USAID Resilient Communities Program

USAID Resilient Communities Program

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Overview:

The five-year, $23.75 million USAID Resilient Communities Program (2022-2027) is designed to support households and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) along Georgia’s Administrative Boundary Line (ABL). Driven by private sector engagement, host-country collaboration and catalytic grant investments, the Program builds resilience against shocks, enhances inclusion of marginalized and at-risk communities, including women and youth, and stimulates sustainable socio-economic development.

Through previous USAID-funded projects in Georgia implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), the Program has access to a strong network of private sector, donor, NGO and Government of Georgia partners, which it uses to strengthen resilient and inclusive market systems and facilitate the development of diverse value chains. This increases revenues, creates jobs and builds community capacity to address market constraints and make key decisions. The Program targets communities along the ABL and the occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with the goal of integrating them into the broader Georgian economy.

Program Approach:

Collaboration, flexibility, scalability and sustainability are central components of the Program. The following approaches are incorporated to successfully build resilience to risks and shocks, enhance inclusion and stimulate sustainable socio-economic development:

  1. Engage the private sector: The USAID Resilient Communities Program enhances productivity, accelerates knowledge transfer and improves access to markets for rural communities along the ABL. It uses its connection to a variety of businesses throughout Georgia to provide links to enterprises, including USAID program graduates who are ready to invest back in the industry.
  2. Host country cooperation: To co-invest in development solutions, the Program facilitates productive, functional, trust-based working relationships with key Georgian government agencies including the Rural Development Agency (RDA), Enterprise Georgia and Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA). These partnerships continue to be expanded and strengthened to benefit communities along the ABL.
  3. Investment in catalytic grants: The Program integrates matching grants designed to have longer and deeper impacts and strengthen market systems. It targets communities and market systems where investments will catalyze systemic improvements, build resilience and strengthen engagement, competitiveness and market access.

Partners:

Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA): International agricultural development organization that specializes in the design and implementation of sustainable, enterprise-based agricultural initiatives. We work with businesses, foundations, governments, and communities to build customized local and global partnerships that meet the world’s growing demand for food.

Solimar International: U.S. small business with rich tourism development experience in Georgia. This includes developing a national tourism strategy and a COVID-19 recovery plan at the request of the Georgian government. This included designing new tour packages, tourism infrastructure and support services, and assessing and developing Destination Management Organizations.

Association Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG): Georgian NGO with more than ten years of experience in community development, disaster risk reduction (DRR), economic development and empowering women, youth and other marginalized groups in the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) and throughout Georgia. RDFG assists vulnerable communities in gaining equal access to services and opportunities.

The Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG): Georgian consulting firm with a wealth of economic analysis experience, including conducting value chain and niche market analysis. PMCG provides consulting services to government and nongovernmental organizations in community development and planning, private sector development, value chain analyses, MSME development and organizational capacity development.

Sugu Yiriwa

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Overview

The five-year Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa activity (2021-2026) aims to strengthen market systems, sustainably improve household incomes and improve the nutritional status of women and children in Mali. Sugu Yiriwa, prosperous markets in Bambara, will empower actors across the market system to affect sustainable, systemic change, with a strategic focus on vulnerable and gender- and nutrition-sensitive value chains in 46 communes in the Sikasso sub-zone.

Program Approach

Sugu Yiriwa will engage and strengthen market actors to achieve results across three mutually reinforcing objectives:

  1. Enhanced Market Access and Business Linkages: Sugu Yiriwa will multiply business linkages to facilitate development of markets that are more inclusive, dynamic and functional. Building the capacity of market actors will increase market preparedness and ensure producer organizations can meet quality and quantity buyer requirements.
  2. Improved Access to and Use of Quality and Affordable Inputs and Services: Sugu Yiriwa will work at the input supply system-level to reduce costs, improve quality, increase access and raise awareness among producers on the effective and efficient use of inputs and agricultural services at the farm and firm levels. Sugu Yiriwa will also build the capacity of agrodealers to promote enhanced technologies for improved access to information related to weather and prices. It will also promote improved labor-saving technologies to improve post-harvest management techniques and support the establishment of input retailer networks.
  3. Increased Market Demand for Consumption of Nutritious and Safe Foods: Sugu Yiriwa will conduct a nutrition and market pathways assessment to understand the factors that drive consumer food choices and diets in the Sugu Yiriwa zone of influence (ZOI). With these results, it will identify opportunities at the market and household levels to fill nutrient gaps by improving the availability, affordability, desirability and consumption of safe and nutritious foods, especially among pregnant and lactating women and children under two.

