the mainstreaming of household mentoring into local government services to scale it up in those districts that are not covered by DLSP.
Alessandro Marini, CPM Uganda, welcomes this initiative. “I have worked as a CPM for a number of years and have struggled to find mechanisms through which we can reach out to the really poor households and allow them to benefit from the different activities and investments of the various projects that IFAD is financing. Household mentoring is enabling us to do that, and I am very committed to making increasing use of this in future activities in Uganda as the main tool of our country programme for targeting and social inclusion”.
In DLSP, poorer households are selected by the community to participate in household mentoring. These families are normally beyond the reach of the mainstream programme activities – they do not belong to farmer groups so do not benefit from agribusiness development initiatives, they have no surplus to sell so they do not benefit from improved market access, and they self-exclude themselves from community meetings so their views are not reflected in planning activities.
But after one or two year’s mentoring, the lives of poorer households turn around. Household sanitation and hygiene is improved, they undertake extremely modest investments (known as near-nil investments) to make use of the resources they have available – including under- or un-utilised land - and gradually household food security improves. Household members start connecting with ongoing initiatives – such as adult literacy classes - and accessing services – in particular health services. Household mentors also benefit by gaining status in the community.
How has this profound turn around been achieved? Household mentoring comprises visits to individual households by a trained mentor over a period of one to two years. The mentor engages with all adult members of a household to support them in examining their problems together, developing a vision and identifying their own pathways out of poverty, associating with others and – eventually - becoming self-sustaining entities. The change occurs because – as a result of this process - there is a new level of trust, transparency and motivation between household members built around their common vision.
Attention is also paid to identifying and addressing gender inequalities. As a result of engaging both with women and men in a household, joint land titling is common, women are gaining a voice both within the home and outside, and wife-beating is reducing dramatically.
Of course, there are challenges. Some mentors - who are all volunteers - lose heart, households do not want to be mentored, while successfully mentored households are reluctant to graduate. And sceptics will argue that – while this is a great initiative on a pilot basis – it is not replicable at scale. It is true that resources are required to train the community development staff, support them while they train the mentors, and provide modest remuneration to the mentors. But the benefits are enormous, tangible and sustainable. Compared to the other programme components, the costs are negligible.
Judith Ruko explained: “In DLSP, a network of over 600 mentors – back-stopped by District and Sub-county Community Development staff - across 13 districts has already mentored 18,000 households. We would estimate that around 60 per cent have now progressed to the point of becoming self-reliant and in a position to embark on a sustained pathway out of poverty”.
The PTA gender and targeting desk is preparing a sourcebook on household methodologies, in which the experience in DLSP will be show-cased. See earlier blogs about the household methodologies and the writeshop:
By Line Kaspersen
It is common practice to have stakeholder workshops when projects close; to validate project completion report findings and communicate them to stakeholders. In Uganda we are trying something new; as part of the increased corporate focus on impact evaluations, a team of 4 statisticians have come to support the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Programme (CAIIP-1) Project Facilitation Team (PFT) to ensure high quality on the other hand. On the other hand, IFAD will be able to develop technical concept notes on how best to analyse the impact of infrastructural projects. For CAIIP-1 we will produce a vigorous impact assessment of this successful project!
What is happening is that several different activities are on-going:
- A Results Impact Monitoring System (RIMS) study
- An impact evaluation study
- A Project Completion Report - PCR
- Updating M&E databases – PFT
- Harmonize the objectives and TORs of each consultancy firm (could one firm focus on community questionnaires and one on households?)
- Develop a common sampling methodology prior to data collection (first we need to discuss which control-groups are valid? What do we do when we don’t have a baseline?)
- Agree on the theory of change - what exactly we mean by impact? And on who?
- Review the available documentation and understand it well
- Technical support for data collection – developing questionnaires and training enumerators
- Bringing in external data-sources and GIS resources
- Specific cost-benefit analysis expertise
- Support for coordination of the parties
Strong national investment plans enable progress of a continental agricultual policy agenda for Africa
The President took the first part of the day, before the AU meeting, to meet with senior officials of the Government of Ethiopia. Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, first met with the Hon. Sileshi Getahun, the State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and in the afternoon, he met with the Hon. Ahmed Shide, the State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, to re-affirm IFAD’s partnership with the Ethiopian Government. He was accompanied by his adviser Luis Jimminez-Micinnis, the Representative and Country Director, Robson Mutandi, and the Country Programme Officer, Abebe Zelahun.
|Hon. Sileshi Getahun, the State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Develoment, welcomes Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, the President of IFAD.|
Shide, State Minister of Finance an Economic Development, met with the
President of IFAD to discuss ongoing cooperation between IFAD and the Government of Ethiopia.|