Food and Nutrition Security

Baseline Report of the Titukulane Resilience Food Security Activity in Malawi

While Malawi is moving up on the Human Development Index, in 2017 it is still classified as a low human development country (171 of 189). Despite decades of robust government and donor investments in livelihoods, food security, nutrition, and resilience, over 50% of the population lives below the poverty line. Previous activities have not sufficiently reduced the number of chronically food and nutrition-insecure households nor effectively enhanced the capacity of local and government structures to implement resilience focused policies and actions. To address these issues, the Government of Malawi has developed a National Resilience Strategy (NRS) to guide investments in agriculture, reduce impacts and improve recovery from shocks, promote household resilience, strengthen the management of Malawi’s natural resources, and facilitate effective coordination between government institutions, civil society organizations and development partners. CARE and consortium partners have designed the Titukulane Resilience Food Security Activity (RFSA) which means “let us work together for development” in the local Chichewa language—to support implementation and ensure the effectiveness of the NRS. The Titukulane RFSA, implemented by CARE International in Malawi (CIM), aims to achieve sustainable, equitable, and resilient food and nutrition security for ultra-poor and chronically vulnerable households. Titukulane is implemented in Zomba and Mangochi districts of Malawi’s Southern Region. Read More...

Rwanda: Gender equality helping farmers cope with increased food insecurity

The Indashyikirwa project was implemented in selected communities in seven districts of Rwanda from 2014-2018. It aimed to reduce the gender-based violence (GBV) experienced by women who were members of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs). The project’s couples’ curriculum resulted in a 55% reduction in the odds of women experiencing physical and/or sexual violence from their partner when compared with women who only joined VSLAs. Read More...

Gender-Sensitive Conflict Analysis in South and East Darfur States, Sudan, 2022

CARE International in Sudan is implementing the project “Enhancing resilience through improved food security, disaster risk reduction and peaceful co-existence in South and East Darfur states, Sudan” (1 September 2021 – 31 August 2025) through funding from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project addresses the specific needs, vulnerabilities, and capacities of women, youth, and persons with disabilities to strengthen their resilience to buffer, adapt, and respond to future shocks at an individual, family, and community levels. This gender sensitive conflict analysis in East and South Darfur – representing eight villages – is to understand the causes, power and gender dynamics, and actors of conflicts in the project area.

The conflict in Darfur is escalating rapidly, with eight times more people killed and displaced in 2021 than in 2020. Inflation rose by 359% in 2021. Climate change—marked by devastating floods and prolonged droughts—combined with food insecurity and a lack of services leaves people feeling violence is their only choice.
A profoundly unequal and harmful set of social norms that do not value women, and even refer to them as vessels of the devil, coupled with laws that do not protect women and their rights, are pushing many burdens of this crisis onto women. A common saying is, “Almara mamlouka ela malak Almout” or “A woman is owned to death.” As the situation gets more extreme and livelihoods and service get scarcer, women are more likely to be working outside the home to help meet family needs. Men have not increased their involvement in household chores and childcare to compensate for these shifts—leaving women with even higher burdens than before. The shifts in women having to work outside the home have not translated into corresponding improvements in women’s rights, engagement in politics, or access to public life.
This research draws from 20 focus groups and 20 Key Informant Interviews that represent the views of 193 people (45% of whom were women) in eight villages in July of 2022. It also looks at 44 secondary sources.

Farmer Field Business Schools and Village Savings and Loan Associations for promoting climate-smart agriculture practices: Evidence from rural Tanzania

How can stakeholders (e.g., governments and their extension services, private sector, policy makers and NGOs) effectively stimulate the adoption of climate-smart agricultural (CSA) practices among small-scale farmers in developing countries? Changes in temperatures and rainfall lead to new risks of drought as well as erratic and excess rainfall (Ericksen et al., 2011; WMO, 2020). Many farmers experience climate change as a threat since crop yields that farmers needed to sustain themselves are adversely affected (IPCC, 2014; WMO, 2020). At the same time, the agricultural sector also contributes to climate change since agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide) are among the significant drivers of global warming (CCAFS, 2021). Read More...

Learning From Failure 2022

In 2019 and 2020, CARE published Learning from Failures reports to better understand common problems that projects faced during implementation. Deliberately looking for themes in failure has helped CARE as an organization and provides insight on what is improving and what still needs troubleshooting. This report builds on the previous work to show what we most need to address in our programming now.
As always, it is important to note that while each evaluation in this analysis cited specific failures and areas for improvement in the project it reviewed, that does not mean that the projects themselves were failures. Of the 72 evaluations in this analysis, only 2 showed projects that failed to deliver on more than 15% of the project goals. The rest were able to succeed for at least 85% of their commitments. Rather, failures are issues that are within CARE’s control to improve that will improve impact for the people we serve.
To fully improve impact, we must continue to include failures in the conversation. We face a complex future full of barriers and uncertainties. Allowing an open space to discuss challenges or issues across the organization strengthens CARE’s efforts to fight for change. Qualitative analysis provides critical insights that quantitative data does not provide insight into the stories behind these challenges to better understand how we can develop solutions.
CARE reviewed a total of 72 evaluations from 65 projects, with 44 final reports published between February 2020 and September 2021 and 28 midterm reports published between March 2018 and October 2020. Seven projects had both midterm and final evaluations at the time of this analysis. For ease of analysis, as in previous years, failures were grouped into 11 categories (see Annex A, the Failures Codebook for details).

The most common failures in this year’s report are:
• Understanding context—both in the design phase of a project and refining the understanding of context and changing circumstances throughout the whole life of a project, rather than a concentrated analysis phase that is separate from project implementation. For example, an agriculture project that built it’s activities assuming that all farmers would have regular internet access, only to find that fewer than 10% of project participants had smartphones and that the network in the area is unreliable, has to significantly redesign both activities and budgets.
• Sustainability—projects often faced challenges with sustainability, particularly in planning exit strategies. Importantly, one of the core issues with sustainability is involving the right partners at the right time. 47% of projects that struggled with sustainability also had failures in partnership. For example, a project that assumed governments would take over training for project participants once the project closed, but that failed to include handover activities with the government at the local level, found that activities and impacts are not set up to be sustainable.
• Partnerships—strengthening partnerships at all levels, from government stakeholders to community members and building appropriate feedback and consultation mechanisms, is the third most common weakness across projects. For example, a project that did not include local private sector actors in its gender equality trainings and assumes that the private sector would automatically serve women farmers, found that women were not getting services or impact at the right level.
Another core finding is that failures at the design phase can be very hard to correct. While projects improve significantly between midterm and endline, this is not always possible. There are particular kinds of failure that are difficult to overcome over time. Major budget shortfalls, a MEAL plan that does not provide quality baseline data, and insufficient investments in understanding context over the entire life of a project are less likely to improve over time than partnerships and overall MEAL processes.
Some areas also showed marked improvements after significant investments. Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL), Gender, Human Resources, and Budget Management are all categories that show improvements over the three rounds of learning from failures analysis. This reflects CARE’s core investments in those areas over the last 4 years, partly based on the findings and recommendations from previous Learning From Failure reports. Specifically, this round of data demonstrates that the organization is addressing gender-related issues. Not only are there fewer failures related to gender overall, the difference between midterm and final evaluations in gender displays how effective these methods are in decreasing the incidence of “failures” related to engaging women and girls and looking at structural factors that limit participation in activities.
Another key finding from this year’s analysis is that projects are improving over time. For the first time, this analysis reviewed mid-term reports in an effort to understand failures early enough in the process to adjust projects. Projects report much higher rates of failure at midterm than they do at final evaluation. In the projects where we compared midline to endline results within the same project, a significant number of failures that appeared in the mid-term evaluation were resolved by the end of the project. On average, mid-term evaluations reflect failures in 50% of possible categories, and final evaluations show failures in 38% of possible options. Partnerships (especially around engaging communities themselves), key inputs, scale planning and MEAL are all areas that show marked improvement over the life of the project.

Solar Harnessed Entrepreneurs (SHE) Baseline Assessment: Promoting Productive Use of Energy (PUE) for Women and Girls in Sierra Leone

This report presents findings from a baseline assessment conducted to provide contextual analysis of the Solar Harnessed Entrepreneurs (SHE) project’s target population, capturing initial data against selected indicators in the project Results Framework. The SHE project aims to provide women groups and individual run enterprises with a package of support, including financing for energy-enabled appliances, training in their use and an enhanced market access and linkages with the aim to leverage the new access to energy for business growth. The ideal setting of the project is to cover over 330 newly enabled businesses by engaging 7,120 women, living in Sierra Leone’s mini-grid locations.
Although quantitative data collection was largely used to get primary information using structured questionnaires for personal interviews, the research team also used qualitative methods through Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), with respondents drawn from the renewable energy sector/mini-grid power stations. The study also used Focus Group Discussion (FGD) guides to interview Project’s target groups and individual women entrepreneurs in the study areas. The coverage of the assessment was to include twenty (20) communities in all seven (7) intervention districts (Bo, Bonthe, Moyamba, Pujehun, Kambia, Koinadugu and Bombali), but based on initial targets for the first phase of implementation, only sixteen (16) communities were reached during the assessment.

Evaluating System-level change and impact Findings from the evaluation of the SAMARTHYA project in Nepal

CARE’s ten-year strategy, Vision 2030, seeks to deepen the organizational focus on systems-level change and impact to support CARE’s mission to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. To support this, CARE launched a systems-level impact initiative to measure the effect of our programs that have influenced or changed systems, and the impact that this systems-change had on people’s lives. The initiative also increased capacity across the CARE confederation to design and implement high-quality systems change programs, and to strengthen the focus on systems-level change within our Country Office organizational frameworks and strategies. Four CARE Country Offices were selected to evaluate one systems-level program, and to synthesize the results and learning of this evaluation for national and global knowledge translation Read More...

Study on the sustainability of GRAD structures and outcomes

This study conducted by PDCR aims to better understand the sustainability and functionally of the processes and elements of GRAD-I as well as the different actors and structures supported and established by the project. And as such this report will focus on VESAs, household/value chains, agro-dealers, FEMAs/Cooperatives, micro-franchise, multi-stakeholders platform and access to finance after the project ended and will cover the period from December 2016 until September 2019.

The Graduation with Resilience to Achieve Sustainable Development (GRAD) project (hereafter referred to as the project) was a five-year USAID-funded project which began in December 2011 and ended in December 2016. Its strategic objective was to graduate a minimum of 50,000 chronically food-insecure households from the Ethiopian Government’s (GoE’s) Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP). Additionally, it aimed to increase each household’s income by $365 by the project’s fifth year in 16 Woredas in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR). During the implementation of the project combined “push” and “pull” model into a complete and integrated package of interventions and within this model the project at times established and/or the above-mentioned actors.

Accordingly, desktop reviews of relevant documents including the project final evaluation, suitability and exit plan as well as a variety of reports were undertaken. The study team collected quantitative and qualitative information from 330 VESAs, 1,066 households, 188 saleswomen, 21 agro-dealers, 31 FEMAs/cooperatives. Furthermore, it consulted with representatives from multi-stakeholder platforms groups, Woreda FSTF, MFIs/RuSACCOs and participating wholesalers linked to the project.
Key findings:
56% of the VESAs established and supported by the project are still active as members were able to benefit from their membership, improve their saving and loan management, improve loan repayment mechanisms, were able to share out on time and at critical times, have structured and transparent management committee. These groups develop their members’ social capital, have a strong sense of trust, have benefited from their family’s support. The active VESA have reasonable membership size, common interest and have managed receive continued support.
42% of the VESAs established are inactive as members lost confidence and the interest right after the project ended. Members did not clearly understand the value of the VESAs, some faced internal conflicts, others such as the groups in Sidama and Gurage Zones were affected by drought and security issues. Overall, the inactive VESAs have received less support especially those established in the later part of the project. On a positive side, in Tigray few groups dissolved their VESAs as there was no needed since they now have started saving at banks and can access credit from MFIs.
2% of VESAs have transformed into RuSACCOs. Those who managed to this transformation was encouraged by some of their members who already were also member to a RuSACCO. The VESAs were not encouraged due to RuSACCO’s principle that supported individual membership to join already established RuSACCOs; and groups would rather retain their VESA as they feel they have full control and do not want to lose their social capital.
Active VESAs were formed on a voluntary base and were given adequate briefing about the purpose of the group. In contrast, the inactive VESAs members were mainly selected and groups were formed by project staffs.
Active VESAs remained together and have not sought to split into smaller groups as they value the social capital created within the group and prefer to work as a one team. Dissimilarly, 53% of the currently inactive groups did separate to form smaller groups, mainly due to internal conflicts, dissatisfaction regarding members selection methods and lack of management skills amongst the leadership.
Across all study areas, all VESAs were found have bylaws and in the case of Tigray and Amhara regions, some groups internally agreed and have amended their bylaws articles related to saving amounts, loan repayment mechanisms and interest rates reflecting their needs.
Active VESAs have successfully built social cohesion, capital, are a safe and fertile environment for training, social and cultural norms discussion platforms that may impede development drives and contribute to food security (e.g. gender inequality, infant feeding practices, etc.).
On average 61% of the active VESAs have been able to increase their savings size while only 13% reporting a decrease. Those who reported a decrease was directly associated to their inability to save as family expenses have escalated and they were unable to generate more income in order to save.
In all the study areas, the groups have paid share out every year in May and June. Their average value of liquid savings during the last share-out was 28,282 Birr with an average group share out of 1,444 Birr ($51) and an internal loan size of 26,649 Birr.

