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Women in action and actions for women

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Friday, October 21, 2016 0 comments

by Francesca Aloisio

If women want to change their status they need to be the agents of that change. And social change is the goal of the Joint Programme on Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women (RWEE).

While it is still a pilot (it was launched in 2012) and underfunded, RWEE has already shown impressive results in terms of women’s empowerment and livelihood improvement. About 3,500 women have received training to improve agricultural technologies and farming methods, while a total of 18,000 women and their households have benefitted from it.

These results could not have been achieved if it wasn’t for a key word in the programme’s title: ‘joint’. RWEE is the result of the partnership of four UN agencies that came together to achieve gender equality in seven different countries around the world.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) work in close collaboration, handling different areas regarding their mandate, but all aiming to educate and empower women.

As mentioned by Lourdes Magana de Larriva, Advisor at the Delegation of the European Union to the UN, and co-chair of the Network for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, rural women are more likely to be left behind despite the aim of Sustainable Development Goal number five: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. RWEE recognizes rural women as key actors for sustainable development, working to realize women’s rights. We are talking about economic, social and political rights.

RWEE presented at a side event of the 43rd session of the Committee on the World Food Security (CFS). The full-house appreciated hearing about the success stories from Liberia, Guatemala, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Ethiopia, Nepal and Rwanda, but also the challenges confronting the programme.

In Niger, women, men and young people gather together in groups to discuss the problems they face and to find solutions. "The interactions and exchanges among men and women have encouraged mutual understanding," says Biba Saley, leader of one of the Dimitra clubs established in Dosso, Niger.

Some of the women who turned their life around thanks to this programme include women in Niger; in Nepal; Ethiopia; Rwanda; and Kyrgyzstan.

One of the main actions to support the empowerment of women in themselves in rural communities is to improve their skills in agriculture. This leads us to the issue of food sovereignty.

Talking to Sophie Dowllar, from the World March of Women in Kenya, she points out the importance of food sovereignty and building a feminist economy as an alternative for women.

World March of Women is an international feminist action movement that aims at eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and looks at the root causes of poverty. "Our priority is to ensure that women are free of hunger first, because we cannot say just be happy if you're hungry, we cannot say that we need peace and you're hungry," explains Sophie.

The beneficiaries of the movement are "Grassroots women who are tilling the land every day, who are connected with their families down there and that do everything they can to ensure that they have good food,” she says.

But what exactly is rural women economic empowerment? Empowering rural women has several meanings. It means enabling women to be recognized as a fundamental part of their community. It means teaching them how to read and write so they can go to the bank and sign a pay slip without help from others. It means building confidence. It means equal access to resources and food production increases. It means educating men and eliminating domestic violence.

Knowledge and resource sharing seems to be a primary ingredient for progress, as shown by the partnership of UN agencies in RWEE and by the World March of Women experience. In fact, every year, on April 24th, World March of Women celebrates with 24 hours of feminist action, where they exchange seeds across countries and build worldwide connections.

The road to achieve gender equality in rural areas is still long, but the initial steps seem promising!

This blog was originally written as the live coverage for CFS43.

The story of the founder of Shakti Organic Factory

Posted by Linh Le Thursday, October 20, 2016 0 comments

A guest blog by: Esther Penunia, Secretary General, Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development 
Edited by: Linh Le

Meet Nirmala Shrestha, a Nepali teacher, a daughter of a farming family, and a cancer survivor. She is the brain, the inspiration, the founder and owner of the three-year-old Shakti Organic Fertilizer Factory in Nepal. 

Photo: Nirmala Shrestha- the founder of Shakti Organic Fertilizer Factory in Nepal, ©AFA/Esther Penunia 

What inspired Ms. Nirmala? 
Nirmala said that farmers in Nepal use too much chemical fertilizers which are not good for the soil and health of the people. With that in mind, she mobilized 50 shareholders to the company, some of whom are teachers, some are businesspersons, and some are farmers. She made a search on Google on how to make organic fertilizers and hired one technician. Now she has 16 people working in the factory. The factory got 50 per cent subsidy from the government for the machines, after a long application process. 

