The first IFAD/GEF Integrated Approach Pilot project starts up in Swaziland

By Ilaria Firmian

Last week, the Climate-Smart Agriculture for Resilient Livelihoods project was launched at the Sibane Hotel in Ezulwini, Swaziland, with the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture in attendance.

This is one of the 12 so-called ‘child projects’ of the GEF Integrated Approach Pilot on Food Security in Sub Saharan Africa, and the first among the 7 co-financed by IFAD to begin implementation.

The project promotes sustainable land and water resources management approaches for sustainable production and supports community-led planning processes that serve to match local actors to preferred development initiatives. With the objective of building climate-resilient households, it gives particular attention to women and youth-focused practices such as rooftop rainwater harvesting, home gardening, indigenous poultry and goat raising, beekeeping and fruit orchards.

The project is blended with an IFAD loan, the Smallholder Market Led Project, and together the two address the main causes of poverty and food deficit in the country. The first cause is the poor integration of smallholders, mainly female farmers, into local and national markets for agricultural products (addressed by SLMP), while the second is the fragile natural resource base, vulnerable to climate change and increasing degradation. Actually, the smallest in size of the IAP countries, Swaziland will contribute more than 30.000 hectares to the overall IAP programme target of 10 million hectares of land put under sustainable management.

After the official launch, the workshop participants continued working on operational and technical issues for a total of four days. From targeting to monitoring and evaluation systems, procurement methods to knowledge management, all issues have been discussed by the numerous implementing partners of the project in an atmosphere of collaboration and openness.

Once the child projects in the other 11 IAP countries are underway, there will be opportunities for further interactions and joint initiatives among the participating countries.