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Celebrating and rewarding motivated and inspiring colleagues

Posted by Roxanna Samii Monday, December 20, 2010 0 comments

Those of you familiar with Italian culture know that the superstitious are wary of Friday the 17th, because they believe it brings bad luck. Well, hate to break the news – but we at IFAD survived Friday 17th with flying marks. Here is a brief run-down of our Friday the 17th experience.

Presenting the Rural Poverty Report 2011 in Rome
As part of the Rural Poverty Report 2011 roll out, on Friday 17 December, we organized a high-level panel discussion at Tempio di Adriano to discuss the report’s themes and findings.

Our very own Mylene Kherallah, a graceful and eloquent mistress of ceremony, welcomed the over 150 participants to the event. Kherallah reminded the audience that the Rural Poverty Report 2011 provides a coherent and comprehensive look at rural poverty, its global consequences and the prospects for eradicating it.

IFAD President, Dr Kanayo Nwanze, taking the floor presented an overview of the report’s themes, findings and recommendations. In his statement, the President highlighted the two significant threats facing the poor rural people: food price volatility and climate change. Nwanze also talked about the profound changes that are happening in rural areas – changes that are bringing new opportunities for progress in the effort to eradicate rural poverty and ensure global food security for decades to come.

Following Dr Nwanze’s statement, a panel of eminent experts in rural poverty and food security moderated by Marta Dassu, Director-General for International Activities at the Aspen Institute Italia, featuring Hafez Ghanem, Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Uma Lele, an agricultural economist and former senior advisory to the World Bank; John Sender, Emeritus Professor of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and Kevin Cleaver, Associate Vice-President for Programmes at IFAD, shared their views on the themes raised in the Rural Poverty Report and engaged in a compelling conversation with the audience.

Mylene concluding the event highlighted that for IFAD, the high level of interest in the Rural Poverty Report 2011 is a validation of our work, and it inspires us to re-double our efforts to eradicate rural poverty.

When we left Tempio di Adriano around 12:45, we were welcomed by an unusual phenomena for Rome. Talk about climate change – it was snowing. We get a lot of rain in Rome, but snow in Rome, is like having snow in the desert – a rare event and one that never fails to put a smile on everyone’s face.

IFAD staff awards
Later that same afternoon the IFAD staff awards ceremony concluded the week on a celebratory note. This programme recognizes the achievements and accomplishments of colleagues who as individual or as teams ― have made outstanding contributions as:
  • leader
  • designer or implementer of an innovative or outstanding project within IFAD or in a member country
  • effective agent and facilitator of change

What is special and what makes this awards programme different from others is the fact that the nominations come from STAFF. Colleagues nominate colleagues and reward their actions and behaviours because they have done something special.

The IFAD awards programme was informed by Daniel Pink’s paradigm. Pink argues that “the secret to high performance and satisfaction is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world”. Inspired by Pink’s thinking, the IFAD award committee composed of Shyam Khadka, Mylene Kherallah, Marie-Paulette Duhart, Maria-Elena Mangiafico, Henock Kifle and Carla Ferreira, in reviewing the nominations, focused on rewarding motivation and more specifically the three elements of true motivation - autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Pink defines these three elements as follows:
  • autonomy, the desire to direct our own lives
  • mastery, the desire to continually improve at something that matters
  • purpose, the desire to do things in service of something larger than ourselves.
I believe that at IFAD we have space to be creative and inventive. It is up to us as individuals to take advantage of this opportunity and do something special. Yes - we have bureaucracy, yes - every once in a while we may experience a setback, but at the end of it all, if we want, we can bring about change; if we want, we can think out of the box; if we want, we can build something special; if we want, we can put our creativity to good use and if we want, we can continuously improve and do bigger and better things.

It was heart-warming to hear Henock Kifle, Chief Development Strategist and the chairperson of the awards committee reporting that the committee had received  60 nominations. It was even more heart-warming to hear that 14 colleagues were nominated under leadership category, 20 for designing and implementing outstanding projects and 26 for agent and facilitators of change.

And when Henock started reading the awardees under leadership category and read out the first name – Roberto Haudry – the entire plenary hall broke in a warm applause.

Roberto was recognized for pioneering and leading highly successful innovations during his long career at IFAD such as his trailblazing role as the first Country Programme Manager (CPM) to be outposted. Similarly, the “Learning Routes” initiative pioneered by Roberto have helped thousands of farmers, rural community leaders and government officials to exchange knowledge, information and experiences through visits to each other’s projects where they see first-hand what can be achieved.

Roberto is a great innovator, a hard worker and someone who never gives up. Thanks to all these qualities, he has led the design and supervision of projects that have produced outstanding results ― achieving the highest average score in management's self evaluations.

The second awardee in the leadership category was Henning Pederson. Henning stands out for his leadership capabilities in developing a country programmes and projects which are on the cutting edge of development practice, particularly in rural finance and value chain development. Henning was also singled out for his inspiring and empowering management style and as an outstanding mentor.

And to prove this very point, it was not too much of a surprise, that one of his mentees – Omer Zafar and the Yemen country team –received an award outstanding project category.

The Yemen country team led by Omer and composed of Dr. Fathia Bahran, Country Programme Officer,  Nicole Hervieu and Jessica Lattughi were recognized for having completely transformed the Yemen portfolio from one that was based on a hand-out approach, to one based on creating sustainable economic opportunities that empower poor rural men and women.

The new project designs for Yemen have been so highly regarded by other donors, including the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the European Union, that they have together invested almost double the amount that IFAD has put it. The World Bank has also expressed interest in investing and the IsDB has recently announced that it stands ready to contribute over US$ 100 million to the forthcoming Yemen project, which focuses on rural employment generation.

The next awardee in the outstanding project category was Edward Heinemann, the Rural Poverty Report 2011 team leader. Ed was recognized for his outstanding efforts to finalize IFAD’s flagship publication.

Work on the report started in late 2007 and, while much preparation was done, it became clear in 2009 that the project was losing momentum. In July 2009 senior management asked Ed to take over responsibility for the report.

Ed, assisted by Bettina Prato rolled up his sleeves and started to draft and re-drafted the report several times with support and contributions from IFAD colleagues and external reviewers, producing the excellent report that we have today.

Although only released ten days ago, those of you who follow this blog know that the Report has already received wide praise and is being recognized as one of the most comprehensive studies on the dynamics of rural poverty. A distinctive feature of the report is that it gives a human face to rural poverty through the personal narratives of ordinary poor rural people around the globe. It also advocates a number of important policy measures to tackle rural poverty. These will undoubtedly give impetus and drive the efforts of governments in developing countries and the international community to enhance national and global food security.

The first award in the agent and facilitator of change category went to the Farmer’s Forum Team coordinated by Jean-Philippe Audinet. The team included:
  • Philippe Remy
  • Roberto Longo
  • Carla De Donato
  • Sandra Di Rienzo
  • Gisella Barbieri
  • Natalia Espinel
  • Sylvia Isaia
  • Vincent Sineau
The team was recognized for its outstanding work in developing the Farmers’ Forum and creating a strong relationship between IFAD and farmers’ organizations across the developing world.

Their efforts has led to the organizing the Farmers’ Forum every two years to coincide with the meetings of the Governing Council. In 2010 the Forum featured a special session to promote women’s leadership in farmers’ and rural producers’ organizations. Thanks to the work of the Farmers’ Forum team, IFAD has also continued to support global and regional farmers’ organizations in developing countries. And through their work, IFAD has managed to amplify the voices of the rural poor in various global fora.

The second awardee in the agent and facilitator of change was yours truly – Roxanna Samii. Those who follow this blog will remember that in February 2010 we used a number of social media and web2.0 tools to report live from the Farmers’ Forum. In a way I partially owe my award to the openness and willingness of the Farmers’ Forum team who embraced the idea of putting these tools into practice.

