LSP Working Paper 16                                    Institutional Learning Sub-programme




        Do Sustainable Li...
LSP Working Paper 16                              Institutional Learning Sub-programme




        Do Sustainable Liveliho...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



In 2003, during its 17th Session, the FAO Commit...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies




CONTENTS

1       WHY ARE WE DOING THIS? .........
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


3.4     When were specific principles most in evi...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



              Do Sustainable Livelihoods Approac...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


Case studies representing different regions, sect...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



The analysis of case studies was carried out in ...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



1.5       Criteria defining the Sustainable Live...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



1.6      Hypotheses relating to SL-specific prin...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


1.7     General Indicators of Poverty Reduction
G...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies




Box 4


    1.8    Looking for Evidence of Posi...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


2 Evidence of impact

2.1     Poverty Reduction, ...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



Table 1. General evidence of impact on selected ...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



The majority of cases reviewed demonstrated evid...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


Very few cases contained documented evidence of c...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


Long-term sustainability is perhaps the most diff...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



Table 2. An overview of the incorporation of SL-...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



       Box 6. SL principles linked to key projec...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies




    Box 7. SL Principles Linked to Key Project ...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


         worked deliberately with pre-existing gr...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies




      Box 8. SL principles linked to key projec...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies



2.2.3     Livelihoods Focus
All cases incorporat...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


            d. Enhanced responsiveness of local g...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies




      Box 11. Governance Principles linked to O...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


2.2.5   Social Inclusivity and Empowerment

The d...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies




     Box 11. Empowerment of Women in Irrigation...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies




     Box 12. Strengthening Household Access to ...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


2.2.6   Participation
Social inclusivity and empo...
SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies


2.2.7    Partnerships & Multi-level, Macro-Micro ...
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
Do sustainable livelihoods approaches have a positive impact of the rural poor   a look at twelve case studies
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  1. 1. LSP Working Paper 16 Institutional Learning Sub-programme Do Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches Have a Positive Impact on the Rural Poor? A look at twelve case studies Constance Neely, Kirsten Sutherland, and Jan Johnson October 2004 FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS Livelihood Support Programme (LSP) An inter-departmental programme for improving support for enhancing livelihoods of the rural poor.
  2. 2. LSP Working Paper 16 Institutional Learning Sub-programme Do Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches Have a Positive Impact on the Rural Poor? A look at twelve case studies Constance Neely, Kirsten Sutherland, and Jan Johnson October 2004 This paper was prepared under contract with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The positions and opinions presented are those of the authors alone, and are not intended to represent the views of FAO. iii
  3. 3. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies In 2003, during its 17th Session, the FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) discussed the role of SL approaches in FAO programmes and projects. As an outcome, the Committee “requested FAO to identify and document specific examples where applications of the rural livelihoods approach had led to success in reducing rural poverty.” In an initial effort to respond to this request, the Livelihoods Support Programme has supported the desk study reported on in this document. The Livelihood Support Programme The Livelihood Support Programme (LSP) evolved from the belief that FAO could have a greater impact on reducing poverty and food insecurity, if its wealth of talent and experience were integrated into a more flexible and demand-responsive team approach. The LSP works through teams of FAO staff members, who are attracted to specific themes being worked on in a sustainable livelihoods context. These cross- departmental and cross-disciplinary teams act to integrate sustainable livelihoods principles in FAO’s work, at headquarters and in the field. These approaches build on experiences within FAO and other development agencies. The programme is functioning as a testing ground for both team approaches and sustainable livelihoods principles. Email: lsp@fao.org Cover photo by Ian Cherrett, Rural Development in Lempira Sur Project iv jj28
  4. 4. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies CONTENTS 1 WHY ARE WE DOING THIS? ........................................................................ 1 1.1 Context......................................................................................................................................... 1 1.2 Purpose and Objectives ............................................................................................................... 1 1.3 Methodology ................................................................................................................................ 1 1.4 Case Studies Reviewed................................................................................................................. 2 1.5 Criteria defining the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach............................................................ 4 1.6 Hypotheses relating to SL-specific principles.............................................................................. 5 1.7 General Indicators of Poverty Reduction.................................................................................... 6 1.8 Looking for Evidence of Positive Impact on the Rural Poor ...................................................... 7 2 EVIDENCE OF IMPACT ................................................................................. 8 2.1 Poverty Reduction, Enhanced Resilience, and Long-Term Sustainability ................................. 8 2.1.1 Poverty Reduction..................................................................................................................... 8 2.1.2 Resilience and Reduction in Vulnerability ............................................................................... 11 2.1.3 Long-term sustainability.......................................................................................................... 11 2.2 Linking use of Sustainable Livelihoods Principles with Evidence of Positive Change ............. 12 2.2.1 Analyzing the vulnerability context ......................................................................................... 13 2.2.2 Building Assets ....................................................................................................................... 15 2.2.3 Livelihoods Focus ................................................................................................................... 18 2.2.4 Good Governance ................................................................................................................... 18 2.2.5 Social Inclusivity and Empowerment....................................................................................... 21 2.2.6 Participation............................................................................................................................ 24 2.2.7 Partnerships & Multi-level, Macro-Micro Linkages ................................................................. 25 2.3 Aspects that Challenged the Achievement of Positive Change.................................................. 25 2.4 Project-related Constraints ....................................................................................................... 25 2.4.1 Participation, social inclusivity, and enhancing the livelihood strategies of the poor.................. 25 2.4.2 Issues surrounding the disaggregation of project interventions.................................................. 26 2.4.3 Issues surrounding empowerment ............................................................................................ 26 2.4.4 Issues concerning holistic interventions, increased resilience and ability to withstand shock ..... 27 2.4.5 Issues surrounding engaging dynamism and flexibility............................................................. 27 2.4.6 Issues surrounding good governance and institutions, and macro-micro linkages ...................... 27 2.5 Wider Constraints ..................................................................................................................... 28 2.5.1 Issues surrounding partnerships ............................................................................................... 28 3 OPERATIONALISING THE PRINCIPLES.................................................... 29 3.1 Linking SL Principles to SL-supporting Actions ...................................................................... 29 3.2 Linking the employment of SL principles to activities and outcomes: The case of WIN Nepal31 3.3 Getting it right : when to do things, and who to do it with...................................................... 32 v
  5. 5. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies 3.4 When were specific principles most in evidence? ......................................................................32 3.5 A similar operational/ institutional pattern shared by several successful projects ...................35 4 WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS AND LESSONS LEARNED? ................. 38 4.1 What do we think we know? ......................................................................................................38 4.2 What do we not know?...............................................................................................................43 5 INSTEAD OF A CONCLUSION....... ............................................................. 44 5.1 Findings ......................................................................................................................................44 5.2 Emerging Issues and Insights.....................................................................................................45 5.3 The Way Forward......................................................................................................................45 6 SOURCES OF INFORMATION..................................................................... 46 6.1 References and Documents Reviewed........................................................................................46 6.2 Contacts and Interviews.............................................................................................................49 6.3 ACRONYMS..............................................................................................................................51 vi
