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Teaming up on agrarian reform
Helping tsunami survivors help themselves
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Helping tsunami survivors help themselves

Rebuilding stronger livelihoods in vulnerable communities starts with listening to the aspirations of rural poor people

New facilities for cleaning, processing and storing fish will increase income for fishers in Maldives.One month after the December 2004 tsunami claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, IFAD organized an inception mission with the Government of Indonesia to Aceh, the worst-hit province. Survivors spoke of how much they had lost, but also expressed hope for the future.

"We want to go back to our village," said Ms Nurbaizi, "but we need a boat to start fishing again."

"I want a shop like before," said Ms Sanbanun. "I just need some start-up money."

Those aspirations were incorporated into a programme that was approved by last April's Executive Board, along with four others to help rural poor people rebuild their lives in India, Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka. These activities will also assist communities in laying the foundation for stronger livelihoods and greater resilience to future shocks and natural disasters.

In India, the Post-Tsunami Sustainable Livelihoods Programme for the Coastal Communities of Tamil Nadu will help 140,000 households in 200 coastal villages, mainly coastal fishers, farmers, women fish vendors and processors. Risk management and prevention measures include insuring fishers and making mobile phones available so they can warn their villages if a tsunami approaches again. An IFAD loan of US$15 million was approved to finance immediate rehabilitation operations out of a total project cost of US$68.7 million.

In Indonesia, the Aceh Recovery Programme was designed in partnership with communities, the provincial government and the Ministry of Agriculture. The six-year programme will assist in reconstructing 250 villages. Total programme costs amount to US$36.5 million, much of which is being sought as grants from cofinanciers.

IFAD is also extending the area of the ongoing Income-Generating Project for Marginal Farmers and Landless to the devastated provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra. About US$3.2 million is being reallocated to rehabilitate livelihoods in seven of the hardest-hit rural districts, together with US$2.8 million in cofinancing from the Asian Development Bank. In response to the exceptional circumstances, IFAD has adjusted the remainder of the loan from intermediate to interest-free terms.

IFAD contributed to the design of a US$321.5 million Asian Development Bank community mobilization strategy for a tsunami project in Indonesia, using lessons it learned in the Post-Crisis Programme for Participatory Integrated Development in Rainfed Areas in Indonesia. The programme puts local and grass-roots institutions in charge of managing community development of the recovery process, including decisions about infrastructure, agriculture and watershed management. This strategy is currently being tested in ten communities.

In Maldives, the Post-Tsunami Agricultural and Fisheries Rehabilitation Programme will replace boats for more than 8,000 fishers. It will build cleaning, processing and cold storage facilities, and improve access to markets, increasing fishers' incomes. Better seeds, tools and techniques will boost yields for 20,000 farmers, and farmers' cooperatives will be linked to a new produce market to be built in the capital city of Malé. Out of a total programme cost of US$5 million, IFAD has approved a US$2.1 million loan and a US$200,000 grant, and is committed to mobilizing the remaining funds, either through cofinancing or a highly concessionary loan.

In Sri Lanka, IFAD approved two programmes. A three-year Post-Tsunami Livelihoods Support and Partnership Programme will supplement an already approved IFAD programme, repairing or building houses, fish landing sites, community centres, health clinics and roads to benefit more than 20,000 people. The five-year Post-Tsunami Coastal Rehabilitation and Resource Management Programme will reach 50,000 households, mainly through support to artisanal fisheries, including by replacing fishing gear and introducing improved drying techniques. It will also support microenterprise development, rebuild houses and feeder roads, and replant and conserve mangroves, coral reefs and salt marshes.

"Reconstructing houses and rebuilding fishing boats are not usual IFAD activities," says Sana Jatta, country programme manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka, "but they are prerequisites for people trying to restart their lives and livelihoods." To provide immediate help, the Sri Lankan Government will be able to make certain expenditures against the approved loan before the programme becomes effective.

The two programmes in Sri Lanka have a combined cost of US$38.2 million. IFAD has approved US$16.6 million in loans and is committed to mobilizing two other loans for the same amount. The remaining costs will be cofinanced by the Sri Lankan Government, project participants and the Government of Italy.

IFAD has also mobilized more than US$7 million from the Global Environment Facility to rehabilitate and conserve the coastal ecosystem in Sri Lanka.

IFAD had committed to mobilizing US$100 million to fund recovery efforts. So far, it has used US$36.8 million in loans and US$200,000 in grants from its own resources, plus a donation of Euro 5 million in grants from Italian supplementary funds. If additional external funds cannot be mobilized, IFAD will cover the gap by allocating funds from next year's programme of work and budget.

During a meeting in May, the Special Envoy for the Tsunami Recovery, former United States President Bill Clinton, offered to help find additional resources so IFAD could finance its recovery programme entirely through grants.

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