USAID Economic Foundations for a Resilient Armenia

USAID Economic Foundations for a Resilient Armenia

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USAID is investing in innovative, sustainable and scalable solutions to strengthen Armenia’s economic resilience, and promote competitiveness and economic governance through close collaboration with the public and private sectors. USAID Economic Foundations for a Resilient Armenia is a five-year (2023-2028), $24.5 million budget activity focusing on delivering technical assistance to the government and supporting the private sector and associations in the key areas of agriculture, tourism and high-tech industries.


  1. Institutional and human capacity: USAID Economic Foundations supports the Government of Armenia to deliver effective economic stewardship through improved institutional and human capacity and support the implementation of the Government’s 2021-2026 action plan. The Activity also aims to assist the Government in drafting key legal documents on export, entrepreneurship, investment and the targeted sectors.
  2. Export competitiveness: USAID Economic Foundations works with industry associations and anchor firms in tourism, high-tech and agriculture to help businesses increase sales, access high-value markets and improve competitiveness through enhanced quality of products, service delivery and export diversification. To promote sector competitiveness, USAID Economic Foundations supports industry organizations and other private collaborative entities to build their organizational capacity and improve and expand member services.
  3. Catalytic sectoral investments: To increase the availability and productive use of financial capital and promote catalytic sectoral investments, the Activity is developing an Investment Mobilization Platform, building a working network of investors, financial service providers, businesses and government partners.
  4. Response to economic shocks and opportunities: USAID Economic Foundations assists Armenia to take advantage of periods of economic growth and navigate economic downturns.

Amadoda Emadodeni: What it Means to be a Man

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“Indoda Emadodeni” (a man among men) is an Ndebele phrase used to distinguish a man who has accomplished feats of machismo in relation to his peers. The USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance-funded Amalima Loko activity is working with men across Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, to reframe the term to distinguish men as leaders for gender norms change in their community.

Bra Ndosi is one of 12 men who are members of a “Male Champions” group in Nkayi district which formed in November 2022. These groups are part of a campaign led by Amalima Loko, which first began under the predecessor activity Amalima (2013-2020) in Matabeleland South. Local leadership and community members select male participants for the voluntary social groups, which seek to motivate and inspire men in target communities to become advocates for them and their peers to share in more responsibilities around the home and more equally carry the load of care work traditionally managed by women.

The approach recognizes that gender norms are often so entrenched in society that those impacted by them have never stopped to consider their effects. As men become more aware of the harmful nature of women bearing primary responsibility for the care work of the household and family, and begin to share more in those responsibilities, women are able to contribute more towards the productive advancement of the family, and children benefit from male involvement in child rearing and family health and nutrition, ultimately improving the wellbeing of the household.

“I was inspired by the realization that my wife performs more duties around the house than I do,” Ndosi said. “And unconsciously, I was taking that for granted because I thought that was her obligation towards me and the rest of the family. She would cook, go to the fields and take care of the children while I had few duties to attend to.”

Amalima Loko’s approach to Indoda Emadodeni as a behavior-change campaign seeks to address a variety of deep-rooted gender norms within communities, such as the household roles Ndosi references. Following the member identification process, the men commit to participating in a series of sessions facilitated by Amalima Loko. The sessions focus on analyzing behaviors around childcare, maternal and child nutrition and household hygiene and sanitation practices, and the role men play in these areas and in their families’ overall food security. The sessions aim to emphasize the subtle ways gender norms are perpetuated within families and communities and better equip men to support family nutrition and health and to have productive dialogues on these topics within their communities.

Ndosi’s Male Champions group has adopted the name “Amadoda Emadodeni” (men among men), inspired by the name of the approach. Since joining the group, Ndosi reports that he is now more open to learning skills around the household and better understands the importance of his family eating healthy.

“I have been learning household chores such as drying vegetables and taking care of the children in the absence of my wife,” Ndosi said. “She encourages me to come to these sessions because she has experienced firsthand how they have helped us in our marriage.”

In less than a year as a Male Champion, Ndosi’s family has improved their eating habits due to their better understanding of household nutrition and food security. When his group discussed types of nutritional foods infants, children and pregnant and lactating women need, Ndosi shared that he realized how men can support their families to get these types of food.