Partners

  • Mali Agricultural Market Trust (MALIMARK): a Malian nongovernmental organization established in 2010 with the support of CNFA under the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)-funded Agrodealer Strengthening Program. A leader in strengthening agricultural input and service systems in Mali, and with a presence in the Sikasso sub-zone, MALIMARK will design strategies and lead implementation under Objective 2: Improved Access to and Use of Quality and Affordable Inputs and Services, facilitating the development of a more dynamic input and service sector by building the capacity of agrodealers, increasing market linkages, and improving marketing of inputs, technologies, and services.
  • Helen Keller International (HKI): leverages its 20 years of experience in Mali building local capacity to prevent malnutrition by promoting resilience of market actors and vulnerable groups through social and behavior change (SBC) interventions. HKI, which also partners with CNFA on USAID Yalwa, implemented in Niger, will lead Objective 3: Increased Market Demand for Consumption of Nutritious and Safe Foods.

Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity

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Overview:

Over the past 20 years, Rwanda has made remarkable progress and the country’s economy has been growing steadily at roughly eight percent since 2001.[1] The agricultural sector plays a central role in Rwanda’s economy, accounting for 39 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), 80 percent of employment, and 90 percent of the country’s food needs.[2]

Despite this impressive growth, significant challenges to agricultural productivity and market participation remain, including constraints on land availability for cultivation, degradation of the country’s soil and natural resource base, lack of access to agricultural inputs and mechanization, and recurring extreme climatic events. The performance of the agricultural sector is closely linked to Rwanda’s overall nutritional profile and undernutrition remains a pervasive problem, further impacting Rwanda’s economy. About 33% of children under five are malnourished.[3] Stunting in children is attributed to food insecurity and poverty, inadequate feeding (poor complementary feeding practices) and inadequate environments.

The Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze activity is a five-year, $32.6 million USAID-funded activity that aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age (15-49) and children under two, and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate.

Program Approach:

Hinga Weze works through holistic interventions that target the interrelated issues of undernutrition, food insecurity, barriers to agricultural productivity, and other challenges. Specifically, the activity focuses on the sustainable intensification of Rwandan smallholder farming systems, with emphasis on climate-smart, nutrition-sensitive approaches and social behavior change to the production and consumption of five value chains including nutritious foods: high-iron beans, Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP), Irish potato, maize, and horticulture.

The activity will support over 733,000 smallholder farmers to sustainably enhance productivity, increase incomes to purchase nutritious foods and improve household nutrition outcomes in the following ten target districts: Gatsibo, Kayonza, Bugesera, Ngoma (Eastern Province); Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Ngororero, Nyamasheke, and Karongi (Western Province); and Nyamagabe (Southern Province).

  1. Increasing Sustainable Agricultural Productivity: Hinga Weze focuses on interventions that support an integrated systems approach to agriculture productivity and that follow the principles of sustainable land and water use, with particular attention to climate-smart technologies of relevance to Rwanda, facilitating the resilience of farming systems by improving water management, preventing soil erosion, and maximizing the effectiveness of input use.
  2. Expanding Farmers’ Access to Markets: In order to enhance farmers’ competitiveness and expand access to markets, Hinga Weze increases access to post-harvest equipment and facilities, market information, and credit and financial services.
  3. Improving Nutritional Outcome of Agriculture Interventions: Hinga Weze is focused on strengthening the link between agriculture and nutrition to improve the nutritional status of its communities and families.

