Issue 27 – May 2015

Change of the Division's Regional Director

Périn Saint Ange, Regional Director for East and Southern Africa (ESA), was recently appointed Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of the President and Vice President in IFAD, effective 1 February 2015. Périn has successfully headed the ESA Division for three years, since February 2012. His focus on policy dialogue, partnerships and increasing IFAD’s in-country presence, has resulted in many effective changes to the division, thus furthering the commitment to improve IFAD's impact on rural poverty in the ESA region. At the same time, he highlighted the need to continue the pursuit of efficiency gains in design, supervision and implementation support costs to maximise budgetary constraints.

   
 

 

Sana F. K. Jatta
© IFAD
 

He was replaced by Mr. Sana F. K. Jatta, a Gambian national, as the new Regional Director of East and Southern Africa (ESA), effective April 1st 2015. Sana Jatta has extensive institutional and regional knowledge and experience in the field of rural development and poverty alleviation from a career spanning three continents, especially Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions, but also Latin America focusing on partnerships and south-south cooperation. Prior to joining IFAD, he worked for the Government of The Gambia, first as the Deputy Head of the Agricultural Engineering Division of the Department of Agriculture, and subsequently as the Deputy Director of a large (2000 hectares) multi-donor funded irrigation development project co-funded by IFAD.

Mr Jatta joined IFAD in 1987, as the first African Associate Programme Officer (APO) of the Fund, and has since worked in various capacities including Technical Advisor, Project Controller, Country Portfolio Manager, and Country Programme Manager in fifteen countries: ten in Africa and five in the Asia and Pacific region, ranging from Cape Verde to China. Prior to his present appointment, he was IFAD’s Lead Portfolio Advisor for the Asia and the Pacific region in which capacity he assisted the Regional Director in strategic planning, business expansion, and day-to-day management of the Division.

Sana Jatta holds a B.Sc. (Honours) in Agricultural Engineering from Cranfield University (UK), and a M.Sc. (with distinction) in Soil Science and Water Management from the Wageningen Agricultural University (Netherlands). He speaks English and French fluently.

Farewell Message from Périn Saint-Ange

   
 

 

Périn Saint-Ange
© IFAD
   

Maintaining a team-building spirit among staff, while simultaneously encouraging the decentralization of activities and staff to the field, is not an easy task. However, Périn accomplished this by promoting staff development and capacity building along with the rotation of responsibilities to ensure that the division worked in sync and capably responded to the ever-increasing demands while maintaining an important work/life balance. Gender distribution amongst the recruitment of professional staff received particular attention (although there is still room for improvement) as well as regional distribution resulting in the following representation of ESA staff from IFAD’s list of member states: 70% from List C (developing countries), 7% from List B (primarily OPEC members) and 23% from List A (primarily OECD members). His efforts have resulted in 50% of ESA staff, including an increase in the number of senior outposted CPMs, being decentralized to the front lines of programme management, working arduously to convert the good reputation of IFAD into hard measurable results and impact on the ground. Over the past three years, since Périn’s arrival, IFAD’s Executive Board has approved over approximately US$ 465 million of funding to projects in the region while ESA disbursed approximately US$ 525 million to existing projects. Currently, IFAD's financing in the ESA region amounts to a total of nearly US$ 1.5 billion.  

Over the course of the years, Périn travelled extensively to the region to ensure first-hand knowledge of local environments as well as to meet with government representatives and stakeholders, and to further IFAD’s collaboration with interested parties. In addition, he accompanied the President of IFAD on five official visits to Angola, Burundi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles and Uganda. He represented IFAD at many high-level international fora, not least the Swiss Re 150th Anniversary celebrations (Switzerland), the African Green Revolution Forum (Mozambique), meeting with the Agence Française de Développement (France), the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (Samoa) and the Devex East Africa Partnerships and Career Forum (Ethiopia).

In a recent message, Périn thanked the ESA staff for their significant contribution and their extraordinary accomplishments in divisional activities. He also praised their professional capacity, readiness to pursue and successfully support the core issues, their willingness to embrace change, rotate to the field to increase response flexibility, their patience, dedication and commitment to providing an essential degree of responsibility in managing the increasing workload in a very balanced way, in a time when all of our activities are affected by budget constraints and the fluctuating economic environment.

On nominating Périn for his new role, the President recognized the important legacy that Périn leaves in ESA that must be preserved. His also highlighted how fortunate OPV are to have a person with such an extensive, broad and relevant background join his team for the final years of his term.  He added that Périn will be an important asset in helping all of us at IFAD make the coming years successful, for the ultimate benefit of the rural poor we all serve.

