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Navegando el río juntos con el FIDA

Posted by Roxanna Samii Sunday, October 31, 2010 0 comments

por Regina Guex

Nos encontramos todos/todas en el Salón de reuniones, en el  día de la fecha,  estábamos un poco trasnochados/trasnochadas luego de la cena y la bailanta en el  salón de baile KONTIKI, con ocasión de la clausura de la jornada del II Conversatorio de Mujeres Rurales en Procesos Productivos: Generación de Valor y Distribución de Beneficios.

Sin embargo la calidez y buena predisposición de Maija, con el apoyo de Sandra y Timoteo, nos ayudó a entrar en la temática, llevándola adelante involucrándonos en la misma con facilidad, despertando nuestro interés desde el inicio mismo.

Luego del saludo inicial, se presentó el programa del día, sometiendo a consideración el mismo, ajustándolo, e, incluso consensuando la propuesta metodológica del tratamiento de los contenidos, lo cual nos pareció interesante.

La reunión se desarrolló, metafóricamente hablando, de manera parecida a desplazarse por un río desde el manantial, que es su misma naciente, hasta la desembocadura en el mar, pues, todo lo hablado empezaba desde ellas y para ellas “la gente beneficiaria” de los Proyectos FIDA, posicionándonos como actores clave en el proceso llevado adelante.

El viaje a través del río se iniciaba en las fuentes y extrañamente tenia avances y retorno a las mismas, seguíamos por los meandros, en sus vueltas y revueltas, refiriéndonos al paisaje particular de su recorrido, nos deteníamos en los afluentes, identificando aliados que podían alimentar al río con más caudal promoviendo mayor velocidad en su recorrido, pero cuidando que no se vuelva muy torrentoso arrastrándonos  en su incontrol, descansábamos en manantiales de gran transparencia. Cuando la reunión tenía aportes de gran calidad desde las/los compañeros, nos sorprendíamos gratamente con la creatividad de procesos sobre todo con las poblaciones vulnerables, pero en el recorrido también encontramos aguas profundas, que exigió de nosotros mucha habilidad para sortearlas con gran cuidado, aportando estrategias que posibilitaban no desembarcar, dando por finalizado el viaje, truncando procesos en marcha,  por lo cual aportábamos aspectos que posibilitarían superarlas con valor, y, avanzamos recorriendo los diferentes temas, hasta llegar a hacer altos para recuperar fuerzas y avanzar con mayor rapidez.

Retomábamos el viaje luego del compartir, en los espacios no formales, alimentando el cuerpo y el espíritu, en un ambiento altamente propositivo, las temáticas tratadas constituían nuestro cotidiano y encontrar respuestas en otras experiencias así como aportar las nuestras y en varios casos pensar juntas/juntos salidas a problemáticas comunes facilitaron en gran medida la fluidez de la reunión y nos ayudaron a llegar felizmente a destino.

Cuando llegó el momento de finalizar, ninguno/ninguna se dio cuenta, estábamos insertas en un proceso que no admitía final, habíamos arrancado tímidamente el viaje y a medida que lo vivíamos lo disfrutamos tanto que, al llegar a destino, sentíamos que estábamos unidas mas allá de una mera jornada,  la suma de nuestros talentos, de nuestras vivencias, de los anhelos de hacer bien las cosas de capitalizar los recursos en bienestar, en calidad de vida, nos trascendía y ello nos completaba totalmente como personas , pero sentíamos que necesitamos más, el camino es largo y los imponderables son muchos, los cambios necesarios son culturales, generacionales, y, estructurales, por ello trascienden nuestras individualidades, tanto profesionales como de Proyectos y de País incluso, nos necesitamos, necesitamos todo lo que se pueda aportar a esta Misión. Consideramos que este encuentro nos construyó, hoy somos un poco más, gracias al aporte del otro/otra, por ello considerándolo tan importante y vital, estaremos uniéndonos en redes no formales, que continúen este inacabado proceso de formación en la acción misma nuestra y en la del otro/otra.

Gracias compañeros/compañeras, amigas/amigos, gracias Maija, Gracias Mujeres Afro, gracias FIDA,
Gracias COSTA RICA.

¡HASTA PRONTO!  

Regina Guex
Proyecto Paraguay Rural
Paraguay

por Carmen Lucía Jaramillo Hoyos

Conservo en mi recuerdo la mirada serena y sabia  de Doña María Solano, nuestra anfitriona del día de ayer en su finca de Pacayas. Una mujer de poca estatura, pero con un corazón inmenso que irradia paz y vida a su alrededor.

Al llegar a su finca, rodeada  de una bella vegetación que se extiende a lo largo de un terreno ondulado, resalta el orden de la casa, la belleza de sus plantas y la sonrisa de sus nietas y nietos.

La primera impresión al entrar a su casa fue la de un hogar donde los detalles son muy importantes, ningún objeto está allí puesto sin una razón, no sólo práctica, sino también estética;  es evidente que ha cuidando delicadamente de crear un espacio agradable para la familia y sus visitantes. Tanto así que el camino para llegar a la porqueriza y a los cultivos de hortalizas, lo están acondicionando para que esté bordeado de flores.  Allí se evidencia que el lugar de las mujeres en la familia no sólo es estratégico para la producción, sino para el bienestar de todos y todas.

Doña María y su hija Marta, dejan claro con los resultados familiares y económicos, que la importancia de la mujer en los procesos productivos no radica sólo en su papel determinante para desarrollar nuevos proyectos, ingeniarse formas de  aumentar la producción y reducir costos, sino que radica también en conectarse profundamente con la vida para entender el mensaje de la tierra y sus animales y así desarrollar su negocio con un sentido profundamente vital.

Los logros a nivel productivo de la familia Guillén Solano con su finca sostenible son evidentes: un negocio de cerdos que partió con unos pocos animales, hoy cuenta con poco más de 200; con sus propios recursos iniciaron el cultivo de hortalizas y hoy tienen dos invernaderos y otros cultivos a campo abierto. Tanto es así que en 2008 doña María recibió la medalla al mérito agrícola en una premiación a nivel nacional.
Pero más allá de la certificación orgánica, los biodigestores, las cercas vivas, las curvas de nivel, el lombricompost y otros logros en el campo productivo, me llevo en el alma esa sinceridad con que Doña María dice:  “amo todo lo que sea vida”, refiriéndose a la dedicación que relataba su hija sobre el cuidado de los animales. El sello propio de la producción de su finca, es el de ser productos sembrados con amor.
Esta gran obra de amor que ha ido construyendo doña María, ha sido, según sus propias palabras, por el trabajo hombro a hombro con su esposo, de quien dice con orgullo que es un hombre maravilloso, con quien lleva 47 años de matrimonio. Es así como lo más impactante de esta empresa familiar llamada “Guisol” (por los apellidos Guillén y Solano de la familia)es el valor de la unidad familiar y la autogestión como pilares fundamentales para desarrollo humano y productivo de la familia.

Este es el caso de los Estasy, Válery y Héctor Daniel, los nietos de Doña María, que a sus  10 años ya saben qué proyectos quieren desarrollar y por eso tienen codornices, conejos y pollos que cuidan con dedicación, pero también con claridad de que serán un negocio si ahorran con disciplina como lo han hecho su abuela y su abuelo.

Un aprendizaje de la visita a terreno del día de ayer es que una  mirada femenina sobre las mujeres en los procesos productivos, no puede limitarse sólo a los datos sobre volúmenes de producción, generación de ingresos, tiempo dedicado a las labores, distribución de tareas productivas y reproductivas, sino que debe incluir también una perspectiva sobre la felicidad que puede producir  el trabajo, cuando este es realizado con amor y pasión en colaboración con todos los miembros de la familia.

Carmen Lucía Jaramillo Hoyos
Programa Oportunidades Rurales – Ministerio de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural
Colombia

Exciting news from the APR!

Posted by lucielamour 1 comments

Tonight the IFAD Asia-Pacific Annual Performance Review (APR) got underway in Nanning, China with an official opening. Asia and Pacific Division Director Thomas Elhaut broke exciting news: "the performance of the portfolio has improved greatly" ("yea!" he added, enthusiastically).

He stressed how the APR has evolved and grown not only in numbers but in content and structure. He said, "you told us that the APR was too much focused on IFAD concerns and not enough on thematic issues, and we listened". This APR will be giving people more time to share on substantive issues, through a variety of formats such as chat show, peer assist, fishbowl, speed sharing, mini-workshops and one-on-one sessions. "Of course", Thomas added, "also through corridor chats and coffee breaks".

Have a great APR everyone. We are looking forward to the next three days of discussions and learning.

por Lucía Valverde (MIES-IEPS Corredor Central, Ecuador)

En Costa Rica son las 6 de la mañana, éste el segundo día de conversatorio y un bus nos espera para llevarnos a conocer el lugar de los hechos: los campos que las actoras habían descrito el día anterior y donde no sélo han generado procesos productivos o han trabajado en cadenas de valor, pues han desarrollado sus vidas…..

Después de un sorteo rápido, estaré en el grupo que irá a visitar la finca orgánica de Hannia Villalobos. Hannia es una mujer muy extrovertida con un alto sentido del humor  y con un compromiso por lo que está haciendo, ello de pronto le dio la sociología -carrera que estudió -, pero sin duda eso también le dio su preciada tierra, su finca, sus semillas, sus animales…

Mientras nos movilizamos hacia allá, Hannia hizo de guía turística mostrándonos los lugares importantes de su país; ello me reveló que nuestra querida campesina-socióloga tuvo que hacerse multidiscliplinaria. Pues reconoce que no sabe muchas cosas que desde su actividad debería saberlo, pero también es muy enfática cuando habla de que las mujeres tienen siempre que preparase y estar en el ultimo grito de la moda en cuanto a procesos productivos, en aquellas palabras técnicas, pues, como bien dice ella “si no se aprende eso, estamos jodidas”, porque aprender las cosas técnicamente le genera mayor valor agregado a lo que se produce,  y entonces se posee capacidad para informarle al consumidor los valores nutricionales, las propiedades y características de lo que va a comer.

Mientras dura la visita, veo que la broma de los anteojos indispensables más que su esposo se va desvaneciendo, Rodolfo, un economista que dejó su empleo en el banco y se lanzó al campo, ha sido el compañero de su vida.

Rodolfo es quien le pone los números, los cálculos y los costos a la finca orgánica de la familia, esa es buena combinación; sociología, economía y naturaleza juntas permiten comprender que lo importante en la finca no es el dinero, pues cuando se ha hecho las cosas bien y se vende buenas kales, chuchuas, culantros, remolachas, espinacas, tomates, cebollas etc.  y se trabaja la tierra con el amor que lo hacen, el dinero para vivir simplemente es consecuencia de lo que se trabaja.

La finca de Hannia y Rodolfo forma parte de APROZONOC, una organización que está trabajando hortalizas con producción orgánica, su finca está certificada y es un oasis de vida en Tierra Blanca de Cartago, en medio de plantaciones de cebolla que se cultiva con agroquímicos.

Una vez que se cosecha, se venden los productos en la feria del agricultor en San José los días viernes. Tienen clientes desde hace muchos años, y la calidad de sus productos  ha desembocado en que más que clientes se han hechos sus amigos. Un arquitecto consumidor les diseñó su casa, el gerente de la Nissan también consumidor les ayudó para que a través de un crédito conveniente, puedan tener un carro nuevo. Son amigos de muchos años los conocen tanto que la producción que se pone a  la venta suele durar tres horas en la feria.

Hannia siempre está pensando en que uno de los factores del éxito son las articulaciones institucionales, pues así se puede aprovechar mejor los recursos y evitar la duplicación de esfuerzos, también señala que hay que formar y consolidar redes; redes de producción pero también de ayuda mutua,  desde la cuales se intercambie desde opiniones hasta semillas, pues eso en realidad es pensar desde la solidaridad.

Al final, luego de verla en acción  y envidiar de alguna forma su manera de exponer sus productos, regala las semillas con las cuales ha podido formar un banco, ésa es su pasión porque genera soberanía y seguridad alimentarias y permite el intercambio de producción con las demás asociadas.


La visita de campo no sólo demostró la finca orgánica, los productos y la deliciosa comida que nos ofrecieron; además de respirar la naturaleza, de admirar el verdor de su terreno, la tecnología orgánica de su abonos, se notó el amor que Hannia y Rodolfo sienten el uno por el otro, y entonces pensé que todo lo que está hecho con amor tiene éxito. Esas son las mujeres rurales que le encuentran sentido a su vida y con la cual da gusto compartir toda clase de opiniones, esas mujeres rurales son las que tienen la película clara de cómo entenderse en la territorialidad de su espacio. Pero además cuentan con la capacidad de ponerse en el espacio de los demás, y eso es pensar desde el largo debate del verdadero discurso del género, ellas lo resuelven fácil, porque lo viven, pero están concientes de que hay que seguir trabajando por aquellas mujeres que aun siendo dueñas de su terreno, no pueden disfrutar de su tierra, su familia y su mundo.

Concluyo finalmente que la analogía de Hannia es muy sabia: anteojos y esposo son lo que ella ha definido como bueno para su vida.

Lucía Valverde
MIES-IEPS, PDCC (650-EC)
Ecuador

Development Pro-Poor Business Models with the Private Sector Workshop

Posted by Nebat Sukker Thursday, October 28, 2010 0 comments

The two day Development Pro-Poor Business Models with the Private Sector workshop organized by CIAT, kicked off yesterday October 27, 2010, at IFAD Headquarters. Attendees from the public sector consisted of the Minister and the Vice-Minister of rural and agricultural development of Guatemala and the Dominican Republic as well as representatives from three farmers' cooperatives. Representatives from the private sector included Agexport, Cadbury’s/ Kraft, Oxfam, the Sustainable Food Lab, SYSCO, Unilever, and other well-known organizations and businesses; alongside IFAD staff, working together to provide opportunities for a strategic dialogue on various issues and challenges such as:

  • How can supply chains benefit both business and development?
  • How can private-sector links be leveraged to support social development for rural people, especially women and youth?
  • How can we learn from the private sector?

Highlights from yesterday's workshop are below.

The first presentation led by Mark Lundy, Senior Researcher Decision and Policy Analysis Program CIAT considered how building sustained business relationships can contribute to poverty reduction and identified the challenges and best ways to facilitate a move towards sustained partnerships.

Subsequently, an invigorating panel discussion led by Giulia Di-Tommaso, Marco Cruz, Craig Watson and Tulio García dealt with motivation and questions from the private sector on how to collaborate with IFAD in the future.

This was followed by another panel discussion, involving Iván Buitrón from Agexport, Juan Santos from Agrisem, Tulio Garcia from Cooperativa Cuatro Pinos, Jairo Flores from FONAPAZ, and Enrique Murguia Oropeza, CPM of LAC Division, which reviewed and shared lessons learnt on IFAD’s approach regarding partnership with the private sector and also provided examples.

Later a dialogue chaired by David Bright from Oxfam and Justin Tait from Unilever emphasized how important it is to leverage business linkages for poverty reduction, in which insights from the SUNRISE initiative - an Oxfam /Unilever partnership on smallholder sourcing was shared.

The last part of the afternoon led by Don Seville, Co-Director Sustainable Food Lab and Mark Lundy was dedicated to a discussion on funding and partnership models between the public sector, private sector, and producers, and how to promote further innovation in this field.

por María del Carmen Maciel Cruz

Miradas reveladoras, risas compartidas, interés por conocer de ellas y todas con un mismo objetivo: SER RECONOCIDAS.

Un comentario de mi compañera mexicana “¿Conversatorio? Más bien diríamos “Chismerío”… al momento que esperamos el elevador para iniciar la búsqueda de alzar nuestra voz, sin gritar, pero ¡fuerte! para ser escuchadas.

Así da inicio el II Conversatorio Internacional “Las mujeres rurales en los procesos productivos: Generación de valor y distribución de beneficios” en San José, Costa Rica.

Alrededor de 80 personas, un 95% de mujeres, nos reunimos en la Sala Milt del Hotel Balmoral, para “conversar” como nos gusta, entre mujeres.

Los caballeros un poco apenados, participaron atentos pero callados, seguramente al sentir el poder femenino, reunido en un mismo salón.

Sabemos que las mujeres nos hemos enfrentado, desde nuestros antepasados, a la discriminación social, política, cultural.

Y nos preguntamos: ¿Por qué nuestras actividades no son reconocidas, no tienen prestigio, poder? ¿Tenemos derechos? ¿Cuáles son? ¿Hasta cuándo seremos valoradas por nuestras capacidades?

Padecemos las consecuencias de una subordinación discriminatoria, presentando analfabetismo, sumisión, violencia intrafamiliar, agresión sexual, humillaciones y subvaloración de manera cotidiana.

Es el hombre quien da este singular “valor” a la mujer, quién es el protagonista, el hacedor de la cultura. La sociedad conoce y acepta esta condición privilegiada porque “así ha sido siempre”.

Tenemos el compromiso de continuar promoviendo la participación de la mujer y su acceso, en igualdad de condiciones, a los recursos y a los programas de apoyo ofertados en el sector adecuado de nuestro país.
Todas tenemos grandes talentos y habilidades, tareas por hacer, cosas por aprender y más acciones que emprender.

Somos mujeres trabajadoras de familia, que hacemos actividades no remuneradas y con poco reconocimiento social, como el cuidado y la educación de los hijos, la limpieza y manutención de la casa; mientras que las funciones de producción que muchas veces requieren de mayor fuerza física, se asignan al hombre, y no sólo son ampliamente valoradas y remuneradas, sino que además generan poder, autoridad y estatus social.

Una mujer empresaria tiene que lidiar con el hecho de que a veces su marido puede apropiarse de sus ingresos para sus propios fines. También puede ocurrir que su marido retire su contribución al hogar sosteniendo que ya no es necesario, puesto que su mujer tiene sus propios ingresos. Como resultado, la mujer podría tener que utilizar todos los ingresos procedentes de su negocio para el mantenimiento diario de sus hijos, encontrándose ante la imposibilidad de reinvertir a niveles adecuados. El capital activo de su empresa podría entonces desaparecer.

Esto implica que el verdadero desafío está en la democratización de estructuras familiares mediante la distribución equitativa de responsabilidades, tanto económicas como del cuidado y atención de los hijos en una asociación armoniosa y libre de violencia, tanto al interior de la familia como en la comunidad en su conjunto, éste reto trascendente significa necesariamente una revolución cultural que rompe con los esquemas de vida de tradiciones indígenas comparable con el proceso de evangelización que sufrieron hace quinientos años, y cuyos resultados positivos no pueden pensarse a corto plazo.

El crecimiento de las empresas en manos de mujeres se ve limitado por las relaciones desiguales de poder dentro del hogar, esto se manifiesta a través de la división del trabajo por género y del control ejercido por los hombres en la economía doméstica. Debido a que las tareas domésticas son asignadas casi siempre a las mujeres, tienen que dividir su tiempo entre dichas tareas y sus actividades empresariales, las cuales se ven afectadas por no ser atendidas.

Entonces, cuál es nuestra “identidad” si tenemos múltiples roles, como mujeres, esposas, madres, hijas, empresarias.

Recapacitemos y pensemos, vamos a defendernos, hacer valer nuestros derechos, pero hagámoslo de manera constructiva y propositiva.

Considero que este encuentro nos servirá para abrir los ojos, y no sólo los propios, si no los ojos del mundo, porque es una problemática que aqueja a toda la población de diferentes comunidades con diversidad cultural, pero del mismo género, MUJER, al frente de proyectos productivos que pueden surgir ahora, y que a través del fortalecimiento y apoco económico, podrán crecer.

María del Carmen Maciel Cruz
Proyecto PRODESNOS (674-MX)
México

Reflecting on Agknowledge Africa Knowledge Share Fair #sfaddis

Posted by Roxanna Samii Wednesday, October 27, 2010 0 comments

I am still all jazzed up and energized by the great Addis Share Fair experience. So, what was so special about this event?

An African event for Africans
Well, for one thing, it was an African event, organized primarily by African for Africans. I do not have the list of participants handy, but I think I am correct to say that 90% of the participants came from Africa! We did a spectogram in the water pathway - where we organized ourselves between North and South pole. It was amazing to see that only 3 people were from the North and the rest came from the South!!

Fully immersed in Ethiopian culture
In true spirit of knowledge sharing, the organizers - the incredible ILRI team - did a remarkable job of weaving in the local culture in almost every aspect of the Share Fair. Starting with the wonderful Bunna ladies serving us coffee, to the Ethiopian horn blower - our official time keeper - to creating an Ethiopian market place where participants spent an entire afternoon learning and sharing with each other and last but not least the exquisite Ethiopian food.

Share Fair footprint
Often as KM practitioners we are asked to show the impact of our work. The Addis Share Fair provided numerous opportunities to see the impact and footprint of our collective knowledge management and knowledge sharing efforts.

For example, no matter which session you attended, be it a pathway or a focus group, we saw quite a number of highly engaged and passionate African colleagues facilitating the different sessions using different knowledge sharing methods. We also had a relatively big and vibrant social reporting team. What was wonderful was how participants immediately embraced and put to practice what they learnt on day zero.

We started off with almost no audio coverage. Thanks to Day Zero "I know how day", we ended up having a great podcasting site on Podomatic, a flourishing video section, an equally flourishing blog, many participants contributed to the photo gallery, we had an extraordinary buzz on Twitter.

Inspiring keynote address
Unlike other events that have a rigid and stiff opening session - with lots of rhetoric and formal speeches - the opening session for Addis Share Fair ended up being pretty informal and genuine. All those who took the floor talked about how their respective organizations are engaged with and have embedded knowledge sharing in their core business.

Owen Barder - a charismatic and compelling speaker - delivered an inspiring speech on the importance of knowledge for development. Listening to him talk about importance of concentrating on making knowledge in development more evolutionary and the fact that perhaps we do not really need authoritative answers but rather diversity in answers and as he said "We need diversity, engagement and feedback process", made me realize that if had more people like Owen who can so eloquently offer different perspectives, people who think and conceptualize out of the box, people who bring something new to the table, perhaps we would make huge leaps in achieving both our development and knowledge goals.

Owen is perhaps one of the kind, but at least his refreshing and unconventional talk inspired many of us to the point that we are still talking about it and sharing the gems with colleagues. So who knows, maybe as a result of his talk, we will start a change process within our respective organizations and a year from now, we can claim that this too is a result and footprint of the Agknowledge Africa Share Fair!

Learning pathways and focus groups
In retrospect, the idea of the learning pathways was quite a happenstance. In June, Peter was passing through Rome and our PROCASUR colleague Ariel also happened to be in town. In our conversations with Peter, we suggested that he meet Ariel and pick his brain... and so the idea of "learning pathways" was born from this short but intense brainstorming session.

On the last day of the fair, we heard a short summary of the learning and sharing that happened in the various learning pathways. While all the participants seemed to have enjoyed the experience and learnt from each other, perhaps we could have got more mileage from this new learning and sharing paradigm by providing a space for the pathways to intersect. For example, we could have organized a joint session between the land, water and livestock pathways. This would have allowed participants to exchange and cross fertilize ideas and would have provided the space to get to know more about each others' work, aspirations and challenges - and who knows perhaps we would have achieved different outcomes!

Another innovation in this share fair where the numerous focus groups which provided an opportunity to discuss and share experiences on a wide variety of topics - ranging from reporting on agriculture, to use of mobile telephony, the future of telecentres, process of write shops, how to make sure content travels, challenges and opportunities of working with researchers, and the hot topic of how to engage with young people and what is that we need to do to make living in rural areas enticing!

I think we should definitely replicate the focus groups at future share fairs and if we have hot topics such as youth, we should try and see how to have repeat sessions or even better, how we can have multiple sessions building on each other.

Lessons learnt
Talking of lessons learnt, at the penultimate session of the Share Fair, we finally had the pleasure of hearing the voices of farmers - the very people that we serve. The farmers were indeed the "missing link"  in the Share Fair. Perhaps the biggest lesson learnt for future share fairs is to make sure that we have adequate representation from all the people who we work with and serve - this means smallholder farmers, producers but also decision makers.

When we talk about decision makers, I do not necessarily mean exclusively policy makers - that is ministers of agriculture or finance - but also our organizational decision makers. I believe senior colleagues would have benefited from experiencing the buzz and energy of the Share Fair. They undoubtedly would have learnt from the participants and it goes without saying that they would have had a lot to offer. So perhaps for next time, collectively we should make sure that these events make it to their busy agendas and they take the time to participate in similar events.

As mentioned above, it was really great to see our African colleagues facilitating the various sessions. What we need to do now, is to make a concerted effort to train and build the skills of a new cadre of African facilitators, so that at the next share fair we see new African colleagues taking the lead in training participants and facilitating many more sessions.

Building on this extraordinary experience, we should try and organize more regional events organized by the region for the region and involve much more stakeholders both at grassroots and decision making levels.

What next?
Almost a week after the share fair, I am still living off its energy - and believe me this is really extraordinary! I think I can safely say that as a result of this event, we all managed to expand and extend our networks. We met new colleagues and for sure we'll be calling on each other as and when needed.

So when will be coming back together in another Share Fair? We're all working towards orchestrating a global knowledge share fair late 2011. In the meantime, hopefully there will be more  regional and why not more focused thematic share fairs.

Last but not least, I hope that the #sfaddis blogposts have managed to transmit the spirit of learning and sharing, openness, fun and satisfaction of building colleagues capacity to take on new roles and become agents of change.



I am now sitting at the penultimate session of the Agknowledge Africa Knowledge Share Fair - Focus on Farmers. I am sorry the event is coming to an end. The purpose of this share fair was to share and learn and I believe that we've achieved this goal. I hope that the fair has left a footprint in the hearts, minds and souls of the participants. 


Earlier in the day I attended the radio and telecentre focus groups. The radio session was a great example of the impact of the Share Fair. The room was packed with participants who before the share fair did not know anything about podcasting, podcasting/audio software and hardware. Three days later here they were showing us the audio files they have created, sharing tips on how to conduct an effective interview and discuss challenges of interviewing with the help of an interpreter and avoiding being lost in translation.

We closed the radio session with one of the participants saying: "YES WE CAN. I now know HOW TO."  That was such a wonderful way of finishing the session and showed the footprint of the share fair.

Often we are asked "what has been the impact of events such as share fair". The impact of these events are transformative. They change the way people work. They open your mind and remove the cobwebs in your mind and as a result you inevitably change behaviour which is transformative.

The telecentre session discussed issues of sustainabililty and how to generate local content. I think we came out of the session agreeing that we should rebapitze telecentres to "Knowledge hubs"  or "Service centres". 

On issue of sustainability, Paul offered some pragmatic advice on how to create a sustainable service centre, namely make sure:
  • your services are competitive
  • have a number of subsidized services so that you can keep your competitive edge
  • provide a number of free services - especially services that really add value and improve the livelihoods of the smallholder producers, smallholder farmers and rural people
During the session participants mentioned that farmers are willing to pay for information and knowledge which is relevant to them. Personally, I have a problem with that, as we should consider knowledge is public global good and should be made available free of charge. But I stand to be corrected.

The group talked about how in Africa the village experts do not recognize themselves as experts and this is one of the reasons why local knowledge is  not documented and shared. We talked about how Africans should exploit and make sure to systematically use their oral culture, their tradition of drama and songs to share local content.

One of the best reflections of this session was the fact that often indigenous knowledge is not valued and challenged by experts/researchers. This made me reflect that  it seems to be human nature to underestimate one's own knowledge, perhaps this is why sharing tacit knowledge is a challenge?

We just finished the small group reflection and learning session and have successfully summarized the footprint and impact of this remarkable event in a tweet. Stay tuned and we'll be tweeting them live shortly. Follow #sfaddis

By Willem Bettink


This second day has been very dense with discussion and sharing of experiences that has moved the land pathway onto developing its initial thoughts for the learning route(s). The morning session opened by presenting a first digestion of thoughts based on the country experiences presented yesterday. The experiences with various local land use planning shared the concern of the risk to exclude some particular groups of the local population from access to land in particular pastoralists, and very poor women.

An innovative approach by the SWADE-project in Swaziland enabled the integration of local land use planning into local development planning involving the communities throughout the process. This led Sharefair participants in the land pathway to consider if they should address the local land issues in the broader context of a sustainable livelihoods plan instead of as a stand alone issue.

These reflections fitted well with the presentation of the scoping paper1 prepared by Fiona Flintan, which provides an overview of the benefits and challenges of customary land tenure systems. These include aspects such as: a focus on groups versus individuals; what factors influence the development of the customary system; and what are the challenges for various stakeholders involved.

But how does all of this work in practice-what was learned so far? There needs to be an enabling environment in place; achieving a shared vision and consensus between stakeholders; provision of legal backing for defining roles and responsibilities and a CBO with strong leadership, ownership and capacity.

Halfway though the day the land pathway opened its doors to Ariel Halpern of PROCASUR who completed his Odyssey leaving Chile last Saturday arriving today at the Sharefair at ILRI in Addis. For sure he had not lost his energy to stimulate us with his personal reflections and thoughts. He took us through what is known as the learning route –a tool developed and successfully delivered to support small farmers, women and youth in about 23 countries by PROCASUR.

Learning Routes has proven to be a flexile tool adapting it’s use to a diversity of topics(e.g.local government, land, gender, culture assets, rural business, rural ICTs, rural youth) and a wide range of people and countries specificity. Ariel defined the learning route fundamentals to be:

  • Recognize that in rural areas it is possible to find successful solutions to existing and common problems which can be adapted and multiplied in other context; and
  • Use a learning strategy that enables participants to acquire direct knowledge and arouse their curiosity and interest in learning.
Mino Hardi from Madagascar, who participated in the learning route on Women and Land rights, said that she started the learning route with a lot of ideas about what to do. The powerful experience for her was to visit communities and see how people had achieved putting similar ideas she had into practice –this gave an enormous push to her motivation to pursue her ideas once she returned form this learning route to Madagascar.

At this deep hour into the day, maps of Africa were pulled out! Participants were asked to map out the challenges they face in their countries, what they have to learn and what experiences/practices they can share. Enough for now, but more to follow tomorrow from this committed lot of practitioners!!!



[1] Recognizing, formalizing and supporting customary land tenure in multi-use landscapes- Scoping paper (work in progress) by Fiona Flintan for the International Land Coalition.  

Day two of Agknowledge Africa Knowledge Share Fair features focus groups

Posted by Roxanna Samii Wednesday, October 20, 2010 0 comments

Day two of the Agknowledge Africa Share Fair featured a series of focus groups. Participants had a wide choice and seamlessly distributed themselves among nine different focus groups.

I attended a fascinating session entitled "reporting agriculture" followed by a frustrating session on "mobile devices".

Susanna Thorp from WRENmedia gave a great presentation highlighting the challenges and opportunities of reporting on agricultural related issues. "Agriculture is a multidimensional and multifaceted subject", said Susanna. I was so pleased to hear Susanna refer to smallholder farmers as entrepeneurs.  This statement resonates exactly with IFAD's vision!

She then proceeded to touch upon another topic close to IFAD's heart - young people. "We need to reach out to the young people, agriculture is not SUBSISTENCE only. Agriculture is a source of business!", said Susanna.

Not pre-empting the youth session later during the day, we talked how we can keep young people in the  farming business. There was a consensus that for this to happen farming has to become a source of income.

The participants recognized that farmers do farming in an integrated manner and they do not just tackle one single aspect. This may be a challenge when one has to report about the topic. At the same time everyone recognized that farmers need to trust their information/knowledge source.

Moving to challenges and opportunities of reporting on agriculture, participants mentioned that one of the challenges we collectively face is to make journalists understand the value of reporting about agriculture. How can we make agriculture an enticing and attractive subject matter?

Rob Burnet shared a wonderful story of convergence of various technologies to communicate effectively. So we start with gold old radio. There was unanimous recognition that radio is an important communication tool for farmers to share information and knowledge.

Rob  talked about an FM station run out of Kenya by young people called Shujaaz. What these young people are doing is absolutely remarkable. Besides running the FM station, they are disseminating agriculture related stories via a comic book, which they are distributing through the National Kenyan newspaper and through 12,000 M-PESA kiosks!!!

Moving on from radio, more convergence with social media tools. Shujaaz.fm also has a Facebook account with over 5000 followers, uses Twitter and of course the ubiquitous SMS messaging.

Susanna concluded the session by saying: "If you want to sell anything - especially if you wish to share and report on agriculture you need to be passionate!" And believe me there were many many passionate participants under the tent!!

Later during the day, I attended the  mobile session and also virtually participated in the youth session thanks to Gauri's tweet coming out of that session.

I was very frustrated by the mobile session, as I heard more and more about pilot programmes which did not quite make it to the real world. This is really sad. I fail to understand why we need to duplicate and reinvent the wheel when it comes to developing mobile applications. How many market information applications do we need? How many pest control applications do we need.

I came out of that session thinking that there is little or no hope for private-public partnership. I think the only viable way of making any head way is for governments to play a much more prominent role and take things into hand!

In my virtual conversation with Gauri it was nice to see IPSAfrica (@ipsafrica) chipping. I hope they take the suggestion of hosting a virtual converation with young African people to see what is needed for them to stay in rural areas and become the future entrepreneurs!

We finished the morning with a lovely typical Ethiopian lunch. As today was Wednesday, we had a special "fasting lunch", which was based on beans, fish and vegetables!

I've now become an addict to the Bunna, so I proceeded to the Bunna corner and thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful Ethiopian coffee.

Tonight promises to be an exciting night. We'll be having a barbecue and we've been promised good music by the best DJ in town!!!


Feeding a global population of just over nine billion in 2050 will put even greater pressure on our planet’s scarce natural resources, and the challenges will be multiplied by climate risk and uncertainty. If we are to succeed, the world’s 500 million smallholder farms will need to play an even greater role in contributing to global food supply and distribution. Already two billion people rely directly on them, and a lot more could. For that to happen, we must acknowledge – and act on the fact - that smallholder farmers are key agents not only of economic growth and food security, but also of better management and preservation of the environment.



Opportunities and risks are multiplying fast. Globalization and international competition have opened up markets to developing countries, but markets and agri-food chains are often difficult to access for smallholders. The natural resources that poor rural populations depend on continue being degraded and yields in the poorest areas continue to stagnate or deteriorate. As much as 5-10 million hectares of agricultural land are lost each year to severe degradation through over-use and poor land management which results in depletion of soil nutrients. This not only has a direct negative impact on agricultural productivity, making farming a more risky economic activity, it also leaves the land more vulnerable to extreme weather patterns, and depletes its potential to provide fresh water, air and soil.


Climate change multiplies all of these risks. As temperatures increase, farming systems will have to change, in some cases radically. Poor rural people everywhere will be affected, with women, indigenous groups and youth likely to face particular threats.


So how can we respond? The Green Revolution has marginalized many smallholder farmers, who did not have access to the necessary inputs. Moreover, it was in many instances not environmentally sustainable because of the extensive use of inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation to push yields up. There are many areas where croplands were overexploited and water tables depleted, and the replacement of traditional varieties with new high yield varieties eroded biodiversity.


But there are alternatives. Over the past two decades, IFAD and others have piloted and in many cases scaled up low-input, ecosystem-based production practices. Examples include integrated pest management, conservation and zero-tillage production systems and other sustainable land management approaches.


These approaches are taking off around the world. Brazil now produces 50% of its grain through zero-till, which abandons ploughing altogether by harvesting the crop high on the stalk, allowing the remains to rot and enrich the soil, and sees the next crop planted directly into the mat of organic material. To give a project example, an IFAD-supported farmer exchange between Niger and Burkina Faso has revived traditional planting techniques on semi-arid land degraded through successive droughts. This involved improved rainwater harvesting, the use of organic farm waste materials and a bit of ecosystem-based support from termites that eat and digest the waste, making it easier for the plant roots to absorb the nutrients. Local communities witnessed such dramatic yield improvements that the number of hectares planted with this method went from 4 to over 4,000 in just a few years. The number continues to rise, improving livelihoods and increasing the climate resilience of these communities.


Such new approaches centre around maintaining ground cover and minimizing soil disturbance to preserve its structure, and both rely on and support an array of ecosystem services. The driver for these approaches is sustainable poverty reduction and development. While smallholders and their communities account for only a tiny fraction of global emissions, it is worth noting that these “multifunctional” approaches tend to be low-emission. Through an integrated approach based on traditional development aid, the Global Environment Facility, new climate finance and in thoughtful collaboration with the private sector, we can achieve long term poverty reduction objectives and simultaneously build environmental benefits, climate resilience and low carbon growth pathways.

Where incentives are not strong enough for farmers to adopt these practices we must redouble our efforts. There is significant “untapped” potential for smallholders to benefit from mitigation and other innovative financing, where additional gains, including climate resilience, can be harvested for the poorest. There are opportunities for smallholders to bolster environmental services such as a reliable high-quality water supply and biodiversity through payments for environmental services (PES) in upland watersheds and protected areas. And we need to increase smallholders’ access to eco-friendly value chains by overcoming barriers such as costly certification.


Our challenge is shifting attitudes from perceiving agriculture as a short term “extractive” activity to correctly understanding it as a long-term inter-relationship with the Earth’s natural systems. Climate change brings a renewed imperative plus practical opportunities to achieve this shift.

Posted also on:

By Willem Bettink

The land pathway got underway with knowledge from land right practitioners from Benin, Tanzania, Niger, Madagascar, Swaziland, Ethiopia and the Philippines. The focus of this pathway is to map out complementary good practices and innovations as part of a knowledge exchange programme on the customary land tenure and management systems.

Mike Taylor of the International Land Coalition opened by saying that, “Access to land and secure land tenure are key to poverty reduction”. During this first day participants shared their experiences with local customary land issues. Michael Odhiambo(Reconcile) identified a set of challenges they face in working with pastoralist in East –Africa and how empowerment of smallholder producers- pastoralist, farmers and fisher folk-is one of the ways to address these challenges. A participant stated” Can we empower pastoralists? Or have they been disempowered-as it is they who have all the knowledge about the land.”

As the day progressed it became clear that different countries (Tanzania, Benin, Madagascar) are facing the same challenge. As so often the problem is how we address the challenge together building upon each other knowledge rather then facing it alone deprived of that shared knowledge.

All in all the land practitioners proofed to be people of endurance and passionate commitment as this pathway went on for the whole day- and two more intense days will follow. Hopefully as of tomorrow with the participation of Ariel who has been travelling with his knowledge from Chile since Saturday!!

An afternoon well spent at the agknowledge Share Fair market place!

Posted by Roxanna Samii Tuesday, October 19, 2010 0 comments


One of the great things about the Addis Share Fair is how the organizers have weaved in the local culture in this event. We've now got used to drinking Bunna - Ethiopian coffee, have wonderful Ethiopian lunch. Tomorrow we'll have a special lunch - because it is fast day!!!

The market place was the "pezzo forte" of the day! In line with the underlying principle of sharing the local culture, the market place mimicked an Ethiopian market place. The idea was that everyone walks around the market place and share their knowledge.

The participants had a great afternoon walking through the ILRI complex and visiting the various stalls. At the merkato we found wonderful ladies selling typical Ethiopian garments, scarves, shoes, belts and jewellery.
The climate change stall used GIS maps to show the impact of climate change. At the Guilt we saw lots of knowledge sharing happening. The art exhibition and the Bunna station was a nice pit stop to replenish and where you could see some beautiful paintings and have a nice cup of coffee.

Since ILRI is hosting this wonderful event, all the organizers were equipped with a livestock head - a donkey. We used this means of transportation to share our knowledge within the market place. It was FUN!!!!

Everyone had a great time and found the use of this innovative transportation mean very amusing. We finished off the day with "tasting session" where we  we tasted different types of Ethiopian honey and were served local Ethiopian drink.

It was a great day! Now we are doing the after action review of the day and we'll be going out to celebrate PierAndrea's birthday.

Tomorrow the pathways will continues and we'll start with focus groups!!! So stay tuned.

A domani!


At 8:50 on the dot, our Ethiopian horn blower - the official time keeper - called us to order and over 300 participants gathered in the big tent for the opening session of Agknolwedge Knowledge Share Fair. What a nice turn out!!!

For the opening session we had short statements from Bruce Scott ILRI's boss, followed by Lamourdia Thiombian, FAO representative, Koda Traore, CTA and I had the honour of representing IFAD.

Bruce talked about the how important it is for smallholder farmers to have the required knowledge to support and boost the agriculture sector in Africa. He talked about how smallholder farmers hold the key to transforming agriculture in Africa - something very close to IFAD's heart, mission and vision.

Mr Thiombian stressed the importance of informal gatherings, such as this very event to facilitate knowledge sharing across all levels. He also underscored the fact that people in Africa have a very good culture of sharing knowledge which has not necessarily been used for scientific purposes.

Mr Thiombian very succinctly shared the connecting and collecting dimensions of knowledge management, knowledge sharing in this soundbites: "Knowledge sharing is not only about sharing, it's about people networking and working together".

Koda representing CTA talked about how we should not confine knowledge in a box and highlighted the importance of sharing it and allowing knowledge to flow freely, horizontally and vertically.

I had the honour of representing IFAD and gave a bit of history of how this share fair came to be and how Share Fair 2009 co-organized by the Rome-based agencies has positively impacted our respective organizations and helped us to demystify knowledge management. No doubt, this Africa Share Fair will bring another wave of these changes.

I also talked about importance of putting local knowledge in the forefront and sharing it, sharing it and sharing it!

Owen Barder gave a compelling talk entitled "is agriculture the key to development". You can download at http://www.owen.org/wp-content/uploads/101019-Addis-Share-Fair.pdf. Owen is a very charismatic and compelling speaker, so I probably will not do him justice by trying to summarize the salient points of his talk, that is why I recommend you look at his presentation yourselves - especially the slide on

He talked about why knowledge is important for development. He talked about how through out history information and knowledge matters because it is a fundamental driver for economic growth. He then introduced the concept of wicked problems which are at the heart of development, and how we sometimes fail to understand these problems let alone even dreaming to coming up with a solution for them.

He showed a video to make the case that all successful complex systems are the result of evolution!!! What a concept, right?!!! And proceeded to make the point that development is "wicked problem" and has many complexities.

He made the case that we need to concentrate on making knowledge in development more evolutionary and the fact that we do not need authoritative answers, but diversity in answers. He said: "We need diversity, engagement and feedback process".

He underscored the importance of feedback loops as they drive performance in terms of service delivery and made the case that as change makers we need to build feedback loops. He proceeded to say that people get information in the context of something that they are doing and in the context of their daily life!

He made the case for publishing information in an open standard way to allow a seamless sharing of information.

His slide on shift of paradigm and how knowledge for development has evolved over time from secrecy to communication to being wired - or rather all the concepts that have expired, or are tired and finally the new paradigm of engagement is a gem!!!! One to live by!!

Thank you Owen for such a refreshing and unconventional talk. Much appreciated. I sincerely hope our paths will cross sooner rather than later, because all of us have a lot to learn from you!!!

So this was just a short summary of this morning. As I am writing this blogpost, the market place is well under way. I'll be posting the pictures shorty, so do not run away!!! Stay put. More coming soon.

Day zero: "I know HOW day" starts at Agknowledge share fair #sfaddis

Posted by Roxanna Samii Monday, October 18, 2010 0 comments

Our day started bright and earlier. At 9:00am sharp, the wonderful Ethiopian horn blower called us to order and we all gathered in the tent for Day Zero - or what was rebaptized as "The I know HOW day".

Before breaking out into parallel sessions, the participants identified language barrier and choice of appropriate tool and/or method as knowledge sharing challenges. The group also discussed how it would be unreasonable to expect a farmer who does not have access to the internet or cannot read or write fluently to use the internet as their primary source of information. We also talked about the challenge of technicians and researchers writing a 500 page highly technical report which hardly anyone would read. The participants recognized the fact that we need to prepare succinct and well written knowledge products which summarize and provide the salient points and findings!

The face-to-face session was facilitated by KM4Dev colleagues: Pete, Ewen, Gauri, Willem and Roxy. We started off with an icebreaker giving the over 30 participants to share something about themselves. Since we did not have a set agenda, to come up with an agenda, Pete and Ewen used open space to develop "an agenda".


Colleagues proposed a number of face-to-face knowledge sharing methods and by voting the group decided to learn more about peer assist - hosted by Willem, After Action Review - hosted by Edna, Story telling hosted by Roselin.

The participants then got organized and attended the various sessions. At the end of the session we did an After Action Review, which helped us to further fine tune the afternoon session.

As a result, we decided to use speed geeking as an icebreaker, rather than the ball in the room method. I must admit it was better!!! Especially  because it was after lunch and the speed geeking also served as energizer!!!

If you've been following our tweets, you would have undoubtedly noticed that Ethiopian culture is one of the underlying principles of this event. So we not only have the horn blower who helps us to keep time, but also the Bunna corner - which is traditional Ethiopian coffee.

These wonderful ladies are around all day and ready to serve us coffee and to share their culture and history!! So knowledge sharing is not just about the highly tense technical documents, but also sharing the social and cultural aspects of what we know!!!! Never underestimate that.... That is where bonding happens and that is one of the many ways people will start trusting each other!!!

Now moving on to another session. More to come soon.

El Poder de Ser Mujer

Posted by Greg Benchwick 0 comments



“El Poder de Ser Mujer” es una publicación del FIDA que examina la situación de las mujeres rurales en América Latina.

“Las mujeres campesinas de América Latina y el Caribe realizan buena parte de las labores agrícolas y pecuarias, y dedican mucho tiempo a las labores domésticas, con lo que su jornada de trabajo es mucho más larga”, afirmó la Directora de la División de América Latina y el Caribe del FIDA, Josefina Stubbs, en 'El Poder de Ser Mujer'.

“Ellas tienen más dificultades que los hombres para obtener los medios que les permitan mejorar sus condiciones de vida, menos posibilidades de procurarse una educación y es frecuente que no estén legitimadas ni para poseer ni para heredar tierras”.

Leer el 'Poder de Ser Mujer'

Fotos: Greg Benchwick/IFAD
Musica: 4th of July
Artista: The Brightwings
Licensed under Animoto for a Cause

Agknowledge Africa Share Fair: The show is on the road

Posted by Roxanna Samii Sunday, October 17, 2010 0 comments



It is months that we've been planning the Agknowledge Africa Share Fair - and now finally the show is on the  road!!!

We're seeing the ILRI complex getting busier and busier by the hour. It is so nice to see old friends and colleagues. There is a nice feeling of anticipation about the event. Everyone is looking forward to meeting new people and to learn and share with each other.

The organizers met earlier today to go over the agenda and to iron out the last logistical issues before the big day. The social reporters will be meeting in less than 20 minutes to organize themselves. Make sure you follow us on the blog and on twitter. The hastag to follow is #sfaddis.

We're going to start tomorrow with what is now known as day zero. Day zero is a learning and sharing day, where a number of colleagues from various organizations will host different sessions on a range of topics such as:

  • blogging
  • collaborative writing
  • knowledge sharing methods
  • Google geo products
  • journalistic reporting

The big show starts on Tuesday and it promises to be an super EXCITING event. One of the great attractions of this event is the Ethiopian style market place, followed by the learning pathways - inspired by IFAD-funded PROCASUR programme. The learning pathways will focus on:
  • water
  • livestock
  • land
  • climate change
The event will also benefit from 5 thematic focus discussions on topics such as:
  • Young people
  • Documenting farmer knowledge
  • Writeshop process
  • Telecenters
  • Mobile devices
  • Storytelling
  • Make knowledge travel
  • Radio
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Value chains
  • Reporting agriculture
  • Spoken web
  • KM impact assessment

So keep tuned on this channel. We'll be reporting live. If you have any queries, want to know more about the share fair please use this blog or twitter (#sfaddis) and share your thoughts with us!


Sons and daughters of farmers aged 15 to 21 years old converged at the SM Megatrade Hall in Mandaluyong City, Philippines on October 12, 2010 to showcase their skills in the arts and get a chance to snatch trophies and cash prizes.

Aside from the Policy and Investment Forum, KLM4 also featured Pintasakahan which is an on-the-spot-poster-making contest for the youth. Pintasakahan, a combination of the Filipino words “pinta” (paint) and “sakahan” (farm) is a way to encourage young people to remain in their rural communities and to be actively engaged in the rural economy both in the agricultural and non-farm sectors.

The competition adopted the event theme, “Shared Resources, Shared Development” and supports the Joint Statement by the Heads of UN Entities in launching the International Year of the Youth last August 12, 2010. The participants are children of agrarian reform beneficiaries. IFAD partners and project partners such as PAKISAMA, Free Farmers Federation, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and the 2nd Cordillera Highland Agricultural and Resource Management Project

Congratulation to the KLM4 PintaSAKAhan winners!

1st place- P10,000.00 : Nelvin G. Samblasinio - 15 years old - Agusan del Sur, Caraga Region

2nd place - P7,500.00 : Michelle Pacres - 18 years old - Cavite, Region IV-A

3rd place - P5,000.00 : Steve S. Serrano - 20 years old - La Union, Region I

Photo collage by Vherna C. Comagon, DAR-Caraga Region, Philippines


Product exhibits usually serve as natural attractions to draw attention to an event, and the exhibit was one of the four-pronged activity staged at the Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall last Oct. 12-13, 2010. The list of activities included the Policy & Investment Forum, Product Demonstrations and the Postermaking Contest.

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The Knowledge and Learning Market (KLM) in its four-year tradition has always been an opportunity for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and its partners to showcase products and highlight accomplishments and breakthroughs. KLM4 is no different except for the fact that it has moved forward and turned outward. KLM4 moved forward by giving the lead to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in staging the KLM and turned outward by opening the doors of KLM for other agencies and projects to showcase products and accomplishments.

IFAD with its mission to enable the rural poor to overcome poverty have partnered with NEDA and the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the RP-Japan Kennedy Round 2 (KR2), a facility focused on food security. NEDA showcased the Productivity Enhancement Program and the Department of Agriculture showcased the Food Security Project it is implementing through the National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC). Closely coordinated with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the KLM has become a multi-pronged event combining the resources of IFAD, NEDA, DA and DAR.

Out of the 63 exhibitors, special recognition has been given by IFAD to the following:

- Best Product Booth - Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Programme (RuMEPP)

- Most Creative Booth - Rapid Food Production Enhancement Programme (RaFPEP) - People's Choice Booth

- DAR/IFAD NMCIREMP

Photo by Vherna C. Comagon, DAR-Caraga, Philippines

Blog action day 2010: More MDGs per drop

Posted by Roxanna Samii Friday, October 15, 2010 0 comments

Pim is my nephew. He has many friends and a wide, tender loving family. Love blinds and we forgot to take him to regular health checks. Pim has been stumbling and is seriously ill. But he can be cured and made into a serious marathon runner again.

In the mid-80s Ben Bagadion of the Philippines  National Irrigation Administration was the champion of Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) and Irrigation Management Transfer (IMT) in community based smallholder systems. PIM and IMT were seen as panacea, also for large canal systems. IFAD (and many others) adopted the philosophy and strengthening water user associations (WUA) became the buzz word of the '90s and beyond. We reflected this belief in our corporate approaches, learning products,  RIMS and Office of Evaluation work.

Today, some 25 years later, the international water community was shaken wide awake when informed at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) conference on Water Crisis and Choices that PIM was ill, seriously ill. After assessing PIM in Asia, IWMI found a success rate of 40%. That is a politically correct way of not saying that 60% of PIM failed. They even downplay the success rate stating that it is mostly the 'good' cases to get documented.

This is serious food for thought. Luckily there are plenty of caveats, if's and but's. Non-paddy (I.e. mixed farming), smaller systems in more isolated or peripheral community based settings seem to fare better. That would be us. No time for complacency. Better safe than sorry. The work of Office of Evaluation dates from 2000. So IWMI and Policy and Technical Advisory Division will be concluding an assessment on PIM and WUA performance in our portfolio worldwide to draw lessons for the future.

A future in which improved water productivity in terms of 'More MDGs per drop' will be key, especially under the poverty exacerbating climate change conditions and adverse terms of negotiating and decision-making power affecting our target groups over the sustainable use of the, correction: their, natural resource base.

For IFAD, live from Manila, Rudolph Cleveringa

When Eagles Soar Once More

Posted by Sid Lagahit 0 comments


by Robert Domoguen, DA/IFAD-CHARMP2

Joey Ayala, Filipino cultural musician and artist is an IFAD KLM favourite. Last year, he entertained the KLM crowd with songs and words that are close to the heart. His own kind of art speaks about IFAD to give hope and life to the poor, I believe.

In the recently concluded RP-Japan and IFAD KLM, Joel joined the exhibitors, visitors, buyers and official participants to the policy forum on the final hour of the affair. He learned much on-the-spot and made the whole occasion end in fun. On-stage he wove his songs and commentaries on what he just learned from the participants. The act’s unfolding seizes your thoughts in that moment - of wishing for a longer IFAD-KLM time and facing the reality of leaving.

Hiking from SM Megamall to the hotel where we were billeted for the duration of the activity got me thinking about how he managed to help enrich and make the occasion another celebration of learning, visioning, and sharing of perspectives in the continuing quest to uplift the poor and develop better communities in our midst. It was tough act well done.

The RP-Japan KR2 and IFAD KLM brought project implementers together in one venue to highlight best practices and lessons learned during project implementation. The venue was also an opportunity for project beneficiaries from the different marginalized communities in the country to sell their good products made even more competitive through value chain development efforts. From start to finish, the unfolding of the 4th IFAD KLM made the participants saw in the theme “Shared Resources, Shared Development” that indeed, it is “better together.”

I saw this unfold as former agriculture secretary Leonardo Montemayor come over to our booth and engaged our exhibitors in a light but really serious talk. The Honourable Secretary and his new found friends talked about the production of heirloom coffee, supply and marketing, and working together in the promotion of organic products among small farmers as allies together in sustaining demand and improving the income of farmers. This is more than the selling of goods or satisfying an immediate need for cash. This is business, bridging lives, communities and culture – bringing about national progress. This event I just witnessed is certainly not an isolated case. Ms. Sheila Marie M. Encabo, OIC-Director, NEDA Agriculture Staff, in a brief survey done on the second day of this activity confirmed that the exhibitors made linkages and tie-ups among themselves for the production and marketing of their products.

Joey heard about the sad plight of Philippine agriculture from the participants of the 4thIFAD KLM here in Manila. In his brief cultural musicale, he sang about the disappearing eagle and his hope that they will return and fly free once more in our skies. Perception is vital to existence, he says. If we can’t see the possibilities for better living, how can we do something about them? Indeed. By seeing and acting on the possibilities for improved livelihood, we are learning and continuing in that path of sharing good legacies for better human living. Joey sees the almost extinct eagle soaring once more. To the participants, the concluded 4th IFAD KLM, I believe, imparted a renewed vision for Philippine agriculture to soar once more, giving better income for farmers and meeting the food needs of the nation. Together, all stakeholders can have that hope and truly live and enjoy the benefits of shared resources and development efforts and investments. Photos by: Robert Domoguen, DA/IFAD-CHARMP2

RP-Japan KR2 and IFAD-KLM4:Day 1 Highlights

Posted by Sid Lagahit Thursday, October 14, 2010 0 comments


Key stakeholders in the rural development sector participated in the Policy and Investment Forum, consisting of 61 women and 49 men from government, NGOs, peoples’ organizations, academe, business and donors to discuss and share the best, innovative and good practices (BIG-Ps) addressing challenges in rural development.

Sana F.K. Jatta, Country Programme Manager of IFAD and the Honorable Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Sec. Virgilio De Los Reyes, gave the keynote messages. Mr. Jatta stressed that the forum should be used as a venue to make us enablers in rural development and that “shared resources and shared development” should lead towards empowering and capacitating the rural poor to fully participate in development.

Mr. Jatta further emphasized that sharing all the stories and experiences in rural development underscores the fact that it is an invaluable tool not only strengthening our development efforts, but it could be the key to our continued relevance and existence.

Sec. De Los Reyes began by asking what happens after the project implementers leave, as he noted that there is a gaping hole in the internal governance of community organizations. He stressed that the gap exists because the efforts of in organizational development do not conform to that of the private sector. Rural development agencies are external forces facilitating the internal development of community organizations. These organizations rarely end up well-equipped to survive current business systems. He said that even cooperatives are just barely equipped to survive despite the Cooperative Code.

He dwelt on several points as emphasis that includes: 1) we should ask what legal infrastructure needs to be in place to support rural development, 2) the rural development function of DAR in tandem with the rest of the “kutong lupa” or the rural development agencies, 3) the effects of trade policy which is fast gaining and is upon us, and 4) convergence of the Dept. of Agriculture, the Dept. of Agrarian Reform and the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources for rural development.

Sec. De Los Reyes highlighted the impact of investment that materializes when interventions are directed towards well-defined target groups, the need to revisit and craft a legal infrastructure system that will allow farmers and their communities to engage in social enterprises sustainably and of having an agency that will be responsible on programs and projects directed towards rural development.

With the overall theme, “Shared Resources, Shared Development,” Day 1 discussions centered on the first 3 of the six major topics lined-up in this forum. These are i) Making Socially Relevant Projects Economically Viable, ii) Innovative Financing Supporting Value Chain, and iii) Investing in Rural Infrastructure.

Under the first theme: Making Socially-relevant projects Economically Viable, the experiences of DTI-RUMEPP on their Bayong program as shared by Mr. Jerry Clavesillas, of NEDA4 & UPLB Foundation on Market-Oriented Organic Vegetable as presented by Ms. Blesilda Calub, and BFAR’s Tala-isdaan Project as discussed by Dr. Westley R. Rosario have pointed out that these initiatives have high potential as socially and economically relevant enterprises these were able to mobilize participation of key stakeholders. Sustaining these initiatives requires strong policy support that will encourage its adoption/replication; sharpening of knowledge, competencies, and capabilities of project stakeholders especially those in the communities, and engaging in strategic partnerships for a more harmonized policy and institutional support.

The discussions under theme no. 2 on Innovative Financing Supporting Value Chain highlights the adoption of a pioneering scheme of extending credit in accordance with the value chain system. One Network Bank’s President Alex Buenaventura shared that they made use of marketing contract, risk management and freedom from debt as part of their approach in funding the cavendish banana production of farmer-participants in their program. Here, the technical assistance from DA and DAR has become relevant.

The 3rd theme, “Extensive and efficient infrastructure” highlights the importance of rural infrastructure as a driver of development in the countryside. Gov. Leonard G. Mayo-en has stressed that one main limitation is in raising the needed counterpart for infrastructures projects. He further requested that policies on this concern should be revisited, that national government to provide bigger funds so that their IRAs can be devoted to other important services for their communities such as basic services and health.

The sharing on Small Scale Irrigation System by Dr. Eulito Bautista FAO-Project Team Leader has highlighted the Farmer Fields Schools as a means in capacitating both the farmer in rainfed areas and the LGU extensionist on SSIS management in collaboration with integrated crop management.

After the case presentations, the interactive discussion ensued with Mr. Carlos Abad Santos moderating. In summary, key points underscored include the following:

· Loading LGUS with responsibilities will also call for setting up a mechanism that will prepare them to carry out the responsibility effectively

· That infra is an important public good but its implementation has to be coupled with education, capacity building among others;

· A policy on sustaining and scaling up of program interventions has to be crafted as a guide to all stakeholders;

· Requirements of community can be well-defined and target setting can be very clear, thus resources provided can be mobilized effectively

· That results-based management indicator has to be clearly defined so that accountabilities will likewise be pinpointed.

Appreciating the substance of the forum proceedings, Ms. Sheila Encabo, Director, OIC-Agriculture Staff of NEDA,

suggested that this should be forwarded to NEDA as one of the references as formulates the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP).

Virginia O. Verora, IFAD Consultant Ma. Elena C. Cabañas, OIC-Asst. Director, DAR-Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development (BARBD) and Sid Lagahit. Photos by Robert Domoguen, IFAD-CHARMP2