I was extremely flattered listening to Henock reading out the following motivation for my award:

“The award pays tribute to the key role Roxanna played in leading the change in the way we communicate. It recognizes Roxy’s tireless dedication and energy to introduce IFAD staff to social media, promote the benefits and advantages of social media at the corporate level, and share her knowledge by conducting awareness-building and training sessions on web 2.0 tools and guiding IFAD staff on how to use social media effectively and professionally.”

“Roxy’s passion, enthusiasm and tireless dedication have anchored social media in IFAD’s communications work and she is commended for empowering her colleagues to become effective users of social media tools. “

I cannot but end this blogpost by referring back to Daniel Pink’s DRIVE paradigm. Pink’s paradigm is pushing us to embrace motivation 3.0 – where people are “motivated by the desire for autonomy over a task, for the mastery of a craft and for a sense of purpose”.

The IFAD awards programme paid tribute to these people. For sure, the 2011 edition will pay tribute to many more motivated and inspiring colleagues.

The six awardees will be receiving the official plaque at the forthcoming Governing Council. So please make sure you stay tuned, as we’ll be using social media and web2.0 tools to bring you live not only the award ceremony but the entire Governing Council event!

For now, Happy Holidays and on behalf of the IFAD social reporting team we wish you a prosperous 2011.

The journey from arms to agriculture

Posted by Roxanna Samii Wednesday, December 15, 2010 0 comments

The turbulent history of the Republic of Congo with its troubled transition from centralized planning under a Marxist government to a market economy, together with economic mismanagement, military coups and brutal civil conflict during the 1990s has definitely marked the people of this country.

The Republic of Congo, once one of sub-Saharan Africa’s main oil producers, today has more than 40% of its 3.7 million people living under the poverty line most of whom live in rural areas earn their livelihoods as smallholder farmers and fishers.

The country’s economy relies on subsistence agriculture and livestock. Cassava, rice, vegetables are among the main agricultural products and the population is also engaged in rearing small ruminants.

The civil wars of 1993-1994 and 1997-1999 have had a devastating socio-economic impact on the country. During the civil war all fundamental and foundational infrastructure was destroyed. More than 800,000 people were displaced, the population suffered from severe food insecurity and many young children became soldiers.

Once the civil war came to an end, the United Nations family began its post-conflict effort. In 2000, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in an effort to reintegrate the displaced people and encourage child soldiers to surrender their arms, launched the seven year «Action Communautaire pour le Rétablissement Post-Conflit» project. This project provided basic social services and helped the population to engage in economic activities.

In 2009, building on the UNDP project, IFAD funded the Rural Development Project in the Likouala, Pool and Sangha Departments (PRODER3).

“The objective of this project is to increase the production, productivity and income of poor rural people in a sustainable manner and encourage the young people to put down their arms”, explains Dominique Kenga, Coordinator of the IFAD-funded Rural Development Project.

The project reaches out to 160 villages and covers 15,750 households. The 62,800 poor rural people benefitting from this project are engaged in in the local cassava-based farming system, fisheries and livestock related activities.

The project is enabling farmers to produce, multiply and disseminate improved, disease-free cassava planting materials and seeds. It is providing training and agricultural extension services to give smallholder farmers full access to inputs and know-how. And it is also financing the rehabilitation of rural roads to better connect the over 600 villages.

“One of our other priorities is to encourage the 3000 young people, living in the Pool department, to put down their arms and start engaging in agricultural related activities”, says Kenga.

“During the civil war, Pool department was very badly hit. Things got really bad back in 1993. During this period, many died and as result families were shattered and many young people ended up on the street”.

“For these young people the only way to survive in the fury of the war was to take up arms”, explains a visibly moved Kenga. “What was devastating was the fact that almost 100% of the 3000 young people living the Pool department had become child soldiers. So after the unrest, we had a huge challenge at hand.”

Using rural radio, Kenga and his colleagues launched a campaign to encourage the youngsters to surrender their arms and to embrace agriculture.

“Convincing a young person who has experienced nothing but violence in his or her life is a Herculean undertaking. And we are dealing with 3000 devastated and shattered souls and bodies”, clarifies Kenga.

“The physical and psychological impact of the violence experienced by the youth is beyond words. Our challenge is not only to convince them to put down their arms and go back to the farms, but more importantly to do so in a peaceful and harmonious manner. The last thing we want is for them to act as aggressor and be disrespectful to their parents and other villagers. We want peace!”

To overcome this immense challenge, Kenga and other PRODER3 colleagues provide every young person who surrenders their arms and takes up agriculture between 25,000 to 50,000 CFA and 1.5 acre of land, along with inputs such as seeds, fertilizer. Mostly, the disarmed and demobilized child soldiers cultivate the land belonging to their family. If they are landless, PRODER3 facilitates a renting arrangement where they pay an annual rent of $50 to work on the land.

“We are going further than agriculture and are encouraging them to also engage in fisheries, raise poultry and rear small-ruminants”, clarifies Kenga.

“Farming in Pool department is very much a manual activity and at best the smallholder farmers can produce approximately 2 tonnes of cassava a year, of which 60% is used for local consumption mainly in the form of foufou – processed cassava.”

The goal of Kenga and PRODER3 staff is to ensure food security and transform farming into a viable business. This is why the farmers are now using part of their income to invest in better inputs.

“Our vision is to have an economy based on modern agriculture, an economy whereby we are not dependent on imports but can ensure food security for all”, says Kenga.

“So far we’ve managed to disarm 20% of the young soldiers. Our goal is to disarm the remaining 2400, build a peaceful society based on respect and trust. A society where everyone can lead a decent life, can put enough food on the table and is engaged in a profitable and dignified economic activity".

“Building a better future starts at home. Now that the leader of these youngsters has disarmed and is part of the government, we hope that we can build a peaceful and better future”, says Kenga with smile.

Only time will tell, but definitely, Kenga and his colleagues are on the right track to build a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of Likouala, Pool and Sangha Departments.

By Maharavo Lalatiana, CCEGS PROSPERER Itasy Madagascar

Translated by Nasthassia

Mr RANDRIANARIMALALA Edmond has always been a fish farmer. He started by fishing in the Itasy Lake, one of the famous, in the middle of Madagascar, over 80km from Antananarivo. Then he provided retailers in the capital and realized that fishing can well ensure food security. Thus, he decided to do fish farming in rice fields which was thought not to be adapted for these activities. He was socially chided but he never gave up.

With PROSPERER support, he got in touch with selected fish producers so that any unknown fish variety can’t reach his rice field. These professional producers also advised him in technical fish growing.Using traditional fish growing technique, he could produce 100kg to 150kg of fish a year. When he started to increase production, he could raise this up to 320kg. Now he can get 520kg of fish a year by using selected fish variety and following modern fish growing technique shown by fish producers.But he isn’t entirely satisfied; he still needs more resources.

Mr Edmond realized that his village likes watching football, but to watch the Football World Cup, on TV, there is no place and means to do so. He purchased a satellite dish, a TV and an electricity generator to earn more money and also satisfy his neighbors. The room was always full because the entry cost was affordable. He also bought speakers and he showed films going from place to place to ensure atmosphere of festivity. Now the impact of his efforts can be seen. His house has been renovated during this year. At the beginning, many people didn’t have faith in his activity and project, but now there are many who are taking lessons from his experience and copying him.

By Doré, Business adviser PROSPERER, PORT-BERGE Madagascar

Translated by Natshassia

Three blacksmiths: RAMBELONARISON, DADAFARA and LAIZY, from Port Bergé, a district in the north-western part of Madagascar, around 600km from the capital, decided to use micro finance.

They each received 100 000Ar: (50USD) to be used as working capital so that they could better satisfy the local demand. They made efforts to increase their production, next year they plan to focus on improving the product quality. They also have business advisers to help them.

The main problem they faced was the product prices were too low so they moved to another region, they spent one week moving from place to place. They wanted to double the price from 3000Ar (1.5USD) to 4000Ar (2USD) a piece instead of 1 500Ar (0.75USD) as they did before.“The demand level is high but row materials weren’t enough” DADAFARA said. That’s why they took out a loan from micro finance bodies supported by the IVO/FANOITRA of their area.

By NJARA, Business adviser Prosperer Sofia Madagascar
Translated by Nasthassia

RABERANTO Clement, 44 old, a carpenter from Mandritsara in the North-Western part of Madagascar, over 800km from Antananarivo had participated in the Malagasy Handcraft fair on July 2010. He is a rural micro enterprise man and says about his participation: “I, above all, participated in these fairs to find some outlet apart from our district; I am curious about the same products as mine to improve the quality of my production. It was also a chance to evaluate the effect of the trainings I was involved in: entrepreneurship and marketing.

Even If I didn’t bring back home a lot of money I can say that the result was very good: I gathered many customers and entrepreneurs addresses; and it’s difficult to quantify all the relations established during the fairs. For example, I got three tables order from an Antananarivo’s customer. I also got 925m2 of “PARKEX” (floor made of palissandre) orders. There was a French entrepreneur who discussed with me about establishing commercial link via Internet with me. I’ll honor my order after a month, at this same time we will negotiate about some PARKEX order.

Finally, I want to share with those who have the same activity as mine that participation to these fairs is really beneficial as we can learn about producing better quality which is competitive in the market. With or without support, I‘m not afraid anymore to participate in these events.”

Why trainings are essential

Posted by Sarah Hessel 0 comments

By TODIMANANA Rodrigue Antonio, Business adviser, PROSPERER Vatovay Fitovinany Madagascar
Translated by Nasthassia

“We couldn’t earn much money by this activity” said RABE ANDRIANTSOA Fabien, the President of the essential oil producers’ association in Vatovavy Fitovinany in the South eastern part of Madagascar, over 600km from the capital.

“We wasted energy and money, we tried to sell our products in Antananarivo and in Fianarantsoa but we couldn’t get a penny. We didn’t know and even used to confuse floral water and essential oil. We also mistook the way to put in the “Alambic” (spining machine) which looks used.

To confront these problems we asked for help from the PROSPERER project and they supported us by giving us technical training on essential oil extraction. They showed us the right way to do it and corrected all our errors. Now all the association members are convinced about the profit of new “Alambic” use and about having management and marketing policies.

We can say, that fortunately, we were trained on these themes so we won’t waste our time any longer and we earn more for a better living”.

By Mamie and Jean business advisers, SOFIA Madagascar
Translated by Nasthassia

Adrien is a beekeeper in Sofia, a region situated in the North-Western part of Madagascar, more than 700km from the capital. He’s 28 and working hard to overcome poverty. He has never been trained before and now he has support from PROSPERER about entrepreneurship and the other training themes as beekeeping techniques, management and marketing. He’s a real entrepreneur and has a mind of his own. “I was away during these trainings about beekeeping and entrepreneurship. However, I realized the difference between traditional beekeeping products and the modern ones; I learnt from my neighbors who had received training”, Adrien says.

So we can say that Adrien is a curious, very willing and brave person in the entrepreneurship area. Now he has ten standard beehives and he is still building another. He aims to own forty beehives by the end of 2010. He doesn’t believe in trial and error; he planned and has set objectives. Otherwise, he has also been successful in identifying and finding a place in the national fair: FIERMADA 2010.

Adrien has many good qualities required for an entrepreneur: curiosity, dynamism, clear goals and respect for his own development plan, taking advantage of the existing support mechanism and resources.

Cancun: Rural Poor Need Climate Finance

Posted by Roxanna Samii Wednesday, December 8, 2010 0 comments

By Rodney Cooke

In Cancun yesterday afternoon, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said that countries must, in a spirit of conciliation, “offer to compromise first,” if progress is to be made.   The U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, followed suit asking countries to show “courage, common sense and compromise." 

Negotiating governments have this choice, 500 million smallholder farms in developing countries that today feed one-third of humanity don’t have a choice.  Farmers in developing countries are courageously using their common sense to produce what they can, often on some of the most climatically vulnerable and marginal land on our planet.  By directly hitting both their earning capacity and their food security, climate change will force them to make compromises: many will need to compromise their children’s education for farm labor, compromise the quality of their land and soil to squeeze a few more bushels of maize out of a hillside plot, or compromise the long term productivity of their pastureland to keep a precious cow or goat alive through a drought. Climate change will force them to make these and other hard compromises.  

At the very least, Cancun must result in increased adaptation funding that will benefit the rural poor and smallholder farmers, and enable them to continue feeding themselves and a global population projected to be more than 9 billion by 2050.  If a new Fund for long term financing is agreed upon here, its first order of business should be to ensure that those suffering today receive the support they need.  

Climate change provides both the imperative and the opportunity to scale up proven approaches to intensify ecosystem-based, sustainable agricultural production.  These include sustainable land and water management, agroforestry, integrated pest management and conservation agriculture, among others.  These approaches will reduce poverty and increase food security globally, as they increase the resilience of rural poor people to climate change by restoring and protecting their land, water and other natural assets. In addition, these approaches will chart environmentally sustainable and low carbon development paths.  

These fabled multiple wins are within reach today.

Here is our big day. We are launching the Rural Poverty Report 2011. The report is the result of two years of extensive work.

To make sure that nothing would go wrong, I went down early to the plenary hall of Chatham House to get myself organized to find out to the my biggest chagrin that there was no internet access in the plenary hall. PANIC, total PANIC. I pulled out my Blackberry, more PANIC, no signal!!

Deep breath, think and think fast. Rushed upstairs to do as much as I could do  before the meeting started. After putting in place the contingency plan and coming to terms with my constraint, I headed back downstairs.

At 9:33, David Nabarro welcomed the participants and opened the “Food Security 2010 – Making Food Security work: Matching supply to demand.

In introducing Dr Nwanze, IFAD President, to take the floor to deliver the keynote address, he mentioned that “IFAD is now a leader and advocate for food security". Nabarro compliment IFAD taking "actions to ensure that food security will be experienced by everyone and not just a few”.

With that introduction, the President, holding the report in his hand  and later in the session, Edward Heinemann, the Rural Poverty Report, team leader,  proceeded to unveil the findings of the Rural Poverty Report 2011.

"The report is a comprehensive review of rural poverty, which accounts for 70 per cent of the world’s extremely poor people – about 1 billion children, women and men", said Dr Nwanze.

"The report provides an in-depth evaluation of the state of rural poverty and its consequences for people all over the world. It also makes important recommendations on policies and investments that will help rural women and men move out of poverty and, in the process, become part of the solution for the global food security challenges of the next
several decades".

"One of unique characteristics of the Rural Poverty Report 2011 is that it goes beyond cold facts and figures and includes the stories, hopes, challenges and aspirations of poor rural women and men from around the world who are struggling to overcome poverty. Their thoughts and perspectives were influential in the preparation of the report", said Nwanze.

During the meeting both Dr Nwanze and Heinemann reminded the audience that as we embark in the new decade of the 21st century, global poverty still remains a massive and predominantly rural phenomenon - and this is absolutely unacceptable.

The Rural Poverty Report outlines four steps to eliminate hunger and poverty
  • Help rural people better manage the risks they face
  • Sustainably increase agricultural production
  • Facilitate equitable access to new and changing marketplaces by viewing smallholder farmers first and foremost as businesses
  • Encourage the growth of non-farm rural jobs
Managing risk
"Smallholder farmers have always been vulnerable to risk, and now these risks are growing. Today, they face less secure access to land, increasing pressure on common property resources, climate change and food price volatility. We need to find ways of reducing risk and giving poor rural people access to the tools they need to deal with it", explained Nwanze.

The Report argues that for some, this will mean improving their skills, while for others, it will mean access to micro insurance, and for others still it will mean social protection. What is crucial is to create the right environment to make it easier for more rural people to be more entrepreneurial, creating the conditions for a vibrant rural sector which generates locally produced goods and spurs sustainable non-farm employment in services, in agro-processing and in small-scale manufacturing.

Sustainably increase agricultural production
The report makes the case that we need to ensure that the world’s 500 million smallholder farms are able to realise their potential as small-scale businesses and at the same time increase food production but in a sustainable way.

In Africa, for example, only 6 per cent of the land is irrigated. Only one tenth of the average amount of fertilizer is used on farm land. But we also know that 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land is in Africa. Imagine the potential that this land holds for the approximately 300 million poor people who live in rural Africa. Imagine the potential of the 2 billion people who live or work on small farms the world over.

This means we need to get higher yields from existing land, and we need to do so in an environmentally sustainable way that does not pollute, diminish the land over time or contribute to greenhouse gas emissions - in other words, we must have sustainable intensification.

The report highlights that sustainable farming practices have improved yields by an average of nearly 80 per cent over four years. It argues that what we need is a systemic approach that uses a variety of innovations – derived from the latest scientific discoveries and from local practices and knowledge – to bring agriculture into the forefront of efforts to protect and preserve land, air and water for generations to come.

The report concludes that this means complementing conventional approaches to increasing productivity with a much stronger focus on soil and water management, integrated approaches to soil fertility management and overall farm production systems.

At the same time, the report recognizes that there is no blueprint for sustainable agricultural  intensification. The best practices will be determined by the local context. The challenge is to develop policies and institutions that can make it happen on a massive scale.

Facilitate equitable access to new and changing marketplaces by viewing smallholder farmers first and foremost as businesses
"One of the other challenges highlighted in the report is the lack of access to markets which is one of the determinants of poverty", explains Heinemann".

Smallholder farmers and poor rural people must have opportunities to be entrepreneurs, rather than bystanders. To realize their business potential there should be a concerted effort to reduce risk and transaction costs along value chains, supporting rural producers’ organizations, expanding financial services into rural areas and ensuring that small farmers have access to the infrastructure, the utilities and information. Investing in good governance is another key ingredient".

Encourage the growth of non-farm rural jobs
"There is no question that agriculture is and will continue to be the key economic driver in rural areas. Agricultural success is a route out of poverty for millions", said Nwanze.

"Today, around 80 per cent of rural people are involved in farming to some degree. We must continue to support those who see agricultural production as their main livelihood in every way we can. But we must also recognize that rural economies are becoming more diverse. If we succeed in creating more profitable farms, we will also succeed in creating associated non-farm enterprises. Some people will leave the farm for new jobs with large enterprises in rural areas, while others will choose to become entrepreneurs in non-farming pursuits".

The Rural Poverty Report suggests that in order to meet the growing needs of a hungry world, agriculture must be a viable and rewarding activity for the large number of people who choose it. But increasingly, it will be one of many choices, not the only choice. This is not a threat to agriculture, but rather a chance to develop a more modern, diversified economy.

Call for action
"Our report is not one that should sit on a shelf to collect dust. I hope that we all join hands to implement the four steps outlined above to eliminate poverty and hunger", exclaimed Nwanze.

"The challenge now is for governments to follow through on their promises and for players in all areas of rural development to take action. Developing countries must be the drivers of rural development. Where countries have shown the commitment, development agencies and others should support their efforts".

IFAD is meeting the challenge by working closely with partners to scale up our support to rural development on the ground. We are also championing a new and more dynamic vision of rural development.

Dr Nwanze concluded: "And as we look at today’s rural poverty report, we must also look to the future, and that means focusing on the young people who live and work in rural areas. Give them the skills and confidence they need to run profitable farms or start businesses, and they hold the potential to become the community leaders of tomorrow. Ignore them, and they will have little option but to leave their homes and families to search for work in the cities".

Sir Gordon Conway who took the floor after the President's keynote address complimented and congratulated IFAD for a great multidisciplinary report which is totally grounded in reality and comprehensively reflects the stories, challenges and aspirations of poor rural people!

Others commended IFAD for putting out a strong practical report showing how to unlock the potential smallholder agriculture, for seeing farmers as business people and for depicting "their business" being embedded in social, economic and political relationships and showing how when these relationships do not work that is when food security fails.

Sitting in the room and hearing rural development leaders citing and referring to the report just minutes after it was launched was indeed a gratifying moment. Undoubtedly we'll be hearing more and more people citing and quoting the report. Well done to all those who were involved in this two year effort. Well done to Ed and Bettina.

The panelists echoing the President's  message of hope and call for action urged the participants to read the Rural Poverty Report. Make sure you download the report.

Also, please mark your calendars: on 9 and10 December from 9:00-10:00 and from 14:00-15:00 December, Edward Heinemann and his team will answer your questions and comments on Facebook and Twitter.

Please send us your questions and comments by 16:00GMT 8 December.

Follow @ifadnews on Twitter and become join us on our Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/ifad/107399332627995).

See you on-line.

Listen to Edward Heinemann who shares some of the findings of the Rural Poverty Report 2011

A Conferência de Alto Nível sobre Políticas Públicas para a Agricultura Familiar, Desenvolvimento Rural e Segurança Alimentar entre Países de Renda Média, realizada nos dias 17 e 18 de novembro em Brasília, representou um importante passo nas políticas de diálogo sobre a agricultura familiar e cooperação entre países emergentes Brasil, China, Índia e África do Sul. A conferência contou também com a participação de representantes dos governos da Argentina, Paraguai, Uruguai e Chile.

Nesta reunião, organizada pelo Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário do Brasil e pelo Fundo Internacional para o Desenvolvimento Agrícola (FIDA), representantes oficiais dos governos e especialistas no tema trocaram experiência sobre o desenvolvimento e os problemas rurais nos respectivos países. Eles também ratificaram o desejo de continuar se encontrando para aprenderem uns com os outros e reduzirem a pobreza dos camponeses.

Nos últimos anos têm sido planejadas e executadas políticas de desenvolvimento rural importantes em muitos países e, em vários casos, com sucesso. Os países emergentes têm algumas das políticas de melhor êxito neste campo que sem dúvida contribuíram para os respectivos crescimentos econômicos.

Por outro lado, a população rural pobre dos países emergentes representa uma porcentagem importante no contexto de todo o mundo. Portanto, as políticas bem sucedidas têm um impacto não só nestes países como nos indicadores globais.

O Brasil é o país com maior quantidade de população rural da América Latina. Por conseqüência, a boa política de desenvolvimento para reduzir a pobreza rural brasileira influencia positivamente toda a região. O mesmo ocorre com África do Sul, China e Índia, sendo que nestes dois últimos países é enorme a densidade demográfica da população rural.

“Na Índia, por exemplo, tem cerca de 800 milhões de pessoas que vivem no campo e uma boa política de combate a pobreza acaba por ter um impacto global. Assim é também na China. Portanto, a possibilidade de diálogo entre especialistas e representantes de alto nível dos governos destes países é fundamental porque contribui para a aprendizagem e a troca de experiências entre eles e por conseqüência tem influência no mundo inteiro.” disse Ivan Cossío, Gerente de Programas do FIDA para o Brasil.

Ele falou também de outro aspecto fundamental sobre os países emergentes, que seja pelo tamanho que pela economia, começam a ter um importante papel de coadjuvantes na liderança global. Portanto, a possibilidade da troca de experiência e aprendizagem acaba por influenciar o mundo.

As distintas situações rurais de cada país além dos respectivos problemas e soluções foram abordadas durante a conferência.

“Na China cada família rural tem em média um território de 0.6 hectares. No Brasil, a chamada agricultura familiar, cada família tem uma media de 26 hectares. Ou seja, quase 45 vezes mais e, portanto, as diferenças são muito importantes,” disse Ivan Cossio.

Os governos do Brasil e da África do sul pretendem realizar um programa conjunto de cooperação e de transferência de conhecimento que permita aos sul africanos aprenderem com a experiência brasileira e, em alguns casos, planejar e atuar uma políticas semelhantes. Os representantes do governo do Brasil tem pedido ao FIDA de fornecer apoio técnico para a implementação desse programa.

“Este é um resultado concreto do diálogo sobre as políticas de desenvolvimento rural. Considere que este modelo de transferência de conhecimento poderá envolver mais países do sul da África e da América do Sul. Ou seja, reforça a cooperação sul-sul. Tudo isso vai se converter em benefícios para a população rural e contribuir para a redução da pobreza” explicou Cossio.