When asked about his time in charge of ESA, Périn said: 

My dear colleagues

On my last day as Director ESA I would like to most profoundly thank all of you for making the three years a very pleasant and rewarding experience. 

My tenure was characterized by the participatory manner in which we have worked together. We have tried hard to make it as inclusive as possible despite the increasing decentralisation and out posting of our staff. We have relentlessly applied the day to day work to and in keeping with, IFAD's vision and values. We took a gradualist approach, building on what was there, and we remained committed, each one of us, to deliver IFAD’s priorities and adjusting our own behaviour and actions.

We are engaged at a time when the ESA region is not only a giant on the rise but it has been rising despite the continuing challenges in terms of sustainable economic development, conflict resolution, and democratic governance. We are providing significant investments - loan and grant resources to improve the wellbeing and resilience of so many poor rural men, women and youth that need and count on our support. The trust we have from across the ESA membership, beneficiaries and donor partners are valuable political, social and institutional assets. I encourage you to maintain high standards, and further strengthen the planning and the delivery of our programmes and processes and with greater efficiency wherever possible.

The passion and determination of ESA has facilitated the effectiveness of our efforts. We have been resourceful and moved very far, yielding achievements which we are proud of and that is recognized as a good example.

I have seen in three years a diversified, rejuvenated and committed staff embracing change, being open to new ideas, and connecting effectively with other divisions in PMD, other departments in IFAD, and in an increasing number of cases with other public, private, regional and international organisations. The continued professional development and work integrity of our staff are well established. We routinely involve others and work in teams, providing support through feedback, coaching and modelling changes. Adherence to the IFAD results-based business model are more and more the defining characteristics of the division. I have appreciated your motivation and drive to measure and show results.
Finally, you have been an exceptional team to work with and I could not have asked for anything more.

I am touched and humbled by all the nice words that you have individually and collectively showered over me these last few weeks. I am grateful for all your expressions of appreciation.  It has been a deeply moving and emotional moment!
I am sure our paths will meet and until then best wishes for the future.

Good bye and thank you!
Yours sincerely

Périn


Ethiopia: Ifad-supported projects making strong headway

   
 

 

Robson Mutandi
© IFAD
   

Staff Award to Robson Mutandi

Robson Mutandi, IFAD's Country Director in Ethiopia was granted a Staff Award for his outstanding management and leadership, as well as his high level of professionalism.

His integrity has earned him the respect of staff and partners at all levels, within and outside of the organization. He has always been an active out-posted staff member who proactively reaches out to Country Programm Officers, offering opportunities for training and field experience at international level; his openness to sharing experiences and knowledge make him a natural mentor. His exceptional capacity to build and foster strong partnerships extends beyond IFAD, and his representation of IFAD has contributed to resource mobilization and raising the Fund's profile as a solid and effective development partner. IFAD's mission is what drives Robson and what makes him a role model for others.

Irrigation at the heart of agricultural development in Ethiopia

Developing irrigation widely to better harness the country's vast water resources and reduce farmers' reliance on rain-fed agriculture is one of the Ethiopian government's priorities in its ambitious five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) for the period 2010-2015. The US$ 57 million Participatory Small-Scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP), which aims at reforming small-scale irrigation practices in Ethiopia, is one of the successful IFAD-supported programmes which Robson Mutandi helped steer during his directorship in the country. The programme's overall goal is to improve the food security, nutrition and incomes of poor rural households by developing small-scale irrigation schemes in four states in Ethiopia; Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) and Tigray, where many of the households cultivate plots of less than one hectare.

Making land arable

   
 

 

