Building capacity means building better lives

IFAD strengthens rural communities through innovative training and skills development

Rome, 23 June 2011 – More than 4.3 million rural people have benefited from training through International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) supported programmes and projects since 2005. International partners and development experts drawn from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, research centres and United Nations agencies, met at IFAD headquarters in Rome on 22 and 23 June to discuss the role of capacity building, training and skills development in rural development.

“For many years, agricultural education and technical vocational skills development have been overlooked by national institutions and donor community,” said Maria Hartl, Technical Advisor, Gender issues, IFAD. “Investing in the technical and vocational skills of poor rural people gives them the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their communities.”

The international consultation included presentations and discussions of innovative experiences based on IFAD-financed programmes in Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, Madagascar, Rwanda and the Sudan.

Training activities include not only agricultural technologies and production, but also no-farm apprentice programmes and community development.

One example in Madagascar is the IFAD supported ‘Prosperer’ project, which aims to improve the income of poor rural people by providing diversified income-generating opportunities and promoting entrepreneurship in rural areas.

Apprenticeships are taking place in dressmaking, embroidery, silk  and basket weaving, beekeeping and auto mechanics. It encourages young people who cannot take up work in the agriculture sector, to develop small businesses in rural communities. A start-up kit and access-to-seed capital are available to training graduates wishing to set up an enterprise.

During the two-day event, experts  gave important feedback to IFAD on capacity building, agricultural education and training, including extensions services,   and technical and vocational skills development. They also debated on improving the quality, outcome and impact of training in IFAD supported programmes and projects.
Capacity building and technical and vocational skills development represent a large share of IFAD’s portfolio and account for at 35 per cent of all its activities.

For more information on IFAD’s work, please visit

Press release No.: IFAD/40/2011

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested about US$12.9 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering more than 370 million people to break out of poverty. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nation’s food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 166 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).