A Conferência de Alto Nível sobre Políticas Públicas para a Agricultura Familiar, Desenvolvimento Rural e Segurança Alimentar entre Países de Renda Média dá seguimento a outros eventos importantes. Em fevereiro de 2010 em Roma o FIDA organizou um seminário semelhante durante o Conselho dos Governadores que ocorre a cada ano. Esta reunião em Roma contou com a participação de altos representantes dos governos da Argentina, Brasil, Índia, China e da África do Sul. Em abril deste ano o Governo da Índia organizou em Nova Deli a Conferência sobre o Desenvolvimento Rural nas Economias Emergentes, cujo FIDA participou.

Escritora: Gina Marques

Fotógrafo: Greg Benchwick (Gente de Valor Brasil)

Os dez anos de experiência e os aproximadamente 100 milhões de dolares investidos serviram para que o Projeto Dom Helder Camara, nas regiões semi-áridas do Nordeste do Brasil, seja um exemplo de sucesso para os brasileiros e para o mundo. A conclusão do projeto e as avaliações apresentadas em Recife em 22 e 23 de novembro comprovaram resultados concretos, frutos da parceria entre o Governo do Brasil e o Fundo Internacional para o Desenvolvimento Agrícola (FIDA). O bom êxito deste programa abriu as portas para outras etapas de um novo projeto em áreas carentes do Brasil.

Na prática, a pobreza rural foi reduzida, a população teve acesso à educação, aos recursos técnicos e aos mercados de consumo. Graças a um programa bem articulado, 15 mil famílias espalhadas em seis estados - Sergipe, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará e Piauí - puderam desenvolver e estruturar os conhecimentos. Essa gente, principalmente, compreendeu as vantagens de permanecer na própria terra que, apesar da seca, o Projeto Dom Helder demonstrou que pode produzir benefícios.

Francisco José de Souza Pinheiro, de Quixeramobim no sertão do estado do Ceara' é um exemplo do sucesso do Projeto Dom Helder. No programa de assentamento do Governo do Brasil para a agricultura familiar, ele é um pequeno produtor de derivados de leite de vacas e cabras e também hortaliças e algodão, além de ser presidente do sindicado dos trabalhadores rurais do município.

Francisco contou que os benefícios que esta pequena comunidade obteve com o projeto são tangíveis: “O Projeto Dom Helder abriu os nossos horizontes nas aprendizagens, na experiência e nos resultados. Como agricultor familiar tive a oportunidade de trabalhar na área de mobilização social. Aprendi a valorizar o conhecimento empírico que antes achávamos que não havia relevância. Participar deste programa foi um enriquecimento cultural . Nós pudemos, através da educação, nos conscientizar das nossas capacidades e entender como interagir com o ambiente tirando proveito dos recursos naturais e respeitando a natureza”.

Segundo a avaliação da agência das Nações Unidas que combate a pobreza rural, o FIDA, o Projeto Dom Helder serve como experiência e modelo de inovação de políticas públicas voltadas á redução da pobreza no campo e ao desenvolvimento social. Para fazer este documento, foram entrevistadas cerca de 500 famílias. O relatório final, com 69 páginas, foi articulado com diversos estudos técnicos e análises que receberam várias notas altas, que Luigi Cuna, Gerente de Avaliação do FIDA resumiu:

“Estamos satisfeitos pelo impacto que o Projeto Dom Helder teve na redução da pobreza. Esta é uma experiência de um novo modelo de assistência técnica que uniu associações de agricultores familiares, organizações não governamentais e movimentos sociais. Uma das características importantes do sucesso deste programa foi a relação de compatibilidade com o meio ambiente que não foi tratada de modo setorial, ou seja, separada, e sim transversal, ligando todos os elementos e levando as pessoas a se relacionar com o ambiente em que vivem.”

Luigi Cuna explicou também que, alem dos recursos estabelecidos no acordo de empréstimo assinado entre o Governo do Brasil e o FIDA, o projeto tem obtivo financiamento de outros co-financiadores por um montante de aproximadamente 11 milhões de dolares que foram tambem investidos durante a execução do projeto.

Doriel Barros, presidente da Federação dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura do Estado de Pernambuco (FETAPE) que representa aproximadamente três milhões e quinhentos mil trabalhadores rurais falou dos pontos principais da importância do Projeto Dom Helder para a região.
“Tivemos uma formação, desenvolvemos uma consciência crítica de participação nas políticas públicas. Foi possível também contar com orientação técnica que agrega conhecimentos com troca de experiências. Além disso, pudemos incrementar a produção e o valor desta. Por conseqüência melhoraram a renda e condições de vida nas comunidades rurais”.

Diversos representantes das comunidades beneficiadas espalhadas pelo Nordeste participaram do evento de conclusão do Projeto Dom Helder. Eles assistiram a apresentação, as avaliações técnicas do FIDA, além de análises e estudos de professores universitários, a Dra. Tânia Bacelar de Araújo, do Departamento de Economia da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco.

Durante a apresentação dos estudos, a socióloga e economista Tânia Bacelar de Araújo disse:
“O Nordeste é viável, gente! A importância de projetos como este que envolvem os movimentos sociais demonstram que os pequenos agricultores nordestinos podem viver da própria terra, e mais ainda, podem viver feliz!”

O Secretário Territorial do Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário, Humberto Oliveira mediou os debates populares e falou também do novo projeto. Segundo ele, com os excelentes resultados apresentados pelas famílias beneficiadas pelo Projeto Dom Helder, é preciso expandir e colocar esta experiência à disposição da grande rede estadual do Nordeste. “No novo projeto gostaríamos de tratar da apropriação rural e levar esta experiência a mais de um milhão de famílias de agricultores nordestinos. Queremos compartilhar com as organizações, sejam as governamentais e as da sociedade civil, esta metodologia e o conteúdo novo de convivência com clima o semi-árido”.

Como representante do Governo do Brasil, Humberto Oliveira acrescentou: “A parceria com o FIDA foi fundamental para o sucesso do Projeto Dom Helder. Talvez não tivesse os mesmos resultados se fosse com outro organismo internacional. Esta agencia das Nações Unidas demonstrou capacidade e flexibilidade em aceitar as propostas de modificação e evolução numa conjuntura brasileira que mudou a partir de 2003.”.

O Diretor do Projeto Dom Helder, Espedito Rufino, comentou: “Nada melhor do que a avaliação externa feita pelo FIDA para demonstrar o excelente resultado do projeto. O relatório apresenta uma análise da qualidade e faz recomendações para um novo projeto. Um dos principais benefícios foi reforçar a auto-estima da população rural pobre com fatos concretos . Por exemplo: a formação técnica, troca de experiências, conhecimento das capacidades de produção e de como é possível se inserir nos mercados. Hoje milhares de famílias assistidas se sentem capazes e sabem que podem acessar políticas públicas com mais facilidades ”.

Espedito Rufino destacou também o impacto que o Projeto Dom Helder teve em sensibilizar as instituições governamentais e que serviu como um laboratório de experiências para abrir futuros caminhos. “Hoje os Governos estão vendo que a estratégia, a metodologia, o planejamento e a gestão do programa representam um novo jeito de se fazer políticas públicas. Os Estados e prefeituras estão interessados em incorporar estes conhecimentos e aplicá-los nas instituições públicas ou privadas que trabalham com o Governo”.

O Projeto Dom Helder acabou tendo uma repercussão internacional e já existem intercâmbios com alguns países africanos e latino americanos. O diretor revelou que representantes do Gana, Cabo Verde, Senegal e África do Sul que visitaram as áreas beneficiadas pelo projeto. “Acabamos de fazer também intercâmbios com sete países da América Latina; Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolívia, Uruguai, Paraguai e Colômbia; contando com a cooperação e articulação das agências das Nações Unidas como FIDA e FAO. Esta experiência pode contribuir para outras regiões semi-áridas do mundo e alargar os horizontes das políticas voltadas ao desenvolvimento sustentável. Além disso, o objetivo é que possam dialogar com questões ambientais do planeta como o aquecimento global”.

