Dec 17th, 2012 9:00 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Tonya Rawe, Senior Policy Advocate, CARE USA, calls on leaders to integrate climate change into our “comprehensive approach” to global food security.
Manik Lal Lahere of Banahil, Chhattigarh, India and Maria Mathayo of Bangalala, Tanzania may live thousands of miles apart. But they are facing one challenge together: changing rainfall patterns.
It’s hard to grow food when rain is scarce. Photo credit: Aurélie Ceinos
“When there is no water, nothing will grow on that land. As a result, one has to migrate,” said Lahere.
For Mathayo, the challenge of unpredictable rainfall is similar.
“If the rains stop, there is nothing we can do. Only God can help us then. We have nowhere to go,” she said.
The reality for Manik Lal Lahere and Maria Mathayo and their families resembles a reality for countless other smallholder farmers in poor communities around the world. Their ability to feed their families – and their very survival – depend directly on the climate and the environment around them. With too much, too little, or increasingly unpredictable rain, they cannot grow food and are left with few options. There is often little choice but for these families to move. Yet as the impacts of climate change increase, even moving may not help.
Migrating is not always the best option for families looking for better resources. Photo credit: Aurélie Ceinos
“I moved from the mountain to find water here in the Ruvu Valley. But now that water has gone too,” said Leonard Rabieti of Ruvu Mferejini, Tanzania. “It has dried up.”
Around the world, poor communities live on the edge of crisis without resources and support systems to enable them to adapt or to serve as a safety net in times of crisis. As a result, in the context of climate change, poor communities experience more hunger and face greater challenges to “graduate” out of poverty.
At the recently concluded climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar, CARE & United Nations University released an 8-country study, Where the Rain Falls, that examines the relationship among rainfall changes, hunger, and human mobility or migration. The study aims to increase understanding of how families manage in these uncertain circumstances and how they use the option to move as a way of adapting to a changing climate. The research reveals that the decision to move (generally within a country’s borders) is not always a bad decision. At the same time, it isn’t always a good one.
Agriculture is a major source of income for many families in the developing world. Photo credit: Aurélie Ceinos
For some families, when one person moves for education or better job opportunities, the whole family can benefit. For others who move because of food shortage or because their agriculture-based livelihood doesn’t provide enough food or income, migration is a last resort that merely enables them to maintain the status quo.
For others, like Manik Lal Lahere and his family, migrating can actually have a negative effect. The entire Lahere family migrates together rather than split up, but as a result, their children are pulled out of school, harming their chances for advancement as adults.
Or migration can make the family members left behind more vulnerable: in Bangladesh where 97 percent of migrants in the research communities are men, women who are left behind when husbands migrate not only have an increased burden to care for their families, households, and agricultural activities but also face sexual harassment. When fathers migrate, some families decide to marry off their daughters early so they don’t experience sexual harassment, which can carry a stigma, while the father is away.
Where the Rain Falls reveals that poor families need better choices in the face of hunger and a changing climate. Climate change poses a real threat to global efforts to address hunger, threatening to decrease agriculture yields and water availability – and increase hunger. One study shows that climate change could leave 25 million more children malnourished by 2050.
Where the Rain Falls and the climate crisis also signal the need for a new, holistic approach to tackling global hunger. Climate change requires that policymakers and practitioners take climate change – impacts, vulnerability and projections – into account when designing food security programs. Programs must engage communities to prepare for impacts like the floods we witnessed during our research in Vietnam – floods that can wipe out an entire harvest. Food security programs must ensure farmers (women and men) have access to weather and climate projections so they can plan for farming and for their future.
Food security programs also should integrate efforts to build the capacity of poor communities to engage in local, regional, and national planning processes to ensure that their needs are recognized and prioritized. And we must address social inequalities that drive vulnerability to climate change: when women have less access to resources or decision-making power, they are less able to plan for their families, yet they are often left responsible for tasks that are sensitive to climate change, like fetching water or growing food.
Climate change demands more than business as usual. In the lives of poor smallholder farmers, the only silos are those in their dreams to store vast amounts of grain. There’s no separation between water, soil health, food, fuel, or health. When families struggle – when water is scarcer and further away, when food runs short, when poor soil leads to small yields – hunger, malnutrition, and poor health result.
So when we talk about the need for a “comprehensive approach” to food and nutrition security, “comprehensive” must mean integration of natural resource management and of climate change. An integrated world that looks at the environment and climate is the world in which smallholder farmers live and the foundation on which their survival depends.
