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The end marks the beginning...

Posted by Adriane Del Torto Saturday, September 29, 2012 0 comments

by Adriane Del Torto

Although the information and initiation workshop to IFAD procedures for PAPAM, the Agricultural Productivity Programme in Mali, a World Bank Programme co-financed by IFAD, has come to a close, it is really marking the beginning of this programme, which now detains more tools to be able to be more efficient in implementing the project.

The third and last day of the workshop addressed more financial management, including yearly audits and the importance of the audit exercise in steering projects in the right direction. In addition some information was given on corruption and fraud and the policies IFAD has put into place to combat these in development programmes. The audience was informed of the existence of an independent investigations office to fight corruption and how this office works, encouraging all parties to keep an eye open and to report any suspicious behaviour, with the reassurance that any report would be entirely confidential and object of close investigation before any action or sanction is taken on IFAD’s behalf.

Then a thorough session was held on Monitoring and Evaluation as well as the RIMS (Results and Impact Monitoring System). This cross cutting issue to all IFAD projects and programmes is at the forefront of discussions now, as M&E it was gives us the necessary data to analyse in order to assess impact and successes on the field.

Importance was put on the necessity of building the M&E system into the project as soon as it becomes effective. In Mali, PIDRN (Investment and Development Project in the Northern Regions of Mali) has been especially successful in designing its M&E system and collecting the data. In fact, the M&E specialist from this project was invited to make the presentation of the system and how the project has achieved its successes in M&E. Again, planning, communication and rigour are key to successful M&E in addition to a proper baseline survey and the identification of the right indicators. PAPAM has been encouraged to work with PIDRN to learn from their experience and further capitalise on the experience of M&E.

Finally, the workshop gave an overview of the different aspect of project implementation including supervisions, midterm review and closing. Each step was explained as well as the objective of the different missions and how to prepare for them in due time.

Over the past three days, a lot of information has been shared with actors from PAPAM, from the Chamber of Agriculture (APCAM) from the Ministry of Agriculture and its services, the World Bank and other partners involved in the implementation of PAPAM. It is obvious that this workshop has not been exhaustive and could not address all of the concerns in implementing such an important an complex programme. The workshop however has achieved its goal in providing information to the entire PAPAM team and create synergies between all of the technical and financial partners. It is now that the real work will begin, PAPAM according to the suggestions received will now finalise the AWPB and proceed to making the request for the initial deposit so that activities can officially begin.

Beatrice Gerli reports on Gender Action Learning Systems (GALS) in the case of DUHAMIC- ADRI, Muhanga District, Rwanda.

“After attending GALS trainings, I opened up with my wife Cotilda and discussed openly our issues. We are managing to solve our problems and we are much better off. Even the productivity of our activities has sharply increased!” proudly said Eria, one of the GALS champion in the Muhanga district in Rwanda. He also added that in May his family only had 10 Kg of Maize, and now 250 Kg, plus 150 Kg of Soy bean.

How is this possible? How could GALS trainings trigger such changes?

Let’s take a step back and try to understand what GALS is all about. GALS stands for Gender Action Learning System, a household methodology which helps people to define what they want to achieve – their vision-, realise where they are – the present situation- and the concrete steps that can lead them to make their vision their new reality.

In order to do so, people are guided in the analysis of the their present situation and facilitators help them to reflect on what are the deep causes of the challenges they face. All this, is done by drawings. Not only drawings are accessible also to non-literate people, but they also help to keep thoughts simple. If you can draw it, it means that you have it clear in your mind and that you can take immediate action. “When I draw my commitments I actually stick to them and I take action”, just as Eria said.

The journey route framework is the main GALS tool that help rural men and women to visualize through drawings what they would like to achieve, the actions that they have to take in order to do so, as well as the opportunities and challenges that might support or hinder them. Participants draw their journey route also in a booklet, which remains always with them as of reference. The vision of the journey route supports better communication and cooperation in the household, as well as improving the productivity of their value chain.
GALS thus supports the improvement of rural men and women’s livelihoods by helping them to address intra-household issues and better planning for family’s production.

The role of the community is also key: it provides support to men and women engaged in this transformative process and fosters peer learning from each other experiences. In the GALS process also the community develops a joint vision, visualizing its goals as a group and how to change attitudes and behaviour to harness the potential of their value chains

The ruteros visited on the 25 and 26 of September a community in the Muhanga district, where the organization DUHAMIC-ADRI integrated GALS in its value chain development programmes with the local cooperative. Thanks to the support of IFAD, Oxfam Novib and PROCASUR they are working on empowering the poorer stakeholders in the value chains. To make this happen, DUHAMIC-ADRI is fostering GALS strategies to transform gender relations in the households, in the cooperative and in the community at large, promoting win- win strategies that can boost productivity. 

The story of Eria is once again very telling: “When me and my wife were fighting, I felt that our paths had separated. She had to work by herself our land and I was drinking our savings, spending all my time at the bar far away from her and my kids. 7 months ago I was invited to attend GALS trainings: it opened my eyes and made me realize that I was harming myself and my family. I started to share with my wife what I was learning in the trainings, we started discussing our problems and compromise on both sides. We started working together again and our production greatly benefit from this. Did I tell you that we harvested 250 kg of maize and 150 kg of soy bean this year? “

Photos: IFAD/ Beatrice Gerli

By Kanayo F. Nwanze

During the African Green Revolution Forum this week in Arusha, Tanzania, IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze was the keynote speaker at a high-level panel on making African markets work. Excerpts from his address follow; read the full speech here.

Today, there are unprecedented opportunities in African agriculture. Africa has the fastest growing population and the highest rate of urbanization in the world. The middle class is growing across the continent, driving demand for food….

A farmer dries maize in Tanzania. ©IFAD/Mwanzo Millinga
And Africa has the greatest potential to reduce poverty through smallholder agriculture. Small farms, of 2 hectares or less, represent 80 per cent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa. They contribute up to 90 per cent of production in some countries. These small farms have the potential to be key suppliers to Africa’s growing urban markets as well as rural market.

And we know, from many studies, that GDP growth generated by agriculture is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors.

As the multinationals have noticed, the outlook for African food markets is bright. The demand exists, and is growing, for quality, for variety and for processed foods. This means new and exciting possibilities for the agro-industrial sector. 

