Key Accomplishments and Challenges
During this third quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2021, despite widespread vaccination in the US, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continued to negatively impact ILRG project countries. Southern Africa began to experience a third wave of COVID-19 following large outbreaks in India. While many members of the ILRG team have been able to gain access to vaccines, partners and community members remain at high risk.
Mozambique: ILRG’s six implementing partners are all in the main phase of their implementation with
over 100 communities. The work includes land delimitation, planning for community delimitation, and
support to agricultural production on previously delimited land. National coordination with the USAID Supporting the Policy Environment for Economic Development (SPEED) program continued on policy and law. ILRG provided various types of support to the National Land Commission and the Ministry of Land and Environment, including the launch on Earth Day 2021 of a portal with details of over 20,000 interviews done as part of the national consultation on the review of the land policy. Planning to support land administration in areas of internal displacement due to disasters and conflict moved ahead, with new agreements in Sofala and Cabo Delgado Provinces.
Zambia: Zambia’s National Lands Policy was launched this quarter following over seven years of USAID support to the process. This was complemented by ILRG assistance to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on a communications strategy. ILRG shared the policy widely including with a presentation to the heads of mission for cooperating partners (donors). ILRG’s partnerships on community-based natural resource management continued with a leadership training with the Zambia Community Resources Board Association (ZCRBA) executive leadership, as well as continued support to engendering elections with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW). DNPW opened a process for making amendments to the Wildlife Act of 2015, and ILRG helped civil society coordinate among themselves. With respect to learning, ILRG hosted a series of webinars on community forest management, as well as private wildlife estates; and carried out the second two-week residential course for customary leaders with Chalimbana University. Land documents were finalized for thousands of households and ILRG received positive feedback from the Ministry of Local Government on local area planning processes.
Ghana: The payment for ecosystem services (PES) component and associated field work was delayed due to issues finalizing corporate commitments to fund the PES. Direct engagement between USAID and the corporate partners helped address the issue, which is expected to be resolved shortly. Meridia produced an online and hardcopy database of all the FarmSeal documents produced under ILRG and the Tenure and Global Climate Change program (TGCC) and shared it with the stool. Ecom Agroindustrial Corp. (ECOM) shared the latest season’s crop yields for the cash crops planted as part of the cocoa rehabilitation program. Yields of chili had increased substantially compared to the prior season, but all crops produced less yields overall than forecasted. The implications of this for the rehabilitation program will be discussed with ECOM in early July.
India: The 2020 – 2021 potato season ended during this quarter. ILRG provided agronomy training to a total of 602 women PepsiCo farmers in 12 communities, as well as a refresher training for 230 women that had been trained during the previous potato season. Six modules of training provided women with information and skills on land preparation, seed treatment, and plantation; safe use and storage of agro-chemicals; soil health and nutrient management; common pest and diseases; harvesting, sorting, and grading; and record keeping and record analysis. Both land leasing groups had a successful season and
experienced above average productivity in their areas. Communications products showcasing women’s land rights and the connection with climate change goals were published. The continued farmers’ protests in India, state elections, and a sudden increase in the number of COVID-19 cases have impacted the ability to deliver planned activities like part of the final phase of the package of practices (POP) training, sustainable farming practices (SFP) training, and gender norms change training for farmers, as well as gender-based violence (GBV) training and land literacy orientation for PepsiCo staff. Land law and policy advocacy work was also impacted by these challenges.
WEE: ILRG developed and consolidated a series of guidance tools and training materials in Portuguese
and English on women’s land rights, women’s economic empowerment, and GBV. Informed by the gender assessment findings and in coordination with ECOM, ILRG submitted a draft detailed implementation plan and budget to work on gender and cocoa sector issues. It is expected that field activities will begin over the next quarter upon approval of the implementation plan. The activity will strengthen ECOM’s capacity on gender equality and women’s empowerment, which has a high sustainability and scalability potential, and increase women’s access to productive resources in the cocoa sector. In Malawi, ILRG finalized the choice of a traditional land management area (TLMA) in which to work. This was complemented by start-up activities with ILRG’s small, Lilongwe-based team, including office rental, procurement and presentations with the Land Reform Implementation Unit (LRIU).
Liberia: ILRG continued to wait for guidance from the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) on how to proceed after it was discovered that six of the seven communities one of the ILRG grantees was collaborating with had been part of another organization’s customary land formalization program in Nimba County. The LLA met with the two civil society organizations on March 30, 2021, traveled to Nimba County in mid-May 2021 to meet with community leaders and members, and presented initial findings at a June 3, 2021 meeting. ILRG is ready to proceed with working with the Nimba communities once the go-ahead is received from the LLA. Concurrently, the other grantee drafted community land and resource governance bylaws and elected members of the community land development and management committees across its 31 communities in Lofa, Maryland and River Gee Counties.
Madagascar: ILRG presented its status updates to USAID on opportunities to improve private sector and tenure dynamics across the Sambirano Valley. Given the long-term horizon for the multi-donor program, ILRG has identified “light touch” activities for the program to pursue over the coming two years in support of the program, particularly around addressing historical tenure issues and ensuring that the partnership platform has a strong base on land and resource rights.
Other Activities: ILRG launched a new field support activity with USAID/DRC on investigating conflict financing, due diligence, and socioeconomic dynamics in the artisanal mining sector. Progress continued within the current work plans for support to USAID’s Indigenous Peoples portfolio and PPA. With respect to work on Prindex collaboration, ILRG is approaching completion of data collection in Colombia. ILRG continued discussing opportunities to coordinate with USAID on aligning research and analytical needs associated with the new administration.