  6. 6. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Do Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches Have a Positive Impact on the Rural Poor? A look at twelve case studies Constance Neely, Kirsten Sutherland, and Jan Johnson 1 Why are we doing this? 1.1 Context Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches (SLA) emerged as a means for more effective and more relevant poverty reduction through understanding poverty from the perspective of the poor. Originally conceived of in the 1980’s in the context of Farming Systems Research and Education, the approach was developed through the 1990’s and crystallized as SLA in the late 1990’s by the Department for International Development (DFID) (Carney, 1998; 1999). A number of organizations have employed the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach and Framework. The framework has been used as a programming framework (UNDP); for programming analysis, design, monitoring and evaluation (CARE Household Livelihood Security); and for integrating environmental sustainability (The SL Approach to Poverty Reduction, SIDA; Carney, 1999). The Department for International Development (DFID) has sought to advance poverty reduction results through mainstreaming good development principles associated with the SLA (people centred, responsive, multi-level, conducted in partnerships, sustainable, dynamic) and by applying a holistic perspective in programming support activities to ensure relevance to improving peoples’ livelihoods. Although there has been an evolution in the principles that can be included in the SLA and framework and an acceptance of how these reflect good development practice, the question remains, “is poverty being reduced?” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has built upon the SLA to find ways and means to improve the sustainable livelihoods of rural dwellers. In 2003, during its 17th Session, the FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) discussed the role of SL approaches in FAO programmes and projects. As an outcome, the Committee “requested FAO to identify and document specific examples where applications of the rural livelihoods approach had led to success in reducing rural poverty.” In an initial effort to respond to this request, the Livelihoods Support Programme is supporting the desk study reported on in this document. 1.2 Purpose and Objectives This paper examines case studies of projects that employed a sustainable livelihoods approach or sustainable livelihoods principles and in which there were measurable effects of poverty reduction. The paper is not a comparative study between livelihoods and non-livelihoods approaches and as such “traditional” development cases were not considered. Although not part of the specific request from COAG, the paper also attempts to identify the operational and institutional elements that were consistent among cases of successful impact on the rural poor. 1.3 Methodology This paper is based on a desk study undertaken at FAO Headquarters in Rome. The study consisted primarily of a review of existing project case study documents with input from members of an extended study team and from participants of an update meeting held at FAO in April 2004. 1
  7. 7. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Case studies representing different regions, sectoral entry points and scales of influence were sought from within and outside of FAO. Those retained as having enough data to support useful evaluations are listed in Box 1. Further contributions were sought through interviews and e-mail exchanges with resource persons of the cases under review (section 6.2). An extended summary of each of the cases reviewed as well as other resources are available in the Supplemental Materials, being published separately in order to keep this present document down to a reasonable size. The Livelihoods Support Programme of FAO and the co-sponsors of the People Centred Development Day have been engaged in the study through a preliminary review of findings and a workshop to enhance the analysis of the outcomes. The study has been termed a “desk study with follow-up” and is considered a basis for the design of additional related activities. 1.4 Case Studies Reviewed Implementing Project Time Country Name Entry Point Organization Frame Strengthening Household Access to Bari Bangladesh Garden Extension Services (SHABGE) CARE Agriculture 1999-2004 Integrated Inter-regional Project for Participatory Government of 1992-2000 Bolivia Watershed Upland Conservation and Development Italy/FAO (three phases) Management FAO/ Community Participatory Natural Resource Management 1995-2004 Cambodia Government of Fisheries and in the Tonle Sap Region (ongoing) Cambodia Forestry The Ruba Lomine Integrated Rural Ethiopia Oxfam Agriculture 1995-2002 Development Programme The Lowlands Agricultural Development Gambia IFAD Agriculture 1996-2004 Programme (LADEP) Rural Development in Lempira Sur Project Honduras FAO Agriculture 1994-2002 (PROLESUR) DELIVERI – Decentralized Livestock Indonesia DFID Livestock Services 1996-2001 Services in Eastern Indonesia Food security; Environmentally Sustainable Food Security FAO/ Forest Natural resource and Micro-Income Opportunities in Critical Department of Myanmar rehabilitation; 1999-2002 Watersheds the Government Income-generating of Myanmar opportunities Empowerment of Women in Irrigation and Irrigation, Health, Nepal Water Resource Management for Improved FAO 1999-2003 Nutrition Food Security, Nutrition and Health (WIN) FAO/ Integrated Inter-regional Project for Participatory Pakistan Government of Watershed 1992-1999 Upland Conservation and Development Pakistan Management Community-Based Regional Development Community Yemen Programme (CBRDP) FAO 1998-2003 Enterprises Improving Household Food Security and Nutrition through Community Empowerment Zambia FAO Agriculture 1996-2001 in the Luapula Valley 2
  8. 8. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies The analysis of case studies was carried out in three stages related to meeting SL criteria, assessing of impact on the rural poor, and determining the added value of the SL approach on impact. The first stage involved establishing whether the projects to be used incorporated an adequate number of SL principles for it to be considered sufficiently ‘sustainable livelihoods-related’. For this purpose, key criteria defining the SLA were identified and categorised according to their centrality to the approach (Figure 1). These criteria were used to determine which projects to include in the study. Few cases of those selected were designed or initiated specifically to implement a sustainable livelihoods approach, but all those retained had addressed the majority of sustainable livelihoods principles. The second stage of the analysis involved evaluating the impacts each project had had on the rural poor, the results of which evaluation form the core of this paper. Subsequently, stage three was designed to address the value added by the SL approach in reducing poverty. This was done by using the findings from previous stages along with a set of hypotheses addressing SL specific principles which had been developed by the extended study team participants (Box 2). Ultimately however, the extent to which the paper speaks to each of these hypotheses is limited by the fact that it is not a comparative analysis with ‘non-SL’ approaches to development, and by the lack of detailed evaluative material available on the majority of projects. These hypotheses are discussed further in the lessons learned in Section 3.0. A full set of principles, hypotheses, and indicators can be found in Annex 6.2. 3
  9. 9. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies 1.5 Criteria defining the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach1 Sustainable poverty reduction Overall goals Secure and sustainable livelihoods for all (poor and non-poor) Addresses vulnerability specific to Principles the SLA context; increases Builds assets Focuses on livelihoods capacity to withstand (a diversified portfolio of (ways to earn a living) shocks; increases assets that reduce resilience vulnerability) EMBODIES ALL PRINCIPLES People- Enhances Principles essential, but not Dynamic; Builds on flexible; long- centred good strengths term governance & specific to the SLA institutional linkages (at Responsive; the micro, Not strictly participatory Empowering meso & macro sectoral levels) Multi-level, Ensures macro-micro Conducted Socially long-term linkages in partnership inclusive sustainability Critical principles (as a means Disaggregated analysis Supports livelihoods Process oriented and intervention strategies of the poor (to (feedback loops from (poverty, gender, age, get themselves out of outcomes to action ethnicity) poverty) replanning) to an end) Implementation is Holistic diagnosis & consistent with design interventions (if design is pro-poor) 1 Output of an LSP brainstorming session held on February 2nd, 2004. 4
  10. 10. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies 1.6 Hypotheses relating to SL-specific principles Principle Corresponding Hypothesis/es Addresses vulnerability - Projects that address the vulnerability context, by reducing vulnerability while and increases resilience strengthening individual and collective capacity to withstand shocks, are more effective in enabling the poor to overcome their poverty than approaches that ignore the vulnerability context Builds assets - Because asset ownership reduces vulnerability in the face of shocks, projects that build rural people’s assets are more effective in reducing poverty than projects that focus exclusively on raising income without regard for asset ownership and balance - To reduce poverty on a sustainable basis, it is not enough to raise household income above a national poverty line; it is equally important for households to acquire a capacity to prevent themselves from falling back into poverty when exposed to shocks - Projects that build rural people’s human and social capital in addition to building their physical, financial and natural capital are more effective in reducing poverty than those that neglect human and social capital while building other types of capital Livelihoods focus • Projects that focus on livelihoods are more effective in reducing poverty than projects that seek to reduce poverty through economic growth or improved access to infrastructure and social services without regard for the ways that poor people make their living The 12 case studies reviewed to date in preparation of this document were chosen to reflect different initiating partners and geographical settings. It was hoped that the study would include a broad array of sectoral entry points. However, because the nature of reducing poverty in rural populations is often strongly linked to food security, the majority tended to have an agricultural focus. Yet in a few cases, multiple entry points were addressed simultaneously. Preference was given to projects that had been in place long enough for results to have been achieved and, in the best scenario, those that had undergone an evaluative process. In general, the outcomes of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) strategies within the cases yielded mixed results. The highly variable quality and type of evaluation and reporting processes meant that in many cases “normative” and poverty reduction- related data were inconsistent or even unavailable 2 . The fact that the soundness of reported outcomes and impacts for many of these projects should be considered as indicative rather than as firmly proven clearly places limits on the analyses given here. Thus although we have attempted to make the best use of the material available to us our conclusions are deliberately provisional, not definitive. In most of the cases, the studies did not specifically identify poverty reduction as a goal of the project although it is anticipated that this is the driving premise given the nature of the projects. It is important to note that the cases were not looked at to evaluate whether project implementers met their original targets and objectives but rather the cases were viewed through a superimposed poverty reduction and sustainable livelihoods lens. 2 See Section entitled “What do we think we know?” and Annex 6.1 for a full account of PM&E processes adopted by each of the case studies. 5
  11. 11. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies 1.7 General Indicators of Poverty Reduction General measures of poverty reduction have historically included increases in income or food security, however, a broader definition of poverty reduction also captures elements of enhanced choice, capability and power (Box 3). The SL approach, which builds on principles of building assets and a livelihoods focus, also incorporates principles of reduced vulnerability and sustainability as critical to achieving lasting poverty reduction. Subsequently for the purpose of this paper, poverty reduction will be reported along with evidence (or lack there of) of reduced vulnerability and long-term sustainability (see Box 4). Box 3. Definitions of livelihood and poverty Definition – Livelihood: a livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities or assets while not undermining the natural resource base (DFID, 1999). Definition – Poverty: "Poverty: a human condition characterized by the sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights." (United Nations Committee on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights, 2001). 6
  12. 12. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Box 4 1.8 Looking for Evidence of Positive Impact on the Rural Poor3 General Indicators of Poverty Reduction o Improved income levels of poor and non-poor o Changes in household food security o Improved basic needs (shelter, health, nutrition) o Changes in income distribution and decreases in inequities o Diversification of income sources o Changes in income security o Improved human rights o Increased access to public goods and services o Increased yields o Changes in consumption and diet o Improved quality of life Indicators of Increased Resilience and Reduction in Vulnerability/Volatility o A reduction in frequency/severity of shocks. o An increase in risk preparedness. o Increased capacity to cope with/prepare for/adapt to natural or economic shocks. o Increased capacity to cope with/prepare for/adapt to seasonality (IMM, 2004 ) Indicators of Long Term Sustainability o Increase in environmental sustainability o Reduction in conflict or increase in peace/resolution o Changes reflecting livelihood sustainability o Sustained Post Project Activities o Sustained Post Project Institutional Changes o Sustained Post-Project poverty reduction o Sustained or permanent removal of groups from social exclusion o Addressed inequities faced by disadvantaged groups 3 Annex 6.2 presents a list of poverty indicators related to each principle and associated hypothesis/es. 7
  13. 13. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies 2 Evidence of impact 2.1 Poverty Reduction, Enhanced Resilience, and Long-Term Sustainability In this section a general overview of types of evidence of poverty reduction, enhanced resilience, and long-term sustainability found within the cases is provided. This is followed by a discussion of the degree to which cases that demonstrated a positive impact on the rural poor had applied or incorporated sustainable livelihoods principles. The majority of case studies are described briefly within the text boxes throughout Section 2.0 while additional information can be found in the case study summaries (available in the separately printed Appendices.) 2.1.1 Poverty Reduction Table 1 provides a general overview of how cases demonstrated improvements in the lives of the rural poor through increased income, diversification of income sources, changes in income distribution, improved basic needs and services, access to productive resources, increased agricultural yield, and changes in household food security. The scale at which these improvements were made differed greatly among cases and it was often difficult to derive numbers and types of beneficiaries from the information available. An expanded version of Table 1 can be found in the Supplemental Materials, being published separately. 8
  14. 14. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Table 1. General evidence of impact on selected poverty indicators Access to Country Income Income Access to 5 4 Income productive Yields HH FS Case Diversification Distribution Needs/ Services resources Financial services, Education Land Honduras Y Housing Seedlings Significant positive impact on rural poor Sanitation Irrigation Nutrition Water, Trees Nepal Y Sanitation Seeds Education Financial services, Yemen Y Literacy, Health IGA materials N/A N/A Extension Indonesia Y Livestock Sanitation Nutrition Seeds, Water Ethiopia Y Health, Credit Land, Bee hives Employment Land, Water Employment Seeds, Trees/ Myanmar Y Irrigation Tree products Extension Fertiliser Livestock Land, Trees/ Financial services, Some positive impact on rural 6 Tree products Cambodia Y Roads Fish ponds Education Seedlings Health Trees Bangladesh Y Credit Multi-storey poor Sanitation trellises, Credit, Water Livestock Extension Bee hives Bolivia Y Education Trees, Seeds Irrigation Fish ponds Nutrition Gambia N Health, Credit Land, Water Extension, Credit Trees, Poultry, rural poor impact on Pakistan Y positive Irrigation Livestock, Water Little Credit, Nurseries Seeds, Trees, Zambia Y Extension, Health Inputs = Evidence of an increase = Evidence of positive changes 4 Country cases with the three categories are not necessarily arranged in any particular order. 5 HH FS = household food security 6 The case of Cambodia has been provisionally included in this category as it is an ongoing project and outcomes and impacts have yet to be fully evaluated. 9
  15. 15. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies The majority of cases reviewed demonstrated evidence of increased income associated with agricultural production while a few focused on wealth generation by initiating new non-agricultural enterprises and skills. Increases in income were the result of: a. Increases in existing production system yields through inputs and intensification (Gambia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Honduras, Nepal). In Gambia, the expansion and intensification of rice production transformed the situation in target villages from a rice deficit to a rice surplus. As a direct result of this, the incomes of 11,500 households increased by between 50-500%. b. Diversification through additions of crop and livestock or other on-farm enterprises to the existing farming strategy (Ethiopia, Nepal, Bangladesh). The IRDP in Ethiopia introduced a beekeeping programme targeted at small landholders, landless men and women and the elderly, as beekeeping requires minimum labour inputs and does not take up valuable land in that hives can be placed in trees, on wasted land or even on flat rooftops. c. Value addition to existing production (Nepal, Yemen), non-agricultural enterprises or off-farm employment. In Myanmar, the extensive labour required for physical soil conservation activities generated employment opportunities for 15,000 resource poor households over the dry season, when they would otherwise have migrated in search of work. In most cases, access to productive resources including land, water, seeds, livestock, and trees contributed to yield and income increases, which in turn, led to improved food security and nutrition levels. In the case of Nepal, greater yields contributed to increases in household food security, such that food insecure months were reduced dramatically or eliminated during the life of the project from 9 to 0-2. However, only in a few cases were there indications of either enhanced stability/security of yields or income. In Myanmar for instance, the results of an evaluation study conducted on the sustainability of household and community livelihoods indicated that the project had made a significant contribution to enhancing the assets base of households; ensuring the sustainability of interventions and group management; and achieving a strong impact in attaining income, employment and food security increases on a sustainable basis (FAO, 2002b). There was also evidence of improved basic needs satisfaction through increases in living conditions, nutrition, sanitation and improved access to services such as sanitation, health, education, credit, and extension services. a. In Honduras, large-scale improvements were made in housing conditions through the installation of piped water and latrines, as well as the adoption of improved stoves. In addition, 67 community banks were established along with two cooperatives. b. In Nepal, 15,000 women, men and children experienced improvements in health and nutrition through greater access to nutritious foods, improved domestic habits and the use of boiled water. Positive impacts were made on birthing practices, with women no longer giving birth in cowsheds at some sites and there was also a rise in the number of children attending school and receiving healthcare. c. In Bangladesh, savings groups formed by Farmer Field School participants helped households buy and install the concrete slabs needed to improve latrines to counter the high incidence of diarrhoeal diseases in the area. This was also confirmed through the spending choices associated with increased income reported in some cases (Yemen, Ethiopia, Nepal, Myanmar). 10
