Building Agro - pastoral communities´ resilience and strengthening livelihoods in Somaliland
Background The Development Fund has worked in Somaliland since 2009 with agro-pastoral communities in strengthening their resilience towards climate change and strengthening rural livelihoods, with the objective of increasing food security. Since 2012, the Development Fund has also collaborated with Diaspora groups in Norway through a co-funding mechanism of projects, which have been implemented in the programme area. Strengthening of Diaspora groups in Norway and the inclusion of Diaspora in the development debate have been important objectives for the collaboration. Purpose/objective The main purpose of the evaluation was to address some of the challenging issues when working with increasing livelihoods and food security in Somaliland. The evaluation should assess the programme, and identify options for enhanced synergy between livelihoods- and diaspora components. Finally, the evaluation should draw lessons and recommendations for the new programme period (2017-2020). Methodology The evaluation team applied primarily qualitative methods. This included interviews with project staff; key informant interviews and semi-structured interviews with beneficiaries and other stakeholders; focus group discussions with beneficiaries and other stakeholders, including separate discussions with women’s groups; meetings with local and district officials and staff from relevant ministries; meetings with relevant NGOs and international organisations; and meetings with Diaspora in Oslo. The team also carried out observation and visit to project sites. The qualitative research as combined with desk review of programme documents, including review of measured progress against available data. Key findings The evaluation shows significant positive results and effects of the programme. Nevertheless, severe drought over 2015-2016 has severely affected the results and made it impossible to achieve targets. Despite this, many programme activities, such as water harvesting structures and new agricultural practices, will produce results once rains return to normal. The report finds that in one of the main farming areas of Somalia, farmers have seen very large increase in income. The programme is relevant and has overall good performance. The programme represents an efficient use of funds. The Development Fund has invested in a strong groups of local NGOs that have played important roles in the development over a long period of time, and will continue to so in the future. The skills development and agricultural infrastructure will continue to deliver benefits after the lifetime of the programme. However, continued implementation of the programme activities depend on continued donor support. The programme has adopted an appropriate mix of interventions aimed at strengthening rural livelihoods and food security. This includes promotion of drought tolerant crop varieties, adequate soil and water conservation measure. Livestock interventions have been appropriate. The establishment of two seed banks is important and, if these are well managed, could have a major impact in the future. Women have benefited with increased earnings, and the programme’s consistent effort to address gender equality across all programme components has resulted in notable success such as women’s involvement in village committees. The partnership model of collaborating with four local organisation, and is based on a two-way dialogue is working well. The local partners are effective in their execution, but they still need to be strengthened in order to further have maximum effect at local level. DFs work with diaspora groups in Norway has been fortified. The Development Fund has through the collaboration been provided extra funding and been introduced to a professional network in Somaliland. In collaboration with the Development Fund, the project portfolio of the diaspora group has been professionalised. Recommendations The evaluation recommends to strike an appropriate balance between livestock and farming intervention, and to pay specific attention to fodder production. Moreover, it recommends a greater emphasis on water supply, strengthening of the capacity of farmers’ cooperatives to move up value chains, and more emphasis on training, skill development and value chain of women’s groups and small enterprises. The team also recommends to strengthen the knowledge-based network with e.g. universities in Ethiopia, to develop further models of rural animal insurances, as well as to develop and expand the programmes efforts to influence policy and legislation. Diaspora collaboration shall continue, and skills development and entrepreneurship are important contributions from Diaspora. DF’s comment and use of the evaluation The Development Fund welcomes the findings and follows up the recommendations in the new phase of the programme.