Photo: The Shakti Organic Fertilizer Factory in Nepal, ©AFA/Esther Penunia 
The organic fertilizer is a mixture of cow dung, pig and chicken manure, fruit and vegetable wastes, bone wastes, rice hull, and even cow urine. The factory gets the fruit and vegetable wastes from a nearby market. The fertilizer costs 25 rupees per kg, but government subsidizes 10 rupees per kg so the farmer pays only 15 rupees. The government provides 75 kilos of fertilizer subsidy for every half hectare of land. The factory was recently awarded by Agro Times, a national newsprint media in Nepal.

Photo: A product of Shakti Organic Compost, ©AFA/Esther Penunia 

Ms. Nirmala attended many training seminars, one of which was by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). She was very happy to meet new friends from SEWA. Now she wants to know how to run the factory as a cooperative. So All Nepal Peasant Federations Association (ANPFa), which is the National Implementing Agency of the Medium Term Cooperation Program Phase Two (MTCP2) is linking them to another cooperative.

The MTCP2 is a five-year program supported by IFAD, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and European Union (EU) and is aimed to build the capacities of farmer organizations in 17 countries to effectively deliver services to their members and engage in policy work with their governments and partner development institutions.

Nirmala’s effort and hard work served as a great inspiration to the MTCP2 South Asia group that visited her on 10 September 2016. We are looking forward to following her future achievements and her company’s business. 

Photo: Nirmala Shrestha and the members of MTCP2 South Asia group, ©AFA/Esther Penunia 

Supporting regional trade integration between Niger and Nigeria

Posted by Steven Jonckheere Wednesday, October 19, 2016 0 comments

Regional integration is a development priority for Africa. All Africans, not just policy makers and decision makers, have a role to play in making integration a reality for the continent. Regional integration is about getting things moving freely across the whole of Africa. This means getting goods to move more easily across borders; transport, energy and telecommunications to connect more people across more boundaries; people to move more freely across frontiers, and capital and production to move and grow beyond national limits. The main objective of pursuing trade and market integration in Africa is to boost intra-African trade and investments (see Africa Regional Integration Index Report 2016). When trade flows are faster and more cost-effective, business and consumers in the regions benefit as it creates employment, industrial linkages, economic diversification and structural transformation that, by extension, generate sustainable development on the continent (see UNECA – Trade and market integration).

In this context, the  new Kano-Jigawa-Daura-Zinder cross-border development corridor was launched in Dutse, Nigeria on 29 September 2016. The aim is to improve cross-border trade and food security and to strengthen economic integration between Niger and Nigeria. The corridor should boost the economies of the two countries by improving cross-border flows of agro-pastoral products and facilitating linkages between development poles and transportation systems.

The IFAD-financed Family Farming Development Programme (ProDAF) in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions has provided technical and financial support to this initiative. The Programme’s objective is to sustainably increase the income of 240,000 family farms, their resilience to external shocks, including climate change, and their access to local, urban and regional markets in the three regions. More specifically, ProDAF is working to facilitate cross-border trade, increase knowledge about cross-border trade constraints and propose and test solutions with economic operators. These activities are carried out in partnership with the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation, as well as consular trade offices, economic operators and professional organizations. ProDAF is currently seeing how they can collaborate with the Climate Change Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme in the Savannah Belt in Nigeria in supporting the development of the new cross-border trade corridor.

More than just a recipe

Posted by Ricci Symons Monday, October 17, 2016 0 comments

I have just returned from Mozambique where I was lucky enough to see the latest in IFAD's cooking and climate series, Recipes for Change, being filmed. The newest recipe, Caldeirada De Cabrito Com Mandioca, is a goat and cassava curry. It was was cooked by a local farmer, Helina Paulo, and famous Mozambican chef, Rogerio Matusse. Rogerio has his own catering company and is a regular presenter on Mozambican TV, also hosting a Mozambican tourism show.