Change from within
But is the African agricultural sector ready to take advantage of these opportunities? I am sad to say, it is not.

Where are our roads? Where are our farming communities with reliable access to electricity and running water? Where are our warehouses piled with golden maize? Where is the good governance that would make doing business in Africa attractive? 

If we want to make Africa’s national and regional markets work. If we want to ensure Africa’s food and economic security, then we must transform our infrastructure and the way we do business. And this change must come from within….

We know that in Africa, smallholders can contribute to food security, economic growth, landscape management and wealth creation if they are able to participate in national and regional markets – if they have well-functioning infrastructure, and supportive polices.

Enabling smallholders to thrive
Smallholders who can participate in markets have an incentive to increase production. At IFAD, we see time and time again the production improvements that occur when smallholders have secure access to land and water. When they have financial services to pay for seed, tools and fertilizer. When they have the technology to receive market information on prices. And when they have the knowledge and policies to produce in ways that maintain ecosystems and minimize vulnerability to climate change.

Smallholders also thrive when they are organized into strong organizations with greater bargaining power in the marketplace and the ability to influence national, regional and global agricultural policies.

Indeed, IFAD’s experience repeatedly shows that smallholders can be strong domestic and even regional market suppliers when they are part of strong farmers’ organisations. 

Africa can feed itself
Let us not forget that smallholders, and farmers in general, are the biggest on-farm investors in agriculture in developing countries. They invest not only their own money but also their time and labour. 

Africa can feed itself. Of this I am sure. I have seen it with my own eyes on field visits in Ghana, in Rwanda and in Zambia. 

By working in partnership to create opportunities for Africa’s smallholders, supported by a true and deep commitment by governments, I look forward to the day when I can say that African markets are working and Africa is feeding itself. 

We owe it to the quarter of a million children in the Sahel who die of malnutrition, even in good years, and to each and every man, woman and child on our continent who wants to build a bright future for themselves, here in Africa.

The learning continues – PAPAM information and introduction workshop – DAY 2

Posted by Adriane Del Torto Thursday, September 27, 2012 0 comments

by Adriane Del Torto

If the first day of the PAPAM workshop insisted on how to facilitate good project management, the second day of the workshop stressed the importance of efficiency and transparency.

Extensive presentations were made on the documents guiding project implementation and procedures and processes for withdrawal applications, procurement and overall project management. Participants discussed how many of the documents are distributed, but very little time is given to become familiar with design documents, financing agreements, letter to the borrower and other reference documents to programme implementation. In fact, the participants are very grateful of the workshop and the diversity of the themes addressed.

The participants were involved in case studies and were invited to discuss the difficulties in managing multifaceted demand based projects with a large number of partners and actors. Technicians from the field appreciated the initiation to accounting procedures. Even though they will probably not apply the knowledge, they recognise the importance of understanding how things work and how funds are channelled so that they can improve their own planning processes.

PLANNING. Another critical issue of project management given a lot of importance in the discussions. The first key to good planning, according to Mr Mamadou Sow, procurement specialist is to be realistic! Some delays in programme management are not compressible and these need to be taken into consideration when planning activities. It is useless he says to allow 30 days for a process when legally 60 days are the rule, especially when it comes to procurement. Tips to save time can be applied to areas where project management teams are involved, such as the preparation of reports and communiqués. This in all cases obliges a strong leadership and good communication starting from the IFAD team in Rome to all of the operators on the field. There is lots of work to come!

By Beatrice Gerli

“You have to change yourselves, if you want to be able to help the others to change” said Linda Mayoux, Oxfam Novib Consultant and technical facilitator in the 12 days-long learning route through Rwanda and Uganda. A learning route is a journey for participants to experience with their eyes and their ears the changes that have occurred in men and women’s lives, learning directly from them. This journey gets participants to understand these changes through peer-learning, discussing directly with rural communities how proud they are of their achievements, the challenges they fear and plans for the future. A learning route is in first place an experience that transforms its participants because of what they learn, leading them to become agents of change in their own organizations.

PROCASUR, in partnership with Oxfam Novib and IFAD has started the learning route “Boosting the contribution of value chain development to gender justice and pro-poor wealth creation: the gender action learning system (GALS)”. 22 “routeros”, route participants from various IFAD-supported projects, implementing partners and civil society organizations have just started a 12-day journey across the districts and rural communities of Rwanda and the south of Uganda. As proudly said by the leader of the first hosting community visited “Participants comes from all over the world!”, and in deed there are people from Europe, Laos, India, Vietnam, Cameroun, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and of course Rwanda and Uganda. Most of them work as gender or M&E specialist in rural development projects. They are looking forward to see how the GALS methodology has improved the lives of a number of communities in the two countries, and enthusiastically say ”I am sure there could be a way of applying this to what I do!” . During the learning route participants will in fact develop their ideas into a concrete innovation plan, which will outline how they intend to bring new products, services or processes into their projects and organizations.

The learning route will visit rural communities in three different districts, each one representing a case study. In each of the communities the following organizations have implemented the GALS methodology.
1. DUHAMIC – ADRI in the Muhanga district (Rwanda)
2. ACCORD in the Kamonyi district(Rwanda)
3. Bukonzo Joint and the coffee value chain development, Kyarumba town, Kasese district (Uganda).

Stay to tuned to read what happened in these rural communities and how GALS have boosted value chains and by improving men and women relationships in the household .

MALI : Setting the scene for good programme implementation

Posted by Adriane Del Torto Tuesday, September 25, 2012 0 comments

PAPAM – Information and introduction to IFAD procedures Workshop

On 25 September 2012, the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Mali, Dr Yaranga Coulibaly, opened the IFAD information and learning workshop on IFAD procedures for Agricultural Productivity Programme in Mali (PAPAM), one of the largest programmes in Mali IFAD has co- financed with the World Bank, for a total of 160 million dollars.

During his opening statement, His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture evoked the importance of PAPAM which is a demand based integrated development programme. The programme, has had a difficult start up due to the complexity of the institutional setup and the numerous financiers which will be servicing Mali during its most severe crisis. He has asked all of the partners of the programme to take advantage of the start-up difficulties of this programme to question not only the setup but our own capacities and take the necessary steps to ensure that this programme is launched quickly.

