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By Mamadou Mohamed TOURE
Responsable Suivi-Evaluation PAPAM/ASAP Mali

How to use MPAT - infographic from IFAD.
Au Kenya du 25 au 30 avril 2015, j’ai participé à la neuvième Conférence Internationale des Communautés Basée sur l’Adaptation aux Changement Climatique (CBA9). C’est une conférence qui rassemble  habituellement différentes organisations locales, nationales et internationales, ONG, des universités,  des centres de recherche et la société civile, pour partage d’expériences et t perspectives sur l’Adaptation des Communautés aux Changement Climatique (CBA). La Conference de cette année a été organisée par entre autres par l’International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) et le Gouvernement du Kenya et a eu lieu à Nairobi.

Le Thème de cette année est le Suivi et Evaluation  de l’Adaptation Efficace, qui touche aux thèmes suivants :

Suivi et apprentissage sur l'efficacité de l'adaptation à différentes échelles: des communautés aux niveaux sous-national, national et global ;
Question de genre et groupes vulnérables ;
Exploitation de la variabilité  climatique pour faciliter l'adaptation dans les zones arides ;

Principes et options radicales d'adaptation - des questions pour en évaluer l'efficacité ;
Suivi et mise à l'échelle des pratiques de l'agriculture intelligente face au climat visant à améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et l'adaptation ;

Evaluation basée sur les écosystèmes pour l'adaptation efficace ;
Evaluation des pertes et dommages ;
Outils et techniques de mesure efficace pour l'adaptation et la résilience ;
Les connaissances autochtones sur l’adaptation ,

La conférence s’est déroulée à travers  des présentations des expériences en plénière et des  travaux de groupe. Le système de suivi-évaluation des gouvernements dans le processus de CBA a été largement discuté et les conclusions tirées sont axées sur l’importance de la bonne gouvernance, le renforcement des capacités et surtout la coordination des actions CBA dans les pays.

Des bailleurs de fonds comme la  Banque Africaine de développement ont réitéré leur entière disponibilité d’appui financier en faveur de l’Adaptation aux Changement Climatique.
Mr. Mamadou Mohamed Touré - Responsable Suivi-Evaluation
PAPAM/ASAP Mali presenting MPAT at CBA 9
©IFAD/E. Morras Dimas

Pendant cette conférence, Marie Chanoine du FIDA Rwanda et moi-même avons fait des exposés sur certaines initiatives du FIDA visant à mieux mesurer l'adaptation aux changements climatiques.

Plus spécifiquement, j’ai présenté The Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool – MPAT , littéralement traduit en français comme l’outil d’évaluation multidimensionnelle de la pauvreté. MPAT est une initiative qui a été mise au point par le personnel du FIDA afin de simplifier le défi complexe qui consiste à mesurer la pauvreté et l’impact des interventions visant à la réduire  au niveau des ménages et du village.

MPAT a été aussi adapté pour mesurer les progrès accomplis sur la résilience  climatique dans des projets qui intègrent le financement climat. Avec cet objectif,, une  composante supplémentaire sur les changements climatiques et l'adaptation a été ajoutée à l'outil MPAT et a été  testée dans le premier trimestre de 2015 dans le cadre du  projet PAPAM / ASAP  au Mali.

La mise en œuvre de l’enquête MPAT dans la zone d’intervention du volet ASAP du PAPAM s’est déroulée dans la période  début février à début Avril 2015. L’approche méthodologique a concerné  les étapes suivantes :

  • formation des formateurs au sein du PAPAM et celle des agents chargés  de la saisie des données ;
  • la formation des enquêteurs et des superviseurs d’enquêteurs ;
  • Le test des questionnaires sur terrain ;
  • l’échantillonnage ;
  • la collecte des données sur le terrain ;
  • la saisie des données ;
  • l’analyse des résultats et la production du rapport.

Cette enquête s’est déroulée dans deux régions du Mali (Kayes et Sikasso), six cercles (Bougouni, Sikasso, Yanfoîla, Kita, Keniébaet Bafoulabé) et 17 communes.
Sur la base des   résultats de l’application de MPAT au Mali, il est prévu de l’utiliser  dans d’autres  projets financés par le FIDA

Des nombreux acteurs ont manifesté leur intérêt vers l’outil MPAT  et ont demandé le résumé des thèmes exposés, les posters du FIDA et le rapport final du MPAT Mali pour pouvoir le reproduire dans leurs pays respectifs, notamment au Rwanda et au Vietnam.

Mon impression, est que cette Conférence Internationale ait réellement permis aux différents acteurs gouvernementaux et non gouvernementaux de partager leurs expériences en matière d’évaluation et l’amélioration efficace de l’Adaptation. La conférence a été une grande opportunité pour le FIDA de faire connaître d’avantage ses expertises et expériences en matière d’évaluation et d’amélioration de l’Adaptation aux Changement climatique.

La prochaine conférence est prévue pour 2016 au Bangladesh et on imagine le FIDA y jouer encore une fois un  rôle important

By Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Lead Technical Specialist - Gender and Social Inclusion, PTA


Women's poultry project
Women swept the board at the awards ceremony for government staff participating in the IFAD-World Bank supported Smallholder Agriculture Development Project in Lesotho. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to attend this event during a recent joint IFAD-World Bank supervision mission.
No less would be expected in Lesotho. The country has fully closed its gender gap in several areas and tops the global rankings on educational attainment, women’s employment as legislators, senior officials and managers, and as professional and technical workers (see World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Gender Gap Report).  
The event – the first of its kind in Lesotho – was organized by the project management unit to recognize outstanding contributions to the implementation of the Agricultural Investment Plans (AIPs). The plans represent a crucial entry point to reach the rural poor and women. Activities include the preparation and implementation of community natural resource management plans, capacity building and group-based investments in agricultural enterprises. 

