Key Accomplishments and Challenges
During this quarter, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continued to impact the countries in which ILRG operates. Despite this constraint, field activities continued to move forward and country teams marked some significant accomplishments.
Mozambique: The ILRG activity supporting smallholder timber production ended during the period, having met all targets. The activity reached 72 participants, of whom 48 (69 percent) were women (compared to the target of reaching 50 participants). Over 5,000 saplings were planted and are thriving, with growers already harvesting products, such as leaves used for medicinal purposes. The five service providers carrying out work in Green Resources and Grupo Madal areas all requested no-cost extensions into the next quarter. By the end of the period, 81 communities around Green Resources AS (GRAS) and Grupo Madal plantations had delimited over 391,000 hectares. In the 14 communities around Madal plantations, all fieldwork was finished for 3,979 parcels, leaving only the final four public adjudication processes and production of Declarations of Land Rights. GRAS service providers are finalizing the last community delimitations and preparing contracts to legally pass improvements (infrastructure and existing trees) over to communities. ILRG’s inability to find agreement with the Ministry of Lands and Environment led to a cancellation of the anticipated support to internally displaced people from Cabo Delgado; USAID/Mozambique agreed to reprogram those funds to increase the scope of the Sofala work with families displaced by floods from cyclones.
Zambia: The first year of the diploma course for traditional leaders with over thirty chiefs was completed alongside the launch of gender guidelines for traditional leadership in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Minister of Local Government. These guidelines will be piloted during the coming year. ILRG started work in four USAID priority districts around gender-responsive land allocation and engaged in the Kafue and Luangwa landscapes with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), traditional leaders and district government on controlling land allocation and expansion within game management areas (GMAs). ILRG natural resource management partners led a coordination process to communicate joint priorities from civil society, private sector, and communities to the new government minister. ILRG also hosted a joint meeting between DNPW and the Forestry Department (FD) to navigate issues around forest carbon legislation. ILRG continued successful engagement with civil society on gender integration in natural resource management and land documentation. Finally, ILRG launched new agreements with Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), Wildlife Producers Association of Zambia (WPAZ), and the Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA), and began negotiations for a new agreement with the Zambia Community Resources Board Association (ZCRBA).
Ghana: Field work on land governance and community land use planning continued and two field trips finalized key aspects of the payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme being developed. Work continues to secure more diverse tree species to be planted in the next round of tree planting under the PES in 2022. The economic analysis of tree tenure reform continued and is undergoing final internal quality review.
India: The 2021 – 2022 potato season began this quarter. ILRG delivered training on Sustainable Farming Practices (SFPs) and started delivering agronomy training for PepsiCo women farmers. Women farmers were identified to lead land leasing groups (LLGs) and demonstration farms. The number of Community Agronomists was expanded to 18, covering all 12 target communities. Uptake of women’s empowerment activities was observed, as aggregators/vendors independently recruited and engaged Community Agronomists in areas outside of ILRG communities. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect project activities, impacting the number of people reached by various trainings and requiring some activities to be postponed, including gender norms change sessions, entrepreneurship training for women farmers, and gender-based violence (GBV) training for PepsiCo staff. An untimely rain and flooding in early December have deeply affected potato farmers in West Bengal who had just planted or were about to plant potatoes for the season. Substantial loss and low yield are expected.
Liberia: ILRG grantees continued to support customary land documentation in 36 communities in Lofa,
Maryland, Nimba, and River Gee Counties. Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) began to collect community boundary data and harmonize the boundaries with neighboring communities. Green Advocates resumed work in Nimba County after receiving guidance from the Liberia Land Authority. Land and resource by-laws were adopted, and land committees elected in the five ILRG-supported communities.
Malawi: ILRG completed the gender assessment in Traditional Authority (TA) Mwansambo in Nkhotakota District. ILRG supported the Government of Malawi to sensitize the leadership and men and women in TA Mwansambo on the land legal framework and the forthcoming land documentation efforts in up to 18 group village headpersons (GVHs). ILRG also supported the elections of community land committees in 17 of the 18 GVHs; newly elected members include equal numbers of men and women.
WEE: ILRG developed a communications and learning strategy with key messages and planned products and events on women’s land rights and women’s empowerment for Years 4 and 5. Information on key GBV concepts and the linkage between GBV and land, natural resources governance, and agricultural value chains was shared with all ILRG staff and in-country partners, subcontractors, and grantees during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. ILRG supported the delivery of an update on women’s land rights and WEE to USAID operating units and missions. ILRG also co-led a coffee chat for members of the USAID WEE Community of Practice on engaging men to advance women’s land rights and empowerment. The final two blog posts in partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) were published, sharing USAID’s best practices and lessons learned from Zambia and Liberia. ILRG signed a subcontract with Ecom Agroindustrial Corp.’s
(ECOM’s) Sustainable Management Services (SMS) in Ghana. SMS recruited a Gender and Sustainability Specialist to start in the next quarter. This 18-month activity will strengthen ECOM’s capacity on gender equality and women’s empowerment, which has a high sustainability and scalability potential, and reach 2,290 farmers (50 percent women) with gender-responsive social and agricultural training and opportunities for income diversification.
Madagascar: The Comité de Gestion de Bassin Sambirano (COGEBS) is now fully functional and legally recognized and has an initial work plan in place. The ILRG Madagascar team played a key role in advocating to the Region of Diana for legal recognition of this innovative landscape governance institution. Among the top initial COGEBS priorities was a request for ILRG to provide training on land tenure issues confronting the Sambirano Valley, which led to a highly acclaimed two-day training program in November for the COGEBS Executive Committee. A consultant also completed a short document spelling out the processes and steps for identifying the location, extent, and procedures to sell state-owned lands, once labor reserves during the colonial period, to current occupants or those with the means to pay the high costs of land transfers. The procedures for carrying out the government-sponsored opération domaniale concertée (ODOC) are now well known and the costs have been documented.
Other Activities: ILRG supported the PPA in strategic planning for a second phase of its activities, the facilitation of a virtual United States government (USG) delegation to the Great Lakes Region to discuss key issues in the responsible minerals trade, and the recruitment and onboarding of new and prospective member organizations. ILRG continued to support subcontractor International Peace Information Service (IPIS) in mapping artisanal mine sites and conflict financing dynamics in eastern DRC. IPIS continued to cooperate with the DRC Small-Scale and Artisanal Mining Assistance and Support Service (SAEMAPE) to facilitate data collection visits by IPIS field team members to key mining sites.