INBAR’s project implemented in Madagascar, Tanzania and Ethiopia has come to an end after two phases and four years. We reflect on the long-term impact of this ambitious project to improves the lives of rural people in Africa through nature-based livelihoods and environmental management.
Supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the European Union, The South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies for scaling up pro-poor bamboo livelihoods, income generation, employment creation, and environmental management in Africa kicked off in the end of 2014. The aim of this project was to support bamboo smallholder farmers in Madagascar, Tanzania, and Ethiopia via knowledge transfer and capacity building on four key issues: Environmental management, bamboo farming systems development; household energy production and livelihoods diversification.
Run from INBAR’s regional office in Ethiopia, this project supported rural communities to lift themselves out of poverty using bamboo. Just a few highlights include building infastructure for the creation and processing of bamboo charcoal in Ethiopia and Madagascar; publishing training videos and a wide range of technical reports to support communities in a wide range of activities, from tissue propagation to culm cutting; and working closely with a wide range of stakeholder including universities and research institutes to raise awareness of bamboo’s potential for good.
The project has seen successes in all four of its project components, namely:
- Environmental management- By the end of this project, 555,698 planting materials were produced, and 357.86 hectares of degraded land or at-risk watershed or riverbanks was restored by planting bamboo. This effort far exceeded the project targets, which were to produced 250,000 planting materials and plant on 250 hectares of degraded land.
- Bamboo farming system development – A goal to reach more than 5000 families by supporting them to plant bamboo and manage it for feed and fodder was also exceeded when 5254 rural households were supported, the majority of them women-led.
- Household energy production – 5072 women-led households were supported to produce bamboo charcoal briquettes to use for fuel and sell for income using NCPP (NGO + Community + Private Sector Partnership) based entreprise models.
- Livelihoods diversification – Seven Community production/ training centers were produced (against a project target of two) to diversify markets by linking with unemployed youth to establish business entreprises and train 1363 youth in the production or sale of market-driven products.
In addition to exceeding most of its targets, the project built up valuable and healthy partnerships with research institutes, universities, and larger programmes and created an enabling environment through supporting country-specific bamboo policy and strategies for long-term sustainability of the project. It also encouraged private investors in the bamboo sector through awareness raising and capacity building.
The project ended in December 2018 with an evaluation and wrap-up workshop attended an independent evaluator, Mrs Pernille Sorenson, who was appointed by the Europpean Union. At the wrap-up meeting, Mrs Sorenson shared with INBAR project staff that through this project she had personally become a fan of bamboo. She even mentioned that bamboo and the South-South Project had ‘touched her heart’. What better evaluation for a successful project!
INBAR’s work in Africa continues on the ground with the Inter-Africa Livelihood Development Programme, which kicked off in January and plans to build on valuable lessons learnt during the South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies Project.