Para Ivan Cossío, Gerente de Programas do FIDA para o Brasil, não é possível lutar contra a pobreza e melhorar as condições de vida das pessoas sem gerar entradas. A renda é gerada vendendo o que se produz. “Fundamentalmente é preciso vender os produtos nas melhores condições possíveis. Neste aspecto o Projeto Dom Helder deu um importante apoio. Portanto, é importante abrir as possibilidades de acesso dos agricultores familiares aos mercados, sejam institucionais, por exemplo como faz o Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos do Governo do Brasil, ou em feiras locais e outros.”

Para mais informações sobre o Projeto Dom Helder Camara consulte o site.

Escritora: Gina Marques

Fotos: ©IFAD/Giuseppe Bizzarri

by Kanayo F. Nwanze

On 6 December 2010, at 11:00GMT at the opening of a major international conference on food security convened by Chatham House IFAD will launch the Rural Poverty Report 2011.

Just think, what would your life be like if you were one of the 1.4 billion women, men and children who live in extreme poverty? Chances are you would live in a rural area, as 70 per cent of the world’s extremely poor people do.

Like Pascaline Bampoky from Senegal, you wouldn’t have had much of an opportunity to study, you would be farming rice, raising pigs, selling ice cream and cleaning houses – all in a day’s work to feed your family.

Like Shazia Bibi from Pakistan, you might wonder if your garlic will compete at the market with lower priced imports and whether your profits will cover the costs of your children’s education and treatment for your heart condition.

And if you are a young man like Williams Novoa Lizardo in Peru, you might lose hope of making a living where you were born and consider migrating to a city to find work.

The good news, according to the Rural Poverty Report 2011 issued by IFAD, is that over the last ten years more than 350 million rural people have pulled themselves out of extreme poverty. During this time, the percentage of the world’s rural inhabitants living on less than US$1.25 a day has dropped from nearly half to about one-third.

Accounting for much of the progress has been East Asia, and particularly China, where the number of extremely poor people in rural areas fell by two-thirds – from 365 million to 117 million – as did the rate of extreme poverty, which went from 44 to 15 per cent.

There was also good progress in both Latin America and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, where extreme poverty rates in rural areas fell by about half over the past decade.

But, this progress notwithstanding, the problem remains a pervasive one, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the rate of rural poverty has fallen slightly in the last decade but is still above 60 per cent, and in South Asia, which is home to half of the world’s one billion extremely poor rural people.

Just as these statistics tell a story of uneven progress in reducing rural poverty, changes that are underway in rural areas are giving rise to both challenges and new hope for rural people in their struggle for a better life.

The challenges include increasingly volatile food prices, which complicate life for rural people both as producers and buyers of food. And there are other emerging threats such as the deterioration of the natural resource base, growing competition for land and water, and the potential harm that climate change can cause to the rural landscape.

But good things are happening, as well. As cities expand and the world becomes more urbanized, there is a growing demand for high value food, and accordingly agricultural markets are expanding and becoming better organized. Supermarkets, for example, have grown rapidly across much of the developing world, and in some parts of Latin America they typically account for 60 per cent or more of retail food sales. To be sure, modern markets and value chains bring with them their own challenges for some smallholder farmers in terms of higher entry costs, but the potential opportunities they also bring cannot be overlooked.

And while agriculture continues to be a key driver of rural growth – four-fifths of rural households worldwide are engaged in farming at some level – technological advancements and changes in the global economy are also creating non-farm jobs and development in rural areas. The potential for growth is further enhanced by the search for renewable energy sources that is ramping up around the world.

All of this means opportunity for greater numbers of poor rural women and men to lift themselves out of poverty and create a better life and a future for themselves and their children. But making the most of it requires an overall policy and investment approach that is, at the same time, both market-oriented and environmentally sustainable.

For starters, national governments and the international community need to reverse the longstanding neglect of rural development. We need to improve governance in rural areas and create a better economic environment for smallholder farmers to succeed and grow not only food but their businesses as well.

We need to invest in rural infrastructure and in the education and skills of rural people so that they themselves can make the most of new opportunities to engage in agricultural markets or work in non-farm industries. We need to strengthen their collective capabilities so that they can support each other in managing the risks they face, learn new techniques for improving their productivity, and market their products.

Above all, we need to stop treating the rural poor as charity cases and truly recognize that they are people whose innovation, dynamism and hard work will ultimately lead the way out of poverty’s darkness and into the bright sunshine of growth, development and prosperity.

Nothing less than global food security hangs in the balance. The experts say that agricultural production will have to increase 70 per cent by 2050 – and output in developing countries will have to double – in order to feed the world’s growing global population, expected to reach nine billion by then.

I have no doubt that Pascaline, Shazia and Williams are up to the challenge. Are the rest of us?

On 6 December at 11:00GMT you may download the English version of the Rural Poverty Report 2011 at http://www.ifad.org/rpr2011/report

Meet the women and men from rural areas whose thoughts and perspectives were influential in the preparation of theRural Poverty Report 2011 Read testimonies and watch the video testimonials

On Monday 6, December during an international conference on food security at Chatham House in London, IFAD will launch the Rural Poverty Report 2011: New realities, new challenges: new opportunities for tomorrow’s generation.
The Rural Poverty Report 2011 is a comprehensive resource for policymakers and practitioners, especially those in developing countries.  The report provides latest estimates on poverty rates in rural areas of developing countries, as well as poverty trends in different regions. It has new information on how many people move in and out of poverty over time, as well as first-hand accounts from poor rural people on the challenges they face in their everyday lives.

RPR 2011 photo essay
The report looks at who poor rural people are, what they do and how their livelihoods are changing.  It explores the challenges that make it so difficult for rural people to overcome poverty, and identifies the opportunities and pathways that could lead towards greater prosperity for them and their communities.  And it highlights key global challenges such as the need to double agriculture output and increase food production by 70 per cent to feed 9 billion people in 2050.

It also highlights the policies and actions that governments and development practitioners can take to support the efforts of rural people themselves, both today and in the years to come.

Writing the report: the back story
Many colleagues were involved at different stages of the report’s preparation. You can find out more about these great people in the report’s acknowledgements, and there are many more who worked behind the scenes. At the end of the day, it ended up being an “all-hands-on-deck” exercise.

Having said that, the report would not have seen the light of the day if were not for Edward Heinemann and Bettina Prato.

Some 10 months ago, Ed, was asked to lead this process and finalize the report. For months, he worked around the clock and hardly left his office. I remember sometime in the summer, not having seen Ed around for weeks, I went up to his office to check on him. I knocked on his door and put in my head and I found an unshaven Ed typing furiously. I said: “Hi Ed, have not seen you around for some time, just came up to see how you were doing”.

Ed smiled and said he was fine. Closing the door, I thought to myself, “I guess he is so busy that he did not have time to shave” and I almost asked him, “Ed, why have not you shaved?”, but thought it was better not to do so.

There are many things Ed has learnt thanks to the Rural Poverty Report process and undoubtedly many experiences and conversations that will stay with him for ever. There is one other thing that, for the time being, seems to have stayed with him – and that is his unshaven look, which has now transformed to a well-groomed beard.

With six days to go to the big day, yesterday I asked Ed to share his state of mind about the launch. Here is what he had to say.

Edward Heinemann – the Rural Poverty Report lead author’s state of mind
“Back in July, when I gave in what I thought was the final draft of the Rural Poverty Report, my idea was that I would be able to wash my hands of it, do something else for a few months, and then re-engage once we had the launch presentations lined up. I got that completely wrong. From September on I spent days, weeks, months looking over galley proofs – a term I didn’t even know three months ago – til the words ran into each other; I rewrote briefs, prepared Q&As, drafted summaries of summaries and reviewed key messages. I looked over the text 273 times, and each time I did I found things that could have been said better, that should have been said differently, or that simply shouldn’t have been said at all. There were corrections and there were corrections to corrections. It was miserable. 
In my worst nightmares, someone somewhere dreams up a question that leaves me gasping for air like a suffocating goldfish.
Now, with a week to go to the launch, I’m looking forward to it, of course. I tell myself it will be fun. I do know that it will be worthwhile, because I am confident that the report will help us and our partners make a real difference in the lives of the poor rural people.”  

Visit the Rural Poverty Report 2011 website. Make sure you meet the women and men from rural areas whose thoughts and perspectives were influential in the preparation of the Rural Poverty Report 2011.Read testimonies |  Watch the video testimonials

Find out more about the report and join the virtual chats: Follow #rpr2011

  • On 6 December from 9:30 to 11:30 GMT, IFAD’s social reporting team will report live from the Chatham House launch event. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and on this blog. Follow #rpr2011
  • On 9 and 10 December from 9:00 to 10:00 GMT and 14:00 to 15:00 GMT, Ed and Bettina will host a virtual chat on Facebook and Twitter. Please send your questions and comments.  Follow rpr2011
  • On 17 December from 9:00 to 11:00 GMT, IFAD’s social reporting team will report live from the Rome launch event. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and on this blog.  Follow #rpr2011
Looking forward to seeing you on line.

By IFAD Reporters: Mattia, Antonella, Silvia, Judith, Soma and Luisa

The Global Gathering has come to an end. Over five intense days, there was rich discussion and experience sharing, as well as some important decisions, not to mention unexpected difficulties but the enthusiasm never wavered…

In what was supposed to be the dry season, but a series of unseasonal downpours (climate change in action?!) enlivened the programme and in the true spirit of pastoral adaptability to unpredictable environments, the organizers managed to move 200 people from Mera Village to a safer place in a matter of hours and with good mood.

Despite all this, and intense sessions during the days, the Gathering participants still could not resist animating the misty night with songs and dances making even more unique this event.

On the first two days, the participants organized themselves into working groups to discuss thematic areas relevant to them, including natural resource management, conflict management, climate change, women’s health, communication and media, traditional governance, education and human rights, and - last but not least - advocacy and the role of men in the empowerment of pastoral women. They identified common challenges and their vision for the future.

It was particularly interesting to hear the ‘men’s group’ discussing the challenges faced by women. “They work more than us”. they admitted, and “women empowerment has to start in the families”, so they outlined limitations faced within their own societies, from owning property to participating in decision-making processes. The relative lack of free time of women was also recognized a possible constraint in their productive potential. In other words, if women had more time they could engage in income generating activities such as handicraft production and marketing. Early marriage and inability to own land were identified as two further barriers to women’s empowerment – although one group member felt that communal rather than individual land ownership was more empowering for women. Lastly, the group acknowledged that domestic violence took place and actions are needed to face this bad phenomenon. This group agreed that first steps should be taken at household level, and that they themselves would try to share the workload more equally. They hoped that it would also give women the time and energy to start to take part in decision-making processes outside the home. They would give their wives greater voice in deciding on domestic issues including on financial issues, and their girls an education - and try to sensitize men and women about the issue of domestic violence.

Despite the many challenges faced by women, they are immensely resourceful in finding ways to meet the household’s basic needs, often ahead of their own. This important role played by pastoral women is only marginally recognized. Increasing awareness of women’s concerns and valuing their unique inputs is a step towards strengthening their role in pastoral communities, and reducing their vulnerability to external shocks.

Another working group looked at how to add value to their products and improve access to markets as a crucial step towards a sustainable economic empowerment of pastoral women. In Mongolia, they identified lack of quality control to ensure consistency of production, lack of storage capacity of raw materials, insufficient and out-of-date technical equipment and lack of access to international markets as key constraints. Added to this there are practical difficulties associated with nomadic tribes, with whom it is much harder to communicate. This group identified the possibility of setting up a well-publicized central support unit, to which pastoral women and their communities would have access. The functions of such a unit would include quality control, storage of raw materials to ensure year-round capacity to respond to orders, training, common packaging and technical equipment, and sustainability could be ensured by asking a small contribution from users.

Then the attention was focused on action planning and at the end resulted in the ‘Mera Declaration of the Global Gathering of Women Pastoralits”, a milestone call to action by pastoral women and men. Drafted over intense hours of debate by geographical representatives mandated by their groups to represent them, the historic declaration called for greater recognition of pastoralism as a sustainable and valuable way of life and for specific policy support.

This experience has come to an end, but there is a lot that we will keep with us: from the smile of the organizer, Lalji and the energy of his people that never waned even in difficult circumstances, to the work of all the volunteers and above all to the pastoral women who with their warmth and commitment made this event really unique!

Mera Declaration of the Global Gathering of Women Pastoralists

We, the women pastoralists gathered in Mera, India, from November 21-26, 2010, representing 32 countries, have met to strengthen alliances and forward practical solutions to issues that affect us.

We are part of a world-wide community of pastoralist peoples that is 300 million strong. We pledge that we will continue to live in a way that is environmentally sustainable and protects biodiversity and common resources for generations to come. We will continue to network and share our best practices and lessons learned to build capacity amongst ourselves and the global community.

We experience firsthand the leading edge of climate change and its associated problems, and we have much to share with the world about adaptation, mitigation and living sustainably on planet earth. Recently, pastoralists have been increasingly vocal at the international level but, as women, our voices have yet to be fully heard. We have unique and equally valuable contributions to make to our own communities and the global community.

We experience firsthand the leading edge of climate change and its associated problems, and we have much to share with the world about adaptation, mitigation and living sustainably on planet earth. Recently, pastoralists have been increasingly vocal at the international level but, as women, our voices have yet to be fully heard. We have unique and equally valuable contributions to make to our own communities and the global community.

We will work with men to build strong and equitable pastoralist societies and we will contribute to greater social equality within our families, our communities, our countries and around the world.

We present this declaration as a guiding political document to inform and support the development of pastoralist policies.

We call on governments, governing agencies of the United Nations, other relevant international and regional organizations, research institutes and our own customary leaders to support us and to:

1.RECOGNISE the essential role of pastoralists in global environmental sustainability, including the conservation of biodiversity, mitigation of climate change and combating desertification.

2.ENSURE the equal rights of pastoralist women and recognize their key role in society. This includes the recognition of the work of women pastoralists as a valid profession and as a fundamental component of pastoralism.

3.RECOGNISE pastoralist mobility as a fundamental right.

4.ENSURE and defend pastoral access to resources, including our traditional grazing lands.

5.PROTECT the rights of pastoralists and provide security in nomadic areas including the enforcement of laws that guarantee the safety of women.

6.RECOGNISE pastoralists who identify as indigenous and respect the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

7.MONITOR the development and implementation of policies affecting and protecting pastoralists.

8.SUPPORT the development of an international organization in charge of considering complaints about violations of pastoralist rights. This organization needs the ability to hold countries accountable and should include pastoralist women as members.

9.ADAPT existing legislation to take into account the specificities of pastoralist ways of life and differentiate nomadic and transhumant pastoralism from intensive livestock production.

10.PROMOTE regional policies and treaties that take into account trans-border pastoralism and respect traditional grazing territories and migratory patterns. These are to be negotiated in consultation with pastoralist women.

11.DEVELOP specific policies that promote the sustainability and welfare of pastoral ways of life and the ecosystems we rely on for survival. The policy-making process must include meaningful participation, and consultation, with pastoralist women.

12.DEVELOP legislation that restricts development that harms or threatens pastoralist livelihoods.

13.ALLOW year-round access to grazing lands, including some lands that are currently within wild life preserves and conservation areas. These grazing spaces are to be established in consultation with pastoralist women.

14.PROMOTE and recognize Indigenous Community Conservation Areas (ICCAs).

15.ENSURE proportionate representation of pastoralist women in all levels of governance.

16.RESPECT the right of pastoralist women to education, both formal and informal, and including secondary education. Provide support to shift perceptions around the full educational needs of girls.

17.DEVELOP accessible and appropriate programmes for pastoralist children to access education. Special emphasis is to be given to pastoralist girl children. These are to be developed in consultation with pastoralist women.