CARE Guatemala Food Security Rapid Assessment 2022


Rural families in Guatemala face one of the most severe food shortage seasons, mainly due to the high cost of meeting their basic needs, the effects of international conflicts and COVID-19 prevention measures, low hiring of temporary labor, the slow recovery of the impact of storms Eta and Iota, and the rainy season 2022 that has started with rains above normal, causing water saturation in the soil, which affects subsistence agriculture. This is worst for families who live in the dry corridor.

In this context, the Municipal Coordinator for the Disaster Reduction –COMRED- and the Municipal Directorate of Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management -IMGIRD of the municipality of San Bartolomé Jocotenango, department of Quiché, with the technical support of CARE Guatemala and TECHO, surveyed 163 households in 33 rural communities to know the availability and access to food, the economic situation, gender roles and strategies of survival that families are implementing. This report shares the results of the analysis of the data collected in July 2022

• 42% of households do not have any remaining grain from the previous harvest, and a further 33% only have remaining grain reserves for further 3 months or less.
• Women earn 56% less than men. On average, men earn $143 per month, and women earn $62.
• 21% have gone into debt to be able to buy food
• 38% are reducing the size of their meals; 22% of people are eating less (or have stopped eating) to make sure their children can eat
• 31% are now skipping at least one meal per day
• 3.7% have spent entire days without eating
• 2% have sold their land to buy food
• In 45% if the households, at least one member has migrated outside the community to find jobs elsewhere.
• Women and young girls are doing 94% of the work preparing food, cleaning, and taking care of family members. Read More...

The crisis we can still avert

By September of 2022, the global food crisis had gotten so extreme that 205.1 million people urgently need humanitarian food assistance just to survive. Tragically, if we do nothing, the crisis could grow by another 620.9 million people in the next 6 months. That is the crisis we can still avert. Investing in food production, increasing resilience, and functioning markets can stave off this crisis if we act fast.

A recent report from Gro Intelligence and CRU Group estimates that the impacts from the Ukraine crisis on nitrogen fertilizer availability in the global agriculture system will lead to a total loss of 72 trillion calories of food produced in 2022 alone. That loss would cause 620.9 million MORE people who are already struggling to meet their basic food needs to lose at least one more meal a day for the next 6 months. This is the crisis that is coming—growing the current crisis by more than three times higher the 205.1 million people already experiencing food crisis.

Gender inequality will play a significant role in this crisis. Based on current trends in gender equality and food security, 332.8 million of these people will be women. That means 44.7 million more women than men could miss one meal a day for the next 6 months. Women could miss 8.5 billion more meals than men.

This is not a foregone conclusion. We can still act to prevent the worst of the crisis. The number of calories lost is only part of the story. Food insecurity is as much as story of inequality as it is of food production. Read More...

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