FMNR for East Africa
Impacting on the lives of over three million people
“Producing more food for a growing population in the coming decades, while at the same time combating poverty and hunger, is a huge challenge facing African agriculture. Currently, the future picture is dire. Current projections are that higher temperatures and lower rainfall in parts of Africa, combined with a doubling of the population, will lead to a 43% increase in food insecurity, and will induce a 60% increase in food aid expenditures during the next 2 decades.”
Chris Funk and Molly Brown, NASA Publications
FMNR for East Africa is a five-year program which commenced in 2012 in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. It is a partnership between World Vision, the Australian Government’s aid agency (AusAID), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), governments and non-government organisations (NGOs) across the East Africa region.
Its aim is to increase food security and decrease climate vulnerability in smallholder farming systems in East Africa through improved soil and natural resource management, and increased opportunities for better lives. Further, it aims to mainstream FMNR into the national programs and policies of regional governments and research institutes.
Regional meteorological data shows that drought is increasing in frequency and severity, and crop production has increased only via the conversion of more and more forest land to agricultural land. In the last two decades, the total area under cultivation has dramatically increased, while only marginal productivity gains have been achieved since the 1960s.
In addition to chronic food insecurity, a more recent food crisis is challenging East Africa with Ethiopia and Kenya severely affected. In response, the Ethiopian Government has committed to community-managed reforestation of 15 million hectares and the Kenyan Government has put into law a bill requiring forest cover be lifted from the current 1% to 10%.
In this project, World Vision, AusAID and the World Agroforestry Center are leading the regional response to food insecurity and land degradation by joining together to support the scale up FMNR as a part of their climate resilience response.
Over the last decade, World Vision Ethiopia has lead the way in East Africa with FMNR programs in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s region and the Tigray region. In February 2012, World Vision’s East Africa Regional Office hosted the Secure the Future workshop that brought together key NGOs and several UN agencies. This program seeks to tackle root causes with a collaborative and long-term approach. In April 2012, World Vision Australia, World Vision East Africa and the World Agroforestry Centre initiated the FMNR for East Africa project by co-hosting the Beating Famine conference on ‘sustainable food security through land regeneration in a changing climate’ in Nairobi, Kenya.
Following on from Ethiopia’s lead, FMNR for East Africa is taking place in the following areas:
Kenya – Mogotio, Wema and Kiambogoko
Rwanda – Bugesera, Gatsibo
Tanzania – Kongwa, Mpwapwa, Manyoni, Same, Hai, and Kahama
Uganda – Kotido, Abim, Nakasongola and Kibaale
It is projected that the project will impact on the lives of over 3.2 million people and target over 2 million hectares of degraded farmlands across the region.
In establishing FMNR projects a crucial first step is bring together all stakeholders. In Kenya, the project began with a two-day workshop in World Vision’s Mogotio Area Development Program for government line ministries, provincial administrators, community members and school children. Participants drew up an action plan for rolling out FMNR project in their respective communities.
In Rwanda, a national catalyst workshop was held, which brought together partners from line government ministries including the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Rwanda Agricultural Board, Rwanda Environment Management Authority, ICRAF and district representatives.
In Tanzania, the project has focused on raising awareness and improving knowledge, attitudes and practices on natural resources conservation and good agronomic practices. To achieve this, over 200 participants from three communities were trained in FMNR, as well as over 70 government, civil society and World Vision staff including the community ‘FMNR champions’ to support community needs.
In Uganda, catalyst workshops have been conducted in collaboration with the National Agricultural Advisory Service, ICRAF and the National Planning Authority. Over 100 people have been trained and are partnering with World Vision to help roll out the project.
With all FMNR projects, World Vision conducts a baseline study in order to present valid and reliable data that describes the project context, measures project indicators and strengthens decision-making. It aims to provide the baseline data for monitoring the social, economic and environmental benefits of FMNR and to measure project impact in future evaluations. Its function is to provide a first round of statistics to support program advocacy to government, research institutions and media.
The baseline study has been a five-month process taking place in 18 locations across four countries. Eight thousand farming households were surveyed. The quantitative data was complemented with approximately 40 focus group discussions that included approximately 480 rural women, men, children and traditional and spiritual leaders; and around 50 key informant interviews with various levels of government in ministries relevant to agriculture, environment, planning and land management. FMNR for East Africa is heading towards the end of its first year and the FMNR Hub looks forward to updating this first report early in 2014.