To learn more about Where the Rain Falls, or hear more of the Lahere and Mathayo families’ story, visit www.wheretherainfalls.org where the global report and a 12-minute policy film are available.
Dec 16th, 2012 11:00 AM UTC
By Katherine Lay
3.5 billion people live in resource-rich countries but many are not profiting from these resources. Weak governance is leaving countries “cursed” by conflict and corruption. The Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) was created to help change this. The EITI’s globally developed standard promotes extractives revenue transparency by calling for the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining.
Tanzania has just reached an extractives transparency milestone. On 12 December, the EITI declared Tanzania compliant with its standard. Tanzania joins 9 other African countries with EITI compliance status. The Tanzanian government is now obliged to produce annual EITI reports that disclose and reconcile all revenues from the extractives sector. Independent audits will indicate payments made to governments by companies and payments received by governments from companies.
A gold miner in Shinyanga, Tanzania
Regular monitoring of government and company performance will beam a spotlight on a sector that is traditionally opaque, opening its operations to the public and empowering citizens and oversight institutions with information about extractives financial flows that will enable them to hold governments and companies to account. Tanzanian citizens, journalists and parliamentarians will be able to play their part in monitoring government and company performance and preventing corruption, misuse of public resources and illicit capital flight. Compliance with the EITI is an essential step towards opening the entire extractives supply chain – from how access to those resources is granted, to monitoring operations, to collecting taxes, to sound macroeconomic management and distribution of revenues, and to spending resources effectively for sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
This milestone is timely. 79% of Tanzania’s population lives below the poverty line. The current commodity price boom represents a unique opportunity for the government to mobilize home-generated wealth from its natural resources to tackle the country’s socio-economic development challenges. Improved transparency in the management of revenue from these resources will be critical to Tanzania’s growth trajectory.
The EITI’s endorsement will also be sending a clear signal to investors that the Tanzanian government is committed to open management of its extractives sector and to making itself more accountable for the use of revenue that it manages on behalf of its citizens. The Tanzanian EITI multi-stakeholder working group of government, civil society and company representatives, which is overseeing the country’s EITI reporting, will continue to help build partnership and trust between different stakeholders, and to give civil society a critical voice in the extractives resource management process.
The EITI and Tanzania’s compliance with its standard is not a cure-all for the massive problems and leakages plaguing the extractives sector. It is, however, an important starting point for progress.
Oct 26th, 2012 2:58 PM UTC
By Isabelle De Lichtervelde
For decades, farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa have been struggling to produce enough food from the land they have. But in Eastern Kenya, more than 50,000 farmers are now using a clever new technique that prevents pests and weeds from destroying crops. The results are pretty amazing. The system, called ‘Push-Pull’, is now being redeveloped to tackle the additional pressures on food security brought about by climate change.
The ‘Push-Pull’ system, originally developed over 20 years ago by the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) works by mixing plants that ‘push’ pests and weeds away from the crop and others that ‘pull’ pests to border areas to lay their eggs where they cause less harm.
It’s a simple but revolutionary idea that can almost double the amount of food farmers can produce from their available land. What’s more it’s cheap enough and doesn’t require complex technology that would put it out of reach of smallholder farmers. The system uses locally-available plants and fits well with traditional African mixed cropping systems.
“I have experienced tremendous improvement,” boasts Emai Ikapolok David, a farmer from the North Teso District in Kenya. “Before, I used to get 50 kg from a 0.4-acre plot, but now with push-pull I get 540 kg of maize from the same plot. My soil fertility level has also improved and there is a clear decrease in striga (a type of weed) and stemborer (a pest) in the garden.”
The community has also benefitted from a feeling of greater security. “Theft cases have reduced because everybody has enough to feed on,” says Eric Odhiambo, Sub-chief of Ginga Sub- Location in Siaya District.
But farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, and around the world are facing a new threat from global climate change. The rising uncertainties in the region’s rain-fed agriculture have created more demand for ‘push-pull’, and its further development to help crops withstand the increasingly adverse and changeable weather conditions.
In March 2011, ICIPE launched a project called ADOPT (Adaptation and Dissemination of the Push-Pull Technology to Climate Change). The €2.9 million, EU-funded project aims to create a drought-tolerant form of Push-Pull. The aim is to reach one million farming households by 2020.
“Thanks to the funding we have received from the EU, we have been able to do further research and to reach more farmers and more countries,” Zeyaur Khan, ICIPE project coordinator of ADOPT says. “Through our research, we found [push-pull] plants that are better than previous used plants,” says Khan. “They can survive a very long period of drought.”