Partners:

The Hinga Weze consortium includes a diverse group of both international and local Rwandan partner organizations, including Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), the prime, Rwanda Development Organization (RDO) and Imbaraga Farmers’ Federation. The activity achieves results by promoting household and community-level behavior changes through cost-effective interventions and a systems approach that prioritizes collaboration with stakeholders from the government, private and civil society sectors and the community.

Footnotes:

[1] NISR (2015) Rwanda Poverty Profile Report, 2013/14. National Institute of Statistics, Rwanda.

[2] Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (2013) Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture in Rwanda Phase III. Republic of Rwanda.

[3] Rwanda Demographic and Health survey 2020.

Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity

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Overview: 

Because improved technologies that are affordable, impactful and safe have not yet penetrated much of the smallholder market in Pakistan, producers continue to use outdated and less effective technologies, leading to stagnant or dwindling productivity and returns. This is particularly the case in the horticulture and livestock sub-sectors. To combat these challenges, the $8.2 million Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity (PATTA) funded through USAID worked since April 2017 to increase smallholder farmers’ access to markets and their overall development impact cost-effectiveness. By building on CNFA’s 10-year history of successful implementation in Pakistan, PATTA galvanized ongoing private-sector investment to commercialize the types of agricultural technologies that enable smallholders to increase their incomes, create jobs and enhance economic growth and stability. These technologies included seeds, fertilizers, water pumps, improved plant and animal breeds, precision agriculture and integrated soil fertility management, among others.

Approach:

CNFA collaborated with and built upon previous investments by USAID and similar development programs to improve the lives of smallholder farmers through the following three-pillared approach:

  1. Enabled Agricultural Technology-related Businesses to Expand, Adapt and Market their Products and Services to Meet Smallholder Farmers’ Needs: PATTA undertook initial and ongoing market and cost-benefit analyses of available agricultural technologies and facilitated outreach to key stakeholders based on the findings of these analyses. The Activity also oversaw a competitive process that led to detailed memorandums of understanding and comprehensive technical support and capacity building. In doing so, PATTA made the business case for sustained private-sector investments in technology transfer, adaptations, outreach and marketing such that profitable, inclusive output marketing opportunities for smallholders over the long term could be identified.
  2. Increased Smallholder Farmers’ Access to Affordable, Appropriate and Effective Agricultural Technologies: Sustained increased access to improves technologies adapted to smallholder needs required focused, strategic efforts by demand-side stakeholders who stood to profit from this outcome. These stakeholders included technology retailers like agrodealers and arthis– Pakistani agricultural agents who act as middlemen buying and selling inputs on commission and often making loans to smallholders– as well as microfinance institutions and banks that profit when they provide more loans and financial services to expanding agribusinesses and farmers’ associations. PATTA’s holistic approach of capacity-building technical support complemented the new marketing and outreach plans of technology companies and inspired sustained investments in the vast smallholder market.
  3. Scaled the Adoption and Use of Agricultural Technologies: PATTA supported the collective work of supply-and-demand side partners to launch and sustain demonstration activities that provided evidence of the value of improved technologies. These included the promotion of activities with a proven record of success, such as field days, demonstration plots and peer-to-peer education by champion farmers. Such demonstration activities leveraged various mediums, including radio broadcasts, video and mobile exhibits that reached women in purdah and other underserved groups.

Amalima

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Overview:

Amalima, the seven-year (2013-2020), $60 million USAID Development Food Aid Program (DFAP), worked with over 118,000 vulnerable households to sustainably improve household food security and nutrition in Zimbabwe’s districts of Bulilima, Gwanda, Mangwe (Matabeleland South), and Tsholotsho (Matabeleland North). 

Amalima draws its name from the Ndebele word for the social contract by which families come together to help each other engage in productive activities such as land cultivation, livestock tending and asset building. 

Approach:

  1. Improved Sustainable Access to and Availability of Food: Amalima promoted climate and conservation-sensitive agriculture practices and encouraged the adoption of improved agriculture and livestock production practices.
  2. Strengthened Community Resilience to Shocks: The program partnered with communities to improve livelihoods and build resilience by creating and strengthening disaster risk reduction (DRR) committees through cash for asset activities, household asset vouchers and village savings and lending (VS&L) groups that promoted income-generating activities and savings to build household resilience.
  3. Improved Nutrition and Health: To improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practices, dietary diversity and micronutrient intake of pregnant and lactating women and children under two, Amalima distributed supplementary feeding rations and enhanced nutrition care practices with a combination of capacity building, mentioning and community-based messaging delivered through care groups and community health clubs.
  4. Promoted Gender Equality: Amalima empowered women to play a key role in food security and resiliency at the household and community levels through increased access to and control over incomes, which promoted men and women to take increasingly equal responsibilities for both productive and reproductive activities.

Partners:

 

Amalima Loko

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Overview:

Amalima, the Ndebele word for a group of people coming together to achieve a common goal, and Loko meaning “genuine” or “authentic” in Tonga join to form Amalima Loko – a five-year (2020-2025) USAID-funded Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance program designed to improve food security in Zimbabwe through increased food access and sustainable watershed management.

Implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), Amalima Loko builds on the legacy of its predecessor Amalima, a seven-year Resilience Food Security Activity also implemented by CNFA that worked to sustainably improve food security and nutrition for vulnerable Zimbabwean households.

The $75 million Amalima Loko activity seeks to elevate the livelihoods of more than 67,000 vulnerable households across five districts of Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland North: Binga, Hwagne, Lupane, Nkayi and Tsholotsho. To accomplish this, the program utilizes a unique Community Visioning approach designed to strengthen community and household-level resilience, promotes nutrition-sensitive initiatives including a blanket food distribution program and improves watershed infrastructure and practices that provide long-term foundations for improved resilience and agriculture-based livelihoods.

Program Approach:

  1. Enhance inclusive local ownership over food security, resilience planning and development through Community Visioning, which strengthens the ability of communities to identify their own priorities and define solutions to support social cohesion and resilience. As the foundation of the Amalima Loko approach, Community Visioning engages stakeholders in an inclusive planning process and mobilizes community action groups around development priorities, including gender and youth dynamics, social safety nets and disaster risk reduction.
  2. Advance health and availability of soil, water and plant resources within the watershed by working at the micro-catchment level and using an integrated water resource management (IWRM) approach to improve community ownership, use and governance of watershed resources. This IWRM approach supports the restoration and protection of natural resources while improving access to water infrastructure for household and productive use. Amalima Loko also utilizes “cash for assets” programming to provide a cash infusion to vulnerable households, while building the community asset base through watershed infrastructure and conservation works such as dams, soil conservation, erosion control measures and rehabilitation of degraded areas.
  3. Improve human health and livelihoods by strengthening individual and household capacities to weather shocks and stresses, and thrive with good health, a sufficient and stable asset base and adequate, reliable income. The program also enhances nutrition and health for women of reproductive age and children under five by enhancing nutritional adequacy and healthy behaviors, implementing a blanket food distribution program using the “first 1,000 days” approach and promoting diverse livelihood strategies based on village savings and lending group participation, business skill building and asset accumulation to help households manage the risk and impact of shocks and stresses.

Partners: 

Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestle Maize Quality Improvement Partnership

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Overview:

The $1.3 million Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership (M-QIP) (2017-2020) enhanced the quality and safety of maize and soybeans available to Nestlé’s food processing factories while supporting USAID’s goals of revitalizing Nigeria’s agriculture sector and improving nutrition along these cereal value chains. The partnership utilized a “whole-of-supply-chain” approach to enhance the quality, safety and transparency of the Nestlé supply chain. 

Approach:

  1. Strengthened the Capacity of Smallholder Farmer Suppliers: To catalyze better conduct and performance in the maize and soybean value chains in Kaduna State,M-QIP’s activities focused on the three main stakeholder groups within the supply chains: smallholder farmers, intermediaries and input retailers.
  2. Strengthened Capacity of Local Organizations: With the support of the Nigeria Youth Service Corps program and local extension agents, M-QIP cataloged and mapped the many associations and cooperatives that played a role in improving the yield and product quality of smallholder farmers in the maize and soybean growing regions and along market routes, specifically near Nestlé’s current sourcing areas and storage networks. Through this process, CNFA kick-started and sustained engagement through the M-QIP program with all stakeholders, including Nestlé corporate employees, farmers’ associations, government extension service providers and community leaders.

Partners:

Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth

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Overview:

The five-year (2015-2020), USAID Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) program was designed to increase the incomes of vulnerable households by improving the performance and inclusiveness of the cowpea, poultry and small ruminant value chains. Implemented in Niger and Burkina Faso, the $34.3 million program was one of many operating under USAID’s Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) initiative, supported by a consortium of partners and led by CNFA.

Approach:

  1. Strengthened Resilience to Environmental, Security and Economic Shocks: The program aimed to improve community resistance to shocks by sustainably rehabilitating markets, facilitating village-savings programs and improving access to shared and household assets along three value chains: cowpea, poultry and small ruminants.
  2. Facilitated and Catalyzed Market Systems: REGIS-AG used a “facilitation approach” that aimed to improve the function of markets and create sustainable change without becoming embedded in the system. REGIS-AG also aimed to identify opportunities through value chain and end-market analysis and to strengthen relationships across its value chains.
  3. Strengthened Input SUpply and IMproved Smallholder and Agro-Pastoralist Access to Interconnected Markets:CNFA concentrated on improving delivery of and access to veterinary services and feed provision centers for poultry and small ruminants and strengthening the supply of agricultural inputs for cowpeas with a specific emphasis on Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags for improved storage practices.
  4. Increased Access to Finance, Innovation and Private Sector Investments: REGIS-AG worked with private-sector investments to design and market financial products that will expand access to services, particularly for women. It also aimed to improve the enabling environment for local and regional private-sector investment by building trust between value chain actors and increasing their voice at the policy level.
  5. Focused on Gender and Women’s Empowerment REGIS-AG employed a comprehensive approach to engage both men and women in overcoming structural biases and barriers in the three target value chains through education and integration into the formal market economy.

Partners:

  • Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
  • Association Nigérienne pour la Dynamisation des Initiatives Locales (Karkara)
  • Association for Catalyzing Pastoral Development in Niger (AREN),
  • Association Nodde Nooto (A2N)
  • The Association pour la Gestion de l’Environnement et le Développement (AGED).

USAID Yalwa

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Enhancing Markets and Nutrition in Niger

Overview:

The $29.1 million five-year Feed the Future-funded USAID Yalwa (2020-2025) activity strengthens the capacities of farmers, producer organizations, agribusinesses and rural households in the Maradi, Tillabéri and Zinder regions of Niger to meet the growing demand for affordable, safe and nutritious food.

Yalwa means “fulfillment” or “blossoming” in the Hausa language. USAID Yalwa supports USAID’s regional Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) program, which works with the Government of Niger to help citizens escape poverty and build resilience to natural, economic and other shocks. USAID Yalwa includes a ground-breaking component on food market systems and follows five years of progress generated by the USAID-funded Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) program, also implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA).

Program Approach:

USAID Yalwa’s market systems facilitation approach is based on collaboration with catalytic local actors and networks. Yalwa will work primarily through unions to provide services to producer groups (access to agro-inputs, finance, skills development, etc.), while building their capacity to provide services without project support. The approach leverages commercial investments to build long-term linkages between buyers and sellers, ensure delivery of inputs and services and supply nutritious food. It also builds the skills of farmers, traders and processors so they can earn a profit from their businesses, seek out nutritious foods and become self-reliant.

Yalwa targets 105,000 farmers in over 195 villages and 160 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by fulfilling the following purposes:

  1. Enhance performance of market systems in the cowpea, small ruminant and poultry value chains.
  2. Increase the use of high-quality inputs and services such as seeds, fertilizers, and livestock and poultry feed, improving food production and storage and supporting improved marketing, production and access to finance and climate information.
  3. Increase local consumption of nutritious, safe and affordable foods by promoting demand and helping market actors to supply these foods to targeted populations.
  4. Promote inclusive markets for women and youth by identifying barriers to market participation and working with communities to encourage youth and women’s entrepreneurship and leadership.

Partners: