Project Lanirano - Capacity Building through Enterprise and Agriculture in Anosy Region, South East Madagascar

Project location: Madagascar, Anosy Region
Project start date: December 2010 - Project end date: October 2011
Project number: 2010-45
Beneficiary: AZAFADY

The proposed project has evolved from Azafady's previous training and capacity building programmes for the Anosy region, and is rooted in the Sustainable Livelihoods approach to poverty reduction promoted by the UK Department for International Development (DfID) in conjunction with the University of Sussex.
It is an initiative developed with participation of local communities, aiming to deliver information, education and practical services which build the capacity of the poorest and most excluded social groups to improve and diversify people's livelihoods, improve health and well being, reducing vulnerability and thereby mitigating risk. In this project Azafady aims to work in partnership with the Malagasy regional government to address and support increasing demand for information and training from both urban and surrounding rural communities.
Azafady will work with communities in the Anosy region, situated between one of the largest of the newly protected areas (NAPs) and 3 of the last remaining littoral forest fragments (also protected areas) in the provision of alternative livelihood strategies and improved agricultural practices that both diversify diet and increase income generating capacity, ensuring long term environmental and livelihood sustainability. In reducing vulnerability, this project increases communities' ability to mitigate future risk. This education in turn is likely to reduce local dependence on tavy (slash and burn agriculture), contributing also to national conservation goals and helping safeguard against tensions among resource-dependent communities.
Urban project activities will focus on the income generating capacity of local women, through support of institutional development including training in small business management, financial resources for enterprise start-up costs, and skills training courses in areas with proven market outlets. By focusing on both literacy and book keeping skills urgently required by urban women starting their own businesses, Azafady are building the capacity of impoverished people and aiding long term development.
This project aims to increase the income of participants, enabling them to reinvest profit in their business, and have increased productivity and diversity of crops resulting in improved family health, with female participants reporting an improvement in their status at home as a result of increased ability to generate income. Lastly, this increased access to skills training and financial resources is anticipated to improve the social status of women in what remains a heavily male-dominated society.
The project aims to reach around 30,000 people directly, with benefits extending throughout this region populated by some 200,000 people. Information resources will be made available to community development and health organisations throughout the country, thereby increasing project impact and facilitating knowledge transfer.

Fort Dauphin, where Azafady is based, is an isolated town in the southeast of Madagascar, in Anosy Region. The region is one of the most impoverished in the country due to 40 years of almost no intervention or investment by the state or service providers.
This project builds the capacity of vulnerable communities in Anosy Region, where over 90% of the population lives below the poverty line and infant mortality rates reach 34%. The project has been developed with the participation of local communities, working in partnership with the regional government to deliver information, education and practical services which build communities' capacity to diversify livelihoods and improve health and well being.
Rural activities focus on providing improved agricultural techniques to resource-dependent communities suffering from major food insecurity, to reduce vulnerability and mitigate future risk. Urban activities work towards institutional development and gender equality for women in what remains a heavily male-dominated society, through provision of training in small business management, financial resources for enterprise start-up costs, and skills training courses, focusing on increasing women's income-generating capacity. Courses offered by Azafady as part of this project will be reflective of the precise needs and realities of the people and the region.

Activities in the rural areas
In the rural areas all activities will be focused around increasing farmer's income and improving their food security. Given the current isolation of communities and impossibility of mechanisation, training will incorporate adaptations of existing farming techniques, with new methods requiring minimal inputs. Teaching improved farming methods for vegetables and food staples which maximise production from existing cultivated land and areas near to the home will create long-term benefits for the farmers and reduce the current impact of tavy. Income generating activities are relatively cheap in terms of the inputs required to utilize the skills learned, with most being locally available natural resources. The extension model currently utilized in Azafady's livelihoods diversification training remains the most cost effective way of reaching the region's rural poor. Azafady's training methods involve demonstration, trial and error, monitoring and repetition, and have proved the most effective mechanism for learning in rural areas.
Azafady will use their network of known extension agents who will be in charge of transferring skills to the wider population in selected rural fokantanies. The extension agents are respected members of the local population who have showed great aptitude in learning and demonstrating techniques in the field and who have been trained with a view to facilitating the transfer of knowledge through the population. All extension agents will receive any additional training needed before the start of the project activities to ensure that they are well equipped to implement and deliver all project activities. Azafady will also use existing structures at the village level as a means of facilitation; agents will liaise with Chefs de Quartiers, association representatives and individuals. Training and demonstration areas will be set up by extension agents in the areas in which they operate and activities will be implemented with households, groups and individuals.