“I used to jealously guard my livestock because, to me and the society that I live in, that is what defined me as a man among men,” he said. “I realized that the livestock we possess are meant to take care of my family and not the other way around. Now I can afford to slaughter a chicken or a goat for my family more often, because I understand the importance of my wife and children eating healthy.”

The Indoda Emadodeni campaign first developed by Amalima to promote behavior change reached over 6,400 men, and some groups are still active. In November 2022, Amalima Loko visited one of the original Male Champions groups formed in November 2015 in Siphepha, Tsholotsho, and found that the 10 members continue to meet, even with COVID-19 restrictions that had been in place in recent years. During the visit, the men shared that they attributed the group’s continuity to their love of their families, the support they received from local leadership to mobilize other men and provide them with platforms to share their messages. One such platform is a ward-level soccer tournament held for Male Champion groups, used to share the campaign’s message and to connect with other groups from throughout the ward and their wider communities.

The Amadoda Emadodeni group in Nkayi and Amalima Loko’s Indoda Emadodeni concept have been well-received by their community. The eldest of the group, Bra Nene, shared that, “the society is responsive to our program, and they have been asking us to roll it out further to other villages.”

The group also hopes to address more cross-cutting gender norms in the future, including challenging the norms that contribute to gender-based violence. As an approach designed around the premise that behavior change is often driven by peer influence, this evolution is exactly the type of progress envisioned for the campaign from its inception.

“I understand that a man among men fends for his family and ensures that they are well taken care of in terms of food, shelter and clothing,” Ndosi said. “I hope my children will follow the footsteps of Indoda Emadodeni that we are setting.”

Amalima Loko is a five-year resilience and food security program funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance that seeks to address community-identified issues underpinning food insecurity in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe. To date, the activity has worked with 200 Male Champions groups and reached over 2,000 men.

Extending Animal Health in the Department of Takeita, Zinder Region

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Aichatou Ali Mamadou is a shining example of what one can achieve with passion, hard work and support from the right sources. Born and raised in the city of Zinder in Niger, she had always dreamt of pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

After completing her primary and secondary studies, she enrolled in the prestigious Inter-State School of Veterinary Sciences and Medicine (EISMV) in Dakar, Senegal, where she excelled and graduated with honors. Then, after defending her thesis, Mamadou returned to her hometown and started working as an assistant veterinarian to gain experience and work toward fulfilling her dream of opening a veterinary clinic. However, with a lack of financial and material resources, she found herself struggling to start her own business.

After considering a bank loan, Mamadou became aware of the USAID Yalwa activity’s call for local private veterinary service (LPVS) providers, as part of its plans to finance five new LPVSs and increase the number of local livestock assistants from 343 to 400.Although LPVS networks already existed in Yalwa’s other areas of intervention, they did not yet exist in the department of Takieta where USAID Yalwa supported 12 small ruminant producer organizations, bringing together 526 members distributed as follows: 221 men, 305 women and 227 youth.

USAID Yalwa’s support to LPVSs centers around three areas: 1) preliminary direct support—which supports LPVSs to obtain the authorization and documentation needed to practice and meet health service mandates as well as to establish a simple operating system for montioring profit; 2) direct support for clinic installation—which drives investment for start-up activities, construction and equipment acquisition (cold chain, means of transport, etc.); and 3) technical support to clinicians–which serves to strengthen the capacities of veterinarians and their assistants, both through managerial and technical training.

“It was an unexpected opportunity for me to learn about Yalwa’s grant because it was exactly what I needed and was looking for,’’ said Mamadou when remembering reading the call for application the first time.

Through this support, Mamadou was finally able to start her business in 2022 with all the necessary equipment, medicine and surgical materials, including cold chain storage units for vaccines and medications. She also recruited 34 individuals to work under her supervision, ensuring better animal health services could be provided throughout the Takieta department.

Her business’ success was shown in February 2023, when she accumulated around $1,300 (700,000 FCFA) in sales. This number will only continue to grow, with awareness on the importance of livestock vaccination becoming more prominent in local communities and with farmers being offered more affordable prices to receive private veterinary services.

Today, Mamadou continues to provide top-notch veterinary services and advice to farmers in her region. Through her strong expertise, dedication and commitment to animal health and leadership, she has also inspired the community around her, especially considering the rarity of women-owned veterinary clinics in Niger. Mamadou’s story is a shining example of the potential one can achieve when provided with the right tools to succeed.

Reclaiming Rangeland and Restoring the Environment One Village at a Time

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Members of Siamwele village in Hwange District, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, have cleared two hectares of land that were covered by an invasive species that threatened livestock health and food security in the community. The effort was devised during community discussions as part of the USAID-funded Amalima Loko activity’s Community Visioning approach.  

Siamwele is situated in the driest part of Zimbabwe, where low rainfall (300-450 millimeters per year) and infertile Kalahari sands limit the growth and spread of grasses while extensive conservation efforts such as at Hwange National Park limit the availability of grazing land for communities. Around the village, Lantana camara, a noxious woody and mono-cultural shrub originally introduced to the area as a flower in the 1990s, has taken over 70 hectares of what was already limited grazing space, including a large swath of the once-lush Lukunguni vlei, a low-lying marshy area which collects water during the rainy season. The invasive species has out-competed local herbaceous species leaving livestock little choice but to eat it, leading to skin and eye irritations, reduced livestock fertility and in some cases premature death. To avoid the Lantana camara, livestock are forced to graze further from the village and closer to Hwange National Park, exposing them to threats from wild predators and to exotic zoonotic diseases. 

“Growing up, there was no Lantana camara,” Khulu Ncube, an elder from Siamwele, shared. “I would herd our cattle along the vlei (marshy land with shallow pools), play and swim in the dam with my friends while the cattle grazed along the valley.” 

Food insecurity in the area is exacerbated by economic stagnation, increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions and environmental degradation. To tackle this community members were eager to participate in Community Visioning discussions, a foundational element to the Amalima Loko activity, which seeks to address community-identified issues underpinning food insecurity. In July 2022, community members took part in a village planning process guided by a hazard mapping exercise. This was a participatory discussion through which communities identified, ranked and planned to address key drivers of food insecurity in their area. It was through these discussions that Siamwele community members identified the invasion of Lantana camara as a key driver of livestock disease and death and expressed their ambition of restoring the vlei and productive grazing land. 

To commence the removal process, a diverse group of 75 indidivuals formed and joined a Community Action Group chaired by Khulekani Ncube, a male youth from the community. After forming, the group worked weekly over a period of four months under a Cash for Assets arrangement supported by Amalima Loko, under which community members were given very modest compensation for their labor cutting, stumping, filling and burning the spiky Lantana camara shrub. The work is hard and slow as stumped roots must be filled with dirt and branches to stabilize the soil, reducing soil erosion and water flow out of the area, which in turn protects germinating grass seedlings for the rainy season and so promotes new growth. The group used their own tools for the job: machetes, axes, picks, slashers and hoes, with Amalima Loko also contributing gloves and some additional shovels and picks.  

“Removing Lantana camara is very difficult,” Village Head David Moyo said. “But seeing the enthusiasm from each other and yearning to see lush vlei again has cultivated the zeal to continue working.”  

Prior to the removal process, Amalima Loko staff trained the community on best practices to eradicate the plant. The training covered a range of practices, including removing the plant before fruiting, removing the plant’s roots and burning the plants after they have been removed to prevent dormant seeds from germinating. Community Action Group members were also jointly trained by Amalima Loko and the Zimbabwean Environmental Management Agency on safe fire usage and control. 

“We applaud the Community Action Group’s work mobilizing neighbors, tools and linking with the Environmental Management Agency and Amalima Loko,” said Moyo. “We would like to see more young people participating [in] and leading [the] collective action. As traditional leaders, we are committed to supporting them.” 

The community plans to continue the clearing process after the farming season (which runs from November-April), and their efforts have inspired neighboring communities along the vlei, notably Silibinda, Chewumba and Musani B villages, to start removing Lantana camara as well. 

“The knowledge we have obtained has made us see that [this] invasive species is dangerous to our grazing lands,” Busi Mpala, a community member, shared of the Community Visioning and invasive species removal processes. “And this is knowledge we will share with our successive generations.”  

The Amalima Loko activity is funded by the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance and is implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). It is designed to improve food and nutrition security for more than 67,000 vulnerable households in rural Zimbabwe through increased food access and sustainable watershed management. The activity’s Community Visioning process has reached 42,000 people of diverse genders, ages, abilities and social groups in more than 500 villages. 

Youth Lead Innovation Along Georgia’s Administrative Boundary Line

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Youth from Georgia’s Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) are bursting with new ideas to develop innovative products. Through the USAID Resilient Communities Program’s Regional Grants Program, conducted jointly with the Program’s institutional partner, Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA), 18 young professionals aged 17 to 29 were supported to launch their startup businesses, covering agriculture, entertainment, hardware prototypes and next-generation web3 technologies.

One standout startup, Bnoller from Samegrelo, led by eight young ABL community members, focuses on creating a unique decentralized social network with an integrated digital asset marketplace using blockchain technology. This innovation not only enhances digital asset security but also gives users control over their commercial activities, contributing to the growing Georgian digital asset market.

In Zugdidi, Nia Toloraias startup, which involves three young professionals from diverse backgrounds, aims to use a 3D printer to treat strabismus (a condition of misaligned eyes). Additionally, seven more startups, including Agrofly, ArchiMarket and Print Svaneti, led by young professionals, play a vital role in mitigating the outflow of youth from communities along the ABL, fostering regional sustainable development and motivation for young people to explore new opportunities. 

Sugu Yiriwa Facilitates the Sale of 2,500 Tons of Millet

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Since 1984, Sidiki Badian, a businessman from Koutiala, Mali, has sold cereal products for a livinga job he inherited from his father who was also a grain salesman. At first, his business model consisted of buying cereal during rural market days and reselling it for a profit in cities. He found opportunities to expand when he began collaborating with international development organizations in 2004.  

More recently, Badian participated in business trainings and trade events organized by the Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa activity, like stock exchanges and seed fairs, and he began selling some of his agricultural commodities through Sugu Yiriwa.

“Sugu Yiriwa brings together all types of agricultural actors,” he said. “Recently, I provided 88 tons of cereals and 200 tons of fertilizer.” 

Sugu Yiriwa is a five-year activity designed to strengthen market systems while sustainably improving household incomes and the nutritional status of women and children in Mali. Around $662,000 (400,000,000 FCFA) in agricultur

Sidiki Badian being interviewed at the start of Sugu Yiriwa activities to support community resilience in Sikasso, Mali.

al commodities was mobilized by the activity in 2022 to provide direct support to 3,183 people affected by the global food crisis and price shocks, reducing the risk of food insecurity and improving livelihoods.  

During the launch of these activities, Badian represented suppliers and highlighted his collaboration with Sugu Yiriwa to the former Minister of Rural Development, Modibo Keita, who attended the event. 

“Samples of my products were on the table,” he said. “There were food packages composed of cereal products, including millet, soy and peanuts.” 

With the Malian government banning cereal exports in 2021, Badian found himself with a significant amount of unsold stock. Until that point, a large portion of his revenue was made from exports.  

“Last year, I applied for public tenders from the department in charge of food security and it was only part of my maize stock that I was able to sell last September. Millet was not included,” he said.  

At the launch event, former Minister Keita learned that Badian had leftover stock of millet. Given domestic needs for cereal at a national level, the Minister initiated discussions for the Malian government to buy his remaining stock.  

“The next morning, an order came in from the Office des Produits Agricoles du Mali (OPAM),” Badian said, “and I received notification to ship 2,500 tons of millet, worth $1,134,722 (687,500,000 FCFA) to Mopti.”  

Badian contends that this contact with government officials, facilitated by Sugu Yiriwa, was directly responsible for this game changing order. 

“If not for these kinds of events, we rarely have the opportunity to meet and converse with the Ministers, let alone exchange contacts and benefit from business opportunities,” Badian said.  

By connecting producers, sellers and buyers, Sugu Yiriwa has driven a total of $2,736,279 (1,657,843,860 FCFA) in financial transactions in its second year. In addition to facilitating networking events, the activity has trained over 100 agricultural traders and suppliers. Badian is evidence that Sugu Yiriwa’s approach is helping to improve the organization of agricultural actors so they can improve food security, better meet the needs of the local market and expand regional sales. 

ELEVATE Nutrition

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The Enhancing Local Efforts for Vital, Transformative, and Evidence-Based Nutrition (ELEVATE Nutrition) Activity is a five-year cooperative agreement funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by FHI 360. ELEVATE Nutrition began on October 1, 2023, and aims to advance local implementation of high-quality nutrition programs and policies that improve the nutritional status of women and children, particularly in the first 1,000 days. The Activity takes a multisectoral approach to nutrition, focusing on bridging the gap between global evidence and local implementation.


The Activity has three strategic objectives:

  1. Sustained USAID global technical leadership in nutrition.
  2. Enhanced delivery of evidence-based nutrition policies and programs.
  3. Enhanced nutrition learning and knowledge transfer.

As part of achieving these objectives, ELEVATE Nutrition will promote sustained leadership across four key multi-sectoral nutrition areas – diet quality, prevention and management of wasting, social and behavior change and governance – in addition to providing demand driven technical assistance for countries’ nutrition priorities.


The ELEVATE Nutrition approach includes:

  1. Expanding, curating, and sharing evidence to advance the knowledge needed for implementation, focused on packaging evidence-based interventions and improving knowledge on metrics and methodologies for multisectoral nutrition programming.
  2. Providing responsive, context-specific technical assistance aligned with local priorities, enabling locally led implementation of high-quality, scalable programs and identifying sustainable opportunities for capacity strengthening.
  3. Facilitating the operationalization and financing of national nutrition policies and quality programming through proven approaches and the use of digital tools and technologies.
  4. Creating platforms and resources for straightforward access to learning and skill building that amplify local achievements in nutrition.

The Activity is grounded in USAID’s Collaborating, Learning and Adapting Framework and will emphasize building upon existing resources and platforms, employing localization principles and integrating gender and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility into all aspects of technical assistance.


To implement ELEVATE Nutrition, FHI 360 will collaborate with partners Action Against Hunger, Bixal, Oxford Policy Management, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) and GEMNet-Health. The team has expertise in evidence-based health, nutrition and food system programming in development and humanitarian settings, an established presence and robust operational platforms in USAID’s nutrition priority countries and experience leading USAID and other donor-funded global nutrition initiatives.

Happy Cows Make Happy Milk and Happy Milk Makes Happy People

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This season’s hay harvest is stacked high and fodder is tied in bales at Mathias Chuma’s homestead in Binga District, Zimbabwe. For the first time, Chuma and his family are using hay and fodder they grew, gathered and processed themselves to feed their five cows and 34 goats through the dry season. In this area, most livestock depend on finding wild grasses and pods on communal grazing areas for their nutrition. However, heavy use of grazing lands in this dry and fragile landscape, with only weak arrangements for collective grazing land management and recovery, is contributing to land degradation and depleting grazing resources over time. The USAID-funded Amalima Loko activity advises farmers on how to grow fodder crops and produce low-cost homemade feeds to reduce pressure on these grazing lands, to improve livestock condition and ensure livestock survival through the dry season and to increase availability of animal-source foods including milk and meat for local diets. 

Earlier in the year, Chuma was given fodder crop seeds by government extension services but was unsure how best to cultivate and use them as dolichos lablab (hyacinth bean) and sunn hemp were new crops to him. This led him to work with Amalima Loko, where he participated in trainings on cultivation and processing for fodder crops and learned about optimal feeding mixes for livestock nutrition. He also joined a “look and learn” visit organized by the activity to see other smallholder farmers where fodder crops are already being grown and processed. 

Chuma family’s fodder harvest.

He planted 0.5 hectares each of sunn hemp and lablab and, as the dry season progresses, is now reaping the rewards. By the end of the growing season, Chuma had harvested 550 bales (3,850 kilograms) of the new fodder crops. Now, in the dry season, he feeds each of his cows four kilograms of fodder daily. He has also been able to sell surplus fodder to other smallholder farmers in his community, having sold 70 bales at $3 each, and is using the $210 profit to help pay for his children’s education. 

“I was a bit skeptical growing fodder for the first time,” Chuma said. “However, now that I am feeding my cattle and goats, I have realized that I have been missing out on an easy way to keep my livestock healthy and in good condition. I do not have to worry about my livestock perishing from drought. The fodder is enough to take my livestock to the next rainy season.” 

From the outset, Chuma noticed an immediate increase in milk production from his cows—milk that his family consumes in addition to their normal dry season diet. His wife, Josephine Chuma, attests to how their family is benefitting from this: 

“Since we started feeding the cows with fodder, we have been consuming more milk than before because the cows are producing more,” she said. “The milking period has also extended. There is enough for us to use and we still leave ample for the calves to suckle.” 

Inspired by their success, other local farmers are now also interested in producing fodder for themselves next year. Chuma is sharing his experiences with other farmers and hopes that if they produce their own fodder, his community will become more resilient, with meat and milk production increasing and pressure on local grazing lands reducing. Together, the Chuma family and their neighbors are transforming the landscape in Binga District, increasing agricultural production, promoting sustainability of local natural resources and contributing to a brighter and future for their families and community. 

Harnessing Innovative Technologies and Business Linkages to Increase Food Security in Niger

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Agriculture technologies, farmer-to-farmer connections and access to markets are important determinants in ensuring that families and communities have access to a reliable source of quality food that is affordable. Business-to-business events strengthen linkages between market systems actors across locations, including input and technology suppliers, microfinance institutions, and farmers’ producer organizations. With the aim of increasing these important linkages, from June 6-8, 2023, USAID Yalwa facilitated the Technology and Innovation Market in Maradi, Niger to scale emerging innovative technologies to new potential users and to create business opportunities for market system actors, particularly youth, women entrepreneurs and people living with disabilities.

The Market showcased 26 producer organizations, 22 private enterprises, three NGOs (Catholic Relief Services, CARE International and ONG Niger Développement (N-DEV)) and the University of Maradi from the Dosso, Niamey, Maradi, and Zinder regions. Exhibitors promoted technologies related to food processing, animal production (e.g., small ruminants, poultry, livestock feed, poultry feed, technical inputs) and agricultural inputs (fertilizers such as locally produced natural rock phosphate). With over 207 exhibitors, USAID Yalwa’s collaboration with the Government of Niger and other USAID implementing partners (Sahel Collaboration and Communication, Livestock System Innovation Lab, and Youth Connect) contributed to the Market’s success. For example, N-DEV strengthened business relationships with individual buyers through the marketing of poultry incubators, dryers and mills and solar-powered irrigation pumps. Further, forty-six young entrepreneurs who were selected through Yalwa’s Marketplace Entrepreneurship and Youth Entrepreneurship for Rural Innovation in-kind grant funds established business relationships with exhibitors and increased their knowledge about innovative technologies.

Ali Sayabou, an entrepreneurial farmer from Yalwa’s grant program in the Maradi Region, was interested in the Market to see different incubator technologies for his chicken coop expansion.

“I was really impressed with Technology/Innovation fair this year. Exhibitors showcased an incredible array of advanced agricultural technologies. I particularly enjoyed the demonstration of the solar-powered irrigation pumps and the large incubators. The company representatives were very knowledgeable and ready to answer all my questions,” he said. “I would have liked to see more affordable specialized machines for small farms, but overall, it was a rewarding experience and I came away with lots of ideas to modernize my operation.”

To address the needs of farmer like Sayabou, USAID Yalwa has two funding programs for youth and women entrepreneurs, namely the Market Entrepreneurship Program and the Youth and Rural Innovation Entrepreneurship Program. These programs aim to provide farmers with equipment, agricultural processing products and training in several areas such as equipment maintenance, management, etc.

The Market exhibitors sold products and materials worth $6,743.90 (4,135,000 FCFA) over the course of the three-day event. Balami sheep and natural rock phosphate fertilizer were the most frequently purchased items by producer organizations, pointing to the strength of Yalwa’s partnerships with the University of Maradi and SOFIA S.A. As next steps, USAID Yalwa will monitor after-sale services and develop a joint plan with other implementing partners and stakeholders to scale the accessibility of technologies across partner projects’ intervention areas. The Technology and Innovation Market was such a success that many participants requested it be an annual event to continue the momentum of creating linkages across markets, businesses, and technologies.