To date, 47 AIPs have been prepared, representing a total investment of USD 3,424,000, benefiting about 7000 households with 21,000 participants. During the mission we visited several AIP initiatives including women’s groups running poultry and greenhouse projects, and mixed groups planting trees, constructing livestock watering points and protecting wetlands.

 
The project’s field officers are based in four districts and oversee the development and implementation of the AIPs. They work closely with a range of government staff who form the AIP team and service providers, including crops and livestock, irrigation, natural resources, marketing, extension, procurement and accounts.

Lehlohonolo Mpholle, the component head, explained the idea behind introducing the awards: “After some initial teething troubles with this component, it is important to recognise the good work that is now being done at the farm level.” Accounting for just over half of the 44 nominees, women scooped 64 percent of the awards. And staff appreciated the awards as a recognition of their commitment and professional dedication.
 
Award winners with project staff and mission members
 

On April 20th IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division (ECD) hosted its third Climate Cinema.

Speaking about the films on show was Fabio Eboli, from the Euro Mediterranean Center on Climate Change and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM). And from IFAD's ECD division there was Stephen Twomlow, Regional Climate and Environment Specialist for East and Southern Africa

The first film shown was ''Well Beyond Water'' by Andy Ross, shot in Australia in 2014. This was a personal documentary filmed by English composer and musician Andy Ross who finds himself immersed in the unlikely world of Australian sheep farmers who are dealing with a prolonged and difficult drought. Contrary to his expectations he discovers an inspiring farmer who is finding ways to adapt to the challenging climate. The farmer raises questions about the meaning of drought and points to a need for cultural change and adaptive strategies.

Next up was Shamba Shape Up. In 2014 IFAD was one of a number of partners in Kenya's most watched agriculture TV show. Airing on Citizen TV on weekends, it’s watched by over 13 million people in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. Most viewers are farmers. This makeover-style programme aims to give farmers the tools they need to improve their productivity and income. The Shape-Up team visit a different farm each week, along with experts from partner organizations who specialize in the topics to be covered in the episode. In this episode, the Shamba Shape Up team build a ''flexi biogas'' unit on a farm.


Lastly there was ''Modern Nature'', a film by Craig D Leon from Brazil. By the year 2050, 10 billion people may populate Earth. Do we need a genetic revolution to feed the world? Modern Nature takes the viewer on a non-narrated odyssey where viewers explore the challenges that mankind faces and whether organic or GMO is the answer. Filmed in Brazil, Ecuador, the US, St. Kitts and Nevis, Modern Nature is an award-winning documentary which includes perspectives from 5 continents, including MIT philosopher Noam Chomsky, Delhi-based environmentalist Vandana Shiva, and Los Angeles street farmer Ron Finley.

New photo-film: mapping soil diversity in Tanzania

Posted by Ricci Symons Friday, April 24, 2015 0 comments


The second ''photo-film'' of a  two-part series, "The Ground Beneath Your Feet," launched this week during Global Soil Week, where the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) is highlighting the importance of soil, whilst debating the latest science and technology as well as methods for preserving this vital natural resource. 

In Lushoto, Tanzania, a cluster of ''climate-smart villages'' supported by  Climate Change and Food Security's (CCAFS) nestle in the stunning Eastern Arc Mountains, stretching between Tanzania and Kenya. The richly diverse landscape is a biodiversity hotspot with its sloping hillsides supporting a wide range of agricultural produce - from vegetables, beans, sugarcane and cassava to agroforestry.

But this diversity of crops takes a toll on the soils in which they are grown. Sloping land is becoming exposed to increasing rainfall, which is washing precious top soil away. Without replacing nutrients in the soil, or better management of the  soils on the steep slopes, Lushoto’s diversity will likely disappear.

Soil health is measured through indicators such as organic carbon. In Lushoto, carbon per kilogram of soil can vary massively between 15 and 150 grams within 10 kilometers. Designed originally by the 
World Agroforestry Centre, the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework has been updated and implemented globally by CIAT and regional partners, such as IFAD's Adaption for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), to map the landscape and show variability in dynamic soil properties.
Using this framework, a biophysical baseline of key soil and land health information across the landscape can be mapped. It can show what crops can grow, where, and how well. By pinpointing what soil type farmers have on their farms, researchers can then advise farmers on inputs and management strategies to improve soil health and overall agricultural productivity.

Scientists are now linking soil health data with household survey data on cropping diversity, perceptions of climate change, and gender. Together with socio-economic data, it allows them to better understand and address farming system constraints. Lab tests help further identify soil nutrient quantities such as nitrogen content, building up a rich map of the soil. 



Ilaria Firmian Interview on Djibouti project PRAREV

Posted by Ricci Symons Thursday, April 23, 2015 0 comments

Climate change is increasingly effecting agricultural and fishing communities in Djibouti. The Programme to Reduce Vulnerability to Climate Change and Poverty of Coastal Rural Communities (PRAREV), supported by IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) is working within the fishing industry of Djibouti, helping rural fisherman combat the effects of climate change, and adapt to a changing environment.

IFAD’s Ilaria Firmian recently returned from a work trip to Djibouti. She has worked for seven years in IFAD as an Environment and Climate Knowledge Officer and previously  as a Technical Adviser on Environment and Natural Resources Management, supporting the mainstreaming of environmental and social issues at policy, programme and project levels.

©IFAD/Ilaria Firmian
You've just returned from Djibouti, what was it you went there for?

I was there for the launch of the IFAD programme PRAREV providing support to the technical session on climate change, as the project has a large co-financing from ASAPIt's in fact a blending of loan and climate funds, which has been instrumental to really tackle the problems of the Country and therefore provide services to the clients. Many partners were involved including the Red Cross Climate Centre that facilitated the use of climate games . The games were a very useful tool to show how decision making in relation to climate change is quite a difficult task and how this pays out in the fisheries sector, which is the main focus of the project.

