Key Accomplishments and Challenges
Mozambique: ILRG’s subcontractors carrying out the first round of work related to Grupo Madal and Green Resources SA (GRAS) have all finished or are in the final phases of their work. ILRG continues to pursue discussions with the National Directorate of Land on its concerns about delimitation of parcels outside of the formal titling process, with a technical meeting to be scheduled early in the next quarter. New activities for the final 18 months of the ILRG program have been designed and are being modified to enable startup of work even while discussions with the directorate continue. These involve new support for Madal’s extension system with neighboring farmers and delimitation of communities around Madal’s plantations; support to nine communities in management of plantations renounced last year by GRAS; and support to displaced people and host communities in Sofala.
Zambia: ILRG grantees and subcontractors, including Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA), Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), Wildlife Producers Association of Zambia (WPAZ), and Zambia Community Resources Board Association (ZCRBA), each began field implementation of new agreements on customary land documentation and administration, wildlife management and governance, and women’s empowerment. ILRG trained a cohort of 25 civil society mid-level natural resource management social outreach officers in women’s leadership and empowerment through an in-person and ongoing course. A consultant was hired to advance relationships with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources following a meeting between the US Chargé d’Affaires and the minister. Relationships were advanced with two new USAID landscape programs in the Eastern Kafue and North Luangwa ecosystems.
India: This quarter was peak potato season in West Bengal. Untimely heavy rains and floods in early December, during potato planting, greatly affected the season and project activities. Yield is expected to be much lower than originally anticipated; farmers and aggregators experienced financial loss, with many farmers opting not to plant PepsiCo potatoes. Three out of 10 women’s land leasing groups and one women-led demonstration farm out of 12 decided not to proceed. Despite these challenges, project activities reached over 1,100 women farmers in 12 communities,1 who benefited from a variety of activities such as potato agronomy training, Sustainable Farming Practice (SFP) training, technical support from Community Agronomists, participation in Farmers’ Field Days at demonstration farms, and household-level gender norms change training. ILRG developed and implemented a comprehensive assessment plan to capture quantitative and qualitative data on impact related to WEE and business key performance indicators. As most farmers harvested their crops towards the end of the reporting period, results from the season will be shared in the next quarter.
Liberia: Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) finished their support to 31 communities in Lofa, Maryland, and River Gee Counties through the collection and confirmation of community boundary data. All 31 communities received a Certificate of Completion of Community Self-Identification at the National Land Conference in early March, which formally recognized them as customary land-owning communities. Green Advocates International (GAI) continued work in the five ILRG-supported communities in Nimba County, conducting awareness raising of the boundary harmonization process and training communities in alternative dispute resolution. ILRG competed a request for applications for a third grant focusing on customary land rights formalization; the resulting grant agreement is expected to be finalized early in the next quarter.
Malawi: ILRG continues to support the Government of Malawi in the land documentation efforts in 18 group village headpersons (GVHs) in Traditional Area (TA) Mwansambo. ILRG selected and trained 16 data collectors (nine women and seven men) and eight data processors (five women and three men) early in the quarter and established an office for processing data in Nkhotakota. Data on over 1,300 parcels was collected within the first month of work. ILRG engaged consultants and began implementation of three different workshops, focusing on women’s empowerment and leadership for women in customary land committees (CLCs); household gender norms dialogues with men and women; and gender norms dialogues with traditional authorities.
Ghana Deforestation Free Cocoa: The team finalized details of the payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme developed in partnership with Ecom Agroindustrial Corp. (ECOM) and Hershey; the standard operating procedures were finalized and reviewed with the communities. ILRG submitted the draft economic analysis of proposed tree tenure reform to USAID and will revise in response to USAID comments early in the next quarter.
Ghana WEE: ILRG partner ECOM’s Sustainable Management Services (SMS) onboarded a Gender and Sustainability Specialist, who will coordinate implementation in Ghana, including engagement at company and farmer levels. The Gender and Inclusion Specialist is leading the development of a country gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) policy, which will be informed by ECOM’s global sustainability strategy and information collected through a gender audit style survey with all management and field staff, completed over this quarter. ECOM SMS and ILRG are revising the company’s existing gender and Good Social Practices (GSP) training programs to strengthen gender content and include dialogues to shift harmful gender norms that hinder women’s access to resources, which will be delivered to up to 2,290 farmers (50 percent women) in 65 communities. Over this quarter farmer sensitization began, reaching over 1,100 farmers. ECOM SMS also held meetings with local stakeholders, including local government, to gain their support and buy-in. As part of activities to diversify economic opportunities for women in cocoa communities, ECOM SMS mobilized 391 women farmers who formed 15 village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) in 12 communities.
WEE Cross-Cutting: ILRG developed, published, and disseminated external and internal communications materials for International Women’s Day (IWD). A blog post highlighting women leading land and resource governance in India, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia was published and promoted through social media. A series of short messages with stories of women who are leading their communities towards inclusive land and resource governance were shared with around 130 staff and partners across all program countries. ILRG supported USAID to deliver a learning session for the land advisors community of practice on gender norms change.
Madagascar: The ILRG Madagascar team continued to provide technical support to the Comité du Gestion du Bassin Sambirano (COGEBS) to provide training to its members on land tenure and property rights. The two-person team of land specialists offered a two-hour introduction to the tenure issues of the valley to the General Assembly and will carry out a more in-depth three-day training for key stakeholders after the rainy season passes. A study tour for the COGEBS Executive Committee to the Boeney region to learn of successful land securitization programs is planned for July, accompanied by advocacy meetings in Antananarivo. The team completed and presented a strategic document on administrative ways to address the issue of ex-Indigenous Reserves.
Other Activities: ILRG supported the PPA in planning a third phase and new memorandum of understanding (MoU) governing its activities and continued planning for member-focused and external stakeholder engagement opportunities. ILRG continued to support subcontractor International Peace Information Service (IPIS) in mapping artisanal mine sites and conflict financing dynamics in eastern DRC. This work has extended to information sharing with local monitoring committees, multi-stakeholder fora, and United States government (USG) and DRC government stakeholders. With respect to work on Prindex collaboration, ILRG is preparing a revised report on the data collection and analysis, responding to USAID and peer feedback; the executive summary of that report will be the basis for producing a lessons learned brief. Additional research activities in support of USAID are also underway.