  16. 16. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Very few cases contained documented evidence of changes or shifts in wealth classes, or direct impacts on the most poor. LADEP in Gambia was one of these, where greater rice yields also led to shifts in income distribution, with 15-78% of very poor project participants moving into the categories of poor and non-poor. Early and late wealth ranking exercises carried out by the DELIVERI project also showed that many farmers had moved from the ‘poor’ or ‘middle poor’ to rich categories over the life of the project. 2.1.2 Resilience and Reduction in Vulnerability Three cases indicated increased resilience and the capacity to cope with natural or political shocks, which took the form of drought (Ethiopia,) conflict (Nepal) and climatic shock (Honduras). In Ethiopia, the IRDP faced not only a serious drought two out of the three years in which it was implemented, but it was also confronted with outbreaks of violence and looting as the result of continuing border tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The return of tens of thousands of internally displaced peoples heightened the already urgent situation in project target areas. Food for work activities linked to the rehabilitation of natural resources, road construction and other training provided a short-term solution to the immediate need for food whilst revitalising rural livelihoods in the long-term through improving the natural resource and communication bases. Soil and water conservation, reforestation and area enclosure measures introduced under the project were identified by farmers as having been critical in reducing the impact of drought on their livelihoods. Despite overall declines in terms of nutritional status and the amount of food available, project activities were successful, if not in improving the livelihoods of target community members, then in at least ensuring that the majority of target households were able to maintain their status quo against the severity of the drought (Oxfam Canada/REST, 2003). The WIN project in certain sites in Nepal was affected by internal conflict between government forces and Maoist rebels. One village that consisted of ‘untouchable’ families for example, was highly vulnerable and insecure during the insurgency. A solution was sought based on a visit by a selected group of women from the village to a village in which drip irrigation and water tanks had been installed. The women were enthusiastic and thus guaranteed the safety of project staff, who stayed in the village for the month of work. The WIN project was seen to have helped households in other insecure areas to cope with conflict by promoting self sufficiency, strengthening groups, and community bases nurseries. Additionally, the training and team building of the WIN staff added to their willingness to continue work despite the threat this posed to their personal safety. The Lempira Sur region of Honduras was able to withstand the ravages of El Niño and Hurricane Mitch as a direct result of project interventions. Communal natural resource recovery measures that rendered the landscape highly resistant to natural shock coupled with the subsequent introduction of new/improved production, preservation and storage technologies allowed communities in the region to maintain a grain surplus throughout the El Niño and Hurricane Mitch disasters. 2.1.3 Long-term sustainability Franks et al. (2004) in a study of ten cases in Southern Africa, Tanzania and Uganda noted that sustainability must be considered in all of its aspects (economic, social, environmental, and institutional) in order to impact on peoples’ livelihoods. In their study, they added that economic and institutional sustainability are important for the short term while longer term consequences affecting the environment and social components must be considered. 11
  17. 17. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Long-term sustainability is perhaps the most difficult to address from the case studies reviewed. This may be primarily due to the level of maturity of the various project activities rendering it impossible to comment on sustained post-project activities, institutional change, poverty reduction, or removal of exclusion or inequities among social groups within communities. However there are perhaps elements of the framework which if successfully employed can reflect a greater possibility of long-term social and institutional sustainability such as: a. People’s empowerment - confidence, negotiating capacity, conflict resolution skills, grant-writing ability, capacity to discern useful projects based on values, education programs etc. b. Institutional change - representation in government bodies, enhanced service provision that goes beyond an ephemeral change. c. Enabling policies - the Bolivian water law for example. d. Partnerships and multi-level macro-micro linkages - cohesive, multi-disciplinary teams with a strong sense of ownership and the ability to reach an expanded geographical area and multiple sectors, linkages from the community, to district, to national level meaning that successful strategies are more likely to be translated into policy. Information that might reflect long-term sustainability in the form of environmental (mimicking ecosystems in Honduras; natural resource recovery measures in Myanmar), livelihoods (Yemen, Cambodia), institutional and community (Indonesia, Nepal, Honduras, and Yemen) sustainability was found in a limited number of cases. Financial sustainability was indicated by high rates of repayment on the loans made by community development organisations to fund income-generating and community benefit activities (Yemen, Myanmar). 2.2 Linking use of Sustainable Livelihoods Principles with Evidence of Positive Change As shown in the previous section, evidence of positive impact on the rural poor was found in the cases under review. This section examines the degree to which selected principles, both specific and non-specific to the SLA were incorporated by the projects and attempts to draw linkages between these principles and evidence of poverty outcomes and impacts. Table 2 presents a broad overview of the nature in which the three SL-specific principles were employed by the 12 projects. 12
  18. 18. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Table 2. An overview of the incorporation of SL-specific principles Country Vulnerability Livelihoods focus Builds assets Finan Physi Human Social Natur cial cal al Capacity to store grain, Increased yield, storage, Honduras Significant positive impact on support other provinces agro-industrial crops, Increased food security, Nepal Farm-related IGA’s nutrition, irrigation Increased income, Yemen Training in various IGA’s rural poor increased opportunities Increased access to Indonesia Integration of livestock services – animal health NR recovery, drought Improved sustainable Ethiopia mitigation measures farming practices, IGA’s NR recovery, increased IGA’s, livestock, Myanmar food security, irrigation on-farm employment, Livelihoods diversification Sustainable management Some positive impact Cambodia (livestock, aquaculture, of forests/fishing grounds horticulture) on rural poor Increased food security, Bangladesh Homestead gardening nutrition & income Diversification, eco- Improved land & water friendly IGA’s, training in Bolivia management improved farming practices Increased incomes from Focus on rice production Gambia higher rice yields only Rangeland rehabilitation, Training in new livelihood positive on rural Pakistan impact Little watershed management strategies poor Increased production of Improved agricultural Zambia more nutritious crops practices; IGA’s 2.2.1 Analyzing the vulnerability context All cases engaged the three SL-specific principles, but to differing extents and with differing levels of success. The vulnerability context was generally characterised by food insecurity and malnutrition, a lack of disposable income, a limited asset base, the exploitation of natural resources and vulnerability to natural shocks. Efforts to address these issues mainly took the form of increasing the production of nutritious crops; promoting the sale of surplus crops to generate extra income; building human (training), social (group formation), financial (credit services), natural (planting of trees, seed and plant nurseries), and physical (treadle pumps, multi-storey trellises) capital; and the recovery of natural resource in order to decrease vulnerability to natural shocks. Boxes 6 and 7 illustrate further how these, and other principles were put into practice and how, using the cases of Honduras and Ethiopia respectively. 13
  19. 19. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Box 6. SL principles linked to key project impacts: Lempira Sur, Honduras7 The implementation of the first phase of the Lempira Sur project was undertaken in the context of accelerating impoverishment. Ever more extensive slash-and-burn agriculture and cattle ranching was leading to a rapid loss of soil fertility, which in turn, had prevented the regeneration of trees, destroyed local flora and fauna and dried out water sources, leading to heavy erosion and landslides. Project interventions were designed to support the communal recovery of natural assets by mimicking natural ecosystems (address vulnerability context, long-term sustainability), and promoting new production and land management technologies (e.g. the use of mulch, the spacing of seeds, live barriers) (building natural and human capital, focus on enhancing livelihoods). The adoption of agro-forestry and silvo-pastoral systems led to the reforestation of 10 000 hectares of land, while the large-scale implementation of soil conservation techniques (e.g. zero burning, zero tillage, hedges, cover crops) contributed to the regeneration of natural resources and to increased water retention (building natural, physical and human capital). Together, these achievements allowed participating households and communities to withstand the ravages of El Niño in 1997 and to maintain a grain surplus throughout (increased resilience and ability to withstand shock). The technologies promoted by the project proved resistant to drought and participating households experienced successful harvests (20% loss) as a result (building financial capital), whilst non-participating households suffered massive losses (80%) (Cherrett, 2000: 29). In addition, the region escaped the worst of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 due to the widespread adoption of project technologies which rendered the landscape highly resistant to the effects of the hurricane (increased resilience and ability to withstand shock). Lempira Sur continued to experience grain surpluses in the aftermath of Mitch due to the use of new locally built silos introduced by the project (building physical capital), and was able to mobilise famine relief aid to other parts of the country. To establish an enabling environment for people centred development and link households to departmental government, the Lempira Sur project supported the strengthening or creation of local governance institutions including Community Development Councils (CODECOs), the Municipal Development Council (CODEMS) and the mancomunidades (associations of more than one municipality). This resulted in enhanced capacity for informing decision-making from the bottom up – through CODECOs to the mancommunidades (good local governance and institutional linkages, multi-level). The project’s success, stemming from improved production systems and environmental sustainability whilst remaining a neutral/honest broker, also built the capacity of community members to organize themselves and reflect their priorities in policy decisions (building social capital, empowering). 7 Photos by Ian Cherrett, Rural Development in Lempira Sur Project. 14
  20. 20. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Box 7. SL Principles Linked to Key Project Impacts: Ethiopia8 The Ruba Lomine Integrated Rural Development Programme (IDRP), undertaken by Oxfam Canada and the Relief Society of Tigray in Ethiopia (partnerships), took account of a range of factors shaping the vulnerability context in the region. Issues around food security and nutrition, agricultural production, health and environmental sustainability were considered against the backdrop of a continuing drought, the key factor determining the vulnerability of households to poverty and food insecurity (holistic diagnosis). As such, a three-pronged approach was adopted to target the short, medium and long-term effects of drought at both the household and the community levels (addresses vulnerability context). A food-for- work programme associated with long-term environmental rehabilitation measures to reduce soil erosion and land degradation addressed both the immediate need for food and contributed to the prevention/mitigation of further drought (long-term sustainability, building natural and physical capital, increased resilience and ability to withstand shocks). It also helped to protect household assets, primarily livestock, from distress sales (Gotts, 1998). Local groups were formed to manage these activities and other communal resources such as water installations, in order to encourage local ownership of interventions and to ensure their sustainability beyond project completion (building social capital, enhances good governance and institutions, long-term sustainability). Training was provided in improved agricultural production techniques and in a range of income-generating activities, and a community credit fund was established (building human and financial capital, enhancing and diversifying livelihood strategies). These activities allowed farmers to continue production despite poor rains, and to diversify livelihoods away from a full dependence on agriculture. Households were also able to use the income gained from these other activities to purchase additional food to supplement subsistence production. Thus, while the area continued to be plagued by drought, the IRDP contributed to households’ ability to withstand related shocks in both the immediate and distant future by addressing not just the symptoms, but the root causes of food insecurity and poverty. 2.2.2 Building Assets All cases reviewed demonstrated evidence of increases in some/all five forms of assets: • Human asset development took the form of technical, vocational and organizational capacity-building provided to individuals, vulnerable/disadvantaged groups (poor, landless, women, female household heads, elderly, destitute), producer groups, community development associations, and local and national NGO’s and governmental institutions. • Social assets were built through the formation, training, cohesion and capacity-building of community groups, committees, farmer groups, and local leaders. While some projects 8 Photo taken from Noble, R. 2003. Collaborative Learning to Achieve Sustainable Livelihoods. A Final Evaluation Report of the Ruba Lomine Integrated Rural Development Programme. [http://www.livelihoods.org/lessons/docs/Oxfam_Eval.pdf]. 15
  21. 21. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies worked deliberately with pre-existing groups in the interest of cohesion and solidarity (Nepal, Gambia), others created new associations in the interest of social inclusivity (Yemen)9. • Financial assets were enhanced through income generation and savings as well as access to community development funds, community banks, or other credit schemes. • Physical assets were built through infrastructural support related to sanitation, water supply, roads, and shelter and storage facilities, and/or the provision of farming tools and other equipment (treadle pumps, multi-storey trellises, bee hives). • Natural assets or stocks were addressed in a variety of ways, including: a. The incorporation of productive resources, such as the planting of mulberry and apple trees in Pakistan. b. Providing access to, or the reclamation of land for, agricultural production. In Gambia, backswamps and tidal swamps were reclaimed through the construction of causeways and bridges. c. Addressing upstream-downstream relationships through integrated watershed management, as in Bolivia. d. Managing lands to mimic natural ecosystems, as in Honduras. e. Promoting improved farming and land use practices, such as in Cambodia, Myanmar and Pakistan. Box 8 presents the case of Yemen, where the building of assets through community organization, enterprise skills facilitation and access to credit and savings facilities was adopted as a key strategy in addressing rural poverty. 9 The dominance of elites, traditional leaders and other powerful groups in some parts of Yemeni society posed a challenge to the formation of Community Based Organisations under the CBRDP. In the interest of representing the needs of the wider community whilst also maintaining some element of existing power structures, CBO’s were formed by a mixture of traditional community leaders, ‘the poor’, women and other marginalised groups. 16
  22. 22. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Box 8. SL principles linked to key project impacts: CBRDP, Yemen10 The building of human, social and financial capital formed the core of the FAO/UNDP Community- Based Regional Development Programme (CBRDP) being implemented in five districts of Yemen, on the basis that these communities’ lack of specific skills was one of the factors preventing them from becoming active participants in the development process (people-centred). Under the project, 53 Community Development Organisations (CDO’s) were formed, each consisting of an Executive Body (EB), a General Assembly and various Technical Committees. These CDO’s were created to identify, implement and monitor poverty alleviation interventions, manage a newly-established community credit fund, and create effective linkages with institutions at different levels (enhancing good governance and institutions, multi-level linkages, building social and human capital). Ensuring the representation of the poor and women in all the functions of the CDO’s was key (socially inclusive). By 2003, the poor constituted 65% of all CDO members, while women formed 36% of all CDO members and 21% of EB members. Clear changes in the perception of the community towards women’s participation were noted, with initial refusal to allow women representatives in the EB’s giving way to a situation whereby a female chairperson was elected chairperson of the Gozr Al-Behar CDO. Through these CDO’s, communities have gone from passive recipients to active initiators of development interventions (empowering). Training in project design and proposal writing skills has allowed CDO’s to attract an additional $697 945 to fund local development activities through the community revolving credit fund (building financial capital). In coordination with CDO’s, government departments have also expanded and upgraded their coverage of services in project areas. Alongside measures designed to strengthen CDO’s, human capacity-building and training activities also took place. Development training was provided to improve technical, organisational, managerial, administrative and financial skills, and vocational training was given in 14 fields ranging from carpentry and plumbing, to perfume and ceramics production (focus on enhancing livelihoods, building human and social capital, not strictly sectoral). Gender was again a critical factor here, with women being exempted from certain training eligibility criteria in order to encourage their participation. Women made up 35% of all trainees, many of whom highlighted the significant, positive impact training had had on their feelings of self-confidence and self-worth (empowering). Vocational training and the availability of credit through the community revolving fund has led to the creation of numerous small businesses, which have helped diversify household income sources (reducing vulnerability to economic shock). There is evidence to suggest that, as a result of such businesses, the average household income has gone from YR 17 033 to YR 22 490, a rise of 26% (building financial capital). This income was allocated to higher-quality food (22.6%), healthcare (15.7%), children’s education (12.8%), Gat (12.2%), savings (10.3%), household assets (9.1%), expansion of existing business (6.5%), the creation of a new business (4.5%), the repayment of debts (3.5%), and others (2.8%), with women being more likely to allocate their incomes towards household wellbeing (food, health and education). 10 Photo by Stephan Bass, CBRDP. 17
  23. 23. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies 2.2.3 Livelihoods Focus All cases incorporated some form of livelihoods focus. Several good examples are demonstrated in Honduras, Yemen and Ethiopia (earlier Boxes 6, 7 and 8). What was difficult to clarify from the existing documentation was the degree to which livelihood strategies were intentionally developed based on pre-existing livelihood strategies and assets analysis of the ‘beneficiary’ communities, or based on over-riding intentions of the project donor organization. Examples from Ethiopia, Pakistan, Yemen and Gambia demonstrate the divergent approaches to incorporating a livelihoods focus (Box 9). Box 9. A livelihoods focus in practice In Ethiopia, the IDRP sought to render existing livelihood strategies more sustainable by coupling natural resource recovery measures with training in improved agricultural practices. Further training was provided in non-traditional farming activities such as bee-keeping, which takes up minimal or no land space and is thus a feasible strategy for small landowners as well as landless persons. In Pakistan, the PUCD programme sought to empower women by developing livelihood strategies adapted to the practice of purdah in the area. Whereas previous initiatives focused on ‘traditional’ activities such as embroidery, the PUCD piloted projects in household poultry-raising, sheep rearing, tailoring, latrine construction and homestead fruit and vegetable production. In Yemen, the ‘livelihoods focus’ principle was operationalised through the provision of development and vocational training, and through the creation of a community credit fund. Together, these allowed the expansion of existing livelihoods strategies and the identification and realisation of new, viable income-generating activities, helping to diversify household income sources and to increase household income levels. In Gambia, LADEP focused exclusively on increasing yields of monoculture rice in order to boost food security and income levels. It did so at the expense of other livelihoods strategies however. Human and financial capital were diverted away from upland crops (groundnuts) to lowland rice production, with potentially negative implications for nutritional levels and increased vulnerability to natural and economic shocks affecting rice. 2.2.4 Good Governance Governance refers to the form or strength of governing systems – structure, power, effectiveness, efficiency, rights and representation and addresses inter alia exercising political power; efficiency and accessibility of service providers; honesty, efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and accessibility; human rights; property rights; and decentralization. Although not true for all cases reviewed, there were some cases in which the principles of governance and/or multi-level linkages were well illustrated, and were articulated as: a. Strengthening customary village institutions (Gambia, Bolivia), or creating new village-level institutions (Myanmar, Yemen). b. Building community representation in local government (Zambia, Honduras). c. Building the capacity for participatory, multidisciplinary or collaborative approaches (Nepal, Pakistan, Honduras). 18
  24. 24. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies d. Enhanced responsiveness of local government to local priorities (Indonesia, Ethiopia). e. Building the service provision capacity of government agencies (Indonesia, Nepal). f. Influencing policy reform (Indonesia, Honduras, Bolivia, Nepal). In most cases, there was a link from household to local government and in some cases, a link to national government. Projects that stressed aspects of governance, multi-level linkages and institutions from the outset seemed better positioned to report an enhanced responsiveness to community and farmer priorities while impacting national efforts. A brief description of the governance and multilevel aspects of the Indonesia and Honduras cases are provided in Boxes 10 and 11 respectively. Box 10. Governance Principles linked to Outcomes in Indonesia11 The DELIVERI project in Indonesia was designed to address weaknesses in the delivery of livestock services to resource poor farmers, in recognition that existing service provision was rigid, under-responsive, and incapable of accommodating the varied needs of poor farmers. Through the introduction of more client- focused quality services approaches to livestock service provision within the Department of Livestock Services in four districts in Sulawesi, it was hoped that the programme would contribute to sustainable increases in wealth and enhance the self-reliance of small-scale and resource-poor farmers through increased livestock production. An extensive capacity-building programme was operated at all levels, from senior officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, to provincial and district level government staff, to national and local NGO staff, to private service providers. The project was able to influence two laws for planning and implementing livestock services and has influenced both farmer and government services capacity particularly in the development of a participatory and responsive extension service as well as behaviour changes related to time and quality management. DELIVERI participants were seen to be in a position to impact the World Bank Extension Reform Project and contribute to Ministry of Agriculture-wide thinking on participatory planning. 11 Photo taken from ‘Delivering Quality Services: Improving Community Services in Indonesia’ CD-ROM provided by Peter Bazely of the IDL Group. 19
  25. 25. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Box 11. Governance Principles linked to Outcomes in Honduras12 While the Lempira Sur Project in Honduras started out with, and maintained a focus on food security, it also invested heavily in governance. In 1999, it put in place a Governance Project (FAO, 2004) to support the reinforcement or creation of local governance institutions to develop planning efforts to link households to municipal government. The institutions included Community Development Councils (CODECOs), the Municipal Development Council (CODEMS) and the mancomunidades (associations of more than one municipality). The Lempira Sur project engaged government and local authorities in the planning process. Central government was appreciative of the positive on-the-ground changes that the project had made and this led to its collaboration with the project. As a result, the Municipal law was amended to legitimize the mancomunidades. Additionally, the efforts of the project were coherent with three national policies related to decentralization including the Master Plan for National Reconstruction and Transformation (1999), the Poverty Reduction Strategy (2001) and the Local Development and Decentralization Programme (2002). Maintaining a neutral ground, the project was able to create independence for small farmers, build the capacity for local government organization and self-management, and ensure that policy decisions better reflected the needs and priorities of the poor and vulnerable through political sensitization and training in open dialogue with mayors and candidates. The mayors have their own organization for negotiating with central institutions. Additionally, a two-way dynamic has been put in motion. The organizations and municipalities are negotiating for better services, while at the national level, some ministries are appreciating the fact that more of their services are available in the project area than before. 12 Photo by Ian Cherrett, Rural Development in Lempira Sur Project. 20
  26. 26. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies 2.2.5 Social Inclusivity and Empowerment The degree to which projects were socially inclusive and empowering varied greatly across projects. In some instances, projects specifically engaged multiple socio-economic groups including the poor and very poor (Honduras, Ethiopia, Myanmar), untouchables (Nepal, Box 11), and other marginalised groups (Yemen). In other cases, social inclusivity was expressed as including or working only/predominantly with women (Pakistan, Gambia and Bangladesh). Projects that made a concerted effort to ensure social inclusivity were often able to facilitate the empowerment of vulnerable/marginalised groups. This was articulated as: a. Significant changes in women’s position within the household, and access to and control of household income (Bangladesh, Box 12). b. Significant changes in the status of other marginalised/disadvantaged groups within the community (Myanmar). c. Enhanced problem solving by women (Nepal). d. Promoting the rights of communities to access natural resources (Cambodia). e. Empowering farmers to engage in extension planning (and criticism) and entrepreneurial activities promoted by women (Indonesia, Pakistan). f. Enhanced ability to initiate and be proactive in development (Yemen). g. Associations allowing small-scale farmers’ voices to be heard in policy debates (Gambia). h. Reduction in dependence on or use of an intermediary patron in times of trouble (Honduras). i. Bringing together local government and communities during project design (Ethiopia). 21
  27. 27. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Box 11. Empowerment of Women in Irrigation and Water Resources Management for Household Security, Nutrition and Health (WIN) The WIN project set out to empower women in irrigation management and provide access to productive resources while addressing food security, nutrition and health concerns (multi-sectoral). An underlying objective was to strengthen local and national capacity to effectively assist in the incorporation of gender, household food security, nutrition and health into irrigation and water management projects in the country. Project interventions included the diversification of crop production; home gardening; animal raising; community vegetable seedling nurseries; treadle pumps and spring water tapping; water storage devices; training in group organisation and strengthening, business skills, literacy/numeracy and technical issues ; . As many as 2555 households in four districts benefited and the project worked with 6128 women and 1031 men. The project had successful experience of recapitalising food insecure households, especially resource poor Kamayas (impact on most poor, socially inclusive). Overall, the project reported influencing as many as 15,000 women, men and children. Nutrition and health has improved through nutritious food, cleaner domestic habits, the use of boiled water, and changes in birthing practices. There was evidence of income generation from farm sales (financial capital), time savings for women and children, improved food security (reduced food insecure months from 9 to 0-2 months), improvement in social factors (children in school and getting health care). Women have been empowered through group formation efforts including water users committees, participation in water management and group savings; training in literacy, leadership, gender, women’s rights; and access to women friendly technologies, Equitable sharing of work loads, reduction in domestic violence and women making claims for services from government line agencies have also been reported. Women were noted as being better able to solve their own problems (human and social assets). Local women were also trained as social mobilizers. Additionally there were changes in attitudes and practices of extension staff that evolved from sectoral to multi-sectoral teams to interact with communities and farmers (empowering, good governance, responsiveness). The most vulnerable and food insecure groups (landless, freed Kamayas, Dalits and others) were identified during participatory appraisals. The project was encouraged to work the existing On-Farm Water Management (OFWM) project, it was noted that these groups would not have been assisted. The Nepal team worked with more well-off participants through the OFWM yet found a way to work with the most vulnerable through collaborative arrangements with GTZ (socially inclusive, working in partnership). The WIN approach was noted as having a potential role in mitigating severe food insecurity in conflict and recovery situations. While WIN can assist conventional irrigation and water resources projects to integrate health, nutrition, and gender aspects, the approach has been shown to play a constructive role through peace/conflict mitigation and the promotion of peace and reconciliation. Team building as a part of the process allowed for successful work. The project managed to succeed during assassination and insurgencies at project sites and the team continued their work at considerable personal risk. WIN staff included part time government officers assigned to line ministries and 2-3 long-term, experienced national consultants, and through sensitization and participatory process training, the project built cohesive, multi-disciplinary multi-district teams. They were able to respond to local needs and considered to be highly effective with regard to technical expertise, gender awareness, conflict management and project reporting. While the WIN project has helped the Nepal government (governance) focus on gender mainstreaming, participatory poverty assessments, and demand-driven responses to local needs, the Nepal government has recognized the WIN approach as being cost effective 22
