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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

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

On 21 November in a small village 100km from Ahmedabad, over 200 pastoral women, men and children danced, clapped and banged tambourines to the accompaniment of their jingling jewels and lowing animals. This colourful pageant - a joyous celebration of the inseparable relationship between pastoralists, their animals and land - was a fittingly emotional opening ceremony for a truly historic gathering.

Over 130 pastoral women from 27 countries are gathered together in the gujerati village of Mera to discuss the challenges they face - and how they can become forces for change. MARAG leaders had the vision to organize the gathering in a genuine Indian pastoral setting, where pastoralists have lived for several generations. After the event the mobile and permanent huts and buildings built specially for the Gathering will be used as a research and cultural centre for the maldhari (pastoral) communities themselves, where MARAG and their wide network of volunteers can preserve and encourage the continuation of pastoralism as a unique and valuable way of life.

The commitment and mobilization of the communities here is palpable – opening speeches overflow with emotion and their efforts make this a unique event. Mattia Prayer Galletti highlighted the importance of pastoralist women’s knowledge, which is needed by the world, while Carlo Petrini from Slow Food/Terra Madre, who was determined from the start to be present at the event, said that he was overwhelmed by the energy and the sense of community of this event, which would remain in his heart for a long time. Many are volunteers, from the exhausted international interpreters, furiously connecting participants in heated discussions in 12 languages, to the freelance photographer, the artist and facilitators - but most especially the pastoral men and women themselves, who spontaneously contributed more than 300 beds and blankets, and the elder women, who decorated the traditional huts to welcome their fellow pastoralists.

As key agents of their communities’ livelihoods, pastoralist women have seized this opportunity to network with alacrity. It is a breathtaking sight to see so many of them from all over the world, sharing their experiences, and swapping stories about their daily life. A Jordanian woman stood, eagerly explaining to an Indian lady the secret to making the bread typical of her region, whilst a group of colourfully clad Gujerati women demonstrated to an audience of women from Africa how to use their hand looms. Over in another corner, a delegate from the Cameroon listened with interest to the story of how a woman pastoralist from Kenya became a Member of Parliament and worked to raise the voice of other women in her situation…the power of sharing knowledge! But behind the ebullience lies a serious desire to go home with something concrete, and the break-out sessions of the first day are lively with debate.

There is tremendous diversity in the situations facing the women here, with women from highly marginalized and patriarchal communities sharing experiences with relatively well-organized womens’ groups - but they also have much in common, from problems with land rights to marginalization as pastoralist and as women, to keeping their children fed and healthy. The Gathering is a small but concrete step towards enabling women to share experience and knowledge and plan ahead strategies to strengthen their roles in pastoral societies and within the wider community.

The world gathering of women pastoralists, sponsored by IFAD, will last till 26 November. We will keep you informed on the issues emerging from the reach discussions and thematic working groups.

No field visit! No successful implementation workshop!

Posted by David Paqui Sunday, November 21, 2010 1 comments

The organizers had identified four different sites for field visit and each participant has to sign up for one. The visit took place on 17 November. I asked advice from Alessandro Marini the CPM for Mozambique who knows better the projects in the country and I chose to join the group II to visit a Microcredit branch and one of its clients as well as the Maragra Sugar Company.

It rained all long the night before and continued raining all the day of the field visit. Although the rain, we were all ready at 7 am at the conference centre but the buses to pick up each group were not there. It is now 8:30 am, the organizers were a little anxious; some participants started saying “if we have to leave late, why we wake up early to be here at 7 and no transportation available”. Some thought that the field visit has been cancelled due the rain. But no field visit! No successful implementation workshop. Later, we discovered that the transportation company contracted has also an on-going contract with another company to collect the workers from their place to the work place. So they must first drop the workers before the field visit. In Africa time is “not money” and everything can be fixed. At 9 am, the first bus arrived followed by others.

We can finally leave Maputo. After one and half hour we arrived at Manhiça where the CEO of MicroCrédito Mr Alfredo Chilaule was waiting for us.
He welcomed the group and made a short presentation on the Microcrédito. Microcrédito, established on 18 May 2009 is a private business entity and has 5 shareholders. It benefited from an incentive of the Government of Mozambique through the IFAD supported Rural Finance Support Programme to encourage a private sector to open a financial services bureau in rural areas: Manhiça, Xinavane, Marracuene, Ponta de Ouro, Magude, Chicualacuala and Maputo. The main activities of Microcrédito are to provide loans for commercial enterprises business, agricultural based enterprises, construction works, capacity building and training. Before providing loan to the poor people, they provide them with training on how they can manage the loans. The loan portfolio of Microcrédito Manhiça Branch was US$ 21,000 in May 2009 when started activities. In one year Microcrédito has a portfolio of US$ 500,000 and has 100 clients and 56% are women. “Women pay back the loans. You do not need to give them a call to remind them the repayment date. They are already at the door waiting before I arrive in office” said Alfredo Chilaule. The loan period is 14 months with the interest from 4 to 6.5% per month. One of the conditions to get a loan from Microcrédito is that the borrower has to use the loan for commercial or agricultural activities and commit to recruit at least one employee.

Just next door to Microcrédito, there is Barclays commercial bank.
We asked the CEO of Microcrédito how come a small rural financial services provider set a business next to a commercial bank like Barclays. Mr Chilaule smiled and said that his clients are the poor people who cannot afford the guaranty requested by the commercial banks. “The loans I provide to my clients are not based on collateral like in commercial banks. I rely on their commitments, their honesty, trust and sincerity” he concluded.