Chef Rogerio and Helina cooking together ©IFAD
IFAD works in Mozambique through its PROSUL project, fighting the effects of climate change on smallholder farmers. Farmers like Helina are facing problems with drier soils, higher temperatures and increased droughts. Water shortages and lack of irrigation also contribute to the difficulties facing smallholders. All this is combining to reduce yields, increase wastage and ultimately hurt farmers’ incomes.

The PROSUL project has split itself into three separate streams to help tackle these issues- horticulture, red meat and cassava. Each segment has its own set of actions, which complement each other and ultimately ensure traditional dishes like caldeira de cabrito com mandioca will stay on the menu in Mozambique. The red meat stream is ensuring the health of goats by introducing new raised goat shelters, that stop goats catching diseases when it floods. The cassava and horticulture focused parts, are introducing new planting techniques, seed species and irrigation systems to ensure vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers and cassava are protected.
Water irrigation system at the Wapsala Association ©IFAD

Through the project cassava processing plants, like the one in the picture below, are being built. In these plants farmers are diversifying incomes by creating cassava flour, cassava cakes and biscuits and in some areas selling the surplus cassava they’ve grown to breweries who make beer from it.

Where is the cassava surplus coming from?

Intercropping with cassava and cowpea ©IFAD
The project has been introducing new cassava to households. This new cassava survives on far less water than traditional cassava, which is crucial in low rainfall or drought years. Additionally, this new cassava is more resistant to diseases and pests.

Helina measuring out the distance between crops ©IFAD
Farmers are also being taught the latest adaptation techniques to cope with climate change. One technique is to identify cassava which is infected with pests and diseases and ensure that farmers remove these. Traditionally farmers have not wanted to remove any cassava as this would mean a loss of product. However through farmer field schools, farmers have been taught how early identification and removal of affected crops actually preserves yields. Traditionally a farmer would plant cassava and after a year would harvest. But with the new techniques such as intercropping this has allowed farmers to plant crops with a far shorter growing cycle than cassava on the same plot. This means that they can harvest and sell the other crops while waiting for the cassava to mature, bolstering incomes. Also as the secondary crops such as cowpea grow they provide shade to the cassava and retain soil moisture which both help the cassava to grow large and healthy.
Wapsala Association meeting ©IFAD

Helina is part of the Wapsala Farmers Association. It is a group of smallholder farmers that regularly meet to share knowledge and lessons learned. They meet at the Association’s headquarters, which is surrounded by their own plots. The headquarters also doubles as the cassava processing plant. Helina said that by using these new techniques all the farmers at the Wapsala Association have seen big increases in their yields. They Using the project's market connections they have also found reliable markets to sell their produce.
Creating cassava flour at the Wapsala processing plant ©IFAD

Cassava processing plant in Wapsala ©IFAD 

Grinding cassava in the Wapsala processing plant ©IFAD

Cassava flour biscuits, one of the new revenue streams for the Wapsala Association ©IFAD

By Vivienne Likhanga

Information can be a source of change. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision-making, information is a burden, not a benefit. In recent years, scaling up innovations for smallholder agricultural development and rural poverty reduction has been recognized as effective responses to emerging global challenges. This has motivated a renewed interest in local knowledge and in the development and testing of new learning tools to disseminate and scale up innovations.

In this context, the importance of learning from others inspired the PROCASUR Corporation to design "Learning Routes" and other knowledge-management and capacity-building approaches and tools, all with the objectives of valuing local knowledge and facilitating the development of platforms in which experiences and innovations can be exchanged. This methodology has proved effective in providing peer-to-peer training and technical assistance as well as addressing the needs of vulnerable groups.

So what exactly is a Learning Route?

A Learning Route (LR) is a planned educational journey with learning objectives designed to:
(i) address the knowledge needs of development practitioners who are faced with problems associated with rural poverty;
(ii) identify local stakeholders who have tackled similar challenges successfully and innovatively, recognizing that their accumulated knowledge and experience can be useful to others; and
(iii) support local organizations in the systematization of these best practices in order for local stakeholders to proficiently share their knowledge with others.

