FAO, UNDP Use Village Savings and Loans Program to Empower Farmers

first_imgBeneficiaries of the Village savings and loans program distribute money among members.The United Nations Peacebuilding project, jointly implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) focusing on components within their mandate and comparative advantage, continues to reach out to the most vulnerable rural populations especially young women by providing the needed alternative livelihood opportunities.The Multi-Partnership Trust Fund Project titled: “Strengthening Conflict Prevention through the Establishment of Multi-stakeholders Platforms and Improved Alternative Livelihoods” led by FAO, is providing increased support to nine (9) concession affected communities in Bomi (Gbar-Jakeh, Beh-sao and Moore Town) and Nimba (Sippi Town, Zolowee, Minkinto and Sayeaga).The two agencies are jointly coordinating their efforts alongside the Government of Liberia to reach out to over 1500 direct beneficiaries in Bomi and Nimba Counties.UNDP coordinates the aspects on establishing and capacitating multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) that incorporate opinion leaders including civil society representatives and local leaders (town chiefs, commissioners, women and youth) and (MSP) is strategically positioned between the government, concessionaires, and these communities. The MSP is “an innovative approach for peacebuilding and social cohesion. It works to ensure effective prevention and resolution of concessions land-related conflicts. These platforms have helped resolve differences amicably, preserving agreements between all parties through MoUs and consensus”.FAO leads the component that helps provide sustainable alternative livelihood to affected communities. Through a local Implementing Partner “Universal Empowerment Mission”, FAO rolled out an intensive two-week capacity development exercise for targeted beneficiaries simultaneously in the seven (7) project communities in the two counties. The exercise aimed to equip the beneficiaries with skills and knowledge in Business Management and Marketing, and Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) for sustainable access to credit, agriculture-based income generating activities and social cohesion in group spirit. The training targeted seven (7) VSLA groups comprising 240 young women (cassava, poultry and vegetables producers) across the two project counties.FAO provided agriculture inputs and post-harvest facilities In addition to the VSLA and Business Management and Marketing capacity enhancement support, FAO is providing support to the farming communities consisting of women farmers who make up majority of Liberia’s smallholder producers and agricultural labour force with improved rice seeds, cassava cuttings and hand tools, backed by extension services to enhance production and productivity.Two post-harvest facilities have been constructed and equipped with agro processors in the counties to enable farmers minimize post-harvest losses.Farmers embraced the ideas of FAO and government of Liberia  Emmanuel N. Zangbory, Secretary of the SLAC Farmers’ Cooperative in Nimba County, which hosts four communities, described the training as “rewarding” adding, “This is the first time for such a training to be introduced to our farmers. This is helpful, it will encourage the women to get involved in agriculture.”He noted that since the introduction of the project in the four communities, farmers have been actively, working in groups, and agricultural activities are moving well among them. “The women here only depend on farming, this will be a great help for them,” he added.George Dale, Program Officer, Universal Empowerment Mission, added that from the training, the women have established by-laws and constitutions that will ensure effective regulation and management of the groups activities and engender them sustainably. “We introduced to them group election, meeting procedures, business management and social fund policies and practices as well as constitutional development,” he noted. Further, he mentioned that the training also provided the opportunity for the groups to have a broader knowledge on loan disbursement and repayment to enable them to identify their income at the end of the cycle. He added that the project is a unifier as women are brought together and united under a common purpose, expressed enthusiasm in acquiring the knowledge to enhance their agriculture activities.A clearly ecstatic Bendu Scott, Chairlady, “Think for tomorrow” VSLA group in Beh-sao, Bomi County, took the podium, and speaking on behalf of her group, requested FAO for additional support to consider expanding the training to reach out to other women.The chairlady of the thirty (30) women’s group underscored the importance of the training, “We are so happy for your support. We appeal to FAO to provide similar support to other women who are not part of this training. This is an opportunity that is provided to help us increase our production.” She added that women from the three communities (Gbar-Jakeh, Beh-sao and Moore Town), in Bomi benefited from the training.She noted that the VSLA introduced by FAO will improve their agriculture production, empower them economically and improve their self-reliance (dependence on their husbands).Next StepsWorking through the Government of Liberia, FAO Liberia, UNDP, and its partners, will ensure that gains made are sustained. To this end, some capacity support has been provided to the GoL to undertake monitoring and follow-up actions through the decentralized structures of the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Bureau of Concessions.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Federal aid may be in pipeline to repair storm drain system

first_imgSome of the pipes already are beginning to deteriorate. Many will need to be relined and some will have to be replaced entirely, he added. Because of the aging system, the city has already experienced some minor failures of its storm drain system, including on Figures Street and on Greenworth Drive, he said. The Army Corps of Engineers will look at 11 sites in the city and recommend solutions to improve drainage. Most of the sites are in the southern part of La Mirada, although one is in the Foster Road area and another is near Creek Park. The study, which will cost $248,000, is expected to be completed by the end of this year, Forster said. Sanchez, D-Lakewood, praised Boxer for working to include the funding and the Senate for passing the bill. LA MIRADA – The city is now on track to receive up to $4million in federal funding to help replace an aging storm drain system that has already experienced some minor failures, officials announced this week. Rep. Linda Sanchez sought the funding, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., helped ensure it was included as part of a federal water resources bill, the Water Resources Development Act, which the Senate approved this week in a 91-4 vote. Although no cost estimate is yet available on repairing the system – a study by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will help determine that later this year – $4 million in federal aid will help substantially, said Steve Forster, La Mirada’s public works director. “What has happened over the years is that we had corrugated metal pipes used in the storm drain system. They were supposed to have a life of 20 years, but many have been in place for 50 years,” he said. “This vote opens the door for bringing federal investments home for an innovative flood control system that will help protect homes in La Mirada from flood damage while also enhancing our environment,” she said in a written statement. First, however, Senate and House representatives must still meet in a conference committee to work out any differences between their respective water resources bills. The final bill must then be passed by both chambers before going to the president. But Sanchez appeared confident of passage. “This project will demonstrate that even small changes in the way we build our communities can create lasting benefits,” she said. mike.sprague@sgvn.com (562)698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more