The ADOPT project will directly benefit 50,000 smallholder cereal and livestock farmers. It will also improve food availability for half a million people living in areas that are dry and vulnerable to climate change in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
The results are impressive. “The deployment and adoption of a drought-adapted Push-Pull has increased yields by three times,” Khan says. “In the long term it will also improve the soil fertility. Farmers won’t have to use fertilizers anymore.”
Without EU funding, Khan says ICIPE wouldn’t have been able to adapt the Push-Pull technique to climate change. “Other donors are funding only the standard push pull,” he says, “so this funding is very very important for us, for the countries we are working in, and for smallholder famers facing long drought and who cannot produce enough food for themselves.”
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) is an international scientific research institute headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. ICIPE’s mission is to help alleviate poverty, ensure food security and improve the overall health status of peoples in the tropics by developing and extending management tools and strategies for harmful and useful arthropods, while preserving the natural resource base through research and capacity building.
For more information about ICIPE, visit: http://www.icipe.org
For more information about push-pull technology, visit: http://www.push-pull.net
Oct 22nd, 2012 3:40 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
The following is a guest blog is by Diana Shuma, Advocacy officer, DSW Tanzania.
Thanks to an EU-funded programme that promotes community healthcare, 36 staff have been deployed to a region of Tanzania where health workers were once virtually non-existent.
The village of Kware in the Hai District of Tanzania has long faced an acute shortage of health personnel. As a result, local health services have suffered.
Fifteen years ago, Kware’s only midwife passed away. Since then, the area – with a population of some 11,000 people – has been covered by just one doctor.
The situation was grave, as Manka Kway from the development and advocacy organisation DSW Tanzania explains: “Women, sometimes in urgent need of medical care, had to wait for the doctor to come back the next day or travel to another health facility. This costs money and is time-consuming and it endangers lives, especially of pregnant women and young children. We have been told that early this year a woman lost twins on her way to the district hospital. This could have been prevented had there been a full-time doctor or nurse at the dispensary.”
Masama South Ward Councillor Issa Kisanga tried to bring the situation to the attention of district health authorities. “We sent letters to the district medical officer asking for a new midwife for the village and were promised this would happen if we could just provide accommodation for her. Because of the urgent need for a midwife, we built a house for a midwife using our own money. But when it was finished, we did not get a new midwife and the house remained empty for more than 15 years.”
Thankfully help is at hand from an EU-funded project called Healthy Action. Since 2010, DSW has run the project in Tanzania, which empowers communities to advocate effectively on health issues. This includes holding their leaders and governments responsible and accountable for decisions that affect their lives.
In March 2012, the project brought together 32 community representatives from three villages, including Kware, to discuss the state of reproductive health services with district health officials. The result: new funds to recruit additional health workers to the district.
“For this financial year we have planned to employ an additional 36 health staff, including midwives. Priority will be given to health facilities at the community level and at the district hospital when allocating the new health staff,” says Dr Paul Chaote, Hai District Medical Officer, who took part in the consultation.
Healthy Action has shown ordinary Tanzanians that they can – and should – have a say in decisions affecting their health and well-being, and hold decision-makers accountable. By doing this, the project will contribute to better health for community members in the years to come.
DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung) is an international development and advocacy organisation. It empowers young people and communities in low- and middle-income countries by addressing the issue of population dynamics and by improving health as key to sustainable development. Find out more at www.dsw-online.org.
Mar 27th, 2012 1:14 PM UTC
By Wangui Muchiri
This post first appeared on the ONE Africa blog
When ONE and ANSAF delivered a petition earlier this month on behalf of more 16,000 African citizens to Tanzania’s State House, our message was received with the urgency it deserved.
President Jakaya Kikwete had invited several African Ambassadors and the donor community to witness this event and it was clear to us from the word go that the president was indeed taking the issue of food insecurity in Africa very seriously. An event that was supposed to take about an hour, ended up with us being at Ikulu for more than three hours with President Kikwete having time for each and everyone present. He took time to mingle and speak not only with the Ambassadors present but also the small holder farmers personally.
These informal meetings and conversation saw President Kikwete ask the farmers to return the very next day, so that he could hear first hand what they would like to see his government do to boost agriculture in the rural areas.
This humble gesture left us rest assured that the petition could not have been in better hands. As if to confirm this notion, President Jakaya Kikwete went ahead and did two things:
For us this was a clear demonstration of an African leader taking responsibility and showing leadership on an issue that has the potential of transforming the whole continent.
Mar 1st, 2012 1:53 PM UTC
By Wangui Muchiri
“Farming is the future. Famines should be consigned to history.”
