REGIS-ER Quarterly Report: April – June, 2014

During this quarter, REGIS-ER team setups were completed in the regions as well as at headquarters in both Niger and Burkina Faso. The headquarters were equipped with communications tools, including a dedicated internet line in Niger and mobile telephone group accounts for both capitals. The telephone group account for the remainder of Burkina sites is in the process of being set up.

Now that regional staff have been sent to their respective sites, field activities have begun in earnest in both countries. Centralized training of trainers for REGIS-ER’s approach was carried out last quarter, and the training of field technicians followed this quarter. Field interventions continue as meetings with local authorities and partners continue in the communes. The initial diagnostics in selected villages is ongoing.

An informational and hands-on workshop on REGIS-ER’s monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan was organized in Niamey from May 19 to 23. The Regional coordinators and regional M&E specialists, Sheladia and Dimagi consultants, and SAREL representatives attended. It was an occasion to harmonize the actors’ understanding of the M&E plan and the tools (forms) that will be used to collect data to report on progress of REGIS-ER. The content of the workshop was communicated at the field level through workshops and training.

A series of workshops on individual Project component strategies was initiated in May and will end in July. Although broad strategies did exist within the components, understanding and consistency of terms and approaches have been enhanced and harmonized by the workshops, leading to better coordination among REGIS-ER actors.

Component activities are summarized in the following paragraphs.

Sustainable Livelihoods Component (SL)

In the context of promoting employment in the rural sector, 383 people (including 305 women) from TillabériSouth built stone water-capturing structures following Project training.

In terms of adaptation to climate change, REGIS-ER gave training in conservation farming for rainfed crops in Niger for 47 producers; and in Burkina Faso for 20 producers.

The Project also trained 15 producers in seed multiplication, setting up 15 demonstration sites for improved varieties on 27 hectares in Niger.

In Burkina Faso, each of the 20 producers who were trained installed three demonstration sites for three farming techniques: manually-practiced conservation farming using compost and mineral fertilizer; plowing the soil with a ripper and using compost and mineral fertilizer; and traditional farming methods.

In all, 94 “simplified BDL” sites were set up in Niger for 906 women belonging to producer groups. The women also received Project support in the form of improved seed: Konni okra, Sadoré senna, and Sadoré hibiscus, as well as small equipment.

The area placed under improved technologies covers 264 hectares in 4 work zones in Niger.

Six irrigation sites were donated in Tillabéri-South. The status still needs to be legalized by securing a deed.

In the livestock domain, a ceremony was organized June 25 in Tillabéri-South (Balléyara) as part of a habbanayé operation. 150 vulnerable women received 3 female goats and 1 male goat with a food supply consisting of cotton seed and wheat bran.

In the context of agricultural and rural credit, three women’s groups from Tillabéri-South received credit in the amount of 7,700,000 FCFA for animal fattening. In Zinder, four women’s groups from two of REGIS-ER’s communes obtained 4,750,000 FCFA in credit for sheep fattening activities.

The Project is working with ASUSU micro-finance institute (MFI) to provide credit and build capacity for producer organizations and community-based solution providers (CBSP or APS). A memorandum of understanding is being prepared.

Governance and Natural Resource Management Component (GNRM)

Governance Component trained 11 members (including one woman) of the first steering committee, and 47 members (including six women) of the sub-zone committees that are involved in drawing up a Land Use Plan (POAS) as part of a local convention for Tondikandia commune in Tillabéri-South in Niger. The POAS will cover over 222,000 ha. Fourteen types of community-based organizations are involved in the associated fora.

As part of developing the component’s field strategy, a workshop was held on the concepts and approaches used by the five sub-components. The strategy was validated by regional coordinators and governance staff at the workshop.

The four work regions of Niger were found to contain areas wherein people are willing to implement farmer-managed natural regeneration with the Project.

Health/Nutrition and WASH (SN)

The Health Component was able to obtain a map of health and nutrition activities already taking place in two regions of Niger, Maradi and Zinder, thanks to research carried out by other actors.

REGIS-ER carried out an inventory of improved water sources in 130 of the 232 villages in Maradi and Zinder intervention zones.

Regional teams who are carrying out diagnostic studies of our villages also listed the water and sanitation infrastructure status and management situation.  Performance evaluation of management committees was carried out for 60 villages in Maradi region and 46 villages in Zinder Region.

22 villages in Maradi and Niger regions expressed willingness to participate in ATPC activities after their need for improved sanitation infrastructure was identified.

An overall strategy for implementing health, nutrtion, and WASH activities and SBCC has been proposed and is being validated and harmonized for the two countries. A community diagnostic exercise to identify behavior change targets was conducted in five out of 20 women’s gardens in Balléyara (Tillabéri-South), where 19 educators (including 16 women) were trained in infant health and nutrition.

Three workshops (one per region) were organized to inform staff about ATPC in Burkina Faso. They provided a forum for exchanges between the heads of SBCC and WASH and the regional teams, thus providing uniform comprehension of the approach.