Irrigation canal at the Kobo scheme in the Amhara region
© D.Magada/IFAD
   

The Amhara high-plateau has spectacular landscapes but is a harsh and arid region where fields are flooded during the rainy season from June to September, and too dry to cultivate the rest of the year. For farmers living in these remote areas, practising agriculture using traditional techniques bears little fruit. Because of their unproductive land, small-scale farmers in Kobo in the north Wollo district had to rely on food aid for most of the year before an irrigation scheme was built through the PASIDP programme. "We used to rely on food aid to eat", said Ato Belay, Chairman of the Gobu Water Users Association (WUA) in charge of managing the new scheme. "Now we can grow crops, something we couldn't do previously", he added. In his area, two new schemes were introduced, namely Gobu 1 and 2, to capture water flowing down from the highlands and irrigate 325 hectares (ha) of land. A retaining wall was built to stop the heavy water from flooding the area and redistribute it through irrigation canals. Now, three years on, farmers in the area have had three consecutive crop seasons. "We've planted onion, cabbage and carrots as well as teff (a local staple cereal) and sorghum which we sold to the local market through traders who came to collect the produce", explained Addisu, one of the most successful farmer members of the scheme. He himself generated on his own an income of 250,000 birr (US$ 12,500) in the last season and is now considered one of the wealthiest farmers in the area. With his income, he renovated his house and purchased a plot to build a new house as an investment in the nearby town of Kobo. Before the scheme was introduced, farmers in the area could grow a limited amount of teff just after the rainy season, which never lasted them until the next harvest. In the last season, they managed to collectively produce 3,900 quintals of teff, 4,400 quintals of sorghum, and 6,000 quintals of onions.

In spite of the immediate success, farmers still have to overcome some challenges, particularly in regard to the design of the scheme. For instance, not the entire length of the four kilometre primary canal was built in concrete, so in some parts the canal walls tend to collapse when there is too much water pressure. Farmers thus spend a lot of their time maintaining the installation. Also, the canal wasn't dug deep enough, so stillage is also an issue as it often has to be cleared. The WUA, which counts 500 households in the area, will have to use some of its resources to maintain or even rebuild part of the canal.

Further south in the Shoa district of Amhara, the Chacha irrigation scheme is another good example of making the land arable through sound irrigation.  At an altitude of nearly 3000 metres along the Chacha river, the conditions are harsh for the farmers living in the area. Before the irrigation scheme was built, the land was used for grazing only and farmers were planting limited crops around their village. The new scheme enabled them to reclaim some 50 ha of land for agriculture, by diverting water from the abundant Chacha river. They built a primary and secondary canals to irrigate every single field, and they are still expanding their area. With the help of the regional agricultural research centre, they are taught to use more resistant crops. "One of the main problems we have in this area is frost during the cold months of November to January", explained Tsege Girma, one of the women members of the local Water User Association. "Because of that, we are limited in the type of crops we can plant". In spite of such environmental difficulties, farmers were able to plant carrots, garlic, fava beans, beetroot, potatoes and cabbage. They also diversify into poultry and dairy products such as milk and butter. "On the whole, we can provide for our family and our children with the products we sell" said Tsege. "Now, we are getting more training on seeds technology so we can improve our yields more". In Chacha, the irrigation system was built soundly and members of the Water Users Association said they therefore have a limited amount of maintenance to carry out on the canals.

Self-managed schemes through water users associations

   
 

 

Retainment wall at the Betahu scheme
© D.Magada/IFAD
   

To ensure sustainability and the full participation of local community members, farmers own and manage the irrigation systems through their own Water Users' Associations. The programme also trained participants to take charge of the development process and encourages women to join the WUA's decision-making bodies. In some of the schemes such as the Gobu one, farmers had no previous experience of managing an irrigation scheme, so they benefited from training on the management and financial aspects of running an association as well as conflict resolution issues. In the Betahu scheme, located between Gobu and Chacha, farmers and contractors haven't yet completed construction of the scheme, however, the WUA is already very effective in terms of making decisions. Farmers in this area had previous experience of traditional irrigation with small hand-dug canals. They disagreed with the design of the new concrete-built scheme and informed the contractor. At first, their voice was not heard but they continued protesting, explaining that the canals were not deep enough and would quickly get blocked. "We could see immediately that there was a problem with the design", explained Mohamed Silafu, the WUA chairman, "we know where the water is coming from [the highlands] and how fast it is coming down, and the canals as they are will be blocked immediately". They haven't yet started production but they would like to solve the technical issue first. "We need to increase the height of the canal", said Aliyi Tassama, another member of the WUA. In some parts, the canal is lower than the plot to irrigate, so it will be impossible to irrigate without a diesel-powered pump, which the WUA will need to purchase. "The contractor didn't want to listen to us at first and now we have to fix it", added Mohamed Silafu.

