Climate resilience

Variations in Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) Practices: An Assessment of Dynamics and Impacts in Zomba and Mangochi Districts – Titukulane Project

This assessment investigates variations in the practices of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in Zomba and Mangochi districts. While the VSLA model has been transformative in promoting financial inclusion and community empowerment in rural areas, there have been noticeable deviations from the CARE VSL methodology, commonly referred to as the standard methodology. With Titukulane's support for these VSLAs, it becomes imperative to comprehend the reasons and implications behind these changes.

The rapid assessment was instrumental in understanding the VSLA practices across selected districts. Qualitative data on the VSLA methodology variations were randomly drawn from 8 out of the 19 Traditional Authorities (TAs) where Titukulane is implementing interventions. Within this sample, the assessment encompassed diverse voices from VSLA members, Community Development Agents, Village Agents, and Titukulane staff. The research utilized a rapid assessment approach to gain a comprehensive overview of the VSLA practices in Zomba and Mangochi in a time-efficient manner. This methodology was chosen for its ability to capture immediate, relevant insights without necessitating the extended time frame typical of more intensive research methods. The rapid assessment prioritized direct interactions with participants, ensuring their experiences and perspectives were central to the data collected. This direct engagement proved invaluable, especially when exploring sensitive topics related to financial practices and internal group dynamics. Through this approach, the assessment aimed to offer a nuanced understanding of current VSLA practices and the motivations underpinning their variations. In the context of this study, variations refer to the distinct differences in approaches, outcomes, or practices observed among the groups, while deviations denote departures from the expected or standard methods prescribed by Titukulane, potentially indicating unique adaptations or challenges faced by certain groups.
Key Findings: VSLAs in both districts have adopted varied practices. Some VSLAs, for example, emphasize equal shares for every member, while others note disparities in contributions. Lending strategies, such as offering loans to non-members, also emerged, aiming to bolster financial inclusivity. However, such innovative strategies sometimes come with their own set of challenges, like difficulties in accurate record-keeping or financial strains from settling older debts using newer contributions. External influences, cultural beliefs, and regional dynamics also play key roles in these variations. Below is a complete list of the variations and deviations noted in the two districts:

• Shares and Savings: While some VSLAs continue to advocate for standardized shares per member to ensure equality, others experience disparities due to inconsistent contributions. For instance, in some groups members are allowed to purchase more than 5 shares at a time, with some purchasing up to 100 shares.
• Loan Practices: Innovative loan practices, including lending to non-members, aim to enhance financial inclusivity.
• Documentation and Record-Keeping: Challenges in maintaining accurate records are pervasive, with different approaches to record-keeping observed.
• Emergence of Digital Financing Platforms replacing cashboxes: In younger VSLA demographics, there's a rising adoption of digital financing platforms, such as Airtel Money and TNM Mpamba. However, this shift poses challenges for older members, who are less familiar with digital technologies.
• Religious and Cultural Adjustments: Deep-seated religious beliefs influence some VSLAs to refrain from charging interest.
• Influence of External Entities: VSLAs display adaptability and responsiveness to external influences, including NGOs and community initiatives.
• Group Dynamics: Many VSLAs have larger membership counts than recommended, possibly reflecting community resource pooling. Read More...

Community-led Resource Mobilization & Early Warning Systems Process Assessment: Titukulane Project

This report examines the motivation and willingness of Village Civil Protection Committees (VCPCs) and communities to mobilize resources at community level for Disaster Risk Management (DRM). To do this, a participatory action research (PAR) approach was utilized, facilitated by SWOT analyses, in combination with focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs). The findings revealed that communities had prepositioned resources to prepare for disaster response as part of risk reduction. Participants identified their ability to mobilize themselves as a community; to mobilize funds and food; well trained and knowledgeable structures, good agricultural practices, and good governance as major strengths. Opportunities for resource mobilization included enterprise, piece work (ganyu), irrigation farming, access to safety net programs, and youth participation. Weaknesses included the disorganization of some community structures, lack of support or political will from community leaders and the government, lack of accountability from VCPC members, and reluctance to adopt improved agricultural practices. Community-based early warning systems, although available, are insufficient to provide effective risk reduction for natural disasters. There is a lack of documentation concerning indigenous early warning systems, which impedes the development of effective and contextual strategies for risk reduction. The recommendations include increasing awareness among traditional leaders, defining resource mobilization structures, documenting guidelines and transactions for transparency, investing in early warning infrastructure and capacity building, documenting indigenous early warning signs, and intensifying watershed restoration and conservation to increase disaster preparedness. Read More...

Meta-Evaluation report on Social norms, performance and prediction of MMD/VSLA achievements in Niger

Niger has developed a legal and institutional framework to fight against discrimination based on gender, age, ethnic group and other factors by 2027. This strategy was developed in a context where all gender indicators are well below the sub-regional average. This strategy is complemented by the efforts of development partners, including CARE International in Niger. In its vision 2030, CARE International places gender equality at the center of its organizing principle. Promoting gender equality and social justice are political goals, which require speaking the truth to public and private actors and standing in solidarity with those who seek to challenge the status quo and the unjust distribution of rights, power and resources. Thus, since 1991, CARE has initiated in a co-learning approach through the MMD (Mata Masu Dubara) model for women empowerment and poverty reduction. Due to its widespread success, the approach became a gateway for most of CARE's and other development partners' activities and has expanded to other sectors of socio-economic development, politics and women's empowerment in Niger. Many studies and evaluations of the approach have been conducted and the results generated are diverse and rich in lessons learned. This report aims to document the rigorous effects/impacts of the MMD approach on the resilience of individuals, groups and institutions at all scales, while also identifying relevant areas where further field-level research is needed. The methodological approach is based first on a meta-evaluation of relevant documents and a complementary data collection using the outcome harvesting approach. Four major current themes were addressed. They are: women's voice and leadership, men's commitment to reducing gender inequality, climate justice, social and economic justice for women. Read More...

SHOUHARDO III Performance and Impact evaluation

This report evaluates the performance of the SHOUHARDO III project, which targets poor households in the char and haor (wetland) areas of Bangladesh and aims to address food and income insecurity, maternal and child health and nutrition, women’s and youth empowerment, as well as improve access to public services while building resilience capacities. This evaluation employs three methodologies: qualitative inquiry, pre-post comparison, and impact evaluation. The impact evaluation matches communities treated by SHOUHARDO III with untreated communities ex-post, using baseline stunting rates from the 2014 DHS dataset. The evaluation finds that the SHOUHARDO III project engaged more than 40% of households surveyed within target villages and successfully targeted poor and female-headed households. The analysis of baseline and endline statuses (pre-post analysis) of households in the SHOUHARDO III-targeted areas demonstrates that households from these areas improved across several indicators, including poverty levels, the nutritional status of women and children, women’s empowerment, and gender equity. From a qualitative standpoint, participants from areas where SHOUHARDO III appeared well-implemented offers insights into the potential of the interventions. The qualitative evaluation found mechanisms of change in several areas that can be built upon and enhanced. Qualitative findings show that the program succeeded in promoting multi-sectoral change at household and community levels. They also show that SHOUHARDO III effectively targeted services to the most food-insecure, Poor and Extremely Poor members of communities, and its multi-generational and gender-inclusive approach to its interventions facilitated community acceptance. From the impact evaluation, it is likely that we can credit SHOUHARDO III with improvements in women’s dietary diversity, women and children’s minimum acceptable diet, antenatal care access, and the increase in participation across several sectors. In addition, households in SHOUHARDO III villages experienced statistically significant differences in one resilience indicator, and households in program villages that experienced major shocks were better able to maintain their food consumption than similar households in comparison villages. However, the impact evaluation does not find meaningful differences between households in targeted communities and households in non-targeted communities in terms of women’s mobility and decision-making, children’s nutritional status (including child stunting and underweight status), children’s diarrhea, exclusive breastfeeding, household hunger, and improved use of health and nutrition services overall. Improvements in mostmeasured conditions in the SHOUHARDO III program areas appear to have been matched by similar improvements in non-program areas, suggesting broader forces may account for them. Ultimately understanding differences between program areas and non-program areas can help inform decisions about future chapters of the SHOUHARDO III program and other development food security programs to ensure the most effective programs for vulnerable populations. Understanding the dynamics and mechanisms of change and responses of participants to interventions can also inform future work. Salient findings are also important to highlight for action. The research team concludes this report with recommendations. Read More...

Conflict and Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CCVCA) Ségou region, Mali (GENRE+II Project))

The Ségou region of Mali is experiencing a steady increase in impacts from climate change, such as more erratic and reduced rainfall, increased temperatures, intensified seasonal flooding when rains do occur, and increased incidence of human and livestock diseases. These impacts interact with population pressures and natural resource management challenges to affect historical land use practices, such as agriculture and pastoralism, in the semi-urban and rural communes within the cercles of Baraouéli, Bla and Ségou. In these communes, women engage in a range of livelihood and subsistence activities related to natural resources, such as market gardening and forest product harvesting, often significantly augmenting household income. Therefore, it is important to include women in conflict resolution mechanisms over land and water, accounting for a scenario where climate impacts are predicted to intensify.
The Genre++ project, funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), works with communities to identify and address interrelated causes and impacts of climate vulnerability, conflict and gender inequality. A novel Climate and Conflict Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (CCVCA) tool was used to carry out a rapid participatory analysis of vulnerabilities and adaptive capacity with representatives from 12 communes in Ségou region (144 female, 156 male) from 9 to 20 March 2023. This report summarises the results of this analysis, discussing how climate change has interacted with other economic and demographic pressures to create tensions around natural resource management. It also details the community members’ current responses, as well as their recommendations for future action. Read More...