From Microcrédito Branch, we moved to visit one of the clients Mr Jose Alfiado. He is businessman and deals in construction materials such timber, cedar posts, iron rods, sand, cement, bricks. He was loaned progressively up USD 10,000 with repayment period of 14 months. But he has almost repaid in full within a year an indication of a good response from the debtors in terms of loan repayment. He had managed to expand his business and is constructing a permanent house an indication of improvement of wellbeing. Mr Afiado with the loan has increased his business and also has created employment. Now three persons are working with him. “Before the loan to expand my business, my income was around US$ 2,000 per 3 months. Now my income is around US$ 3,500 per 3 months and as you can see I am rebuilding my house” said Mr Alfiado.

The group moved to Maragra Sugar Company where we were welcomed by Ray Ducray, the Manager of the company.
He presented the company which employed other 4,500 local workers in the sugar cane plantation, the relationship with 8 associations of the sugar cane farmers and other 100 individual small farmers as their clients. The Maragra Sugar Company helps the local producers to get access to financial services through Banco Terra by issuing the letters of guaranty to the farmers, buys a lot of fertilizers at cheap price and resell to the producers at the same cheap price as incentive to encourage the farmers to produce more sugar canes to sell to the company. Also the company helps the producers of sugar cane to have access to European Union fund. The company has also recruited three trainers at its own cost to provide adequate training to the farmers on capacity build through the financial service provider GAPI. As today, with its own plantation, the sugar cane bought from the associations of the producers and the individual producers, the factory will still need other 250 tonnes to meet their need in sugar cane. The Maragra Sugar Company anticipated the transportation cost of the sugar canes from the plantations to the factory when the producers do not have a cash to pay to the transporters.

Pedro Mabasso, member of the Combat Poverty Organization attended the meeting at the sugar company.
He informed the group that the organization has 8 associations independent including the Mozambique Women Organization. The associations with 33 members, 17 women and 16 men had received the support from IFAD financed Agricultural Markets Support Programme (PAMA, Portuguese acronym) for capacity building. The associations have 52 hectares of land and use 42 hectares for sugar cane plantation and the other 12 hectares for diversified food crops production. “We are happy to collaborate with the private sector Maragra Sugar Company. They help us a lot to get access to financial services and ensure the market for our sugar cane and pay one month after we delivered the sugar cane” said Pedro Mabasso. “They also provide the associations and individuals small farmers with several services free of charge and create job in our area” he concluded. When we asked Pedro who fixed the price of the sugar cane, he said the company. The Manager of the company explained that we cannot say that the company fixed the price. The price is fixed at national level. “When we sell our sugar in Europe, we also do not fix the price but the international market” said Mr Ducray, the Manager of the Sugar Company.
It was planned to visit also the sugar cane plantations to meet and discuss with the farmers. Unfortunately, it was raining so heavily that we cannot have access to the plantations. We had to return back to Maputo.

On our way back to Maputo, in the car, the group discussed and commented on the two sites we visited. Since the organizers had asked each group to report on their visit, our group has decided to add to the report, the following recommendations that we presented at the plenary session on 18 November:

Microcredit branch and it beneficiary:

• need to look again at the targeting issue,
• review the interest rates to enhance accessibility of credit facilities by the rural poor,
• need enhance knowledge sharing between the management of the facility on matters related to loaning and loan facilities.

Maragra Sugar Company:
• clear involvement of all members of associations,
• associations should be seen to possess more bargaining power as opposed to individuals. They need to be strengthened by forming one umbrella body representing the outgrowers,
• members of the associations should strive to invest in other income generating activities other than sugar cane farming.

The field visit was a learning experience for me.
I was the only IFAD staff in the group and it’s fascinating to hear the projects staff from Burundi, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda and Uganda etc… sharing their experiences or commenting on the field visit. We never stop learning new things about IFAD supported projects!

The ICT for Rural Economic Development conference jointly organized by GTZ and BMZ from 18-19 November 2010 in Berlin, concluded on Friday 19 November with an engaging panel discussion on “What role can development cooperation play in ICT for rural economic development?”

The two day event brought together numerous practitioners, policy makers, donor organizations and private sector players. The event allowed colleagues to interact, network and share their rich experience and at the same time put on the table a number of challenges.

I think, it is safe to say that there was quite a bit of apprehension about the fact that some major donors have abandoned ICT4D sector. For those of us in the agriculture world, this is a déjà vu. But if there is one lesson to learn from our experience, that is under-investing in this sector – similar to under investing in agriculture -  will have negative impact in the lives of poor rural people.  We’ve learnt that ICTs are tools and for these to add value and improve the livelihoods of poor rural people, they need to be:
  • Affordable
  • Scalable
  • Self-sustaining
  • Sensible
  • Appropriate
We also learnt that we need to:
  • Focus on PEOPLE and not technology
  • Ensure ownership and appropriation
  • Develop local content
  • Ensure language and cultural pertinence
  • Ensure participation
  • Mainstream ICT4D activities as part of development projects
  • Build local capacity and scout for local talent and local innovations
This is the message that came out loud and clear from the concluding panel, moderated by Corinna Kuesel, Head of section for economic policy and private sector development of GTZ.

Ms Kuesel kicked off the panel discussion by sharing her impressions about the event. “I am impressed to see what an important role ICTs play in economic development and at the same time perhaps I am a bit concerned that development cooperation is moving out of ICT4D”, said Kuesel.