Diversifying into new crops

   
 

 

Lemu, a farmer at Arsi Negele showing her first potato crop
© D.Magada/IFAD
   

Fortunately, not all schemes encountered this type of problem. In Arsi Negele, in the SNNPR region, farmers are very happy with their new irrigation scheme. There, the PASIDP programme supported a scheme to divert water from a nearby source to feed a water reservoir, used for irrigating the fields downstream. The area is located in the hills above Lake Langano in the Middle Rift Valley, and therefore benefits from sufficient declivity. Hardly any concrete was used, except for the banks of the reservoir and all the irrigation canals were hand-dug. Because of the natural slope, water flows down to the fields through gravity. At the first harvest in April 2014, farmers harvested a sufficient quantity of potatoes and onions to support themselves, although they complained about the yields. Next to the fields, the project helped farmers set up a nursery which they also use as a farmers field school, where they can learn about new varieties of crops and try to plant them on their own field. They are also able to purchase fertilizers and make natural compost. "The nursery is helping us to learn better, we like it", said one of the farmers in the scheme.

To date, with the support of PASIDP, a total of 94 irrigation schemes are already operational throughout the four regions of the programme, covering an area of over 10,958 hectares, benefiting 27,018 households (21,778 male & 5,240 female). 

In addition, another 22 schemes are under construction bringing additional 2,716 hectares and 5,846 households (5,149 male & 697 female) directly benefiting from the project.

Therefore, the total number of small scale irrigation schemes will be 116 while 32,864 households directly benefiting, (26,927 male & 5,937 female) of which around 20% are female headed; with total land area under irrigation 13,674 hectares.

Working with Pastoralist Communities in Ethiopia's Lowlands

For the past ten years, the Pastoral Community Development Programme (PCDP), jointly funded by IFAD and the World Bank, has worked to increase the resilience of Ethiopian pastoralist communities in the regions of Oromia, Afar, Somali and SNNPR. To that end, it supported a number of public services investments, particularly in terms of water and sanitation, and introduced an early warning system to better manage and respond to potential food-related disasters. The third phase of the programme became effective in 2014.

A successful Community Driven Demand Approach

Beside the physical investments, one of the most important achievements under the PCDP programme was the demand driven nature of the project through the application of the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach. Such approach has helped the communities identify their needs from within and has ensured participation of all communities’ members, including women and youth. In addition, it has provided local institutions with a methodology to replicate elsewhere. Over the time span of the programme's second phase, a total of 2.85 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists (of which 41 % women and 19 % youth) were mobilized, sensitized and consulted. Given its positive impact in the planning process of development, the institutionalisation of the approach has been included in the third phase of the programme.

   
 

 

A new school built under the PCDP project
© Chiara Romano/IFAD
   

In terms of infrastructure, the PCDP project provided pastoralist communities with public services in the water, health, veterinary services and education sectors. New schools were built and, as a result, the level of enrolment increased for both boys and girls, and the school drop-out rate declined. In particular, net enrolment rate of girls in PCDP-supported elementary schools reached 43 %, representing 95.6 % of the initial target.

Other infrastructure projects were implemented, such as water points, health centres and veterinary clinics. Overall, a total of 2,636 community sub-projects were implemented. They include 583 water projects which give more than 1.2 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists access to potable water; 342 health centres giving more than 757,600 people access to health services; 296 veterinary clinics providing services to more than 400,000 households with more than 2.3 million animals; 158 rural access roads; and 172 small-scale irrigation projects, which are now supporting about 42,000 households to cultivate 3,460 hectares.

Life-changing water supply projects

   
 

 

Women fetching water from the new water point
©Chiara Romano/IFAD
   

Most households that benefited from potable water supply projects said that the intervention has not only decreased the water-related diseases, but also reduced the burden on women who are primarily responsible for fetching water for the household. In one of the communities visited in Oromia, women used to travel 4 to 5 hours a day, which is more than 5 km to fetch water, but they now have access to potable water within a 1.5 km radius. In addition, the CDD approach has greatly empowered the communities who have developed a higher sense of ownership and made an optimum use of resources.

Another positive outcome of the project was better access to financial services, particularly in increasing women’s income and creating opportunities in various sectors from petty trade to agriculture, as well as boosting financial investment for children’s education. A total of 448 Pastoral Saving and Credit Cooperatives (PaSACCOs) were established during the last five years with a total membership of 29,527 (of which 66.6% are women). The members mobilized Ethiopian Birr 6 million (US$ 300,000) as paid share capital and Birr 20.4 million (US$ 1.02 million) as savings. Most of the PaSACCOs are actively involved in providing loans to their members for income generation and livelihood diversification activities.

Knowledge sharing for improved awareness

The programme also supported research and knowledge building on specific issues in relation to pastoralist livelihoods, resulting in studies and research aimed at informing policy dialogue. A website was created with dynamic and comprehensive information on the pastoralists in general and project related information in particular. A weekly radio program, "The Pastoralist", was  broadcast in the local languages of all the four regions. It was a big hit among the pastoralist, and helped to create wider awareness leading to renewed demand for the project activities. The increased sharing of knowledge and experience also significantly contributed to ending harmful traditional customs like Female Genital Mutilation still practised in some pastoralist communities.

The third phase of the programme will aim at introducing innovative aspects, capitalizing on the awareness and knowledge that the previous ten years of the programme have brought in relation to key issues such as social development, natural resource management, land tenure issues and mobility of pastoralists. 

For more information, please contact:


Uganda: Innovation Award for ground-breaking initiative

   
 

 

Uganda: Innovation Award for ground-breaking initiative
© IFAD
   

The Uganda Country Team, which includes Line Kaspersen, Alessandro Marini, Deborah Martin, Pontian Muhwezi, and Ann Turinayo, has been nominated for the Innovative Project Award.

The Uganda portfolio is experimenting with an entirely new concept of project implementation through the EU-financed Small and Medium Agribusiness Development Fund (SMADF) project signed in December 2014, one of the first projects to use the national Integrated Financial Management System. The project is trailblazing in two ways.  Firstly, IFAD will directly invest funds into a private company, which in this case is the Small and Medium Agribusiness Development Fund. Secondly, IFAD will directly implement the Business Development Services (BDS) component, which is an entirely new concept of project implementation for IFAD.

As such, this project will have no Recipient, no Borrower and no Financing Agreement. It is truly different and has the potential to move IFAD into non-traditional operations.

The Fund will provide local companies with an alternative to bank credit (often too scarce) and an opportunity to leverage capital from other sources, thus putting in place a unique partnership between public and private investors. The Uganda country team worked extremely hard at making it possible.

For more information, please contact:


ESA Grants in support of Development Work in the region

Regional grants can make a significant contribution to IFAD's programme of work, by supporting complementary activities and initiatives which add value to the loan portfolio. In East and Southern Africa (ESA) alone, there are currently 11 regional grants which include themes for knowledge management, market access, land and natural resource management, and rural finance. In 2014 alone, five new regional grants were approved for a total amount of US$ 5.5 million.

Those grants can foster strategic partnerships with important regional institutions, such as the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA); they can provide an arena to test new innovations which may be scaled up into a loan programme; they can (and do) provide technical assistance for project design and supervision which in effect extends the organisation's limited supervision budget; and they can play a key role in policy dialogue on issues of relevance to IFAD's mandate.

   
 

 

Grants can help support development of new technologies for small farmers such as coffee washing stations and cupping centres
© Wairimu Mburathi/IFAD
   

The evaluation of IFAD's policy on grant financing by the Independent Office of Evaluation in 2014 highlighted the significant gap between the potential of grants and the actual achievements, and the weak linkages between grants and the loan portfolio. ESA took steps to mitigate these challenges and over the past year, has strengthened the relevance of the grants to the loan portfolio by focusing on cross-cutting thematic issues. These include a sustainable livelihoods initiative through beekeeping in the Indian Ocean countries in partnership with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), and a partnership with Heifer International for dairy commercialization in the East African Community.

To strengthen supervision and implementation support, the ESA division has also decentralized the task management of grants. Today the majority of ongoing grants are supervised by out-posted task managers. In addition, to strengthen linkages with the loan portfolio and as part of ESA’s commitment to empower Country Programme Officers (CPOs), the design and overall management of some new grants has been assigned to CPOs. This promotes cross-country engagement, stimulates professional growth and facilitates closer supervision, given the proximity of Task Officers to both loan projects and grantees. By building the capacity of not only the staff of IFAD-supported projects but also external institutions and individuals, ESA hopes that the regional grants will have a larger impact on project activities and also on the environment in which they function.

In the past couple of years, grants have also provided valuable technical assistance for design and implementation support. For instance, the AFRACA Knowledge Management Partnership for Rural Finance (KMPIII) grant has worked extensively with IFAD rural finance projects in the region to ensure the integration of knowledge management in the project cycle.

The small grant to ILEIA was particularly successful in providing training to the country teams in Ethiopia, Swaziland and Zambia on how to identify, analyse and document lessons in project implementation. The training helped them develop criteria and indicators that could be used to understand the key factors contributing to successes and failures. The ‘learning by doing’ approach resulted in the publication of three booklets documenting their experiences and lessons learnt from various IFAD-funded projects.

Several other grants were used to build the capacity of IFAD-supported project staff, farmers’ federations and other stakeholders. In particular, the Agricultural Water Management grant contributed to the improved impact of IFAD-supported projects through activities that targeted local government staff and farmer organizations. As a result of capacity strengthening activities and trainings, communities were able to influence local governments to prioritize and build access roads for irrigation schemes and to formally recognize water users’ associations.

Some very positive results of the introduction of innovations in IFAD-supported projects were also seen in a number of ongoing grants, especially the one to PROCASUR. This grant undertook four learning routes in the past year alone which helped to promote the sharing of knowledge, best practices and technologies across countries and regions. A total of 15 routes have now taken place with 151 staff from 33 different IFAD-supported projects from 14 countries (10 countries from ESA). One hundred forty-one innovation plans have been developed. Approximately 63 best practices have been identified, documented, shared online and disseminated through the learning routes. The learning routes are also an example of scaling-up, as they originated in Latin America and now the methodology is being scaled-up in ESA and other regions. The KWAMP project in Rwanda introduced the ‘community competitions’ approach and strengthened the natural resource management aspects following the learning route organized in Peru in 2010. The Gender Action Learning System (GALS) was also introduced after the first learning route on gender that was organized in Uganda in 2012.

In the last accounting period, IFAD disbursed a total of US$ 16 million for ESA grants. Eighty-six percent of the total was disbursed on large regional grants, 8% on small regional grants and 6% on one large country-specific grant.

Beyond 2015, IFAD has recently developed a new policy for grant financing and a new strategic guidance which is very much IFAD driven. The new guiding principles include a drastic reduction in the number of grants, thus increasing the average size of each, the planning and allocation of budget for supervision, a preferred selection of grantees via competitive process, a better interdivisional/departmental collaboration and the leveraging of co-financing. Under the new arrangements, IFAD management will announce annually the priority areas for grant financing. On this basis, IFAD staff will prepare three page concept notes which will be submitted to the Operational Strategy and Policy Guidance Committee (OSC) for approval. The Committee will only sit twice to consider grants. There is also limited scope to directly award grants to preferred strategic partners.

For more information, please contact:

Bernadette Mukonyora, Programme Analyst, Kenya, IFAD
b.mukonyora@ifad.org


Rwanda, star performer after IFAD President's visit

   
 

 

A flexi biogas installation in the Kirehe district in Rwanda
© D.Magada/IFAD
   

IFAD's President, Kanayo Nwanze, travelled to Rwanda for an official visit from 22 to 27 October 2014. The main objective of the visit was to deepen the cooperation and partnership of IFAD with the Republic of Rwanda in the area of agricultural and rural development. This second visit to the country, after the first one in 2010, was also an acceptance of the invitation made by his Excellency President Paul Kagame.

Unfortunately, the meeting with the President did not materialize given an unscheduled trip overseas, however, meetings with the Prime Minister and other senior Government officials took place, including a phone conference with his Excellency President Kagame.

In addition, Mr Nwanze went on a field visit to Kirehe District to see some of the achievements of the IFAD-supported Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP), one of the star-performing projects in IFAD's portfolio in East and Southern Africa, and currently one of the highest rated projects in the region. The KWAMP project was particularly innovative with the experimental implementation of a flexi-biogas system which enables farmers to have access to biogas technology at half the cost of a conventional system. It also promotes the Crop Intensification Programme (CIP) initiated by the Government of Rwanda. Furthermore, in 2014, the project was nominated for the Gender Award, affirming the project's strong performance of the project on many fronts, including gender empowerment.

Overall, the performance of the whole of IFAD's country programme in Rwanda continues to be exemplary. All of IFAD-supported projects are managed under a Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) which allows for better communication between projects and increased knowledge sharing. Furthermore, the SPIU mainstreamed in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has been a leader in financial reporting and control and is setting high standards for management and implementation of other IFAD country programmes in the region.

An important issue discussed with the President was IFAD's support to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture III (PSTA III), the Government's five-year plan to move from subsistence to commercial agriculture, through a more programmatic Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) financing modality during the next 2016-18 financing cycle. In view of funding modalities to be used in PSTA III and the Government’s track record in managing the sector’s strategic programs, it is a natural progression that IFAD support evolves from the classic 'project' mode of development assistance to a sector wide approach for the implementation of PSTA III. Such a graduation has required an enormous amount of commitment, organization, rigor and thought by the Government of Rwanda and IFAD's partner, MINAGRI. Another important commitment made by IFAD is to strengthen country presence by out-posting a Country Programme Manager (CPM) for Rwanda by January 2016.

For more information, please contact: