Nepal, closing the retreat with new hope and beginning the ASAP journey
IFAD Nepal Country Programme Workshop Day 4 (Closing)
26 August 2013
By Kaushal Shrestha, Benoit Thierry
The fourth and last day of the workshop began under the sun ( finally) with a video, though much humorous, also reflecting the poor relationship people have with mathematics – “25 divided by 5 equals 14.”
Videos were a deliberate tool used in this workshop to introduce new concepts and practical innovations to the participants without boring them. Thus, Benoit used a short eight-minute film on WUPAP and remittance to begin conversation about the new project “Rural Micro-enterprises and remittances.” The major focus of this project would be capital formation, not only for returning migrant workers, but the entire community.
WUPAP and remittances: Traveller’s Tales – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSIdkNLOQqw
Similarly, conversation on a new ASAP funded project, entitled AIMHE (Adaptation in Mountain and Hills Ecosystems), also began with short hard-hitting clips on climate change and its harsh impacts, especially in the developing world.
Worldbank/FAO, Mountains and Climate Change: A Global Concern –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCPbV_KODbI
As portrayed by the videos, the projected impacts of climate change are severe, and the necessary responses are urgent. Tackling such a global issue, according to Peter Situ, the project design team leader, is a massive challenge for a country like Nepal and its people. Therefore, in order to soften the impacts effectively in particular in the agriculture sector, interventions must consider a number of issues to increase efficiency and improve impact.
Utilization of existing resources is among the major issues. AIMHE intends to make maximum use of available services, knowledge and expertise, government and non-government institutions, for greater efficiency and to eliminate duplication of activities and resources in the field. In this process, the project will work towards the capacity building of service providers engaged in climate change adaptation activities (livestock insurance, food banks, renewable energy etc), be it government or private. Further, AIMHE is intended as an add-on component to existing IFAD funded projects, seeking climate smart activities and scaling up best practices with thousands of existing farmers groups. This last day of the workshop was the first step of this intention, introducing AIMHE to the current projects, and exploiting the years of ground level experience of project members to seek ideas and potential activities.
Practicality was another important factor voiced by the experience of participants. All members of current IFAD-funded projects collectively agreed on the importance of site-specific agriculture and business models. While members of LFLP promoted agroforestry and silvopastoral systems, they also noted the necessity of contextual planning – for example, using market led approach in promoting particular products, or simply not promoting plantation of ginger on sloped lease lands.Inclusive targeting was also regarded as a practical way of action for the project. While the project will definitely focus on the most vulnerable, especially women, Peter was clear to mention – “There will be no divisions.” And the project will therefore focus on social inclusion.
Even more stress, perhaps, was on the participatory design of the project. As it is the vulnerable that are most aware of their own local realities, the inclusion of the community for organizational and technical input is only logical. Thus, AIMHE will actively adopt bottom-up participatory strategies to simultaneously improve the management of natural resources, including agriculture, reducing vulnerabilities and increasing resilience of local communities to climate change impacts (through the LAPA system).
The closing ceremony was organized in the afternoon. Key speakers emphasized that this workshop/retreat enhanced family spirit among IFAD funded projects, and will produce nice synergies. Others noted the workshop as the first step to improve programme performance, with more to come in the future to deepen technical activities. The roadmap produced during the workshop will be a key tool to monitor this progress. Finally, in the concluding remarks, words of thanks were addressed to participants, organizers, facilitators, and the workshop management team.
Rendezvous: August 2014, to continue the new tradition of the country programme workshop !!