Activities in the urban areas
In Fort Dauphin Urban Commune Azafady's project activities will focus on providing small business management and bookkeeping courses, small grants for enterprise start-up costs, literacy and skills training. It is a priority of this project to assist course graduates in putting skills learned to use, as past evaluations have found that the main obstacle to reproduction of skills learned outside the training environment was difficulties the poorest people face in obtaining the relatively small amount of money to access the materials and tools required. Microfinance remains inaccessible to the majority of the poorest people in Fort Dauphin, therefore Azafady has decided to focus on providing grants instead. By providing grants rather than microfinance, Azafady is able to target the most vulnerable members of society, more often than not illiterate women. Azafady will hold educational workshops for individuals, women's associations and small enterprises. Topics covered will encourage and build capacity of nascent entrepreneurs and associations to establish and sustainably operate a small enterprise and reinforce capacity of existing institutions to support women in work. Workshops will include: simple accounting; forming and managing an association, entrepreneurial skills, putting together a basic business plan, monitor and evaluate a project, feedback sessions for individual business ideas. The workshops will consist of practical exercises in class and handouts in order for attendees to consolidate what they have learned. Upon successful completion of the Small Grants Programme workshops individuals and associations will be able to submit applications for financial support for their chosen enterprise to Azafady for consideration. Applicants will fill in Azafady's application form which will be available at the Azafady office. Typically such projects require only a small investment but create long-term alternative livelihood strategies that are empowering for women and environmentally sustainable. Additionally, in exceptional cases Azafady will work in collaboration with FIVOY to act as a guarantor for people in need of greater start-up capital, exceeding this programme's scope.

The training materials
All training materials will be translated into the Anosy dialect; manuals will include step-by-step pictorial aids designed to reinforce hands-on training, so as to also be accessible to illiterate as well as literate people. Education is a key part of our procedure; manuals will tell people why techniques and skills are important as well as how they are to be acquired. Information will be donated to associations attending training, collated at the Lanirano centre and disseminated to nascent rural information centres (RIC) in the region through collaboration with other organisations.

Monitoring and evaluation
Ongoing monitoring and evaluation is an essential part of Azafady's operational process and will feed back into implementation. Azafady's project development department will work in conjunction with and also independently of the Project Coordinator to ensure independent verification. Monitoring the implementation of training will utilise records kept (e.g. attendance registers, numbers completing training) and qualitative reports by trainers. A review of these records will be conducted every three months following the onset of training.

Azafady is recognised by government as a vital local provider of information and training accessible to the urban poor. Azafady have a 10 year partnership with the National Ministry for Education and collaborate with the Regional Ministry in 2 areas falling under their remit: provision of primary schools to rural communities and vocational training in town. Azafady will be working with the ministry on development of the curriculum to ensure that, for the immediate future, training opportunities offered are accessible to the majority of local people. Securing government endorsement of the importance of livelihoods training in this region will also help to ensure any future state funds leveraged for education in Anosy have potential to be directed towards the needs of the most marginalised.

Funding provided for this project will be used for purchase and delivery of equipment and materials and will fund the technical staff necessary to oversee implementation of the project. Azafady will ensure that all materials and equipment necessary are sourced locally and project activities are implemented in the most resource efficient way, in an attempt to minimise overall project costs.

Azafady anticipate the following achievements and outcomes from this project, which has received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation:

• Over 70% of small grants recipients have a return on their profit that can be reinvested in their business
• Over 70% of participants have an increase in diversity of crops produced, and thereby improved diet quality
• Over 70% of married women participating experience an improvement in their status at home as a result of increased income generation ability
• Establishment of new home gardens / increase in productivity in existing home gardens within 24 rural communities
• Implementation of Challenge 4 "Improve Upper Secondary School and Develop Vocational Training" and Challenge 6 "End Illiteracy" of Commitment 3 - Educational Transformation of the Madagascar Action Plan (MAP)
• Implementation of Challenge 3 "Launch A Sustainable Green Revolution", Challenge 4 "Promote Market Orientated Activities" and Challenge 6 "Diversify Rural Activities" of Commitment 4 - Rural Development and A Green Revolution of the Madagascar Action Plan (MAP)
• Implementation of Challenge 7 "Improve Nutrition and Food Security" of Commitment 5 - Health, Family Planning and The Fight Against HIV / AIDS of the Madagascar Action Plan (MAP)
• Implementation of Challenge 3 "Launch A Sustainable Green Revolution", Challenge 5 "Strengthen Domestic Enterprises, SMEs and Handicraft Industry" of Commitment 6 - High Growth Economy of the Madagascar Action Plan (MAP)
• Implementation of Challenge 2 "Reduce The Natural Resource Degradation Process" of Commitment 7 - Cherish the Environment of the Madagascar Action Plan (MAP)

This project is related to a previous project which has received support from the NPF.
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