18.DEVELOP mobile facilities that respect pastoralist realities and are in line with the needs of pastoralist women.

19.DEVELOP and implement programmes that support women’s health in pastoralist communities. Information and training on health, particularly reproductive health, should be given priority.

20.CREATE and support programmes that promote the economic development and diversify economic opportunities for pastoralist women, including micro-credit financing. These programmes must be developed in consultation with pastoralist women.

21.SUPPORT pastoral women through capacity building, including direct access to markets and training to improve the quality and marketability of their work and managerial skills.

22.SUPPORT training programmes focused on leadership and communication to enable pastoralist women to effectively participate in negotiations in all issues affecting their ways of life.

23.SUPPORT and fund research into new technologies that further improve the efficiency and environmental sustainability of pastoralist ways of life. These technologies should be attuned to the needs and realities of pastoralism and should take advantage of renewable and easily accessible natural resources.

We women pastoralists want our children, and our children’s children, to have the tools and opportunities they need to adapt to the realities and changing conditions of the modern world while retaining their traditional cultural legacies and lifestyles.

This is our right and it is by remaining pastoralists that we can be of greatest service to the entire human community.

Testimonios Directos - Yeisully Tapias Arcila

Posted by Greg Benchwick Monday, November 29, 2010 0 comments

Los Testimonios Directos dan a sus lectores la posibilidad de acercarse a la gente y a las organizaciones que se benefician de los proyectos y programas finaciados por el Fondo Internacional de Dessarrollo Agrícola (FIDA).

En este Testimonio, Yeisully Tapias Arcila (izquierda)
, participante del Primer Encuentro de Juventudes y Microempresa Rural en Colombia, nos comparte sus experiencias en Colombia.

Hola, Señores y Señoritas del FIDA,
Quiero saludarlos con un caluroso abrazo, espero que se encuentren muy bien.

Primero quiero agradecerles por fomentar espacios de construcción Juvenil, como lo fue el evento en Cartagena; quiero decirles que estos espacios no solo permiten que los jóvenes intercambien experiencias, que construyan para un mundo mejor, que fortalezcan su visión empresarial y que maximicen sus capacidades de emprenderismo; si no que también aporta elementos fundamentales para un ser humano: La oportunidad de expresar sus ideas, de sentirse útil y necesario para una sociedad en Desarrollo, para cumplir sueños tan simples como conocer el mar, algunos conocer de sus antepasados y como fue su verdadero origen...en este caso afro descendientes; además de sentirse motivado con saber que no solo hay jóvenes de un Municipio, ni de un Departamento, ni de un país que están trabajando para la construcción de escenarios de Paz; si no que nos acompañan es este caso jóvenes de quince países, y el acompañamiento de entidades que creen en nosotros los jóvenes como lo es: El FIDA, Oportunidades Rurales, ACUA, entre otros. Pero que seguro hay más jóvenes del mundo que aportan un granito de arena para lograr cumplir UN SUEÑO JOVEN.

Por lo anterior, agradezco nuevamente el habernos permitido participar en este espacio y hacer parte de sus vidas.

Yeisully Tapias Arcila
Colombia, la Dorada, Caldas
Asociación Jóvenes Emprendedores

Argentina, Brasil, Paraguai e Uruguai assinaram um protocolo para implementar políticas nacionais de compras públicas da agricultura familiar

A 14° Reunião Especializada sobre Agricultura Familiar no MERCOSUL, conhecida como REAF, registrou um importante avanço em acordos para reduzir a pobreza rural. Argentina, Brasil, Paraguai e Uruguai assinaram um protocolo para implementar políticas nacionais de compras públicas da agricultura familiar. O acordo foi firmado durante a abertura oficial do evento no dia 18 de novembro em Brasília. O Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos, já vem sendo aplicado pelo Governo brasileiro com sucesso para a expansão da produção familiar no Brasil.

O Fundo Internacional para o Desenvolvimento Agrícola (FIDA) tem um papel fundamental na REAF como articulador, como explicou Paolo Silveri, Gerente de Programas do FIDA para a América Latina e Caribe. “Através da Secretaria técnica desta reunião especializada em agricultura familiar, o FIDA organiza e apóia as reuniões semestrais. Além disso, os trabalhos das seções nacionais da REAF são financiados por uma doação do FIDA.”

O FIDA participa ativamente do esforço das instituições nos acordos para permitir que os pequenos produtores tenham acesso ao mercado e reforçando renda e a segurança alimentar. Esta agência das Nações Unidas que combate a pobreza rural também financiou, com fundos de doação, um programa de desenvolvimento de compras públicas para a agricultura familiar no Uruguai . “Por outro lado, o trabalho do FIDA em fortalecer grupos e associações de produtores nas suas capacidades de gestão e de produção de alimentos em todo o MERCOSUL está bem inserido no apoio à implementação destes acordos” disse Paolo Silveri.

A REAF desenvolveu uma plataforma de diálogo entre as organizações de agricultores familiares e os governos, tanto dentro de cada país do MERCOSUL como a nível regional, tratando de temas de políticas que condicionam diretamente a vida dos pequenos produtores agrícolas. O FIDA segue apoiando esta política como articulador.

“Além disso, financia o programa COPROFAM junto com as associações Oxfam e Action Aid , para reforçar a articulação das principais federações nacionais de agricultura familiar da região. A finalidade é que os camponeses possam desenvolver capacidades analíticas e de gestão que lhes permitam melhorar as bases de diálogo e de negociação com as próprios governos na definição destas políticas.” comentou Silveri.

Há uma década que o FIDA vem apoiando a cooperação entre os países do MERCOSUL e há sete anos através da plataforma REAF. Agora as sementes plantadas pelas iniciativas desta agência das Nações Unidas estão apresentando frutos concretos.
“Com o apoio do FIDA e de outras instituições vamos prestar assistência técnica aos países receptores para que possam replicar este modelo de compras públicas da agricultura familiar. Isto implica que será necessário reformar e revisar as políticas que impediram aos pequenos produtores o acesso ao mercado da cadeia básica de alimentos” disse Josefina Stubbs, Diretora do FIDA para a América Latina e Caribe.

Ela citou também o exemplo positivo do Brasil, cujo governo compra dos pequenos produtores os produtos da cadeia básica de alimentos que, por sua vez, são usados nos hospitais públicos, na merenda escolar e para outros centros comunitários. Estas compras públicas vão se replicar nos demais países do MERCOSUL por iniciativa dos governos destes países sul americanos, que querem aproveitar a experiência do Brasil para desenvolver políticas públicas semelhantes.

“Países como o Brasil mostram que políticas e investimentos corretos ajudam a melhorar a qualidade e segurança alimentar, permitindo que camponeses pobres possam participar ativamente da economia, comprando alimentos que não produzem e vendendo seus excedentes” comentou Josefina Stubbs.

A reunião da REAF contou com representantes dos governos e organizações sociais dos países do MERCOSUL como Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Paraguai e Uruguai. Organizações de agricultores familiares da Bolívia também estiveram presentes nos grupos temáticos. Outros países do continente Africano, entre estes África do Sul, Gana, Quênia, Zimbábue, Costa do Marfim e Ruanda, além de acadêmicos da China e da Índia, puderam assistir os debates como observadores.

“A REAF foi o cenário para que a cooperação dentro do MERCOSUL cruzasse as fronteiras com acordos assinados com países africanos” disse a Diretora do FIDA.

Além de transferência de tecnologia e conhecimento, o governo brasileiro disponibilizará uma linha de crédito para financiar máquinas e equipamentos agrícolas para agricultores familiares de Gana, do Quênia, Zimbábue, da Costa do Marfim e de Ruanda.

A REAF ocorreu paralelamente à Conferência de Alto Nível sobre Políticas Públicas para a Agricultura Familiar, Desenvolvimento Rural e Segurança Alimentar entre Países de Renda Média. Nesta conferência os países emergentes Brasil, China, Índia e África do Sul conversaram sobre as políticas mais efetivas para a redução da pobreza rural.

Escritora: Gina Marques

Fotógrafo: Ubirajara Machado