Mr N. Ehoue, WB - Mr P. Remy, IFAD - Hon Dr Yaranga Coulibaly, Minister of Agriculture - Mr A. Toure, PAPAM

At the opening were also present the World Bank representative Mr Nicaise Ehoue, Mr Aboulaye Touré, PAPAM Coordinator as well as Mr Philippe Remy, CPM at IFAD.

After the opening statements, the IFAD and WARF (West Africa Rural Foundation – who helped facilitate the workshop) teams proceeded to introduce the workshop objectives and learning sessions.

Several presentations were made to introduce IFAD and its procedures. A special session was dedicated to the difficulties in the institutional setup of the programme and the necessity to address how to favour synergies between all of the actors.

This synergy will be important throughout the entire programme life, but crucial as the programme is starting up. Good communication and cooperation between the programme actors will allow to prepare a proper annual work plan and budget, which is the basis of the planning for the activities for the year to come, not to mention a condition for the first programme funds to be disbursed.

Other crosscutting themes such as targeting , gender inclusion and knowledge management were addressed. Importance was given to addressing these activities at project start up in order to make sure that the activities are integrated into normal project life and are not seen as additional. Gender was elaborated as a participative exercise assuring all levels of community and helping to avoid elite capture in IFAD financed projects. Good targeting at the beginning of a programme assures better results as well as sustainability of activities after the programme.

The importance of teamwork and good communication between all actors, was stressed.

The workshop from 25 to 27 September has been organised by IFAD, WARF and PAPAM with the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture. The meetings are taking place at the Laïco Hotel El Farouk in Bamako.

Social inclusion, citizenship and development for peace

Posted by Greg Benchwick Sunday, September 23, 2012 0 comments

Strengthening Local Development in the Highlands and High Rainforest Areas Project will benefit 40,000 poor rural families in Peru

The Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) just approved a new US$36.5 million poverty reduction project for Peru.

The Strengthening Local Development in the Highlands and High Rainforest Areas Project will reach approximately 40,900 families in the departments of Amazonas, Cajamarca, Lima and San Martín.

“This project looks to nearly double rural incomes, and will be key in achieving the Peruvian government’s goal of reducing poverty by 10 per cent by 2021,” said Roberto Haudry, IFAD’s Country Program Manager for Peru. “The project will scale up innovations pioneered in other IFAD-funded projects in Peru, looking toward capacity building, social inclusion, citizenship and development for peace as key mechanisms to drive continued and sustainable rural poverty reduction efforts by the government of Peru.”

Key innovations of IFAD-funded projects in Peru include public competitions to assign project resources and manage natural assets such as land and water, the promotion of rural savings accounts and micro-insurance programs for women, direct money transfers to project participants to hire technical advisors, and the development of rural-urban linkages along socio-economic corridors such as the Puno-Cusco Corridor.

“These socially inclusive mechanisms for rural development have become part of Peru’s national strategy to reduce poverty, and are now being replicated in IFAD-funded projects in countries like Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Rwanda and even Vietnam,” Haudry said.

The Ministry of Agriculture’s Program for Productive Agrarian Rural Development (AgroRural) will implement the project over five years.

“By fortifying local governments, leveraging local contributions and empowering project participants to manage their own funds, the Peruvian government has been able to improve operational costs significantly for projects like this. These efficiencies mean that more project funding gets to the project participants, themselves,” Haudry said.

Project funding includes US$20 million from IFAD, US$12.6 million from the government of Peru, and US$3.9 million from project beneficiaries themselves. Additionally, the project looks to include a US$1.5 million IFAD grant to further public-private partnerships between local communities and mining corporations to improve water management in the highlands. 

Peru is a middle-income country with a growing gross domestic product; nevertheless, the national rural poverty rate is 54.2 per cent, with 20 per cent of rural people in the Sierra region considered extremely poor.

The project will concentrate its efforts on approximately 100 districts where extreme rural poverty affects one out of 10 people and illiteracy rates among women reach over 30 per cent.

Top photo by Annibale Ferrini, Proyecto Desarrollo Territorial Rural con Identidad Cultural/Rimisp. Bottom artwork by Greg Benchwick

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El Proyecto Fortalecimiento del Desarrollo Rural en Áreas de la Sierra y la Selva Alta beneficiará a 40,000 familias pobres rurales

La Junta Ejecutiva del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA) aprobó el 21 de septiembre un proyecto nuevo por 36.5 millones de dólares estadounidenses para la reducción de la pobreza en Perú.

El Proyecto Fortalecimiento del Desarrollo Rural en Áreas de la Sierra y la Selva Alta alcanzará a unas 40,900 familias en los departamentos de Amazonas, Cajamarca, Lima y San Martín.

“Este proyecto busca prácticamente duplicar los ingresos rurales y será clave en la consecución de la meta del gobierno peruano de reducir la pobreza en 10 por ciento para el 2021”, dijo Roberto Haudry, Gerente de Programa de País del FIDA en Perú. “El proyecto aumentará la escala de las innovaciones exploradas en otros proyectos en Perú con financiación del FIDA, con miras a la construcción de capacidades, inclusión social, ciudadanía y desarrollo de la paz como mecanismos fundamentales que impulsen los esfuerzos continuados y la sustentabilidad de la reducción de la pobreza rural que realiza el gobierno de Perú.”

Las innovaciones fundamentales que han llevado a cabo los proyectos financiados por el FIDA en Perú incluyen concursos públicos para asignar proyectos y gestión de activos naturales como la tierra y el agua, promoción de cuentas de ahorro rurales y programas de micro-seguros para mujeres, transferencias directas de dinero a participantes en los proyectos para la contratación de asesores técnicos, y el desarrollo de vínculos rurales-urbanos en los corredores socio-económicos, tales como el Corredor Puno-Cusco.

“Estos mecanismos socialmente inclusivos para el desarrollo rural ahora son parte de la estrategia nacional del Perú para la reducción de la pobreza y están siendo replicados en proyectos financiados por el FIDA en países como Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Ruanda e incluso, Vietnam,” dijo Haudry.

El Programa de Desarrollo Productivo Agrario Rural (AgroRural) del Ministerio de Agricultura implementará el proyecto en los próximos cinco años.

“Al fortalecer a los gobiernos locales, apalancar las contribuciones locales y facultar a los participantes en el proyecto para que administren sus propios fondos, el gobierno peruano ha logrado mejorar considerablemente los costos operativos de proyectos semejantes a éste. Esfuerzos eficientes como éste significan que más fondos para proyectos están llegando a los participantes mismos en los proyectos”, dijo Haudry.

La financiación del proyecto incluye USD 20 millones del FIDA, USD 12.6 millones del gobierno de Perú, y USD 3.9 millones de los beneficiarios de los proyectos. Adicionalmente, el proyecto está considerando incluir USD 1.5 millones de donación del FIDA para hacer avanzar las sociedades público-privadas entre comunidades locales y empresas mineras para mejorar la gestión del agua en las sierras.

Perú es un país de ingreso medio con un producto interno bruto en crecimiento; no obstante, la tasa de pobreza rural nacional es de 54.2 por ciento, y 20 por ciento de las personas rurales en la región de la Sierra son consideradas extremadamente pobres.

El proyecto concentrará sus esfuerzos en unos 100 distritos en los que la pobreza extrema afecta a una de 10 personas y en donde la tasa de analfabetismo en las mujeres sobrepasa el 30 por ciento.

El FIDA ha dado nueve préstamos a Perú desde 1980, por un total de USD 124 millones que benefician directamente a unos 120,000 hogares.

Foto Annibale Ferrini, Proyecto Desarrollo Territorial Rural con Identidad Cultural/Rimisp.



IFAD Executive Board approves US$56 million in funding for poverty reduction projects in Northeast Brazil 
The Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) recently approved two new rural poverty reduction projects for the Brazilian states of Ceará and Sergipe.

The two projects will benefit over 80,000 poor rural families at a total cost of US$133 million, with US$56 million in IFAD funding.

“The Dom Távora and Paulo Freire Projects are named after famous Brazilian educators and advocates for the poor, and look at knowledge as the central tool to overcoming poverty,” said IFAD’s Country Program Manager for Brazil, Iván Cossio. “Paulo Freire will work in the state of Ceará and focus on providing over 60,000 poor rural families with the tools and training they need to overcome poverty. The Dom Távora Project will be implemented in Sergipe, and focuses on the promotion of rural businesses and capacity building, and will benefit around 20,000 rural households.”

Brazil is an emerging economy with a growing GDP and sustained poverty reduction. Nevertheless, inequality and poverty persist.

About 55 per cent of the rural population in Brazil lives below the poverty line. This percentage increases to 66 per cent in Northeast Brazil, where more than one in three people live in extreme poverty. In some states of the Northeast, this percentage climbs to more than 75 per cent, making this the largest pocket of rural poverty in all of Latin America.

“The two projects will work on the state level to fulfil the federal government’s poverty reduction goals. They have been fully integrated within the framework of the ‘Brazil Without Extreme Poverty Programme’ and will serve to compliment the Bolsa Familia conditional cash transfer program,” Cossio said.

Paulo Freire Project 
The Ceará Secretariat for Agrarian Development will implement the Productive Development and Capacity Building Project in the State of Ceará (Paulo Freire) over six years.

The project will cost a total of US$95 million, with US$40 million in financing from IFAD, US$40 million from the Ceará state government, and US$14.9 in contributions from the beneficiaries themselves.

“The project looks to reduce extreme poverty in the project area from 43 to 28 per cent, grow household assets by 30 per cent, and provide 60,000 households with training, technical assistance and the tools they need to grow their businesses, access markets, protect the fragile semi-arid environment and lower their risk profile,” said Cossio. “We’ve found that an investment in women and youth is an investment in a sustainable future. With this in mind, over half of the project beneficiaries will be women and young people.”

Dom Távora Project 
The Rural Business for Small Producers Project (Dom Távora) will be implemented over six years by the Agricultural Development Enterprise of Sergipe agency under the direction of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Agrarian and Rural Development.

It will cost approximately US$38 million, with US$16 million in financing from IFAD, US$12.6 million from the state of Sergipe and over US$9 million from project beneficiaries.

“The Dom Távora Project focuses on fostering local talents and supporting local businesses, with the goal of increasing incomes, supporting producer’s associations and creating a better life,” Cossio said.

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Projetos Dom Távora e Paulo Freire beneficiarão 80 mil famílias pobres rurais nos estados de Ceará e Sergipe
O Comitê Executivo do Fundo Internacional de Desenvolvimento Agrícola (FIDA) aprovou esta semana dois novos projetos de redução da pobreza rural para os estados brasileiros do Ceará e Sergipe.

Ambos os projetos beneficiarão mais e 80 mil famílias pobres rurais com um custo total de USD 133 milhões e financiamento do FIDA de USD 56 milhões.

“Os Projetos Dom Távora e Paulo Freire receberam os nomes de famosos educadores brasileiros e defensores dos pobres, e tem o conhecimento como pilar central para a superação da pobreza,” alegou o Gerente de Programas do FIDA para o Brasil, Sr. Iván Cossio. “O projeto Paulo Freire irá trabalhar no Ceará e tem como objetivo prover mais de 60 mil famílias pobres rurais com instrumentos, treinamento e investimentos produtivos necessários para que possam superar a pobreza. O projeto Dom Távora será implementado no Sergipe e focará suas atividades na promoção de negócios rurais e no desenvolvimento de capacidades e beneficiará aproximadamente 20 mil famílias rurais.”

O Brasil é uma importante economia emergente com GDP crescente e demonstra contínuas taxas de redução da pobreza. Porém, a desigualdade e pobreza persistem no país.

Por volta de 55 por cento da população rural do Brasil vive abaixo da linha da pobreza. Esse percentual aumenta para 66 por cento na região nordeste do Brasil, onde uma em cada três pessoas vivem em pobreza extrema. Em algumas áreas do nordeste, esse percentual aumenta para mais de 75 por cento, tornando essa região no maior bolsão de pobreza de toda América Latina e Caribe.

“Os projetos irão trabalhar em nível estadual de modo a atingir os objetivos federais de redução da pobreza. Os projetos foram integrados no contexto do programa federal Brasil sem Miséria e trabalharão em consonância com as políticas públicas voltadas aos pequenos agricultores,” afirmou Cossio.

Projeto Paulo Freire
A Secretaria de Desenvolvimento Agrário (SDA) do Ceará implementará o Projeto de Desenvolvimento Produtivo e de Capacidades no Estado do Ceará (Paulo Freire) no período de seis anos.

O projeto tem custo total de USD 95 milhões, com USD 40 milhões de financiamento do FIDA, USD 40 milhões do Estado do Ceará e USD 14,9 milhões de contribuição dos beneficiários.

“O projeto busca reduzir a pobreza extrema na área do projeto de 43 a 23 por cento, incrementar os bens familiares em 30 por cento e prover 60 mil famílias com treinamento, assistência técnica e investimentos produtivos necessários para aumentar os seus negócios, acessar mercados, proteger o ambiente frágil do semiárido e reduzir o perfil de risco das famílias”, comentou Cossio. “Nós achamos que investimento em mulheres e jovens é um investimento no futuro sustentável. Com isso em mente, mais da metade dos beneficiários do projeto serão mulheres e jovens.”

Dom Távora Project

O Projeto de Negócios Rurais para Pequenos Produtores (Dom Távora) será implementado em seis anos pela Empresa de Desenvolvimento Agropecuário de Sergipe (EMDAGRO), com a direção da Secretaria da Agricultura e do Desenvolvimento Rural (SEAGRI).

O custo do projeto será de aproximadamente USD 38 milhões, com USD 16 milhões em financiamento do FIDA, USD 12,6 milhões do Estado de Sergipe e mais e USD 9 milhões dos beneficiários do projeto.

“O Projeto Dom Távora centralizará suas atividades em estimular talentos locais e apoiar negócios rurais com o objetivo de aumentar a renda, apoiar associação de produtores e criar uma vida melhor,” disse Cossio.

The potential of new media for social good

Posted by Beate Stalsett Saturday, September 22, 2012 0 comments

This weekend, 22-24 September, The Social Good Summit 2012 (#sgsglobal) will gather people from all over the world, in person and online, to participate in a conversation on how the power of innovative thinking and technology can help solve our greatest challenges. Not only do the organizers promise interesting conversations, they want to translate the potential of new media to make the world a better place into action. The agenda is full of interesting topics such as “Digital activism: on the frontlines of the Arab spring” with Ramy Raoof, Egyptian blogger, “Social gaming for good” with Nick Kristof, Columnist at New York Times, and “Unleashing the power of open innovation in government” with Todd Park, U.S Chief Technology Officer of The White House. You can find the full agenda on the website, where you also can watch the live stream of the event.

Here at IFAD we are very excited about the summit. IFAD has for the last couple of years steadily increased the use of social media. Through our social media channels we cover events, our work in the field, and engage with our followers on topics of agricultural and rural development. We inform, listen and engage. For instance during our Governing Council in February this year, the world outside of IFAD could follow the conversations on sustainable smallholder agriculture. The key note speakers and the high level panels were accessible live both via webcast and tweets, and the response from our followers was remarkable. The conversation grew from the event in Rome to the online world, questions were asked, and new perspectives were added. This year we have also added G+ and Pinterest to our social media family, and we are continuously exploring how to engage in the best way with our followers and partners through these channels.

Last year we conducted a survey among our followers to understand more of what kind of material and topics they would be interested in, what areas of rural development they wanted to learn more about, and which channels they preferred. Today we have reached over 11 000 followers on Twitter and we are approaching 7000 on Facebook. We are steadily increasing our followers base, and maybe it's time to do a new survey, because we want to hear from our new followers as well: Which agriculture and rural development topics would you like us to talk about? Is there anything you would like to see more of from us? How can we attract and engage all the potential followers out there who are not yet following us? If you have any ideas and thoughts about this, send us a tweet or post on our Facebook wall.

When we talk about using new technology and media for social good, one of the first examples that come to my mind is from one of our key note speakers at the Sharefair a year ago. Rob Burnet from Well Told Story showed us how communications can be used to spur positive social changes that can be proved and measured, and lead to an improved world. Their activities in Kenya with the Shujaaz project have had an incredible reach and impact on young people. Rob Burnet says that in an independent survey done among 17 year olds in Kenya, 62% said that they follow Shujaaz every month, and 36% had taken action based on stories in Shujaaz. There are many examples out there of initiatives using new media and technology for impactful and engaging communications, and hopefully there will be many more to come. This weekend's summit will definitely show us more cases, and inspire not only new conversations but also new actions.

We will be following the event and tweeting live. Join us wherever you are for the global conversation.

Small farms, large benefits #globaldev

Posted by Roxanna Samii Friday, September 21, 2012 0 comments

by Kanayo Nwanze

As drought becomes increasingly common, farmers worldwide are struggling to maintain crop yields. In the United States, farmers are experiencing the most severe drought in more than a half-century. As a result, global corn, wheat, and soybean prices rose in July and August, and remain high.

But the severe dry spell parching croplands across the United States is only the latest in a global cycle of increasingly frequent and damaging droughts. In the Sahel, millions of people are facing hunger for the third time since 2005. Lack of rain in the region and volatile food prices globally have made a bad situation worse. And indeed, it is the world’s poor – particularly those in rural areas – that suffer the most from these combined factors.

This does not bode well for our future. By 2050, global food production will have to increase by 60% to meet demand from a growing world population with changing consumption habits. To ensure food security for all, we will have to increase not just food production, but also availability, especially for those living in developing countries. That means breaking down barriers and inequalities, building capacity and disseminating knowledge. In Africa, smallholder farmers – who provide 80% of the sub-Saharan region’s food – need infrastructure for agricultural development, including irrigation and roads, as well as better market organization and access to technology.

IFAD sees enormous potential in Africa’s agricultural sector, which experienced 4.8% growth in 2009, compared to 3.8% in the Asia-Pacific region and only 1.4% in Latin America and the Caribbean. Given that agriculture amounts to roughly 30% of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, and accounts for more than 60% of employment in most African countries, the sector’s development could reduce poverty in the region substantially.