  28. 28. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies Box 12. Strengthening Household Access to Bari Garden Extension Services (SHABGE)13 SHABGE was implemented by CARE, in partnership with 23 local NGOs in five districts of Bangladesh. The project aimed to improve the household food security, consumption and nutrition of poor and marginalised women and men farmers (people-centred). Because women constituted the greatest number of disadvantaged groups however, 99% of project participants were female (disaggregated interventions). Participants were all poor, but to differing extents. Some were landless, while others had access to between 2-25 decimals of land14. SHABGE also worked with elderly women and widows, who are often neglected or subjected to violence because they are seen as a burden to the household (Bartlett, 2002) (socially inclusive). Through a programme of Farmer Field School training (building human and social capital; livelihoods focus), these women experienced small increases in yields of fruit and vegetables (building natural capital). This in turn had generally led to increased household consumption and improved health (fewer skin complaints and eye problems were specifically cited), as well as increases in household incomes through the sale of surplus produce (increasing resilience to health-related shocks; building financial capital). Whilst women were highly appreciative of these outcomes, they particularly valued the impact the project had had on their status within the household and community. Participation in SHABGE had strengthened women’s decision-making ability, their access, control and use material resources, and their access to knowledge and technology (Wilson & Hussain, 2002). Women noted that their husbands and families had begun to treat them with more respect, that they were now participating in household decision-making and that their control over household income had increased. In addition, participants were now considered locally as experts in homestead gardening (Bartlett, 2002a) and were consulted by other community members on new farming practices and technologies (empowering). 13 The picture in this text box shows Rokeya Begum, a landless entrepreneur and FFS participant. It is taken from Bartlett: 2002. 14 0.02-0.25 acres (100 decimals = 1 acre), or 81-1012 m2. 23
  29. 29. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies 2.2.6 Participation Social inclusivity and empowerment were often closely associated with the nature and quality of participatory processes put in place by a particular project. One of the aspects which contributed to strengthening the impact of the five more successful projects was precisely the strength of the participatory processes that they set in motion. Aspects of participation included: a. Ethiopia: High levels of community participation in the problem identification, planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation phases of the IRDP. Actions undertaken to ensure community participation in programme activities included the creation and support of local committees, interventions specifically targeting women, the landless and female-headed households, and the training of local Community Development Cadres. b. Honduras: The completion of participatory diagnoses with groups, communities and villages within the project target area. These diagnoses were reviewed by project teams and the capacity of the project to respond was analysed. On this basis, teams negotiated a plan of work with the participating communities. At the end of the first year of implementation, and each year after that, the project carried out a process of participatory evaluation and diagnosis, the results of which were in turn reviewed by senior management and project priorities and activities altered accordingly. c. Indonesia: The provision of training to farmers groups and Dinas Peternakan (Department of Livestock) staff to use more participatory approaches to project planning and implementation, as part of the strategy to provide more client-oriented livestock services to farmers. The Community Livestock Action Planning (CLAP) was developed as a participatory project appraisal and planning approach targeted at farmers and farmer groups in DELIVERI project villages. CLAP substantially increased DP staff understanding of livestock production issues within their districts, provided valuable background information about constraints and opportunities for livestock development, and strengthened the capacity of farmers groups to develop their own activities. d. Myanmar: Ensuring the participation of community members through a range of community-based organisations established under the project, including Farmers Income Generating Groups, Livestock Income Generating Groups, Affinity Groups (self-help groups) and Village Forestry Groups. e. Nepal: The formation of multi-sectoral district and national teams who were trained in participatory and gender responsive methodologies, and who carried out participatory assessments and gender action planning in local sites. Target groups included women, marginalised indigenous groups and food insecure households. These groups were trained by district staff in specialized topics, and were then supported in implementing their own plans and activities. f. Yemen: The formation of Community Development Associations that took account of traditional power structures (by promoting the participation of local tribal leaders) whilst also ensuring the participation of poorer and marginalised community members and women. Based on a sample of 33% of all CDO members, 74% were found to be poor, representing 65% of total CDO membership. Women’s participation was somewhat lower at 37%. 24
  30. 30. SL project impact on the rural poor – lessons from twelve case studies 2.2.7 Partnerships & Multi-level, Macro-Micro Linkages Establishing strong partnerships proved to be a critical factor both in ensuring widespread participation and geographical coverage, and in contributing towards the longer-term sustainability of project achievements. Through some of its many partners, WIN Nepal was able to work with the non-poor (through the World Bank) and the most vulnerable groups (through GTZ). It was also able to continue working with isolated communities in areas of insurgency through its district teams. Linkages spanning the community, district and national levels were also key in facilitating the adoption of successful project strategies at the institutional level. In Gambia, 12 District Level Lowland Farmer Associations created under LADEP were linked to the National Farmers Platform and to the National Women’s Farmers Associations, facilitating the representation of local needs at the national level. As a result, attitudes towards rural development were influenced within the government, whose capacity to adopt self-help-based and demand-driven approaches was built and where the importance of combining social development with engineering works was recognised. Participatory training provided by LADEP also increased the capacity of government extension staff and transformed their way of working with rural communities. 2.3 Aspects that Challenged the Achievement of Positive Change While there was significant evidence of the positive impacts many of the 12 projects had had on rural poverty reduction, project performance was not always favourable. Five of the projects in particular faced some/major constraints in effecting positive impacts on the rural poor (Table 3). Table 3. Projects that faced challenges in achieving successful poverty reduction Cases that had some positive impacts on the rural Cases that had limited positive impacts on the poor rural poor Bangladesh Pakistan Bolivia Zambia Gambia These challenges centred around both project-related constraints (those within the power of the project to control) and wider constraints (those beyond the direct control of the project). The pattern that emerged from these challenges, discussed in more detail below, was one whereby project-related constraints appeared to be linked to the inconsistent application of some of SL- specific and non-SL-specific principles. 2.4 Project-related Constraints 2.4.1 Participation, social inclusivity, and enhancing the livelihood strategies of the poor All projects made some attempt to mainstream participation throughout the various stages of the project cycle and to address the needs and enhance the livelihood strategies of the most vulnerable groups. A number of projects however experienced difficulties in this due to design weaknesses. Local stakeholders were not consulted prior to the design of CARE’s SHABGE project in Bangladesh for example, and difficulties were experienced in encouraging women’s participation due to strict socio-religious codes limiting women’s mobility and presence in the public sphere. In one district, it took facilitators four months to satisfy the minimum participation requirement of 20 women and only after extensive negotiation with husbands, elites and local politicians to explain the project’s goal and strategy. Women’s lack of involvement in project design also had 25

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