While recognizing that development agencies are competing for funds and funds are getting scarce, Kuesel made the case that this should not lead to abandoning ICT4D, because we’ve now have the evidence that ICTs can indeed make a difference in the lives of poor rural people.

Kuesel underscored the importance of public-private partnership and called on development world to:
  • play a facilitation role in forging partnership
  • build the capacity national governments, grass-root organization and poor rural people
  • create an enabling environment so that ICT4D initiatives can be implemented and scaled up
Susanne Dorasil, head of division economic policy, financial sector of BMZ underscored the importance of using ICTs to get better outcomes. Recognizing that the ICT4D community has a challenge of being heard, she talked about:
  • importance of working towards putting in place regulations to reach the goal of universal access
  • challenges and opportunities of linking up and broadening cooperation with the private sector to develop a robust ICT sector
  • importance of showing impact and showing how ICTs contribute to and add value to “hot development topics”  such as rural development, food security, rural finance and more
Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CEO of Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization talking about private-public partnership brought in the missing dimension – namely PEOPLE. He talked about public-private-people partnership. Spio-Garbrah talked about importance of involving not only national governments, but also local governments. He talked about not exclusively partnering with multinational private sector, but local enterprises and grass-root entrepreneurs. And most importantly he talked about the very PEOPLE, who we work with and work for – the poor rural people and civil society.

Wow, what a concept….. During the course of the two days, I must admit, we focused primarily on technology and perhaps not enough on People. So thank you Dr Spio-Garbrah for putting PEOPLE in the forefront and for sharing your vision of intra-institutional cooperation.

Giacomo Rambaldi, Senior Programme Coordinator, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, CTA echoing Dr Spio-Garbrah reminded the audience of the need to involve the civil society. Rambaldi talked about the risks of ICTs and how ICTs could both help disseminate/preserve but also usurper indigenous knowledge.

He talked about how ICTs have provided access to information that previously was not readily available and how ICTs have democratized access to information, citing the examples of services such as YouTube or Google maps have given a voice to the previously voiceless segment of the population.

Rambaldi reminded us of the importance of generating localized and relevant content.  He talked about how as development workers, we have to make sure that ICTs actually add value and contribute to knowledge generation and becoming a catalyst to disseminate locally generated knowledge.

After all we have to remember that  ICTs are tools and if they are not used to generate and disseminate relevant and local content, they are nothing but a useless device which can end up gathering dust!!

David Grimshaw, Head of International Programme: New Technologies with Practical Action and Senior Research Fellow, DFID, made the case for mainstreaming ICT4D initiatives where we have solid evidence that these have improved the livelihoods of poor rural people. Grimshaw underscored that technology has no magic power and is not a silver bullet. It is what we do with technology and how we use it that will make the difference.

“We need to focus on the HOW and on the process to move to ICT for DEVELOPMENT”, said Grimshaw.
Challenging the development world, he said: “You cannot work with logframes when you are doing a research project. These types of projects are different”. Concluding his remarks, Grimshaw said: “We need to focus on the process and focus on people’s need.”

Anton Mangstl, Director of the Office of Knowledge Exchange, FAO, underscored the importance of conducting impact assessments and learning from existing activities and pilots. He urged us to work with governments and other key stakeholders to scale up those activities that have worked. He reminded the audience that similar to development projects, for  ICT4D projects  to succeed they too need be sustainable.

Given the key role that ICT4D activities play in rural development, Mangstl put his finger on a crucial challenge, namely why have bilateral development donors such as DFID and SDC stopped their ICT4D programmes and investments.

Mangstl echoing the other panellists made the case, that donor agencies – be it bilaterals or multilaterals – need to mainstream ICT4D activities in their core activities and integrate these more and more with their respective knowledge sharing and communication for development activities.

Ilari Lindy, Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland asked the fundamental question of whether ICT4D activities were well positioned to show impact in rural development and agriculture related activities.

He urged the participants to pay attention to policy and regulatory frameworks when designing and implementing ICT4D activities and repeated Mr Mangstl’s call for action – that is the need to improve knowledge sharing on ICT4D activities and integrating ICT4D activities with organizational knowledge sharing activities.

Lindy pointed out that to innovate, there is a need to bring together and create bridges between development and scientific communities. He also talked about the importance of convergence between North-South networks and last but not last the fundamental prerequisite of responding to grass-root demands.

Our colleague Tobias Eigen from Kabissa, reminded the audience that Africa is the hot bed of innovation and made the case that we should have more African innovators in events such as these.

Madam Dorasil from BMZ in her closing remarks reiterated the following fundamental points:
  • there are no silver bullets in development
  • we need to listen to and cater to the needs of the people who we work with and work for
  • we need to build local capacity and groom local talents
  • we need to get better in documenting, sharing and capturing the impact of ICT4D projects and feed these back into the learning and development loop
  • we need to have indicators that clearly demonstrate how ICTs are changing the lives of poor rural people
  • as a development community, we need to join hands to make sure that developed and developing countries governments and decision makers understand the importance of ICT4D activities and assist them in putting in place an enabling environment so that these activities flourish and replicate
  • we need to raise awareness about ICT4D and make a concerted effort to put this topic on the G20 agenda
  • we need to adopt an integrated approach and mainstream ICT4D activities in rural development projects and programmes
  • we need to show how ICTs are reaching those living in the “bottom of pyramid”
As the event came to a close, I asked myself – how long will it take for ICT4D to make it back to the global development agenda? Do we need two decades of under-investment in this sector before we hear the wake-up call – or can we show that we learnt from the negative impact of under-investing in agriculture and start mainstreaming and investing in scaling up ICT4D activities?

At this event I talked about "Development 2.0: Putting ICT4D Lessons into Action to Make M-Development a Reality" and shared IFAD's experience in Zambia with the Zambia National Farmers Union - better known as ZNFU4455!

The 1st Meeting on Youth Entrepreneurship and Rural Micro-enterprising ended with a series of recommendations that will help the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and its partners, develop and implement policies that can create more favourable conditions for the growth of young people’s micro enterprises. The five-day knowledge sharing and policy dialogue event was organized by IFAD, the Oportunidades Rurales programme of the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and the Regional Program to Support Rural Afro-Latino Populations (ACUA). Along with more than 20 senior staff and project staff members of the three development partners, over thirty young entrepreneurs coming from Argentina, Bosnia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Nicaragua, Madagascar, Peru, Senegal and Syria participated in the workshop, which was opened by Mohamed Beavogui, Director of IFAD’s West and Central Africa Division. During the deliberations of the workshop the young entrepreneurs were divided in four working group of discussion dedicated to four thematic areas, including:

· The issue of non-inclusion of the projects of young rural people in the development plans and strategies of governments
· The lack of or limited space for participation in exchanges between adults and young people to transmit knowledge
· Restrictions on young people’s access to credit and rural financial services
· Excessive limitations facing on young people’s access to market and value chain opportunities.
In a message to the workshop, HE Juan Camilo Restrepo Salazar, Minister of Agriculture of Colombia, welcomed the participants to his country, expressing “Greetings with enthusiasm to all participants coming from various parts of the world, for choosing to hold their workshop in Colombia.” He said: “On behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Government of Colombia, we wish you the best of success in your deliberations and in achieving concrete results, with the hope that the enthusiasm which brought these young people here will be further reinforced.”

At closure of the workshop, Roberto Haudry, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager for Colombia, outlined the key outcomes of the workshop. He said the conclusions that managers and Project staff members of IFAD, Oportunideds Rurales and ACUA have reached following their intensive interactions with the participating young entrepreneurs, would be distilled into two main products, consisting of immediate general recommendations and a policy framework that would require a longer time for development. Haudry said “The proposals made by the young entrepreneurs during the event, including policy hints, activities and tools, will be reproduced exactly as they were expressed.” He added that the three partners will try to incorporate these proposals into their current operations and future interventions. He summarized the general recommendations as follow:

· IFAD and its projects lack, and should acquire the capacity to hear the young people, learn more from them and trust them much more. IFAD and its partners commit themselves to multiplying their exchanges with rural young people, and facilitating exchanges between themselves, in order to learn more about each other’s successful business models, difficulties, solutions and innovations.
· Promoting inter-generational dialogue is very important and requires greater attention. Each generation of young, adults and elders have their own special characteristics, extending from new technology assimilation, through productivity and assets accumulation, to knowledge and wisdom. Understanding the complimentary potential of the three elements and acting upon such understanding needs to be improved.
· The need to design financial instruments and vehicles that permit the inclusion of many millions of young people in the citizenship of access to financial services, markets and information is more pressing now than ever before.
· Recognition of the ICT talents of young people needs to be made by the creation of “knowledge markets” through which they can transmit information, know-how and innovations to each other.
· Recognition of the need to invest in culture is crucial to make good agriculture, particularly in the case of young people.
· Acknowledgement of the global dimension of young people’s space is only logical as they constantly move between rural, urban and global terrains and cyberspaces. Therefore, learning skills such as English, for example, has been identified as a basic necessary tool for young people. · The need to invest in non-formal education, including cultural and physical creativity, would help motivate young people for greater productivity.
· The need to provide the young people with direct access to various resources and assets, including financial services and markets, is crucial and requires greater investments.

The closing session ended with an announced that a special event similar to the Cartagena Youth workshop will be held in Africa in 2011, as part of a global consultation process with rural young people.
The last two days of the workshop were dedicated to field visits in the context of a “Learning Route” programme to the sites of IFAD supported interventions in the Departmental District of La Gallera, which is located in the ZENÚ indigenous reservation and in to the Verdara La Aren of Sincelejo. The participants also visited the sites of rural development interventions in the municipalities of Sincé and Corozal in the Department of Sucre. This had followed other field visits to the sites and activities of micro-enterprises of poor rural people, particularly women, supported by Oprtunidades Rurales in the island of Baru and the San Basilio de Paneque. The huge variety of artisan workshops developed by the young entrepreneurs, for example in Baru, which range from bakeries, to shoemakers to artificial jewellery making workshops, was impressive.

Organized in collaboration with the Association of Women and Young Afro Colombian (AFROCARIBE), the Costa ASOPIELES Marroquineros Association and the Association of the Social Agro-industrial Development Savannah (ASODESEA), the Learning Route provided ample opportunities to learn and share knowledge. This includes the concrete outcomes of Colombia’s experience in rural small business development and its approach to the involvement of young people. The Rural Micro Enterprise (MER) in Colombia has helped nearly 500 thousand families develop secure and sustainable sources of income through engagement in a variety of micro-enterprises and other income-generating activities. Between 2004 and 2009 about 25,000 families received tools, resources and training enabling them to move out of absolute poverty from this investment programme developed by IFAD and the Colombian Government. The innovative Learning Route imitative developed with the technical cooperation of PROCASUR, has become a model in “knowledge travelling” that aims at improving the capacities of farmers associations and organizations of entrepreneurs in identifying, evaluating and learning (for replication and up-scaling) from initiatives of micro enterprises in other regions.

A number of the participating young entrepreneurs have also set up vender tables in Cartagena’s old city centre, where the general public could admire and purchase their products. This “Fair” of products of young micro-entrepreneurs from various parts of has attracted a large number of visitors curious to know more about the Youth initiatives. A good example of these innovations was the development by a group of young rural Colombians of the “marimba” musical instrument, or what they call the “forest piano” that is fast spreading in the countryside bringing happiness to many rural communities after hard work days in the fields. The young entrepreneurs who benefited from micro finance services supported by IFAD and its partners have made a highly visible success in their new industry not only in Colombia. The group affirmed that they are expanding the market outreach of their “marimba” to neighbouring countries too. Naturally, the workshop could not have a better closure that that of the sounds and rhythms of the marimba played by its creators. Naturally IFAD’s staff too, like the director Beavovui, also had a go and tried the fantastic sounds of the instrument. As a final act, Betty Sterling of LAC, took advantage of the youngster’s enthusiasm to hand over the participation diplomas to the young leaders of tomorrow, who seemingly enjoyed the event as much as they have effectively contributed to its outcomes.

The East and Southern Africa Division of IFAD started its Regional Implementation Workshop on 15 November 2010 in Mozambique capital Maputo. The theme selected for this year get together is “Sustainable Management of land and Water to Improve Agriculture productivity”. Over 150 participants from 15 countries: Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and IFAD headquarters and field office staff are participating in this important annual meeting from 15 to 18 November 2010.

Mr. Aiúba Cuereneia, Minister of Planning and Development of the Republic of Mozambique, presided the opening ceremony. In his opening remark, he welcomed the participants in Mozambique and recognised the role of IFAD in supporting the development in Mozambique since 1983 by investing US$250 million in loans and grants in the country.

The Minister of Planning and Development highlighted the importance of the theme of the workshop and mentioned the trends in the region of pressure on land and natural resources as a result of the rapid urbanization, increasing population and climate change. “Water is becoming a scarce resource, and Mozambique is particularly affected by being fed by river basins that cross the region, where water is used before reaching the country” he said

To conclude, Minister Cuereneia reiterated that his country will continue to prioritize agriculture, fisheries and market linkages, food security, poverty reduction through economic growth in rural areas.

Ides de Willebois, Director of East and Southern Africa of IFAD in his address acknowledged the role of the Government of Mozambique in organizing the workshop. He highlighted the importance of experiences sharing, the impact of IFAD supported projects in the field, efficiency and effectiveness. By supervising directly its supported projects, IFAD is in position to learn lessons which will help in designing new projects.

On the theme of the workshop, Land and Water Management to Improve Productivity in Agriculture, Ides said that in the East and Southern Africa region, only 6% of 20% potential irrigable land are irrigated and most in Madagascar. He also highlighted that particular attention should be paid to the soil and water improvement as 80% of agriculture in the region is rainfed agriculture. He also emphasized on the partnership and invited the participants to open and frank discussions during the workshop and concluded by saying: “if you want to go fast do it yourself, but if you want to go far do it with other”.

The opening ceremony was followed by two plenary sessions. The first discussed three topics:

• The Impact of Climate Change on the Future of Irrigation Development;
• Irrigation Technologies for Water Use Efficiency: investment costs, operational costs and the crop value; and
• Public-Private Partnerships for the Development of Small Scale Irrigation Schemes.

The Participants acknowledged that climate change is already happening globally and is an all new field of knowledge development to find the appropriate solutions in prevention, mitigation and adaptation at local level while taking into account the regional context. Irrigation technologies for water use efficiency need to take into consideration the knowledge of the farmers and be integrated into the whole chain of irrigated agriculture. Public Private Partnerships offer an opportunity for the promotion of small scale irrigation schemes for smallholders, provided there is a strong commitment by governments, the PPP can become a viable farming enterprise and farmers are more market-oriented.
The second Plenary Session was dedicated to the presentation of experiences in water and natural resources management projects, with three papers from Swaziland, one from Lesotho and one from Kenya, and a presentation of IFAD’s experience in securing land and natural resources rights. The presentations addressed issues of design and implementation of irrigation schemes as part of a development plan, partnerships, land tenure systems and rights, as well as water and natural resources management as an entry point to poverty reduction.

The first day working day was concluded by a social get together for the participants with a welcome cocktail offered by the organizers.

Testimonios Directos - Sandra Guadalupe Sandoval Orellana

Posted by Greg Benchwick Tuesday, November 16, 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, Sandra Sandoval, participante del Primer Encuentro de Juventudes y Microempresa Rural en Colombia, nos comparte su historia, sus esperanzas y sus recomendaciones para que el FIDA continue implementando políticas que apoyen a la juventud.

Mi nombre es Sandra Guadalupe Sandoval Orellana, tengo 20 años recién cumplidos, vengo representando a los jóvenes rurales de El Salvador, formo parte de la Asociación Cooperativa de Producción Agropecuaria y Pesquera Los Tepemechines de R.L. Mi comunidad esta ubicada en el caserío El Desagüe del cantón Belén Güijat, en el municipio de Metapán, departamento de Santa Ana; El caserío se encuentra a 1 kilometro de la carretera que de Santa Ana conduce a la Frontera Anguiatú, a 12 kilómetros de la ciudad de Metapán y a 36 kilómetros de la cabecera departamental, Santa Ana.

El caserío el desagüe, está habitado por unas 1,113 personas distribuidos así: 240 mujeres, 436 hombres, 244 niñas menores de 10 años y 199 niños menores de 10 años.

La actividad económica principal de la organización es la pesca en el Lago de Güija y otras relacionadas con la agricultura, como actividades complementarias las especies menores. Con esta experiencia la organización realizo la solicitud de apoyo en inversiones para un negocio ante el PREMODER el cual lo denominamos “Producción y Comercialización de Tilapias en jaulas flotantes”. Esta iniciativa de negocio ha sido financiada por el Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería a través del Programa de Reconstrucción y Modernización Rural PREMODER con fondos de préstamo del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola FIDA.

Soy socia de la Cooperativa y actualmente me desempeño como Gerenta Local, en el negocio. Al principio cuando comencé con la organización no tenia nada de experiencia sin embargo quiero contarles que soy hija de un socio de la cooperativa y desde pequeña, que yo recuerdo, he tenido contacto con el quehacer de la pesca de agua dulce.

Las principales actividades económicas son la pesca y la agricultura. La comunidad esta asentada en terrenos nacionales, es decir que no se tiene una escritura de propiedad, más sin embargo, en su mayoría las viviendas están construidas de ladrillo y/o sistema mixto. El 75% de los habitantes de la comunidad cuentan con el servicio de agua, luz y teléfono. Se cuenta con un Centro Escolar, que brinda desde parvularia a 9° grado. No se cuenta con un Centro de Salud. No hay fuentes de empleo para los jóvenes, únicamente se puede tener un autoempleo en la actividad agrícola y pesquera. Es de mencionar que el 70% de los ingresos de la familia depende de la pesca.

Como joven de proyección, mis deseos son superarme, estudiar una carrera universitaria que me permita obtener mejores empleos para mejorar las condiciones de vida en el futuro, ver mi cooperativa trabajando como una empresa próspera y competitiva brindando oportunidades de empleo a las personas aledañas que mas lo necesitan, especialmente a los jóvenes y obtener la preparación necesaria para enfrentar la demanda del mundo actual. Considero necesario estudiar para lo cual ya he solicitado una beca a AES El Salvador y me encuentro en espera de una respuesta favorable para poder realizar mis estudios, ya que el dinero es una de las principales limitantes por las cuales aun no he ingresado a la universidad.

Descripción del Emprendimiento

A la edad de 17 años comencé a formar parte de la cooperativa y al iniciar la ejecución del proyecto “Producción y Comercialización de Tilapia en Jaulas Flotantes” en el lago de Guija, se presentó la oportunidad de desempeñar el rol como Gerenta Local. Esta gran oportunidad me permitió aprender mucho sobre la administración del negocio; así como, también conocer el proceso de producción y comercialización de nuestro producto. Aprendí las formas de alimentarlo de una manera empresarial, estrategias para bajar costos y aumentar utilidades, distintos tipos de mercado y conocer los canales de distribución.

Me considero una persona abierta para adquirir nuevos conocimientos y creo en mis propias capacidades y algo de mucha importancia es que cuento con el apoyo de mi familia y amigos, eso me motiva a continuar siempre adelante.

Desde muy pequeña me ha gustado los negocios y la administración de los mismos, mi sueño era trabajar en una empresa, ahora puedo decir que me siento realizada y dichosa por que mis compañeros y compañeras y yo trabajamos en una empresa y lo mejor que es nuestra propia empresa y tiene pilares fuertes que los hemos venido construyendo de manera participativa, con muchas ganas de seguir creciendo y siendo cada día mas fuerte y competitivos/as y tenemos la seguridad de lograrlo, con nuestra entrega y esfuerzo y las diferentes ONGs que nos han apoyado.

Desarrollo el cargo de Secretaria de Comunicaciones en la asociación para la protección de las Cuencas Hidrográficas del Lago de Güija, ASPROGÜIJA. El lema de esta Asociación es unir esfuerzos para proteger los lagos, lagunas, ríos y todas las cuencas del Departamento de Metapán.

En los años 2008 y 2009 participe como Facilitadora de educación para adultos impartiendo clases de primero y segundo ciclo, a un promedio de 45 personas adultas de mi comunidad. Lo cual dejo en mi la satisfacción de transmitir a estas personas el maravilloso mundo de las letras y los números lo cual para mi significó una gran experiencia.

En realidad no a sido fácil pero tampoco tan difícil, poco apoco he aprendiendo algo cada día, al igual que mis compañeros y compañeras, hemos tenido que buscar el apoyo necesario en las distintas ONG´s para salir adelante y convertirnos hoy en los empresarios y empresarias que somos.

En lo personal he contado con la fortuna de tener el apoyo de las distintas directivas de las organizaciones con las que trabajo, han sido personas que me han apoyado y puesto su confianza en mí.

Gracias a Dios he encontrado gente buena que han creído en mi y me han brindado su apoyo, el MAG-PREMODER ha sido en gran parte uno de los apoyos mas grandes que hemos recibido, al darnos el apoyo de la asistencia técnica trasmitiéndonos conocimientos por medio de su programa de capacitaciones apegadas a nuestras necesidades. Y también otras personas que contribuyeron con sus conocimientos y habilidades que me han ayudado en gran manera a mi desarrollo personal.

Durante el tiempo que tengo de ser Gerenta Local, he tenido que vencer muchos obstáculos como envidias, críticas, dificultades de mercadeo etc. También el bajo valor económico del incentivo que recibo por todo mi trabajo, se convierte en una limitante para poder seguir desarrollando acciones encaminadas a alcanzar mi éxito, ya que provengo de una familia muy humilde y de escasos recursos.

Yo antes era una persona muy reservada poco sociable y no había descubierto que en mi existía Un Liderazgo y que tengo la suficiente capacidad para guiar a un grupo hasta echar a andar una empresa. Gracias a todos los conocimientos que he adquirido de los profesores, técnicos, y otras personas que han contribuido a mi formación es que me he dado cuenta que cuento con esa gran fortaleza y que la he aprovechado para el beneficio de toda mi comunidad.

Recomendaciones para el FIDA

  • Que en todos los proyectos que el FIDA financia exista una política que exija el involucramiento de jóvenes y mujeres en el desempeño de los mismos…
  • Que se fomente la participación de los jóvenes, ofreciendo programas de becas que vengan a beneficiar especialmente aquellos quienes mas lo necesitan en su mayoría personas rurales de escasos recursos….
  • Que pueda existir apoyo mas directo financiando proyectos que sean desarrollados especialmente por jóvenes permitiendo haci aprender y desarrollar conocimientos que nos permitan ir capitalizando experiencia y obteniendo fuentes de empleo sostenibles que nos permita mejorar nuestras condiciones de vida.

Sandra Guadalupe Sandoval
Gerenta Local
Asociación Cooperativa Agropecuaria y Pesquera “Los Tepemechines” de R.L.

Marking the end of the United Nations International Year of Youth, the Colombian City of Cartagena is hosting the 1st Meeting on Youth Entrepreneurship and Rural Micro-enterprising from 15-19 November. Over 80 participants, including some 35 young rural entrepreneurs contributed actively to the discussion during the first day of this especial event, which was organized by IFAD; the Opportunities Rurales Programme of the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR); and the Fundación Activos Culturales Afro-Latinos (ACUA). The meeting was opened by Mohamed Beavogui, Director of the West and Central Africa Division and Roberto Haudry, IFAD’s Country Program Manager for Colombia. It was also addressed by Andres Silva Mora, Programme Director of Oportunidades Rurales and MADR Representative to IFAD and by Manuel Perez, a community leader and Member of the Executive Committee of ACUA.

In his intervention, Beavogui underlined the importance of this event as an important step towards a better understanding of the bottlenecks and challanges facing the rural young people in developing countries today. He also emphasized the role that the young can play in creating the right institutional and policy environment upon which much of their future prospects of better living conditions depend. On his part, Haudry said the meeting was meant to be a bridge in a continuing exchange between Latin America, Africa and other regions. He said: “in Latin America we need Africa. We do not want a triangular world, in which for an African to speak to a Latin American would need to pass through Washington or Rome or any third party.” Addressing the young participants, Haudry added: “we want you to meet and to know each other, to exchange and together construct a better society than the one my generation has.”

The instruments through which the MADR was able to support concretely Colombia’s micro-enterprising development, particularly the Oportunidades Rurales programme, were at the centre of a presentation by its Director, Silva Mora. He explained how the programme, which was established with the help of IFAD in 1997, then represented a new approach in the process of carrying out rural development - from teaching people to hearing people.
He said since its establishment with the help of IFAD in 1997, the Ministry has supported over 1000 projects focusing on the development of rural business opportunities through investments worth more than US$25 million. Silva Mora also explained how such efforts, involving thousands of business experts, development practitioners and rural entrepreneurs, including young people, have succeeded in achieving their objectives. He emphasized the importance of knowledge transfer and training in building the capacities of the rural youth to chart a better future for themselves and their families.
Manuel Perez emphasised the importance of the cultural aspects in improving the quality of people’s lives, including those of the young. He highlighted the activates undertaken by ACUA in support of development initiatives that focus on helping young Afro Americans in acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to unleash their creativity in developing successful income-generation activities extending from agriculture to culture.

The following interventions started with audiovisual introductions, mainly thematic videos, which set the stage for analytical PowerPoint presentations and subsequent discussions and exchanges of ideas and information. Dayana Rivera of the Small Coffee Growers Association in Cauca, Colombia, spoke of the importance of fair trade for coffee growers, especially the young ones, and the importance that her association attaches to its autonomy and ability to defend the rights of its members. In doing so, the association also helps its members diversify their crops and take advantage of market opportunities both individually and collectively. She said the association is also working closely with the Opportunities Rurales programme on various activities, including investment support, facilitation and skills building.
The Cacao Producers Association of Atacames and Rio Verde (APROCA) of the Esmeraldas region of Ecuador was represented by Lurdes Estefania Bone, who illustrated the work of her association since its establishment in 2004 by a group of independent private producers of Cacao. The association was established to help market its members’ cacoo products, which represent the main income of the province. It was also meant to address the challenge of restoring live to cacao plantations, which were losing labour density due to emigration of young people. Renovation was the moto of the association to help achieve this objective and salvage the knowledge that was accumulated by generations of farmers cacao production and processing. APROCA runs a youth centre, where 20-30 young people under the age of 21 receive education with sciences varying from Mathematics to natural sciences, but also vocational training in treatment and processing of cacao into chocolate products from drying to packaging. According to Bone, APROCA works in association with non-profit organizations, including foundations, NGOs and international organizations to promote its objectives. She added that such cooperation has enabled the local young people to repopulate the cacao plantations, and processing facilities while improving the marketing conditions and incomes. It also helps each producer obtain certification of their organic products.

The small Colombian Association of Ramiquiri Artisans (ARTERMAMI), represented by Alexandra Bohorquez, and Cooperativa Multiactiva de Mujeres de Guapi (COOPMUJERES) were instrumental in offering their members some micro-finance opportunities thanks to their ability to enlist the support of the Rural Opportunities programme. They also play a critical role in creating a greater number of income generating opportunities for its members with a greater focus on gender issues and protection of women headed households. The Association of Young Afro-American Women and Young people of the Caribbean Sea (AFROCARIBE) and the Association of Shellfishers of Nariño (ASCONAR) have also made interesting presentations on the way their young members have been able to take advantage of micro credit opportunities to initiate various small businesses and income generation activities and in the Caribbean. Since these associations are mostly made up of young rural people and are equipped with ideas and good, but will have limited resources and support, the association of Young Entrepreneurs (ASOJE) and the Biodiversity Corporation of Monitoreo (MASHIRAMO) have also presented a large number of their experiences, the success stories of their members as well as lessons learned and frustrating shortfalls on public support.

The presentations and subsequent discussion of associations, mostly Colombian micro entrepreneurs, were followed by more analytical presentations of the individual experiences and success stories. Some 12 young rural entrepreneurs from 10 other countries, namely, Bosnia, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Peru, Senegal, and Syria, are participating in the event.

Daniela Dos Santos from Brazil told the story of developing a successful micro-enterprise specialized in the production of religious artwork. She had inherited from her mother, who was part of a cooperative of artisanal women, the ideas of producing religious clothing and artisanal artwork objects. As an example, she showed images of epical garments for religious proceedings were produced, indicating that she was trying to be economically independent. She said she wanted to be the owner of her own company and her destiny, but she wanted also to be able to help the community to which she belongs. She listed a number of difficulties that she was initially facing to develop her activity into a profitable business; but eventually she was able to overcome these difficulties thanks to a loan from an IFAD-supported project.

From Madagascar, the 24 year old Mirado Ratoejanahary told her story as a beneficiary of and IFAD-supported Rural Youth micro-enterprise programme. Her story started in 2004 when she was an employee of her aunt working on the production of the so called “Raban”, which is based on material made of vegetal fibre. The Raban is mainly used as raw material to weave baskets. However, she wanted to have her own company, so she used her savings from three years of service and living in a small hut to initiate a business of her own similar to that of her aunt. She bought the needed raw materials all on her own and started her own production. However, she was facing difficulties due to the lack of instruments and advanced skills, which she was eventually able to acquire thanks to a loan and training from the IFAD-supported project and other elements.

Anita Derlek from Bosnia is engaged in a small business of organic food that she and her mother Emira had started back in 2000 when she was the age of 18. The decision to launch the farm was made during the years of war in Bosnia that she spent with her family in Germany as war refugees. Impressed with the way organic production has been established in Germany, Anita and Emira decided to follow suite upon their return to Bosnia. They started with very limited funds. It took her 5 years to turn her conventional farm into the organic one. Today, all six members of her nuclear family, including Anita, are involved in the production on the farm. They grow a variety of vegetables and cereals and collect medicinal herbs. During the intensive works, the family Vuković rent the agricultural machinery. In order to encircle the organic producing on the farm, the family purchased cows by taking a first micro-loan from the Prizma micro-credit organization. The second loan that they took was in order to purchase land to launch raspberry production. The total credit amount that Anita and Emira took from IFAD funds is 10,000 KM approved in the year of 2009. They now sell their products directly to their customary buyers and have been able to pay back their loan to IFAD on regular basis. They were the first in the region to launch the idea of organic farming, which is proving to be one of the most profitable rural business activities.

Mosaic art worker, Abdulla Al Dani, 19, from Syria also had an interesting story to tell. He partnered with his father at an early age in a low paid business of bicycle repairs, which they started in 2002. Their earnings were hardly enough to feed the family. But, when the opportunity occurred through an IFAD-supported projects in 2006, Abdulla took a loan of 50,000 Syrian Pounds (about US$1150) from his village “Sanduq” fund in the northern province of Idleb. Given the at bicycle repairs generated too little income, Abdulla and his father decided to decided to change their profession and start a manufacturing mosaic tableau as a lot of people in their region. The loan served mainly to help them buy the main materials for this work such natural stones, nylon, net, sticking material, and a cutter. Their new business flourished very quickly as they acquired fine production skills that they used to train other villagers. Today 50 other families in the village depend on them to urn a living.

Out of programme, Modou Faye, from Senegal, presented his story of as successful family agribusiness in the village of Qadam in the north east of the country. His little enterprise combines farming with processing of agricultural produce. In addition, it also depends partially on livestock keeping. The activity of this eight member family is organized on the basis of a weekly family meeting during which decisions are taken collectively, including the decision to seek and obtain support from an IFAD-supported project covering his village. The main strength of the family was the plentiful seasonal production of crops like wheat, beans, millet and others that can be processed and kept to meet the family consumption needs during hard times. Faye underlined the importance of experience he accumulated in managing a family business that guarantees the timely commercialization of the family’s raw or processed produce and ensuring both income flows and relative food security.

The interventions of the various young entrepreneurs where all followed by detailed discussions of the on the difficulties that the rural micro enterprising continues to face. These have also covered a wide range of desired types of interventions to address such issue, including the introduction, where appropriate, of policy reforms and more coherent approaches towards creating favourable environments for youth entrepreneurship development.

The first day of this workshop then ended by some concluding remarks of Beavogui, in which he underlined the importance of helping Africa’s young small farmers meet the responsibility and the challenge to feed a world of more than nine billion people over the next few decades.