The LR capacity-building tool has a proven track record of integrating and promoting local rural development knowledge and experiences that includes exchanges among project staff, grass root organizations, the private sector, and local champions from the fieldin order to determine the best practices with scaling-up potential. This interaction usually continues after the end of the LR journey, allowing projects to develop the methods and tools to adapt and expand innovations and best solutions for the rural poor communities. The end goal is for the local participants to become more effective and strategic in their own context. The Learning Route encourages each participant to come up with a concrete innovation plan for actions.

Training Workshop on Learning Route implementation:

The PROCASUR Corporation, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Country office in Sudan, organized a Training Workshop on 18-21 September 2016 in Khartoum Sudan. They convened representatives from IFAD-funded projects, the Central Coordination Unit for IFAD (CCU), and Sudan’s Ministry of Animal Resources (MOAR), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MoAF) and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) to discuss Learning Route implementation.

The training workshop is one of the activities organized under the project: "Knowledge Management Tools for Enhanced Project Performance" organized by the IFAD Country Office in Sudan in collaboration with ProcasurAfrica. The key objectives were i) to enhance knowledge-management skills among IFAD’s supported projects in Sudan for the transfer of methodological toolsand ii)to provide skills and empower IFAD-funded projects in the organizing and implementing customized, country-scaled “Learning Routes”.

The intense four-day programme included myriad presentations, reflections, discussions, and question–answer sessions to help representatives learn from PROCASUR about how to implement a successful learning route. Another key aim of this training was to share the lessons learned, project results, impact evaluation, and replication of good practices gained from the implementation of past LRs, all in order to capitalize on this knowledge in determining how to scale up good practices.

For Aisha Mahmoud Mohammed, inspector of Animal Protection at the Federal Ministry of Animal Resources in Sudan, it was the first time to participate in a training on the Learning Route methodology. She found it interesting to learn about how to prepare a Learning Route and the selection of the right case studies:

"The workshop is a good opportunity for me to increase my skills and knowledge aboutLearning Routes as a way of sharing knowledge. I will go back to the Ministry of Animal Resources, and share what I have learned with my colleagues."

The participants were able to understand the differences between an exchange visit and a Learning Route. One of the key take-home messages for the participants was that the Learning Route is a continuous learning process: organizers of a Learning Route need to understand what they want to learn, how to share knowledge during field visits, and how to make use of new knowledge after the LR.

Participants also learned about the selection of host case studies, the construction of knowledge products, the involvement and roles of the different stakeholders in a Learning Route, such as the technical coordinator, the methodological coordinator, and the local champions, who have the requisite knowledge and are willing to share it with others and act as trainers.

The connection between the roles and responsibilities of Learning Route actors and the systematisation of the host cases is an important insight. It is essential for us to understand how to define the different actors, their responsibilities, and roles, in order for us to adequately prepare them for the presentation of the host cases to the Learning Route participants.” ~ Tarig Amin Abu Albashar, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Western Sudan Resource Management Programme (WSRMP).

In the subsequent sessions, PROCASUR associate consultantMs. Barbara Massler and Methodological Coordinator, Mr. Fred Iga Luganda, presented the different learning instruments of a Learning Route. They included an experience fair, field visits, case analyses, and the development of an innovation plan. The innovation plan is a concrete plan of action that outlines how LR participants can incorporate new products, services, or processes from the lessons learned and best practices into their own strategic framework and corresponding activities.

Planning the implementation of a Learning Route on Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Productivity:

The objective of one of the training sessions was to assist the participants in the organization of a future LR: a Learning Route on Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Productivity24 October to 2 November, 2016.

Participants discussed the list of activities the organizers need to do to prepare for the Learning Route, including logistics and production of learning material such as write-ups and case studies. They were guided on the systematisation of case studies and they discussed how the existing draftcases can be improved. The facilitators also highlighted the importance of including specific learning mechanisms and incorporatingthe role of different actors. Focus was also given to the practical arrangements related to organising a Learning Route.

It became clearer to the participants what kind of information they need to collect during the coming weeks. The exercise was a reminder of the hard work of organizing a complex training activity such as the Learning Route. In the afternoon, PROCASUR staff presented different ways to monitor and evaluate a Learning Route and how projects can monitor the implementation of Innovation Plans.