Not only in Africa – in countries like Burkina Faso and Ethiopia – but also in emerging countries like China, India, and Vietnam, experience has repeatedly shown that smallholder farmers can lead agricultural growth and stimulate broader economic development. Small farmers, both women and men, are Africa’s biggest agricultural investors. And agriculture-driven GDP growth is more than twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors.

But African farmers encounter significant barriers to achieving their potential. On average, they apply less than 10 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare, compared to 140 kilograms in India. Furthermore, less than 5% of agricultural land is irrigated, and improved crop varieties are rarely used.

Agricultural development efforts should, therefore, focus on promoting the growth and sustainability of smallholder farmers and small rural businesses. This requires a more supportive regulatory environment, technical assistance, and connections to suppliers, distributors, and finance providers.

Countries that are experiencing significant agricultural growth, such as Brazil and Thailand, have benefited from public-sector investment in research and infrastructure development. We should consider not only how to improve the ability of smallholder farmers to grow food, we also must strengthen their ability to participate in markets, while improving the way those markets function.

Moreover, there needs to be sustainable investment linkages between smallholder farmers and the private sector. By enabling farmers to increase their output and incomes, smallholder-inclusive private investment can bolster economic growth and food security. Farmers’ organizations, which are crucial intermediaries between producers and corporate investors, must be involved in planning agricultural development.

A vibrant rural sector can generate demand for locally produced goods and services, thereby stimulating sustainable employment growth in agro-processing, services, and small-scale manufacturing. Such opportunities would allow young people to thrive in their rural communities, rather than being forced to search for work in urban areas.

Africa can feed itself. But that is not all: With knowledge, technology, infrastructure, and enabling policies, smallholder farmers in Africa and elsewhere can drive sustainable agricultural development, contribute to global food security, and catalyze economic growth worldwide.

Originally posted on Project Syndicate

Rigorous impact evaluations are much more than just evaluations

Posted by Roxanna Samii Thursday, September 20, 2012 3 comments

by Constanza Di Nucci (SSD) and Ilaria Firmian (ECD)

  • Did you know that in the North of Mali, it’s estimated that access to irrigation increases household consumption by 27–30%? 1
  • Did you know that in Madagascar, eliminating transport costs doubles incomes of the most remote families because it creates non-farm earnings opportunities in towns? 2
  • Did you know that in Dominican Republic promoting financial literacy, unlike traditional principle-based courses, improves business practices. For those who may not be familiar – financial literacy are simple rules that help make better financial decisions, allows households to focus on the need to separate business and personal accounts; oneself a fixed salary, distinguishing between business and personal expenses, and easy-to-implement tools for reconciling accounts? 3
  • Did you know that in rural Bangladesh, only 69% of households accept free improved cook stoves? This suggests that there is more than what meets the eye – it is not all about money, it’s also about culture and social norms.4
These are all results from rigorous evaluations carried out to inform governments and development agencies about the impact of different projects and how to improve the design of future interventions based on measurable results.

In a context where we need to do more with less, it becomes crucial to make decisions based on evidence of what works and what does not. It is equally important to have programs which are more cost-effective and paramount that rural development interventions have to work better in a specific context, and at a reasonable cost. In this sense, rigorous impact evaluations can help us in the process of achieving higher results with limited resources.

To learn more about this, from 10-13 September 2012, the Environment and Climate Division and the Statistics & Studies for Development Division of IFAD jointly organised a learning event on rigorous impact evaluations, particularly for environmental and climate change interventions. This was done in collaboration with the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3iE). 3iE is one of the leading organizations working on high-quality impact evaluations and campaigns to inform better programme and policy design in developing countries. We had the benefit of hearing the expert views of Dr Howard White, Executive Director of 3iE, Dr Jyotsna Puri, Head of Evaluation, Deputy Executive Director of 3iE, and Dr Edoardo Masset, Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies.

The learning event started with a general presentation and discussion on experimental designs, including randomized control trials (RCTs). Colleagues presented interesting cases , such as the Bangladesh Integrated Nutrition Project (BINP). BINP was considered a success based on outcome monitoring, but turned out to be failure once it went through a theory-based impact evaluation, which clearly showed what was not working since the theory of change behind the intervention omitted key family dynamics that affected the outcomes.

Impact evaluations for climate change interventions
The discussion then addressed more specific environment and climate change related issues. This is clearly a new area for rigorous impact evaluations since currently the evidence base for climate change interventions is minimal.

One of the most interesting parts of the whole event was the session dedicated to “what we want to learn on smallholder adaptation”. Participants came out with a number of questions, ranging from cost-effectiveness of adaptation measure, to reasons for good practices not being scaled up; identification of incentives to take up climate smart good practices, role of autonomous versus planned adaptation intervention, role of social issues in adaptation and many more.

A common conclusion was the need to unpack the definition of “resilience”: if we want to increase climate resilience of poor smallholder farmers, we first need to know “how resilience looks like” in terms of specific and measurable indicators.

The learning event was dedicated to assess the suitability of rigorous impact evaluation methodologies for projects under the IFAD Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), including the conditions, limitations, and alternative methods.

ASAP is a multi-year and multi-donor financing window to channel climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers through IFAD-supported programmes. ASAP will provide a new source of co-financing targeted specifically at scaling up and integrating climate change adaptation. We brainstormed on some of the preliminary ASAP project ideas under an RCT perspective, and although some of the reasoning is very similar to the one done for designing project logical frameworks, conducting an RCT requires to think much more through the theory of change and to the assumptions around it. But having a clear theory of change is not enough, because there is a large number of factors that need to be taken into account for a good design of RCT. These include:

  • the quality of the baseline,
  • sufficiently large sample size,
  • comparability between project groups and control groups,
  • possible spillovers,
  • contamination of treatment or control,
  • cultural factors,
  • communication with relevant stakeholders,
  • and many more.

Undertaking rigorous impact evaluations therefore represents a great opportunity for IFAD to help improve project operations, to successfully scale up interventions, and to be an innovative actor on the climate change scene. At the same time, RCTs are a powerful tool for knowledge management that can be used to influence strategic thinking not only at the programme level but also at a much higher global advocacy and policy level.

