Last year millions of poor rural people built better lives for themselves and their families with support from IFAD and our partners. You can read some of their inspiring stories in the just-released 2012 IFAD Annual Report.
In 2012, IFAD’s ongoing portfolio of working programmes and projects continued to grow. The number of projects worldwide rose from 240 in 2011 to 255 last year. Including IFAD funds and external and domestic cofinancing, total investments in ongoing initiatives rose by over 50 per cent between 2009 and 2012, from US$7.9 billion to US$11.9 billion.
Beyond the numbers, the report spotlights the stories that show the human face of rural development.
Funds direct to farmers – a pioneering approach
In Guinea, we are pioneering a radical new approach to give development funds directly to farmers through a new programme focused on value chains. This innovation is possible because of Guinea’s strong and dynamic National Confederation of Farmers’ Organizations. Connecting farmers to value chains fosters economic growth, increases agricultural exports and decreases imports.
Tackling the challenges of climate change
Enabling smallholder farmers and other poor rural producers to become more resilient in the face of changing weather patterns is now a key part of our work. In 2012, we launched our new Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) with support from major donors. The programme aims to reach about 8 million smallholder farmers with new tools and knowledge. The first project with ASAP funding was approved for Mozambique, focusing on value chains in the Maputo and Limpopo corridors.
Working with women
The evidence shows that greater equality between women and men means higher economic growth and a better quality of life for all. In 2012, we approved the IFAD Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment to strengthen our work in this vital area. The policy focuses on empowering women economically, strengthening their voice and influence, and making workloads and benefits more equitable.
In India, almost 1.6 million women take part in IFAD-supported projects, with some 900,000 receiving training and nearly 920,000 participating as active borrowers. In Burundi, the IFAD-supported Legal Empowerment of Women Programme has provided legal aid to women and raised awareness of their rights.
In Sudan, an IFAD-supported project to revitalize land in the Butara region has helped local women restore their community’s grazing land. As a result, today the women of As-Subagh are better able to provide for their families, and they play a more significant role in their community.
With youth unemployment one of today’s most pressing global challenges, developing the skills of young rural people and creating decent job opportunities for them are among IFAD’s top priorities.
In 2012, we established a network of 5,000 young rural entrepreneurs in West and Central Africa, enabling them to share innovative approaches and best practices with each other.
In Rwanda, we provided education and training to over 10,000 rural young people – 56 per cent of them women. More than 80 per cent of the trainees went on to get permanent work.
We also launched the Scaling Up IFAD Rural Youth Employment Interventions Programme to tackle the needs of young women and men in rural areas of Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen. The initiative enables two social enterprises to create job opportunities for low-income young people in rural areas.
A foundation for continued growth
Over the period from 2009 to 2012, we have built a stable presence in the countries where we work, with the number of IFAD country offices increasing from 25 to 38. The proportion of staff on the ground has risen from just 1.4 per cent to 15 per cent, enabling us to directly supervise over 90 per cent of the projects we support.
With this strong foundation for continued growth in the three-year period 2013-2015, we have set our sights high with a target of enabling 80 million women and men to move out of poverty. To achieve this ambitious goal, guided by our new partnership strategy, we will scale up and strengthen our partnerships at every level – locally, nationally, regionally and globally.
We want to know what you think about the 2012 Annual Report. Please complete our readers’ survey to give us your feedback on this year’s report and share your ideas for next year.
To learn more about IFAD’s work in 2012, download the IFAD Annual Report in Arabic, English, French or Spanish.