A group of smallholder farmers and ordinary African citizens marched to State House in Tanzania today, to deliver a petition signed by more than 16,000 African ONE members. This was the first time Tanzanian President Kikwete had received a continent wide petition, and the first time ONE had delivered a petition on African soil.
ONE members and partner organisations march to State House
President Jakaya Kikwete captured the soul of the event when he explained its importance, saying:
“It is important because it reminds us that Agriculture is the life-blood of our country, sustaining our people in towns and villages and meeting their basic needs.”
ONE’s Dr Sipho Moyo presents the petition to President Kikwete
Mrisho Mpoto (aka MJOMBA) a famous East African poet, agreed:
“Hunger is not acceptable. Hunger makes people suffer, affects child’s mental growth, diminishes the honour of the family and nation. World leaders have a role to play. Invest in agriculture, support the future generation and attain the MDGs”
The petition calls on African leaders to provide greater food security for ordinary Africans by investing more in support for smallholder farmers. ANSAF, (Agricultural Non State Actors Forum), who have been key partners in the Hungry No More campaign, were also present. Campaigners called on President Jakaya Kikwete to take the lead on investment in sustainable agriculture, setting the standard for other African Heads of State.
Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, Africa Director at ONE, said:
“If you want to reduce poverty, you need to go where poverty is. Reducing poverty will mean targeting investments towards smallholders in order to employ local labor, supply local markets and spend earnings in local markets which creates multiplier effects in rural economies, improves local food self-sufficiency and reduces rural inequality.
This is why President Jakaya Kikwete’s government commitment to continue focusing on building an enabling environment for smallholder farmers, is encouraging. Currently only 7 African countries have kept their promise to do 10% – this number must increase by the tenth anniversary in 2013, and we are delighted Tanzania is leading the way”.
The petition also challenges African leaders to demonstrate their resolve in tackling famine and other agriculture related problems on the continent by:
The petition is part of a campaign led by ONE in Africa, ANSAF and other African partners stressing on the importance of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than three-quarters of the poor live outside of urban centres and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
Audax Rukonge, ANSAF’s Executive director said:
“MKUKUTA and the Tanzania Five Year Development Plan commits the government to address food insecurity and poverty, among others. In the Tanzanian context, and probably most of African countries, poverty is a rural phenomenon, and agriculture is the main livelihood source. Tanzania can attain some of the Millennium Development as well as MKUKUTA Goals if we invest in agriculture and particularly smallholder farmers. Let us increase the share of agriculture that benefits smallholders and transform the sector for equitable economic growth”.
Studies show that in 2010 agriculture contributed at least 24% to Tanzania’s GDP, accounted for 60% of its labor and provided 34% of its exports. This was far more than the 17.3% contributed by the Manufacturing, 28.2% from minerals and 22.5% from the tourism industry. The strategic importance of agriculture to Tanzania’s fight against poverty is therefore not debatable.
The potential for agriculture in Tanzania and across the region is immense – the right investments now can help ensure that agriculture helps lead the economic transformation of the continent. Currently, Tanzania spends close to 7% of its budget on Agriculture. Nearly ten years ago African leaders made an historic promise to their people, – especially those amongst the poorest – it was to spend at least 10% of the budget on agriculture and farming. Few have kept this promise. Before the 10th anniversary its time they all did so as part of other improvements to beat hunger and boost wellbeing across Africa.
Following today’s event ONE and partners will take the campaign to forthcoming regional events including the AU Summit in Malawi in July.
A big thank you to all ONE members who signed the petition. With your help we really are making a difference!
Jan 7th, 2010 4:19 PM UTC
By Jessica Gomez-Duran
John Githongo, anti-corruption activist and chair of the organizations Zinduko and Twaweza in Kenya, popped in to the ONE office in London recently and took some time out to talk to us.
Twaweza (which means “we can make it happen” in Swahili) is a 10 year initiative that was launched last year. It seeks to enable people in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to improve their quality of life by getting them to become more informed and motivated, and thereby holding their governments accountable.
Digital technology and mobile communications will play an important role. In this short clip John talks about mobile phones and their growing presence and significance across the continent. According to a BBC report, Africa has the fastest-growing mobile phone market in the world, with 4 in 10 people now having a mobile phone. In Kenya there are over 15 million handsets in use whereas that number used to be more like 15,000 a decade ago. As well as personal communication, mobile phones are fast becoming vital for distributing news, and are a valuable tool to help citizens become powerful agents of sustainable change.
Watch the video:
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.