1/  “The Effect of Irrigation on Poverty Reduction, Asset Accumulation, and Informal Insurance: Evidence from Northern Mali” World Development, Volume 39, Issue 12, December 2011, Pages 2165–2175.
2/  Hanan G. Jacoby and Bart Minten. “On Measuring the Benefits of Lower Transport Costs” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4484. December 2007.
3/  Alejandro Drexler, Greg Fischer, and Antoinette Schoar “Keeping it Simple: Financial Literacy and Rules of Thumb” January 2011. 
4/  Grant Miller and A. Mushfiq Mobarak. “Intra-household externalities and low demand for a new technology: experimental evidence on improved cook stoves”. Stanford University December 2011. 

Rural poverty and social inclusion in Peru

Posted by Greg Benchwick Tuesday, September 18, 2012 0 comments

In-depth analysis with Roberto Haudry
Roberto Haudry is IFAD's Country Program Manager for Peru. In this in-depth interview, he looks at the various mechanisms for social inclusion, citizenship and rural poverty reduction in the country, also giving an overview of IFAD's funding and how new innovative methods can work to end rural poverty.

IFAD funding for Peru at a glance
Since 1980 IFAD has provided nine loans to Peru, for a total of US$124 million, directly benefitting some 120,000 households.

Recently completed IFAD-financed projects in Peru have included the Management of Natural Resources Southern Highlands Project (MARENASS) and the Development of the Puno-Cusco Corridor Project (Corredor).

On-going projects include the Market Strengthening and Livelihood Diversification in the Southern Highlands Project (Sierra Sur), which is entering its second phase with US$8.2 million in IFAD financing, and the Strengthening Assets, Markets and Policies for Rural Development in the Northern Sierra Highlands Project (Sierra Norte). The US$22 million Sierra Norte Project includes a US$1.8 million grant from the Global Environmental Facility for sustainable management of protected areas.

Project achievements over the years
The MARENASS, Corredor and Sierra Sur Projects have enabled approximately 100,000 poor rural households to step out of poverty.

The first phase of the Sierra Sur project came to a close in 2011. Initial reports indicate increases in annual income of around 150 per cent, a 40 per cent reduction in chronic malnutrition, and a 360 per cent jump in active savers. Gender equity within the project area has jumped by as much as 20 per cent.

The MARENASS project, which closed in 2004, resulted in 25 per cent increases in household incomes, and significantly improved productive yields for cash crops such as peas, corn and quinoa.

The Corredor Project closed in 2008, after enabling some 53,000 rural households to step out of poverty. The total cost to reach each household dropped by more than US$1500 from project design to completion. Sierra Sur has reported similar efficiencies with a 50 per cent improvement in funding efficiency.

Peru is a middle-income country with a growing gross domestic product; nevertheless, the national rural poverty rate is 54.2 per cent, with 20 per cent rural people in the Sierra region considered extremely poor.

Learn more
The IFAD Executive Board will review a new rural poverty project for Peru in its September Session. You can also learn more with our new fact sheet on Peru in English or Spanish.

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This is Brazil

Posted by Greg Benchwick Monday, September 17, 2012 0 comments

Understanding social equity with Iván Cossio

In this incisive interview IFAD's Country Program Manager for Brazil, Iván Cossio, highlights the Brazilian experience. Along the way, we learn more about the specific context of rural poverty in this emerging economy, and how investment in social equity and citizenship can help poor rural people to overcome poverty. We also learn about innovative IFAD-funded projects designed to tackle issues of climate change, knowledge management, market access and more.

Learn more
Two projects from Brazil will be reviewed by the IFAD Executive Board in its September Session. Check out the project design reports and learn more on our events page.  

Watch more videos from Brazil

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See how Gini Indexes stack up over the years based on lending type and region.

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Trailer: Taste the Waste of Water

Posted by Cecina Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1 comments

I love technology, innovation, social networks and blogs but when the time comes for a break I need a book. Books are part of my life. I belong to the group of old style readers who love faded vintage and yellowish pages that bear the signs of previous readings (including notes, highlights and underlines!). However, and to my own surprise, I truly enjoyed the Kindle - a new “toy” to read books, amazing!

How did I get it? Actually before leaving for my summer break I requested a book and some research material from our library. Instead of getting books, to my surprise, Sundeep – our librarian - gave me a Kindle. Lighter than a book, the Kindle has enough memory to store many books and in fact the one prepared for me had books, articles, lots of reference material which was useful for my research. And it was easy to use! I was able to search by author, by title, key words, add my bookmarks and all with one tablet. I really enjoyed it, the only negative thing is that: when you start enjoying it, you need to return it to the Library as others colleagues are waiting for it!

A new era for library users has began, thanks COM for implementing such a great tool.

By Kanayo F. Nwanze 

Women of Dan Bako village, Nariama Sayabou and her daughter.
©IFAD/David Rose 
The severe dry spell that is currently parching croplands across the United States is only the latest in a global cycle of increasingly frequent and damaging droughts. These droughts have contributed to multiple food crises in recent years by limiting the supply and driving up the price of staple commodities around the world. Those who suffer the most are poor people – including people in rural areas, where 70 per cent of the world’s poor live.

We at IFAD believe that poor smallholder farmers are the key to feeding the world; they already produce most of the food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Yet when prices spike in times of drought, they may have trouble even feeding themselves.

Rising commodity prices have a major impact on food security at both the household and country levels. Small, import-dependent countries, notably those in Africa, are especially at risk. And even when an immediate crisis passes, it likely won’t be long before the next climate shock or market disruption hits the rural poor – many of whom spend more than half their income on food.

To break this truly vicious cycle, the international community must ratchet up its support for smallholder farmers. It must ensure that they have the tools needed to produce more crops in a more resilient and sustainable manner, and with better links to markets. IFAD has been working towards exactly these ends for over 30 years. If there’s one thing we have learned, it’s that enabling small-scale producers to overcome poverty and attain food security requires a long-term commitment. But the results can be transformative.

Take Zongbega, a village in a drought-prone region of Burkina Faso, which I visited last year. Smallholders there are increasing their drought resilience through simple rainwater harvesting techniques such as planting pits and permeable rock dams. With support from IFAD, they have restored land that was once degraded and have increased their productivity.

Meanwhile, a water harvesting project in the Illela department of Niger is still going strong more than 15 years after funding from IFAD ended. The project encourages farmers to improve traditional planting pits and ‘half-moons’ (semicircular earth embankments) that they use to collect and store rainfall and run-off. The adoption of such simple techniques forces rain – when it does fall – to infiltrate and recharge the groundwater, mitigating the vulnerability of local households in times of drought.

Twenty years ago, the fields around Batodi were completely barren. Today, trees abound, keeping the soil fertile and providing fodder for livestock.

In Burkina Faso, Niger and scores of other countries, IFAD and its partners are working with smallholder farmers to reduce poverty and hunger by going back to basics. IFAD-financed projects promote the integration of smallholders in agricultural value chains. They work to improve crop handling, processing and storage facilities. They foster better interaction among farmers, service providers, traders and agribusiness firms. And they help farmers to manage risk through innovative financial mechanisms as well as support for small producers’ organizations.

Besides emphasizing the basics of sustainable smallholder agriculture, IFAD projects also build on traditional techniques with innovations inspired by the latest scientific research and technology.

IFAD’s experience shows that community-driven agricultural development is most effective when local people are involved from the start. Even amidst the caprices of climate variability and high food prices, poor rural households can control their own destinies. But they need an enabling environment – policies, know-how, finance, rural infrastructure and market access – to advance their efforts and overcome the challenges ahead.

Originally posted on Global Food for Thought

Kanayo F. Nwanze is President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a United Nations agency that specializes in reducing rural poverty.

Librarians on the move

Posted by Beate Stalsett Friday, September 7, 2012 0 comments

By Sundeep Vaid

Say the word “librarian” and nine times out of ten most people will conjure up an image of a frail old person stooped over stacks of books. Guess what? Nowadays, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m writing from a conference hosted by the University of Warsaw and for the past three days I’ve been in the midst of 140 librarians from 15 countries and believe me, they’re a dynamic lot. We’re all users of the VTLS library system, the software our library recently adopted. The group meets annually to share experiences and discuss future innovations.

Sharing ideas 
The knowledge-sharing circle provided a forum for the exchange of ideas. There is room to propose and debate about new features we would like to see in the next release of the software. From my side, among other things, I proposed that the next developments should focus on the following important features.

After any search, a user should be proposed with the following options:

  • Staff who borrowed this also borrowed these items.. 
  • See related books from Amazon.com… (this feature would be great for enriching our book collection and targeting it to user needs as it could prompt users to propose new books for the library collections) 
  • Search term / tag clouds that show most popular searches and show the focus of our collection. 
VTLS has promised to look into these enhancements and if successful will include them in its product development stream. This way, it distributes these features free of charge to our user community in the next upgrade of the system.

Sharing experiences 
There was a special session in which volunteers spoke about their recent experiences and new activities they are carrying out. I went over our travails in migrating from the old ISIS system to the current one and how our users find the new library system more friendly to use.

Participants were particularly intrigued when I told them about the daily press clipping service. They saw merit in this in the way we are using it as a vehicle to promote library holdings. If you are a subscriber to the daily clipping service, then you may have noticed how at times, a news item is presented side-by-side with a related journal article or a recent book. The other librarians saw the potential in this for their organizations.

Very few libraries have an Amazon Kindle so I informed the audience that the IFAD library has just purchased this e-book reader to test its uptake by users. Staff can now load numerous e-books and their pdf files of reports to read while on mission.

One full day was dedicated to training. I attended the reports and statistics session. Among other things, I can now tell which search terms are being used the most by IFAD library users.

Learning about new developments 
VTLS showcased its new smartphone app, Mozgo. The application is distributed to users through the iTunes Store or Android Marketplace and enables them to connect directly to the library catalogue to provide real-time information. This is something our library could adopt in the near future.

Making new partners 
This was the first time I am attending this annual get-to-gether. I really found it useful to link up with other libraries. One particular partnership that I was able to cultivate is the library of Warsaw University (our host) and Lund and Uppsala Universities in Sweden. This will now allow our library users to avail of their extensive journal collections within the umbrella of inter-library loan arrangement. It’s been a hectic three days of learning and sharing experiences. I think very soon we will see such a session hosted in Rome!

By Sana Jatta

The IFAD grant funded and CIP (International Potato Centre) implemented program “Root and Tuber Crops (RTCs) Research and Development for Food Security in the Asia-Pacific Region” is working with eight investment programmes across the region for food security targeting, opportunities assessment for RTCs innovations, and research and development actions.

Asia-Pacific produces and consumes over 70% of the world’s RTCs – including potato, sweetpotato, cassava, aroids and yams. Along with their increasing feed and industrial uses, RTCs remain key staple and supplementary food among the poor, especially indigenous peoples and women.

The program seeks to enhance RTCs’ contribution to food security in five countries – Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Its multi-sectoral partnership brings together agricultural and nutrition research institutes, universities, development NGOs, government agencies for agricultural extension and for trade and investment, and private-sector service providers for business development support.

At its first annual meeting held in Chengdu, China last August 28 -  01 September, the grant programme shared its on-going research and development efforts with investment programmes through collaborative workplans, co-funding and joint implementation.

Examples of partnership with IFAD investment programs during 2011-12 include:

Program Year 1 (2011-12) implementation marked the launching of the programme brandname FoodSTART -- Food Security Through Asian Root and Tuber Crops. Focus-site assessment studies on RTCs-for-household food security were conducted through community PRAs, formal household surveys and individual (adult-child) food intake assessment. Meanwhile, a pilot mapping of RTCs-for-food security was initiated, by overlaying crop production with poverty and nutrition information.

The China meeting convened 35 representatives from collaborating organizations led by Dindo Campilan, FoodSTART coordinator and CIP regional science leader for Asia SP-RTCs. Representing IFAD at the meeting in China were the program task manager Sana F. K. Jatta (Country Program Manager, Asia and the Pacific Division, IFAD) and supervision mission members Anura Herath (Country Program Officer, Sri Lanka and the Maldives) and He Qibin (IFAD consultant). Also during the meeting, the programme steering committee discussed and approved the FoodSTART 2012-13 annual workplan and budget after taking note of the 2011-2012 progress and financial reports.