Were there any other agencies working with IFAD on this project?

This project has many partnerships. With WFP (World FoodProgramme)-to deliver ‘food for work’ for local communities engaged in the rehabilitation of mangroves. With the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Djiboutien (CERD) – which is a National Research Centre. Also with Direction de l’Aménagement du Territoire et de l’Environnement (DATE) within the Ministry of Environment. Finally we are also working with FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) - for the national fisheries plan.


What are the main problems people are facing, and how is IFAD combatting them?

There are a lot of climate change related problems in Djibouti, with drought issues being prevalent. There have been increases in storms and floods, yet drought is still the main problem. Drought affects the traditional Djibouti livelihood, pastoralism, which is becoming less viable as climate change worsens. The project looks at improving  and making fisheries more climate-resilient, which represents an alternative livelihood. Promoting this existing but relatively small and undeveloped sector is important as it is less susceptible to drought.
©IFAD/Ilaria Firmian

How did IFAD decide where needed its help the most?

During design, in order to target the most vulnerable areas, IFAD used the ''Coastal Hazard Wheel Methodology'' which identified large stretches of the coastline facing ecosystem disruption and others exposed to gradual inundation, salt water intrusion and erosion of the coast. Based on these results, the project is mainly taking actions to restore ecosystems e.g. coral reefs and mangrove areas. Mangroves are very important as they provide protection from storms and floods and, just like coral reefs,  they are also vital for fish stocks.

What sort of work is IFAD engaging in to combat these issues?

The project is working to build climate-resilient infrastructures and provide renewable energy equipment, ice plants, coolers/insulated containers etc. to the fishing communities.

PRAREV looks at the entire fisheries value chain; from the production (protection of ecosystems that are breeding grounds for fish) through to credit provision for boats and other equipment.- The project is also partnering and strengthening the capacity of existing micro finance in Djibouti (CPEC Caisse d’épargne et de crédit) to better serve the target group and help establish a national viable and sustainable microfinance system in the long term.

The project also plans to build  small infrastructure at harbours, this would include landing piers/jetties, cold rooms and market halls, which would help the fishermen with docking and transport of goods. Djibouti's main fish market is in Djibouti town but the project will also intervene in smaller villages along the coast, to improve local markets. The programme will also fund an ice factory and tricycles for fish distribution within the peri-urban areas to strengthen women retailers’ associations.

A project component is related to capacity building, both at the community and government level. The idea is that through this project IFAD will influence the national policies and strategies, basically forcing more attention to the potential of fisheries in terms of  adaptation to climate change and exploring other avenues of income generation.

Could you please tell us more about these other avenues?

Some alternative industries such as algae production will be piloted as well. There are species of indigenous algae that can be used for livestock feeding or cosmetics. With fisheries  not being a traditional sector in Djibouti, the fishing industry is still very under-developed. For instance, they are not used to drying and salting fish, a classical way of fish preservation. So there will be actions to see if there is a market for such things as salted fish.
  
What's next for the project in Djibouti?

The project is very interesting  but also very new to the country. It is just starting up and so the next step is just to take the design and make it work, taking into account new challenges such as the flow of refugees from Yemen that unfortunately, goes beyond the PRAREV's control and may negatively impact on the project performance.

Written by Francesco Farnè

Si sente parlare in maniera sempre più crescente di cibo, anche grazie alla grandissima copertura mediatica che questo argomento ha trovato in tutto il mondo. Basta pensare ai numerosi programmi di cucina che hanno contribuito a rendere gli chef, una volta relegati nel buio delle cucine, vere e proprie star. Per non parlare di vocaboli come “foodie” o “gourmet” che sono entrati prepotentemente nel nostro vocabolario.

Quello di cui si sente parlare di meno, soprattutto in Italia, nonostante l’incombenza di Expo 2015, è il cambiamento climatico, che, per quanto sia in apparenza un concetto astratto e che tendiamo a collegare a catastrofi che avvengono in luoghi remoti, ci riguarda in realtà più di quanto crediamo.
Vi starete forse chiedendo come questo si colleghi al cibo e agli chef. La risposta si può trovare risalendo la catena del cibo dalle nostre tavole fino ai piccoli agricoltori che producono circa due terzi del cibo che consumiamo a livello globale. Essi vivono principalmente nei paesi in via di sviluppo e il cambiamento climatico è una seria minaccia per loro.

Tavola rotonda dell'IFAD durante l'intervento di Jacopo Monzini
©IFAD/Francesco Farnè
Sabato scorso ho avuto l’opportunità di recarmi a Perugia con il team del Fondo Internazionale per lo Sviluppo Agricolo (IFAD) delle Nazioni Unite in occasione del Festival Internazionale del Giornalismo. L’IFAD ha organizzato “Ricette per il cambiamento: storie inedite di cibo e cambiamenti climatici”, una tavola rotonda che ha affrontato l’argomento. L’incontro ha riunito un esponente del mondo del giornalismo scientifico come Marco Cattaneo, National Geographic Italia, lo chef Lars Charas dell’Associazione Mondiale Cuochi, e Jacopo Monzini, Specialista Senior, Clima e Ambiente dell’IFAD. Mauro Buonocore del Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC) ha moderato l’evento.

Gli speaker sono stati capaci fin da subito di sviluppare un dialogo coinvolgente, in grado di valorizzare e congiungere esperienze tanto diverse. Questo sottolinea quanto i loro campi professionali siano strettamente interconnessi. E come tutto questo abbia un impatto sulla nostra vita di tutti i giorni – dopotutto consumiamo tre pasti al giorno.

Mauro Buonocore (destra) e Jacopo Monzini (sinistra)
  ascoltano le domande dal pubbico
©IFAD/Francesco Farnè
Sotto questa luce è molto facile evidenziare responsabilità dirette per ognuno di noi. Come ha sottolineato Jacopo Monzini, non possiamo considerare il cambiamento climatico come un’entità esterna, che gli scienziati devono risolvere. Questo è piuttosto la conseguenza diretta delle nostre piccole azioni quotidiane. Siamo responsabili quando scegliamo i prodotti alimentari che acquistiamo per le nostre diete, quando sprechiamo energia, quando lasciamo le finestre aperte col riscaldamento accesso. Le risorse naturali sono come un conto in banca, non possiamo permetterci di trascurarle.

Qui entrano in gioco i giornalisti, ma anche gli chef, in quanto opinion leader in grado di influenzare le scelte dei consumatori e le loro diete, così connettendoli al mondo della produzione di cibo e quindi ai piccoli produttori. Un esempio molto pratico lo ha fornito Lars Charas, che ha condiviso la sua esperienza in Corea, dove a causa dell’abbondanza di meduse, conseguenza della pesca intensiva dei loro predatori naturali, ha spinto gli chef a introdurle nelle loro cucine, con ottimi risultati sulla sostenibilità e adattamento delle diete.

Il compito dei giornalisti, come ha ampiamente evidenziato Marco Cattaneo durante il suo intervento, è quello di informare per rendere consapevoli i consumatori. Per far questo è necessario, soprattutto in Italia, andare verso una specializzazione dei giornalisti che si occupano di tematiche scientifiche come il cambiamento climatico, attraverso un alta formazione tecnica, ma anche deontologica. È necessario, inoltre, superare le divisioni politiche che caratterizzano il dibattito pubblico nel nostro paese così da potersi concentrare maggiormente sui contenuti.

Pubblico durante il dibattito
©IFAD/Francesco Farnè
Infine resta da affrontare la questione di come raccontare al grande pubblico questa tematica. La foto di un orso polare rimasto bloccato su una lastra di ghiaccio, come hanno concordato gli speaker, è stata utile per veicolare il messaggio, ma ha d’altra parte contribuito a far sentire il pubblico “dispiaciuto, ma non responsabile”. Si sente quindi il bisogno di nuove storie.

In questo senso un’organizzazione come l’IFAD, attraverso la sua missione globale e la sua esperienza con i piccoli agricoltori, può contribuire positivamente alla diffusione di questo messaggio, dando anche un volto umano alle conseguenze del cambiamento climatico.

Come ha concluso Monzini, c’è un collegamento anche fra i piccoli agricoltori e una delle tematiche più dibattute in Italia, la migrazione. Bisogna considerare che molti dei migranti che si trovano a dover lasciare le loro terre sono spesso piccoli agricoltori colpiti anche dal cambiamento climatico. Questo è solo uno dei tanti spunti e stimoli che sono emersi durante l’incontro che senza dubbio ha contribuito a portare alla luce ed aprire un dibattito pubblico su tematiche troppo spesso trascurate, ma che in tantissimi modi hanno impatti su ognuno noi.

Written by Rakesh Jha 

Indigenous people with traditional musical instruments at arts and culture festival in Taksera, Nepal. ©Budha Lojin 
Last year, an IFAD team visited Nepal's Rukum District to monitor the work of the IFAD-supported Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project (WUPAP). The mission included a workshop led by Antonella Cordone, IFAD's Senior Technical Specialist on Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Issues, which provided opportunities for interaction with local indigenous leaders. The team subsequently recommended that WUPAP design special activities in Rukum to help improve indigenous peoples ' livelihoods through promotion of their unique culture and traditions.

Indigenous women wearing traditional attire at the
festival in Taskera. ©WUPAP
Last week, that recommendation became a reality in the form of an indigenous peoples' arts and culture festival in Taksera, initiated by WUPAP and made possible with the strong support from Local Development Officer Bharat Sarma and the hard work of the indigenous community. The Prime Minister of Nepal, Sushil Koirala, inaugurated the festival on the auspicious occasion of New Year's Day 2072 under the Nepali calendar. It ran for five days, from 14 to 18 April.

The festival's objective was to highlight indigenous peoples' traditional dance, food, dress and identity. It also aimed to expand domestic and international tourism, with an emphasis on rural tourism. In addition, the event was designed to build awareness about sustainable biodiversity and environmental conservation. For tourists, the organizers offered information about the most significant places to visit in the surrounding area.

Among the VIPs at the festival – besides the Prime Minister – were five members of Parliament, local leaders, the chairs of the Janjati Federation and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal, the Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, and representatives of district line agencies. The WUPAP Project Coordinator and Senior District Coordinator participated as well.

Nepal's Prime Minister Sushil Koirala opens the festival in Rukum District. ©Budha Lojin
More than 25,000 visitors attended the festival's opening. They saw performances of traditional music and dance, and browsed stalls of herbal medicines, aromatic products, foods, clothing and much more. WUPAP provided about one-fifth of direct funding for the festival, with the rest provided by government, business and development partners, as well as indigenous peoples' communities themselves.

Women in stall selling traditional wares at the Taskera arts and culture festival. ©WUPAP


It’s not always headline news that our climate is changing – but it should be.

Marco Cattaneo, editor of Le Scienze, knows that it’s hard to sell stories about long-term processes. “But we need to help everyone know what’s happening, what’s at stake,” he said. “If we’re going to feed 9 billion people by 2050, we’re going to have to revise our diet and how we produce our food.”

