Posted on March 1, 2016 by
Climate change makes life even harder for subsistence farmers and marginal populations. In the development field, we need to learn how to address tangible problems that block adoption of improved mechanisms. USAID’s Climate Change Adaptation Activity (CCAA) in Mali — a two-year intervention in the Mopti Region — has such an opportunity.
In conjunction with our partners, the Humanitarian Response and Development Lab (HURDL) and Sahel Eco, we are undertaking an intense study of the socioeconomic barriers that vulnerable populations face in adopting practices that would improve their ability to cope with climate stress and shock.
The study is an in-depth analysis of specific factors that hamper adoption of adaptation technologies, like improved seed or fertilizer. These factors could be cultural — such as marginalization or farmers simply not understanding how to use the new technologies they are confronted with. Specifically, it is important to understand what blocks the adoption of these technologies and approaches, given that the use of these technologies will help reduce vulnerability.
Other projects have examined coping strategies of vulnerable populations to better understand how those populations have handled climate stress and shock — that is not new. What is new under Mali CCAA is that we seek to understand what has and has not worked — and why — at a more granular level than in any previous studies I have seen.
CCAA proposes to use the information we learn from this detailed analysis to link vulnerable population with other USAID and non-USAID activities to overcome those socioeconomic barriers. It builds upon an existing evidence base initiated by several USAID agriculture, Feed the Future, and global climate change investments. CCAA has been strategically designed to overlap with Feed the Future initiatives. The goal is for the activity to learn from those that we propose to serve to help them overcome the barriers that block adaptation, as shown in this graphic.
Understanding what is impeding resilience is critical to building durable development. In my experience, if development professionals do not understand precisely why a population is vulnerable at a real and potentially adaptable level, finding development solutions is impossible. For this reason, I look forward to undertaking and sharing the results of this study with the development community. I hope that by doing so, this work will inspire other projects to undertake similarly in-depth analyses of the barriers their beneficiaries face to adopting new approaches.
Jeff Ratcliffe is chief of party of the USAID Mali Climate Change Adaptation Activity.
Posted on February 23, 2016 by
By Linda Flynn
for many regions around the world show that although women make up
a significant percentage of undergraduate student enrollment, they
hold only 10 percent of leadership positions
higher education. Globally, men outnumber women in higher education
management, at about 5
to 1 in middle management and 20 to 1 at senior management
Why is this an issue? While women have excelled in
post-secondary settings, the opportunities for women to be...
Posted on February 18, 2016 by
Social and behavior change communication (SBCC) is a mystery for
many outside of the discipline.
For one, it is different than behavior change communication
(BCC). BCC solely focuses on promoting individual behavior change.
On the other hand, SBCC also considers the social contexts,
systems, and structures that lead to an enabling environment for
social change as well as individual behavior change.
The confusion of terms — SBCC, BCC, mass media communications,
social marketing, and so forth — also...
Posted on February 16, 2016 by
In April, I visited farmers’ plots and greenhouses in western
Georgia supported by the recently closed USAID’s New Economic Opportunities (NEO)
. Our team met dozens of farmers, who were eager to
share how they adopted new technologies or new crop varieties to
double, triple, or even increase their household income 20 times
over. For some, enthusiasm
was an understatement.
I specifically recall speaking to Nana, an animated new
strawberry farmer who heard about an information session...
Posted on February 11, 2016 by
In this photo from 2014, a "change champion" in Zambia discusses
how to ensure a safe pregnancy and delivery with mothers. USAID's Communications Support for Health (CSH) project
engaged 350 chiefs and headmen through its change champion approach
within its successful Mothers Alive campaign, which was designed to
increase demand for and uptake of facility-based maternal health
services to prevent deaths and complications related to pregnancy
As part of the campaign, these traditional...
Posted on February 9, 2016 by
The success of Kenya’s mobile money system, M-PESA
, over the past few years has opened many
people’s eyes to the potential of digital solutions to expand
access to finance. In recent years, global markets have also taken
notice in the lucrative opportunity posed by digital financial
services or “fintech” (shorthand for the financial technology
space). Since 2013, fintech investments have quadrupled to surpass
globally. With an estimated 2
billion working-age adults lacking access to...
Posted on February 3, 2016 by
December 17, 2015, marked a monumental moment
for Afghanistan. After 11
years of negotiations, The World Trade Organization (WTO) formally
adopted Afghanistan’s terms of accession at its 10th Ministerial
Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. What does this mean for Afghanistan’s
future? Here are eight reasons why WTO membership will benefit
Economic growth, investment, and job creation
Afghanistan’s export structure is
dominated by agricultural products and some manufacturing of...
Posted on February 2, 2016 by
By Christy Sisko
and David Fischer
Last year was a busy one for international trade and development
actors. We observed major progress in the renewal of the African
Growth and Opportunity Act, continued global ratification of the
World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, proposal of
the Tripartite Free Trade Area in Africa, and announcement of the
Trans-Pacific Partnership, all of which bring new attention to the
interrelationship between global trade and sustainable
Posted on January 26, 2016 by
A little more than five years ago, Sidi Bouzid fruit vendor
Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight. When he was unable to pay a
bribe to be allowed to sell fruit from a wheelbarrow, a local
policewoman reportedly slapped him, spat at him, confiscated his
scales, and threw his cart aside, ruining the merchandise he had
purchased on credit to sell. An hour later, before dousing himself
in gasoline front of the governor’s office, he cried “How do you
expect me to live?” The massive, youth-led public...
Posted on January 25, 2016 by
I used to deride the term “family planning.” I saw it as a sort
of euphemism used to skirt around controversial aspects of in
sexual and reproductive health. The term particularly bothered me
when used in regard to adolescent sexual and reproductive health
(ASRH) because it seemed like an attempt to hide the fact that, in
many places many young people have non-marital sex. I thought that
it ignored adolescents’ lived realities and stymied holistic
solutions for healthy productive lives. (Please...
Posted on January 21, 2016 by
The business case for promoting in women’s economic empowerment
is clear. According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute Report
, expanding and
improving women’s economic participation can add as much as $12
trillion to $28 trillion to the global GDP by 2025. In addition, as
studies consistently affirm, an investment in a woman’s economic
empowerment is an investment in the health, education, and security
of her family.
With new international trade agreements, such as the Trans
Posted on January 20, 2016 by
When conducting a preliminary analysis of civil society capacity
in Cambodia in September 2015, there was one topic that dominated
all my meetings and interviews: the new Law on Associations and
Non-Governmental Organizations (also called LANGO). Everyone, from
donors to international NGOs and local civil society organizations
(CSOs), were sharing their concern about how LANGO would curtail
the ability of civil society to do its work. The Cambodian Center
for Human Rights described it as...
Posted on January 14, 2016 by
Doina Nistor is chief of party for USAID’s Moldova
Competitiveness Enhancement Through Workforce Development and
Innovation (CE-WIN) project. She also served as chief of party for
the predecessor projects, Competitiveness Enhancement and
Enterprise Development (CEED) I and II. Before going into
development, she worked in Moldova’s private sector.
Q: CEED had success using USAID’s Global Development
Alliance (GDA) model in Moldova’s information technology (IT)
sector. Can you describe the...
Posted on January 12, 2016 by
There is a growing recognition
that democracy, human
rights, and governance (DRG) needs to be integrated into programs
in other sectors of development. The policy community model takes a
complementary approach, integrating sector policy reform objectives
into DRG-focused projects. This model, which my team and I
developed under USAID’s Program Representasi (ProRep) project
in Indonesia, helped us to overcome sectorial siloes and could be
What are policy
Posted on January 7, 2016 by
Shown here, a member of a dehkan farm reads land
information materials provided by the Tajikistan Land Reform and Farm Restructuring
as part of an educational tour of the Sughd
region. Dehkan farms are small, privately owned farms that have
emerged in the former Soviet republic to replace the collective
farming system. They are owned by individuals or families, for both
household consumption and sale at local markets.
Tajikistan LRFRP supports the continuing progress of
Posted on January 5, 2016 by
By Flora Lindsay-Herrera and Alicia Macmanus
This post was originally published by Agrilinks
and is cross-posted with
In Ecuador, farmers in the Ayampe and Galera San Francisco
watersheds were initially wary of changing their agricultural
practices. When they saw the tangible economic benefits, however,
the majority of farmers who participated in pilots incorporated
conservation-friendly approaches. The project demonstrated
techniques for introducing subsistence farmers...
Posted on December 29, 2015 by
2015, Chemonics celebrated our 40th anniversary. As such milestones
often do, it provided us with an opportunity to look back at our
history, plan for our future, and celebrate with our friends. I was
especially gratified to see so many of our staff all over the world
join the celebration
In many ways, looking back on our previous four decades has
galvanized us for what is ahead, and 2015 was an amazing year for
those of us who are passionate about improving the lives of people
Posted on December 23, 2015 by
In this photo, the owner of a small business in Ucayali, Peru,
and an employee work with seeds from the Amazon rainforest. The
business, Pro Mujer Oriente, employs 54 women to make
handicrafts using tree materials.
With the help of the Peru Environmental Management and Forest
Governance Support Activity (Peru Bosques), Pro Mujer
Oriente learned techniques to improve the quality of
their handicrafts and organize their business more effectively. As
a result, they have lowered their costs, increased...
Posted on December 21, 2015 by
This post was originally published by the Better Than Cash Alliance
and is cross-posted
with permission. Chemonics is a proud member of the
On a recent trip to Uganda,
where I assessed Chemonics’ implementation of mobile money
solutions, I was encouraged to see mobile money initiatives on the
rise, from cardless ATM withdrawals and bill payments to
international remittances. While the currently available solutions
make life easier, they do not yet cover the full spectrum of...
Posted on December 17, 2015 by
On December 12, 2015, the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) for
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded
with 190 countries adopting the Paris Agreement. This historic
agreement sets the path for the next phase of climate action. So
what has concretely changed?
Throughout COP21, I was struck by the delegations’ strong
determination and collective will to arrive at an ambitious
agreement. The conference started off with opening remarks from 150