The participants have so many lessons to take home with them from the training.

A good practice is when the experience is achieving what it was designed for, has a positive effect and can be replicated.” ~ Dr. Nadir Yousif Hamdan, Director of the Livestock Marketing and Resilience Project (LMRP).
A local champion is a community member who has good knowledge in certain practices, is well trained, has facilitation skills and is able to share this knowledge with others”~ Aida Adam Osman, Community Development Officer from Butana Intergrated Rural Development Project (BIRDP).

The Ex-Post Follow Up Session:

“Learning experiences are like journeys. The journey starts where the learning is now, and ends when the learner is successful. The end of the journey is not in knowing more, it is in doing more.”~ C. William Pollard. 
For this reason, PROCASUR advocates for the Monitoring and Evaluation of the impact of a LR as an important aspect of the follow up phase.

The last day of the training workshop focused on the Ex-Post LR phase in relation to lessons learned, project results, and replication of good practices. Participantsshared their past experiences from previous Learning Routes and implementations of innovation plans. The elements needed in order to successfully implement an innovation plan were highlighted as follows: i) the existence of a model that works a community level and has been promoted as a good practice ii) a visionary leader to take the agenda forward iii) incentives to raise interest inreplicating the practices among participants. Other factors that influence the implementation of innovation plans are allocated funds, policy and legal conditions, capacity among institutions and organisations, political support, project and environment support for a bottom-up approach, and cultural feasibility. Some of the take-home messages for the future were i) that Learning Routes enhance participants’ knowledge, which can then be transferred in project activities outside an innovation plan; ii) that it is better to prepare an Innovation Plan in a group; iii)that projects or initiatives presented in the Innovation plans should be embedded in existing project initiatives or components instead of being stand-alone concepts; and iv) that it is important to agree with decision-makers on how to secure funding for the proposed innovation plan.

Some of the examples presented as planned and implemented activities after LRs were i) designing and constructing a slaughterhouse, ii) improved rangeland management, iii) sponsoring goat production through the IFAD-funded BIRD project, and iv) GALS ToT trainings in WSRMP and better use of the community-development fund as a result of GALS training in BIRD.


The workshop was an intensive, knowledge-enriching and fruitful four days where theory, practice, and exchanges were perfectly combined. A lot of information was shared and learned. The participants were well versed on the Learning Route instruments and empowered by Learning Route stakeholder selection and the list of activities that organizers need to do to prepare for the Learning Route, including logistics, write-ups and finalization of case studies.

The group left the workshop in high spirits, feeling enthused, hopeful, and empowered on their journey towards implementing their self-organized Learning Route on Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Productivity scheduled for the 24th of October 2016. This training workshop has enabled the transfer of practical approaches towards the selection of good practices and has significantly contributed to clarifying what organizers need to do in order to implement a successful Learning Route.

IFAD is funding Learning Routes across Africa, Asia and Latin America through the international knowledge-broker PROCASUR and the inter-regional program 2016-2018: "Strengthening capacities and tools to scale-up and disseminate innovations". A global catalyst for change and knowledge sharing, PROCASUR's work positively impacts the lives and livelihoods for rural talents across the globe.
To have more information on this workshop and to download the Training Toolkit and Program of the activities, please visit this page.

By Jeanette Cooke, Rural Development Consultant, Gender Team

The International Day of Rural Women on 15 October is an opportunity to recognize the critical role rural women can play in eradicating hunger and poverty and driving inclusive economic transformation in rural areas. It is equally important to highlight one of the most persistent hindrances that prevents them from fulfilling this role − domestic drudgery − and how they can overcome it.

In almost all countries around the world, women work longer hours than men every day when both paid and unpaid work are taken into account. This is primarily due to the fact that women spend two to ten times longer on unpaid domestic work than men.

In rural areas, domestic chores can include water and fuel collection, food processing and preparation, travelling, and transporting and caring for children, the ill and the elderly. These chores are particularly burdensome where there is no or limited access to essential public services and labour-saving technologies.