Cattaneo was a member of Recipes for Change: Untold stories of food and climate adaptation, the IFAD-organized panel at the 2015 International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. He joined Jacopo Monzini, senior technical specialist in IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division, and Lars Charas, programme manager at Worldchefs, in a discussion moderated by Mauro Buonocore, Communication Officer at the Euro Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change.
IFAD-organized panel at the International Journalism Festival. From left: Mauro Buonocore, Jacopo Monzini, Marco Cattaneo and Lars Charas. ©IFAD/Adam Vincent
The panel’s goal was to share stories that the media are not telling when it comes to climate change. Its members spoke as international aid workers, journalists, scientists and chefs – but they all wanted to change the way we think about (and thus respond to) climate change.

More than polar bears
First, Monzini said, it’s important to properly understand the issue. “Climate change is not something physically material that we can attack and destroy,” he explained. “It is the result of a whole series of tiny little actions that each of us is responsible for.”

Instead of viewing climate change as something apart from us, we need to view it as something that affects us and that we, in turn, can influence by our choices, Monzini added.

The media, however, do not usually present this vision of climate change. Instead, Cattaneo pointed out, they focus on images like a lone polar bear adrift on floating ice. It’s an effective way to grab attention but ultimately fails to achieve any real change. “For half an hour, people feel sorry for the polar bear,” Cattaneo said, “but then everything goes back to how it was before.”

Since we’re all responsible for climate change, Monzini said, “we’re all responsible for mitigating the effects.” One way for journalists to contribute is to help the public realize the true causes of climate change and the best ways to change them.

Making stakes real
Climate change is well documented, but it’s easy to ignore when it only seems to affect people on the other side of the world. As a result, there is great potential for stories that show communities in the developed world how climate change affects them.

“You have to find issues that are close to consumers, make the issue practical,” said Charas. For example, he warned that climate change may put traditional Mexican food culture at risk, as neither beans nor corn is climate-resilient. Monzini added that climate change might seem much more relevant for Italians this year, after low rainfall contributed to an uncharacteristically small olive harvest.

Too often, Cattaneo said, it’s difficult to find space to address climate change. But the public is concerned with what is local – which journalists should use to their advantage.

Radical solutions
Audience at the panel in Perugia. ©IFAD/Jessica Thomas
The panel agreed on one force that could discourage the behaviors contributing to climate change: the market, which stories can play a pivotal role in shaping. Consumers make up the market, and informed consumers can make a difference.

The problem, Monzini said, is that food consumers are often lazy. They limit their range of ingredients, which encourages monoculture and consequently hurts genetic diversity and resilience in the agriculture sector. Even if farmers grow traditional, organic crops, he pointed out, they are going to stop if no one buys them.

Stories have the potential to change this behavior. By describing underutilized crops from around the globe, journalists can help create new markets for the food we need to nourish our growing world.

Charas said he seeks to connect chefs with diverse ingredients. One potential market? Jellyfish. Overfishing has led to a proliferation of jellyfish, whose populations were once kept in check by the fish now on our plates, Charas explained. People already eat jellyfish in Korea, he noted. Adapting to new ideas and getting chefs to incorporate them could help us establish more sustainable sources of food. 

But even if jellyfish does not take off, the panel’s point remains valid: to feed a growing world population, we’re going to have to rethink how we produce and consume food. We all play a role in ameliorating and adapting to climate change, but journalists are especially important. Our climate is changing, and journalists can make that news. 

Written by Steve Twomlow, Lynn Kota and Norman Mavuso

The IFAD-supported Lower Usuthu Sustainable Land Management Project (LUSLM, also known as LUSIP-GEF) walked off with four awards at the Swaziland World Water Day Awards in March. LUSLM was showered with accolades, including first place for best photograph depicting water and sustainable development, and first place for sustainable practices.

Water is a fundamental resource, vital for human survival and ecological life,
thus it is a key element for sustainable development. This picture shows
a Ferro-cement rainwater harvester, it is 1,700 liters. The family is now getting
clean water within the yard instead of walking long distances to fetch water, giving the
girl child plenty time to do other beneficial activities, like doing school work.
©Norman Mavuso 

LUSLM did not stop there though, raking in two second-place awards. These awards recognized LUSM's community outreach and awareness creation on water and sustainable development. The project was awarded for showcasing activities on the water-harvesting techniques it promotes, including rooftop cement rainwater harvesting; infield ripper farrow and basin water harvesting; and water harvesting through land rehabilitation on degraded land and dongas.

LUSLM won the best photo award for an image of a family collecting water from their roof water harvester. For the sustainable practices award, the project was judged the best in the country in terms of community initiatives that have employed good water-management practices. These initiatives have sustained LUSLM's water-related projects, rendering them effectively operational for a long time.

National Project Manager Lynn Kota receiving one of the World Water Day
Awards on behalf of the LUSLM team. © Norman Mavuso 

For awareness creation, all organizations taking part in the World Water Day Awards were judged on how they raise awareness about the importance of proper water use and management – and the underlying issues which affect water availability and distribution. For community outreach, each project was judged for ''making a mark that can never be erased.'' LUSLM did this by uplifting and empowering communities with activities such as provision of water, sanitation and food-security measures for the rural poor.

The LUSLM Project team, in Swazi traditional attire, with the awards
at the project offices. © Norman Mavuso




Written by Jessica Thomas

IFAD is dedicating a day to the millions of migrant workers who make a vital contribution to the well-being of their families and communities back home. On June 16, we will celebrate the first International Day of Family Remittances.

But why has IFAD, through its Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR), decided to commemorate this day? What is the day meant to achieve?

Worldwide, over 247 million people live outside the countries and communities they call home. They leave their countries to look for opportunities, for jobs, for education. To some it is simply a question of survival, and they are ready to take on whatever task, at whatever pay, as long as they can send money to the families and communities left behind. The funds they send home are known as remittances.

The individual stories of those who leave their towns and villages for foreign destinations are stories of incredible dedication and tremendous sacrifice. That is why IFAD has dedicated 16 June as a day of recognition for their commitment and sacrifice to family. It recognizes the years and decades spent in a foreign country, labouring so their children might be able to live and work in their country of origin – the heartache of living far away not only from family and friends, but from their land and their culture. To live like that is a kind of life away from life.
Plans for International Day of Family Remittances are announced at IFAD
Governing Council session, February 2015. ©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello

Remittances are an expression of fundamental family commitment. They constitute one of the world's most direct methods of poverty alleviation.

The launch of the International Day of Family Remittances will take place in Milan, Italy, during the Global Forum on Remittances and Development, in the context of Expo Milano 2015. It will be a high-level event with important dignitaries and speakers.

The United Nations General Assembly designates a number of international days to mark important aspects of human life and history. Specialized UN agencies can also proclaim these days. You may not be familiar with all the days. Some, like World Environment Day, World Water Day and International Women's Day, are better known than others. But each and every international day has been designated for a specific reason.

Inevitably, the International Day of Family Remittances will call to mind someone we either know well or have met briefly. It will always remind me of a friend I made a few years ago through one of the many FFR programmes. Her name is Minda, a 60-year-old powerhouse full of energy and initiative. She comes from the Philippines and is a domestic worker. When she came to Italy over 30 years ago, she was supporting 26 family members back home and working seven days a week. She sent so much of her hard -earned money home to the Philippines that, in the end, she had nothing left for herself.

Although Minda did not introduce me to the issue of migration and remittances, she brought it to another level, and the word ‘sacrifice’ took on a whole other meaning.

For IFAD, this day will represent an invaluable opportunity to recognize the efforts of migrants, strengthen current partnerships and create new synergies. For all of us, it is a way to say thank you.

Surely now, when you hear the date June 16, you will remember that it is not 'just another day.'

Road to Nutrition mainstreaming

Posted by David Paqui Monday, April 13, 2015 0 comments

Written by Marian Amaka Odenigbo and Simret Habtezgi

Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) and IFAD fielded a joint-mission on portfolio alignment from 22 March – 2 April 2015. This activity was in response to the recommendation of a recent Country Programme Evaluation.
The mission was tasked to draw-out area of complementarity of current IFAD portfolio and build synergies for enhanced overall impact of project developmental goals. This portfolio constitutes current IFAD-funded projects in Zambia:
Smallholder Agri-business Promotion Programme (SAPP)
Smallholder Productivity Promotion Programme (S3P)
Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP)
Enhanced – Smallholder Livestock Investment Programme (E – SLIP)


It was interesting to see how the effort towards this mission generated discussions and enthusiasm on accelerating nutrition mainstreaming into IFAD investments.
Consultative meeting with beneficiaries, implementers and project staff at Luwingu main camp in Northern Province
I was opportuned to be a member of the mission. And in order to deliver to the stipulated tasks and responsibilities, we embarked on field visits to interact and discuss with beneficiaries, implementers and staff in the provinces, districts and camps.
For adequate spread and coverage of project locations, mission members broke up into two groups; one travelled to the Northern and the other to the Southern province. In similar vein regarding adequate coverage of nutrition issues during the field visit, I joined the group to the Northern while Simret, an intern who is supporting nutrition operations in Zambia IFAD Country Office joined the group to Southern province.

During a consultative meeting at Kasama district in Northern provinces, the stakeholders expressed keen interest and enthusiasm for integration and operationalization of explicit nutrition activities in the implementation of IFAD funded programmes.  I was really challenged with their expression because the project documents stated the need to promote nutrition without any explicit activities to support them.

To buttress this readiness for nutrition mainstreaming in IFAD-supported projects, Mr. Andrew Banda, the Provincial agricultural Coordinator informed the mission that field nutrition officers have recently been employed at each district to support nutrition activities in the various blocks and camps.
 Nevertheless, Rose Silyato, the Senior Agricultural Officer in Mbala district and Elizabeth Nakamanga, the nutrition officer in Northern province highlighted the lack of funding on nutrition-sensitive interventions and training needs for food and nutrition personnel.
In the Southern province, Simret noted likewise expression from her interactions with the camp officers in Choma district and the Food and Nutrition officers.

Attention of the mission was drawn to the selective locations of implementing Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) programme in Zambia. For instance, the Northern province has SUN implemention only in three districts (Kasama, Mbala and Kaputa) leaving out the other six districts (Kaputa, Mporokoso, Luwingu , Nsama, Kasama, Mungwi, Mbala, Mpulungu and Chilubi). This led to a recommendation to boast the SUN initiatives by leveraging nutrition mainstreaming under the portfolio alignment to target locations not covered by SUN.

As the mission visited demonstrations plots and Farmer Field Schools, Rob Delve the agronomist in the team highlighted the need for inclusion and promotion of nutrient dense crop varieties in implementation of S3P which is being led by Zambia Agricultural Research Institute. According to Rob, the farmer demonstrations of improved released crop varieties should involve nutrient dense varieties such as;
(i) the high iron and zinc content beans
(ii) the newly released enhanced vitamin A content orange maize varieties
(iii) the un-released enhanced vitamin A content orange cassava varieties.

One of the improved beans plot visited at Senga camp, Mbala district was on Mbereshi beans which is rich in iron and zinc. However, the mission observed that the farmers’ enthusiasm was only focused on the economic value of the improved varieties. Mission therefore, recommended for advocacy on nutritional relevance of biofortified varieties in Farmer Field Schools.

Rob(3rd left) inspecting the demonstration plot of cassava variety at Luwingu district.
Cassava tuber being peeled for processing after harvesting
Using a nutrition lens in promoting synergy and aligning parallel activities of the portfolio aims to exploit comparative advantages in the various projects for enhanced developmental goal and increased impact on the reduction of malnutrition. The areas of comparative advantages identified by the mission in each projects were as follows;
(i) Improved and nutrient dense crop varieties (S3P project)
 (ii) Availability and accessibility of safe nutritious food (E-SLIP)
 (iii) Value added nutritious product development (SAPP)
 (iv) Nutrition education via organized cooperatives and farmers’ groups (RUFEP)

At the conclusion of this mission, action plans drawn included an urgent need for nutrition sensitization workshop targeting Nutrition Officers, project staff and programme implementers. This action will facilitate the enthusiasm and concerted effort for accelerating and operationalization of nutrition mainstreaming in IFAD portfolio.


Written by Francesco Farnè

As a recent graduate in International Politics and Relations, I am always tempted to analyse facts from a geopolitical perspective.

When I heard that the Near East and North Africa (NEN) Division was holding an event on IFAD’s operations in fragile contexts, with a particular focus on Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, as case studies, my curiosity got the better of me and I was eager to attend.

Many questions came into my mind and I hoped the event would enlighten me. How is it possible to carry out operations and projects in contexts where collective security, as well as basic civil rights, cannot be assured and the breach of peace is a constant threat? The adjective ‘fragile’ sounded even a bit reductive on first thought.

NEN staff from Somalia, Sudan and Yemen presenting their case studies
©IFAD/Francesco Farnè
The event, organized by NEN, brought together staff from Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. During the overview, we had the opportunity to take a deeper dive into the concept of fragility. In fact it is broader than I thought - fragility refers to a series of dimensions going beyond the only political/institutional perspective I had in mind. Fragile states have indeed weak policies, institutions and governance, but this usually has logistical consequences resulting in poor infrastructure (especially in rural zones), lack of financial services, as well as low resilience to natural phenomena such as climate change, water scarcity, soil erosion etc. The main lesson I learned was that all these spheres are deeply interdependent. And it can have serious impact when setting up an operation. A general policy suggestion follows from all this: flexibility is crucial when operating in such contexts. Smart policies in fragile contexts should be agile and adaptable to sudden context changes.

Among the case studies, the one that caught my attention the most was Somalia. Somalia is one of the least developed countries in the world. The country, where a terrible civil war took place in the '90s, is often referred to as an example of a failed state in books that deal with international law and politics. This was confirmed by Noel Harris, Programme Coordinator, Northwestern Integrated Community Development Programme (ICDP) in the Somaliland region, who gave a presentation on the challenges he and his colleagues had to face. I found out that, in addition to security and political issues, natural conditions in Somalia are also problematic. Severe droughts frequently affect the country threatening water supply and crop yields. Moreover, infrastructure was seriously damaged after the civil war, due to depopulation of villages, loss of agricultural equipment and degraded farmlands. All this contributes to make Somalia a fragile country.

ICDP had to respond to this ever-changing environment since its  conception. It started as an emergency assistance programme during the civil war. Then it became a post-conflict rehabilitation programme. Eventually ICDP focused on integrated development intervention. Such a transition from emergency assistance to post-conflict development required a prompt and flexible response by IFAD, which produced high-profile results. Food security in the target group has been achieved since 2011, just to give an example.

What I found so distinctive about this presentation and the whole event in general is the capacity to apply the concept of flexibility, presented in the overview, to reality. The programmes are really capable of adapting to fragile contexts and ever-changing situations with tangible results. Of course, it is possible to do even better, as emerged during the final discussion, but from my perspective, as a student used to theoretical academic concepts now understanding their application to the real world, it was impressive.

Did you know that this year, IFAD and Indonesia celebrate 35 years of partnership? And just earlier this year, Indonesia and IFAD have signed a host country agreement, which enables IFAD to open an office in Jakarta.
John McIntire harvested cocoa in Sidole village in Central Sulawesi. Cocoa trees need a lot of attention,
that makes them the perfect smallholder crop. About 80% of Indonesia's
cocoa is produced by smallholders.
 
©IFAD/Sarah Hessel






To discuss future collaboration, the IFAD Associate Vice-President, PMD, John McIntire, travelled to Indonesia, where he met with Government representatives, beneficiaries and development partners. Indonesia’s new government has included food security and rural development in their main priorities, creating opportunities to further strengthen collaboration and IFAD’s engagement in the country – that was the clear message from meetings with high-level government officials, including the Minister of Planning and Development, Andrinof A. Chaniago, and the Minister of Agriculture, Amran Sulaiman.

The IFAD delegation in a meeting with the Minister of Planning and Development
to discuss on-going and future collaborations.  
©IFAD/Sarah Hessel
The IFAD delegation in meeting with the Minister of Agriculture. The new government has
committed itself to self-sufficiency in maize, corn and paddy within
the next three years. 
©IFAD/Sarah Hessel

Together with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Director Generals for the International Cooperation Centre, the Agency of Agricultural Extension and Human Resources Development and the Agricultural Training Centre, John McIntire travelled to Central Sulawesi to meet with beneficiaries of the Rural Empowerment and Agricultural Development (READ) Programme and to participate in the programme’s closing ceremony.

Closing ceremony of the READ programme. The programme has supported agriculture related
infrastructure, community empowerment and farmer capacity, resulting in
significant increases in farmers' productivity and income. While READ completed
its activities, the Government of Indonesia plans to scale up the approach
in different areas of Indonesia. 
©IFAD/Sarah Hessel

The READ Programme worked in 5 districts of Central Sulawesi, building rural communities’ capacity and increasing agricultural productivity. The programme also piloted one of the first public-private-partnerships in the Indonesian agricultural sector. Facilitated by IFAD, the programme partnered with Mars Inc., the international chocolate company. Mars provided technical support to cocoa farmers and trained the so-called cocoa doctors, who are now operating as small businesses in the project area.

While visiting the small village of Sidole, John McIntire met cocoa doctors, like Ahmad Darise, and other project participants to hear their stories and discuss the programme’s activities with them. Ahmad was about to give up cocoa farming because he was not earning enough to support his family. Through the READ programme, he trained as a cocoa doctor and learned new farming techniques. Now his yields have increased significantly and he serves as one of the villages knowledge hub for cocoa farmers (watch his story here). Cocoa trees need a lot of attention, which makes them the ideal crop for smallholder farmers. To further strengthen the cocoa sector in Central Sulawesi, IFAD has just launched a new collaboration with Swisscontact that will build capacity and market access of cocoa farmers.

Given the success of READ, the Government of Indonesia has decided to scale up its model throughout the country. This next phase of READ will benefit millions of rural women and men. The Government has invited IFAD to stay engaged in the process – this reflects the strong appreciation for IFAD’s work and expectation for IFAD to further strengthen its engagement in Indonesia, particularly, once the country office has been opened. 

John McIntire in dialogue with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture,
one of IFAD's main partners in Indonesia. 
©IFAD/Sarah Hessel


John McIntire and the Chairmen of the Agency for Fiscal Policy. Based on the New Village Law,
the Government of Indonesia is committed to transfer approx. USD 2 billion
to villages throughout the country to strengthen rural development. Given
IFAD's strong experience in community development, the Government
is seeking IFAD's support in ensuring an effective utilization of these funds
at village level, by empowering communities and building
their capacities. 
©IFAD/Sarah Hessel

John McIntire meeting the Director General for Marine, Coastal and Small Islands of
the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries to discuss on-going and future operations.
Indonesia has the second longest coastline in the world, and fisheries and coastal development
is a key priority for the government. Currently, the Ministry is implementing the
IFAD-supported Coastal Community Development Project. 
©IFAD/Sarah Hessel
The IFAD delegation met Ahmad, who was about to give up cocoa farming.
Then he received support through the READ Mars partnership. Today he
works as a cocoa doctor. 
©IFAD/Sarah Hessel

Cooperative members dry cocoa in São Tomé. ©IFAD/Joanne Levitan
Written by Daniela Cuneo

There are thousands of fine chocolate bars, all delicious and unique, but what makes some of them special? Is it the art of the chocolate makers? The quality of the cocoa beans? The technology used to transform them? The alchemy in the mix of ingredients? The packaging? Or is it the land where cocoa trees are grown?

All the above elements contribute to a quality product, but what really makes the difference is the partnership between producers and other private and public stakeholders (also known as the four 'Ps') along the cocoa value chain – and how the 'Ps' work together to grow high-quality cocoa beans, build supply capacity and establish market linkages in a sustainable and equitable manner.

Equolink 70% chocolate bars prove this to be the case. They are made from Fair-trade certified coconut sugar and high-quality cocoa beans produced by smallholder farmers in São Tomé and Principe who, until few years ago, were living below the poverty line. Today, their lives are much improved, thanks to distributors and consumers who believe and invest in high-quality, single-origin, equitably produced foods.

Investing in quality to reduce poverty
IFAD has been working in São Tomé and Principe since the early 1980s. In 2003, the Participatory Smallholder Agriculture and Artisanal Fisheries Development Programme (PAPAFPA) was launched there to improve the incomes and living conditions of 4,500 families. The programme reached about 19,000 farmers and artisanal fishermen.

Cocoa beans at IFAD event on sourcing certified
sustainable products from smallholders. ©IFAD
PAPAFPA’s work and investments empowered cocoa smallholders to get organized into primary cooperatives and apex, export cooperatives, which are nowadays capable of fully complying with the high standards required to trade on international markets. Given their focus on quality and attention to environmental and social sustainability, the cooperatives have been able to obtain both Fair-trade and Organic certifications.

Moreover, since 2012, PAPAFPA has been supported by the Strengthening Smallholders’ Access to Markets for Certified Sustainable Products (SAMCERT) initiative, funded by an IFAD grant, which works with groups of small-scale producers to identify the potential for Fair-trade, Organic and other certifications. SAMCERT is also working in São Tome and Principe to establish geographical indications used to identify products originating from a well-defined geographic area. Geographical indications represent one further step towards increasing the market competitiveness of smallholder producers, improving their livelihoods and stimulating overall development of rural areas.

PAPAFPA has successfully established robust private-public partnerships with several European companies, which act as both partners and buyers/importers of certified products (coffee, cocoa, pepper and other spices) into the EU market. The progress made by these partnerships is notable in terms of volumes of produce exported yearly, returns generated and the overall performance of concerned producers and exporters.

Indeed, since the beginning of 2012, CECAB, one of the four export cooperatives created under PAPAFPA, has been running its operations independently from the programme.

Meeting market expectations 
It is clear that many chocolate consumers are interested in more than just quality. They are always looking for new flavours and, more important, are interested in knowing where the chocolate originates and how it is produced. Increasingly, they care about the environmental and social impact of chocolate production. High quality is not enough if it implies abuse of natural and human resources.

Equolink 70% chocolate is produced with Fair-trade
cocoa beans and coconut sugar.  ©Equolink
That is why the Palermo-based cooperative Scambi Sostenibili took on board a suggestion by Slow Food to use cocoa beans produced by the São Tomé cooperative CECAQ-11 for a new chocolate recipe, and to put its production in the hands of a well-known Italian chocolate maker, Domori di None. The result? Equolink 70%, the only single-origin chocolate produced exclusively with ethically certified, Fair-trade cocoa beans and coconut sugar.

Thanks to this new recipe, the São Tomé bar was selected out of more than 700 fine chocolate bars traded on the Italian market as one of the nine finalists for the national prize Tavoletta d'Oro 2015 last month. São Tomé's entry did not win first prize but came very close and will participate in the International Chocolate Awards in London later this month.

For cocoa smallholders of São Tomé and Principe – and for all those who invest in quality and equity – this is an impressive result. We can only hope that there will be more such achievements in the future.