REGIS-ER’s first year of operation involved classic start-up activities: signing leases and buying furniture for offices in the Niamey and Ouagadougou headquarters and in the seven regions where satellite offices are located; procurement of equipment, materials, vehicles and motorcycles; recruiting more than 160 staff in two countries at all levels and with many specialties; the selection of some 16 communes as work zones and assigning villages to facilitators; carrying out diagnostics for village needs and planning for how to meet them; strategic planning and collaboration with FFP and other partners; assisting SAREL in its startup; signature of sub-contracts; development of strategies specific to each component; training regional and field cluster teams in teambuilding, technical approaches, reporting, administration procedures, and gender and environmental considerations; elaboration of the monitoring and evaluation plan; implementation of key activities to start off each component; and elaboration of the 2014-2015 workplan. Given the complexity and time required to set up REGIS-ER in two countries, many of the targets are at less than 20% for year one. For some targets, the project will be able to catch up over the next four years. For others, it will require a readjustment of targets – planned for March 2015.
Highlights from the year
Market/moringa gardens are an opportunity for REGIS components to work together while addressing tenure issues for women and nutrition for their families. REGIS-ER has added 58 women’s gardens to its growing list of sites. Several gardens in Tillabéri-South were set up towards the end of USAID-Arziki Project, and are currently at different stages of development. Each site’s gardeners have specific needs in organizational skills, marketing information, farming techniques, and irrigation systems.
REGIS hired six village garden technicians and trained them in advanced gardening techniques and in assessing and organizing groups. Supervisory responsibilities for the 58 gardens have been divided among the village technicians, who will be monitored by REGIS facilitators and Regional Specialists. The objective is to upgrade all the garden groups and their sites, tailoring interventions to their needs so that they can establish oasis and moringa gardens.
Moreover, the gardens will serve as focal points for training in health, nutrition, and sanitation given by Health component’s behavior change subcomponent, and a place where Mother to Mother groups can meet.
As for all gardens in REGIS-ER, land tenure questions will be addressed by the Governance component. And for each site where a solar or Volanta pump will be installed, a title deed will be required.