Niger: Woman and girl carrying heavy loads. ©IFAD/David Rose

A heavy domestic workload makes rural women extremely time poor. This in turn restricts their mobility, their economic activity on- and off-farm, and their ability to influence decision-making at home, in the community and in institutions. In addition, the heavy and rudimentary nature of many domestic chores can cause poor health and nutrition for a woman and her family. Schooling also suffers when women need help from their children, mainly girls, to perform these chores. A heavy domestic workload is therefore both a major cause and a major effect of gender inequality and poverty. Unless addressed, women’s drudgery will continue to blight agricultural development, hold back inclusive rural transformation and keep generations of women and girls trapped in poverty.

Part of the solution to reducing women's domestic workload lies in a more equitable division of labour and in technologies that lighten their load (Carr and Hartl, 2010; IFAD, 2016).

In IFAD-supported projects labour-saving technologies and practices range from large-scale infrastructure investments in water, energy and roads to medium-scale machinery and small-scale equipment for use at home and/or in group-based activities.

Here are some examples:
  • In Niger, the Project for the Promotion of Local Initiative for Development in Aguié, (2005-2013) built 20 village wells and 15 boreholes. Access to drinking water greatly improved in the project areas and women used the time saved to take part in setting up and managing food and cereal banks. 
  • IFAD has successfully piloted the Flexi Biogas system in India, Kenya, Rwanda and Sao Tomé and Principe giving households their own power supplies. With an efficient above-ground biogas system, which is relatively cheap and simple to use, a family with just one or two cows can produce 60-100 kg of high-quality fertilizer and 2.8 m3 of biogas each day for cooking, lighting or food processing. 
  • In Bhutan the Agriculture, Marketing and Enterprise Promotion Programme (2005-2012) built feeder roads to improve market access and enable more shops to open in rural areas. Women can now buy essential items closer to home in the newly opened shops and use the time saved for vegetable production, an important source of income and nutrition. 
  • In Bolivia and Mongolia IFAD has supported temporary mobile child day care centres. In Bolivia, this meant that women were able to take part in project training sessions. In Mongolia, while the children attended the kindergarten, both men and women had time in the summer to milk animals, process dairy products, grow vegetables and earn some income in preparation for the long winter. See the video here about how the kindergarten benefitted the children (Mongolia: Learning in motion
Gambia: Woman using biogas powered stove. ©IFAD/Nana Kofi Acquah
Of course, the concept of labour-saving technologies is not new, nor has their dissemination by development agencies always been successful. So what has changed? And how can we do things better?

Putting housework on the global agenda

In an unprecedented move at the international level, domestic work has been formally recognised as an essential element of sustainable development. Countries have committed to working towards target 5.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality to recognize, reduce and redistribute responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work.

IFAD and its Member States have also committed to reduce rural women’s domestic workloads through one of the three strategic objectives in the IFAD Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment to “achieve a more equitable balance in workloads”. We know that if women’s workloads are not reduced, the Policy’s other two objectives on economic empowerment and decision-making cannot be achieved.

We have learnt several important lessons on how to improve or support the impact of labour-saving technologies:
  • The daily activities and workloads of the project target group must be identified and understood in the context of livelihood strategies and gender roles and relations. In other words, we need to know who is doing what, why and when. 
  • Factors that determine the sustainability of technologies must be considered in project design, such as affordable and reliable operation and maintenance and who will cover what costs over what period of time. 
  • Labour-saving technologies do not lead to equitable workloads on their own. The underlying causes of gender inequality must be addressed. Discriminatory gender roles and relations need to be challenged and pathways for positive behaviour change identified. Gender transformative approaches, such as the household methodologies , are a means to this end. They bring all household members together to discuss and identify a shared vision for a better future. 
More information is available on this topic in the Toolkit on “Reducing rural women’s domestic workload through labour-saving technologies and practices”.

Guatemala: Woman washing dishes using water supply available at home. ©IFAD/Santiago Albert Pons
Read more:

UN Women. 2015. Progress of the world’s women 2015-2016: transformingeconomies, realizing rights. UN Women.
OECD. 2014. Unpaid care work: the missing link in theanalysis of gender gaps in labour outcomes.
Carr, M., and M. Hartl. 2010. Lightening the load: Labour-saving technologiesand practices for rural women. IFAD and Practical Action Publishing Ltd.
IFAD. 2016. Reducing rural women’s domesticworkload through labour-saving technologies and practices toolkit
FAO. 2015. Running out of time: the reduction of women’s work burden in agricultural production. Rome: FAO.
IFAD. 2015. How to do: mainstreaming portable biogas systems into IFAD-supported programmes. Rome: IFAD. 

Linking rural and the urban: LANDac Conference 2016

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Thursday, October 13, 2016 0 comments

By Elisa Mandelli, Associate Professional Officer, IFAD, and Andrea Wyers, Intern, IFAD

Harold Liversage (IFAD) sharing with the audience his considerations on the outputs of the conference @E.Mandelli
This summer, IFAD's Land Tenure desk took part in the LANDac Annual International Conference in Utrecht, Netherlands, an event organized by the LANDac network and a selection of Dutch and international knowledge institutes. Within the global context of rapid urbanisation, increased demand for land, and climate change, this year's conference focused on linking rural and urban dynamics.
In recent years, analyses of the growing demand for land have increased, but often only within the rural sphere. The effects of similar dynamics in the urban and peri-urban areas remain relatively unexplored. The aim of the conference was to bridge the rural-urban divide and explore the linkages between the two spheres.

Bringing together stakeholders from around the world and a variety of backgrounds, the two-day conference was attended by academics, consultants, policy makers, and NGO representatives. The conference offered spaces for paper presentations, poster displays and round table discussions, where participants analysed and discussed such topics as population growth, land scarcity, land-based investments, and especially processes affecting the transformation of urban and peri-urban landscapes and livelihoods.    

The complexity and subjectivity in defining legitimate rights was noted throughout the conference. In contributing to this conversation, Elisa Mandelli of IFAD's Land Tenure desk gave a presentation on IFAD’s experience  in promoting land governance and responsible investment in Bagamoyo District in Tanzania through the Bagamoyo Sugar Infrastructure and Sustainable Community Development (BASIC) programme. The programme aims to support a public-private-producer partnership (4Ps) for the development of sugarcane production in a nucleus estate out-grower scheme. The investment is being implemented in an area adjacent to Dar es Salaam with high potential for coastal tourist expansion.
One of the main challenges has been addressing the tensions in the programme area that result from the competing resource needs of peri-urban expansion and seasonal influxes of livestock. Although the programme has yet to come into force, it intends to include a wider community development programme and to support land tenure security through land-use planning and land registration activities. The programme is already supporting civil society engagement and is monitoring the possible impacts of the programme on tenure security and land use.

Elisa Mandelli (IFAD) presenting IFAD experiences in promoting responsible investment in Bagamoyo (Tanzania). @LANDac, 2016
The entire programme highlights the need for minimizing potential negative impacts and maximizing positive effects of out-grower schemes and other land-based investment and partnerships models. This in turn requires more effort in fostering informed and open dialogue with different stakeholders, especially with CSOs who can play a crucial role in social accountability and monitoring and evaluation. On this topic, Mandelli shared some lessons learned from the support that IFAD provides to the International Land Coalition (ILC) to strengthen CSO active engagement in the promotion of good land governance in Tanzania. Through the establishment of a platform for coordination and joint action, CSO are engaging in policy dialogue on land governance and exploring opportunities to actively shape models for inclusive and responsible land-based investments. Building on the third phase of the IFAD-supported Sustainable Rangeland Management Programme (SRMP III), the platform will also contribute to securing rangelands.  

For the private sector, responsible and transparent investment can also contribute to strengthening good land governance by providing much-needed resources for land tenure activities and opportunities for land development, thus further securing smallholder claims.  Moreover, in a context of increased competition on natural resources and weak land governance, Mandelli highlighted the opportunities for fostering responsible investment models as drivers for strengthening good land governance and secure land tenure rights. The Land Tenure desk will continue to share lessons on the challenges and opportunities for responsible land-based investment in the context of competing land demands. We would like to hear from others on how they are grappling with these issues.