Rapid Gender Analysis on Power and Participation Ségou region, Mali (GENRE+II PROJECT)

This Rapid Gender Analysis on Power and Participation (RGA-P) is part of the GENRE+II project in the cercles of Bla, Ségou and Barouéli in the Ségou region of Mali. The project is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO) to build capacity for climate change adaptation, gender equality and social cohesion in the Ségou region.
This RGA-P is the first step in CARE's Women Lead in Emergencies (WLiE) model. It summarises the impact of the crisis on gender roles and relations, the capacity of women/girls to cope, participate and influence decision-making in response to the crisis, and offers ideas on how women can strengthen their own participation and leadership. The RGA-P is based on secondary and primary data collection carried out in March 2023 in eight communes in the cercles of Ségou, Bla and Barouéli in the Ségou region. Read More...


In October2019, CARE Ethiopia commissioned Care Plc. to conduct repeated annual intermediate result (IR) assessment of the Livelihoods for Resilience Activity over the coming three years, corresponding to the fiscal year of the project from 2019-2022. The study involves assessing project’s intermediate result that have been achieved based on the key performance indicators using information collected randomly selected project participating households as well as conducting multiyear trend analysis of changes in the well-being of project participants based on panel data are collected from 400 households . Read More...

Enhanced livelihoods and increased resilience of poor ethnic minority women and men rural areas to the effects of climate change and variability – Information for Adaptation in Vietnam (InfoAct)

The overall objective of the InfoAct Project is to enhance livelihoods and increase the resilience of poor ethnic minority women and men in rural areas to the effects of climate change and variability. This is to be accomplished through a specific objective (outcome) to ensure ethnic minority households in rural areas have improved access to and use of climate information, and resources to help increase their climate resilience. The InfoAct Project is focusing mainly on two target groups: (1) 5,000 ethnic minority households, especially women, in Dien Bien and Lai Chau provinces and (2) government authorities and service providers, namely Department of Hydro-Meteorology, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the provincial VWU and CCD. As InfoAct was going to phase out after three years’ implementation and close all its activities by November 2021, an independent final evaluation was conducted to understand the project’s impacts/outcomes and key lessons learned. Read More...

Impact Evaluation of the Strengthen PSNP4 Institutions and Resilience (SPIR) Development Food Security Activity (DFSA)

The Strengthen PSNP4 Institutions and Resilience (SPIR) Development Food Security Activity (DFSA) in Ethiopia is a five-year project (2016-2021) supporting implementation of the fourth phase of the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP4) as well as providing complementary livelihood, nutrition, gender and climate resilience activities to strengthen the program and expand its impacts. The main objectives of SPIR are to enhance livelihoods, increase resilience to shocks, and improve food security and nutrition for rural households vulnerable to food insecurity. Activities under SPIR are organized into four Purposes: 1) livelihoods, 2) nutrition, 3) women’s and youth empowerment, and 4) climate resilience. Across these Purposes, SPIR provides community-level programming, training of government staff involved in public service delivery at the woreda (district) and kebele (subdistrict) level, and targeted livelihood transfers. Read More...

SWEEP-Water for Food Security, Women’s Empowerment and Environmental Protection Project in East and West Belesa Woredas of Central Gondar Zone, Amhara Regional State

Introduction and Context of the Evaluation
This report refers to the midterm evaluation (MTE) of “SWEEP-Water for Food Security, Women’s Empowerment and Environmental Protection Project” funded by Austrian Development Cooperation through Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and implemented by CARE Ethiopia. The project was commenced in October 2017 and will be implemented through September 2020 in East and West Belesa Woredas of Central Gondar Zone, Amhara National Regional State. With the ultimate impact of “Chronically food insecure households in Belesa Woredas have improved food security and resiliency”, the project was designed and implemented to achieve the following outcomes.
i. Improved access to water resources for domestic consumption and productive use and enhanced and sustainable productivity of land for varied uses
ii. Vulnerable groups empowered to contribute productively in the household and community
iii. Local government capacitated and community empowered to initiate and lead community development and adaptive measures
The purpose of this mid-term evaluation was assessing the degree of success based on the five OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) standard evaluation parameters. Ten selected project intervention Kebeles from the two intervention Woredas were visited in this evaluation process. Participatory and multi-stage evaluation methods, data sources and triangulations were made to analyze the project status and measure the performance. Quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were used to collect data from direct project beneficiaries such as chronically food insecure and drought affected people, rural women and girls, persons with disabilities, youth, relevant government sector and administrative offices at various levels and CARE. Overall, household survey was administered on 845 HHs and 14 KII, 21 FGDs, 20 direct observations and 16 in-depth interviews were made. The following description illustrates the summary of key midterm evaluation findings. Read More...

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