This is the second-phase of a two-phase initiative financed by the World Bank targeting three communities – WHICH – where poverty and destitution are widespread and individuals require further assistance to raise their incomes and livelihoods.
The first phase focused on sustainable agricultural interventions aimed at raising productivity and reducing degradation: water and soil conservation, irrigation schemes, tree planting and improved livestock production.
In the second phase these activities are being supplemented by income-generating activities in target communities, including livestock breeding opportunities, handicrafts, and honey-production. Service industries and businesses have also been created by communities. These include carpentry businesses that can help with the construction of agricultural inputs such as beehives, and mechanical and repair enterprises which can help to repair important types of machinery such as mechanical pumps.
These are seen as a way of generating employment opportunities within communities – and thereby maximizing development impacts. This initiative is participatory and inclusive, avoiding traditional top-down approaches, and includes lengthy consultations with local communities in target communities, seeking to understand their specific needs.
Also involved is a process of institutionalization. The initiative also encourages communities to form their own elected ‘development committees’ which act as a liaison between government officials and the local population. These work alongside government to develop local development plans, identifying potential areas of intervention, and also explore opportunities to access funding for these projects.
There is also a degree of central coordination with a designated management team at the Ministry of Agriculture.
These teams also have the responsibility of identifying suitable individuals who are capable of managing small-scale income-generating activities, taking into consideration criteria such as age, gender, and areas of expertise and knowledge.
The target beneficiaries – women and young graduates – are chosen for a reason.These activities provide women and households with additional sources of income, thereby helping to raise the well-being of households.
Graduates are chosen because they face a situation of rising unemployment and limited economic opportunities. Yet, it has been recognized that they have skills and knowledge that could be applied to the development of micro-enterprises, providing assistance that could ensure long-term stability and growth. Given that this is a group who routinely opt to migrate away from areas of implementation, providing options and economic opportunities helps to prevent the problem of debilitating out-migration and retain crucial sources of human development that are needed to help these regions develop and emerge from periods of economic stagnation.