"Feasibility Study of Livelihood Projects FEASIBILITY STUDY INTO"
FEASIBILITY STUDY INTO THE INTRODUCTION OF A LOCAL INNOVATION SUPPORT FACILITY INTO OKHAHLAMBA DISTRICT, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA For FAIR - Farmer Access to Innovation Resources A Project of May 2006 By Anton Krone This project is supported by GFAR and Agropolis through the DURAS Project of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Acknowledgements All who granted an interview as part of this feasibility study are gratefully thanked. Your time and contributions are most valued. Without these it would not have been possible to develop the thinking contained in this work. Ann Waters-Bayer, Brigid Letty and Maxwell Mudhara offered specific comment on earlier drafts of the text. This is greatly appreciated. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 1 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Table of contents Acronyms ......................................................................................................................... 1 1 Introduction ................................................................................................................ 2 2 Why an ISF or LISF? ................................................................................................. 4 2.1 Introduction......................................................................................................... 4 2.2 Goal, Purpose and Objectives ............................................................................ 4 2.3 Research Methods ............................................................................................. 5 2.4 Rationale for Focusing on Local-Level Innovation............................................... 5 2.5 South Africa as a Special Case .......................................................................... 6 3 International ISF Experiences and Lessons ............................................................... 8 3.1 Introduction......................................................................................................... 8 3.2 Funds for Innovation and their Functions ............................................................ 8 3.3 Funds and their Sustainability ............................................................................. 8 3.4 Disbursement Approaches ................................................................................. 9 3.5 Key Lessons ....................................................................................................... 9 4 Social and Economic Context .................................................................................. 11 4.1 National ............................................................................................................ 11 4.2 Local................................................................................................................. 11 4.2.1 Locality ...................................................................................................... 11 4.2.2 History ....................................................................................................... 12 4.2.3 Population ................................................................................................. 12 4.2.4 Land Tenure .............................................................................................. 12 4.2.5 Resource Base .......................................................................................... 12 4.2.6 Infrastructure and Services ........................................................................ 13 4.2.7 Institutional Features ................................................................................. 13 4.3 Household Experiences of Poverty and Vulnerability ........................................ 14 4.3.1 Access to Goods, Services, Economic and Recreational Opportunities ..... 14 4.3.2 Shocks and Stresses ................................................................................. 14 220.127.116.11 Storms ................................................................................................ 14 18.104.22.168 Environmentally-centred Action .......................................................... 15 22.214.171.124 Public Transport ................................................................................. 15 126.96.36.199 Migration and Income ......................................................................... 15 188.8.131.52 Migration and Chronic Illness ............................................................. 16 184.108.40.206 Migratory Shifts and Family Impact ..................................................... 16 220.127.116.11 Crime and Business ........................................................................... 17 4.3.3 Growing up in the Area .............................................................................. 17 4.3.4 Support Networks and Reciprocity ............................................................. 17 4.4 Household Livelihood Strategies ...................................................................... 17 4.4.1 Income Strategies...................................................................................... 17 4.4.2 Asset-based Strategies.............................................................................. 18 18.104.22.168 Money Management ........................................................................... 18 22.214.171.124 Natural Resource Harvesting .............................................................. 19 126.96.36.199 Stock Farming .................................................................................... 19 188.8.131.52 Food Production ................................................................................. 19 4.4.3 Mobility and Linkages ................................................................................ 19 4.4.4 Movement of People .................................................................................. 20 184.108.40.206 Flows of Money .................................................................................. 20 220.127.116.11 Flows of Goods .................................................................................. 20 4.5 Implications for Action....................................................................................... 20 5 Development Context .............................................................................................. 22 5.1 The State, Policy and Experiences ................................................................... 22 5.2 Policy thrusts .................................................................................................... 22 5.3 The Civil Society Context .................................................................................. 24 Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 2 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 5.4 Local Institutions in the Pilot Areas ................................................................... 24 5.5 Partnerships across Sectors ............................................................................. 24 6 Principles and Design Informants ............................................................................ 26 6.1 Opportunities .................................................................................................... 26 6.2 Risks ................................................................................................................ 26 6.3 Targeting the Poor and Vulnerable ................................................................... 27 6.4 A demand-driven approach .............................................................................. 28 6.5 Identifying and Developing Mechanisms for Mobilisation .................................. 29 6.5.1 Introduction................................................................................................ 29 6.5.2 Farmers Associations ................................................................................ 29 6.5.3 Farmer Learning Groups / Farmer Field Schools ....................................... 29 6.5.4 Savings Clubs ........................................................................................... 31 6.5.5 Conclusion................................................................................................. 33 7 Proposed interventions ............................................................................................ 35 7.1 Introduction....................................................................................................... 35 7.2 The Farmer Field School or Farming Learning Group Approach ....................... 35 7.3 Savings and Credit ........................................................................................... 36 7.4 The ISF ............................................................................................................ 38 7.4.1 Who should the ISF target and what should it be used for? ....................... 38 7.4.2 How could the ISF be configured? ............................................................. 39 7.4.3 Criteria for approval of an award ................................................................ 41 7.4.4 How do we anticipate demand on the ISF?................................................ 43 7.4.5 Grant sizes and numbers........................................................................... 43 7.5 Monitoring and Evaluation Plan ........................................................................ 43 8 Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 46 9 References .............................................................................................................. 47 Additional people interviewed ......................................................................................... 49 10 Annex 1: Logframe ............................................................................................... 50 Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 3 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Acronyms ARD Agricultural Research and Development ASCA Associated Savings and Credit Association CASP Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme CIAL Local Agricultural Research Committee (Spanish acronym) COARD Client-Oriented Agricultural Research and Dissemination DAEA Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs (provincial) DALA Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs (national) DURAS Promoting Sustainable Development in Agricultural Research Systems FAIR Farmer Access to Innovation Resources FAO Food and Agricultural Organisation FLG Farmer Learning Group FFS Farmer Field School FSG Farmer Support Group GISF Group-based Innovation Support Fund GO government organisation HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome LISF Local Innovation Support Fund ISF Innovation Support Fund LED local economic development LISF Local Innovation Support Fund PFI Promoting Farmer Innovation PID Participatory Innovation Development PLA Participatory Learning and Action PM&E Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation M&E Monitoring and Evaluation MAFISA Micro-Agricultural Finance Schemes of South Africa MFI Micro-Finance Institution MXA McIntosh Xaba & Associates NGO non-governmental organisation NIF National Innovation Foundation NRM Natural Resource Management PROLINNOVA Promoting Local Innovation in Ecologically-oriented Agriculture and Natural Resource Management ROSCA Rotating Savings and Credit Association SCG Savings and Credit Group SF-FFS Self-Financed Farmer Field School Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 1 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 1 Introduction The Global Partnership Programme PROLINNOVA (Promoting Local Innovation in ecologically-oriented agriculture and natural resource management) has initiated a multi-country pilot into the development of Innovation Support Funds (ISFs) or Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs) with the purpose of developing effective models that support and promote locally-controlled innovation development processes amongst small farmers1 in poor communities. The hypothesis is that, if the local farmers can access funds directly for their own experimentation and innovation development activities, the development process can be accelerated and the supporting services will be more responsive to farmers‟ needs and more accountable to the farmers. As a result, it is expected that more sustainable agricultural systems will be developed and natural resource management (NRM) will be improved. The action-research project to explore the potential of ISFs is known as FAIR (Farmer Access to Innovation Resources) and is being implemented in South Africa, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Uganda. Information exchange about the process and results of the action research encompasses also similar exploratory activities in Nepal and Niger. This assessment considers the proposed course of action of PROLINNOVA–South Africa in implementing LISFs against the context of local-level experiences and more particularly in the Okhahlamba District of KwaZulu-Natal Province, where it has been proposed to pilot this concept. Specifically, three villages known as Busingatha, Okhombe and Obonjaneni have been selected because partners of the Farmer Support Group (FSG), the NGO coordinating PROLINNOVA–SA, and FSG itself are working in these villages with existing farmer institutions and in the establishment of Farming Learning Groups (FLGs) and Savings and Credit Groups (SCGs) that are expected to provide a good local institutional basis for testing ISF concepts. The assessment identifies various opportunities and risks and suggests a particular course that mitigates risks and seeks to harness opportunities to produce a piloting experience that will inform future strategy and possible expansion into other communities. This is achieved through the mapping of an approach that de- emphasises funding in order to reduce risk that the funds become the dominant focus. Instead, the emphasis is on establishing responsive support services for experimentation located at the local-area level, whilst making provision for the possible emergence of Group-managed Innovation Support Funds (GISFs) associated with hybrids of FLGs and SCGs. Key challenges identified in the terms of reference for this feasibility study are: How best to support local innovation processes, drawing on an innovation support fund (ISF) mechanism as a key component in this support, and/ or, How best to enable mechanisms for funding locally-driven innovation development that can sustain themselves at community level without much external input. More specifically, the study has the following three objectives: 1. To find relevant experiences in the country with decentralised funding mechanisms – those for farmers and communities and their support agents – to 1 “Farmers” is used in a wide sense to include peasant/family smallholders, pastoralists, forest dwellers and artisanal fisherfolk, among others. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 2 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment support innovation, research and development activities, and to identify lessons to be learnt for piloting an ISF. 2. To review the Agricultural Research and Development (ARD)-related institutional, legal and financial structures in the country in order to assess the longer-term feasibility of an ISF and to identify the best overall set-up that will enable regular replenishment of the fund in the future. 3. To develop clear recommendations on how the ISF pilot should best be implemented in terms of geographic coverage, partner organisations, farmer involvement, financial sustainability, management and, particularly, monitoring and evaluation. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 3 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 2 Why an ISF or LISF? 2.1 Introduction In the context of PROLINNOVA, an ISF is an institution that provides funds designed to support local innovation by allowing farmers and other resource users to invest in their own research, to hire external resource persons to support it and to access relevant information. The innovation development process at local level is intended to alleviate poverty and improve livelihood security. An LISF, as distinct from an ISF, is a fund that is located at a local-area level and is ideally controlled and managed by local stakeholders. ISFs would tend to operate at a regional or national level. The specific advantage of having an LISF is that it has the potential to be more responsive to local needs and conditions, and could therefore prove more effective in generating technical and socio-institutional innovations that are locally appropriate. At this point, it is contended by the PROLINNOVA programme that there is a role for both types of funds. Local ideas can be fed into regional structures through networks. Regional bodies have the potential to command more skills and resources than can local bodies. If they can draw at least partially from national funding sources, including public funds earmarked for ARD, ISFs may then prove more sustainable in supporting LISFs. An LISF will be effective only to the extent to which its operations are well communicated and sufficient capacity and motivation exists at the local level to take advantage of these facilities. The success of its operations therefore depends on the local social, political and economic environment within which it operates. This environment is not static and can be positively influenced through complementary measures. Within the PROLINNOVA programme, ISFs and LISFs are meant to be tested in areas where researchers and development agents have identified innovation activities by local farmers and other natural resource users and where they are engaging in Participatory Innovation Development (PID). This is a process of combining the knowledge and creativity of local people with the knowledge of other actors in ARD (e.g. extension agents, research scientists, input and marketing services) in action- based experimentation and joint learning. It is meant to strengthen the capacities of local people to adapt to changing conditions through a continuous locally-led process of innovation. It involves mobilising local institutions around common interests to find ways to secure and enhance livelihoods. Such institutions could be Farmer Learning Groups, Farmer Research Groups, Farmer Innovator Clubs, Farmer Field Schools or other externally promoted groups as well as indigenous institutions such as local self- help groups, e.g. Savings and Credit Groups. 2.2 Goal, Purpose and Objectives The vision of PROLINNOVA is “a world in which farmers play decisive roles in agricultural research and development for sustainable livelihoods”. The mission is “to foster a culture of mutual learning and synergy in local innovation processes in agriculture and natural resource management” (Waters-Bayer & Espineli 2005). The central goal of setting up ISFs within the PROLINNOVA programme is to create conditions in which farmers can indeed play a decisive role in research and Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 4 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment development for improved food security and livelihoods by actually deciding about financial resources used for the research and development activities. The purpose is to accelerate processes of local innovation in sustainable farming practices and NRM and to stimulate the spread of PID as an approach to agricultural development. The FAIR project has the following objectives: Objective 1: The identification, design and piloting of Innovation Support Funds as promoters of local innovation. Objective 2: The documentation and dissemination of lessons learnt re: appropriate ways, mechanisms and conditions for ISFs to become effective promoters of local innovation. Objective 3: The establishment of sustainable long-term ISFs actively supporting community-managed funds in four countries. The full logframe for FAIR is found in Annex 1. 2.3 Research Methods Representatives of the stakeholders participating in the FAIR project in South Africa were interviewed to elicit their opinions about the concept of an ISF and its application in the South African and specifically in the KwaZulu-Natal context. Efforts were made to identify any comparable experiences in South Africa and to draw out lessons that may inform the approach. These experiences are considered alongside international experiences documented by ETC EcoCulture (Veldhuizen et al 2005), the international secretariat for PROLINNOVA, as well as other literature and reports. Various experiences are discussed, strategies proposed (including the shape of an ISF model) and filtering criteria developed to guide implementation. 2.4 Rationale for Focusing on Local-Level Innovation The emphasis on local innovation stems from a recognition that many international and national research institutes have operated in relative isolation from the intended beneficiaries of their research. They have generally failed to link in effectively with local farmers and their own research and development activities. This failure inhibits understanding of farmers‟ issues, including an appreciation of not only their constraints and imperatives but also their assets, including their knowledge and creativity, and their own initiatives. All of these should be playing a larger part in activities of people interested in developing technologies, production, storage or marketing arrangements in food production and environmental management that are supposed to be relevant for small-scale farmers and natural resource users. Frequently, clues to solving local problems lie with local actors rather than with scientists. Scientists need to shift their focus and make their work responsive to these clues and local imperatives. Local knowledge and practices also offer important insights into household resources and risk management. If these capacities are better understood and worked with in ways that encourage local development or adaptation, sometimes extraordinary opportunities for social and economic advancement become possible. The corollary is that outside „solutions‟ introduced without „buy-in‟ from local participants often results in failure. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 5 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment It is therefore contended that, if funds or support capacities are made available to be controlled at a local level, then they may become more demand-driven, enabling farmers to innovate more quickly and effectively and encouraging support services to act in ways that are directly relevant to the farmers‟ particular circumstances. 2.5 South Africa as a Special Case South Africa‟s political and economic history and present conditions vis-à-vis the poor and rural livelihoods are peculiar and unique. Unlike in the rest of Africa, many people residing in rural areas in South Africa do not regard themselves as farmers in the first instance. Farming capacity has been, for a range of reasons, severely depleted. More reliable, fashionable and attractive economic opportunities, mainly in urban areas, have further eroded farming as a livelihood strategy. Many factors, considered to be beyond the bounds of this study, contribute to this situation. And yet, almost paradoxically, the potential role of farming and food production is perhaps ever more urgent than ever. As the consequences of a stressed society with serious social problems (such as gender-based violence) and of the AIDS epidemic play themselves out, and as economic inequality continues to grow, a large rural (and urban) population finds itself extremely vulnerable. These people are in desperate need of diversifying their livelihood strategies through inter alia boosting food security so as to improve survival prospects. Most rural poor are not engaged in one sectoral activity. Engagement in various livelihood strategies is the household norm. This is considered to result from the need to expand and diversify income sources, and it reduces risks in the event of the failure of any one activity. It is for these reasons that it would be problematic to consider the target group for support in this initiative to be “farmers” in the way this term is normally understood in South Africa, i.e. as land users who derive most of their income from agricultural activities. Farmers are undoubtedly a segment, but it is necessary to explore beyond this group to seek ways of mobilising vulnerable groups into activities that expand their opportunity base and create platforms for sustained action towards greater livelihood security. In many cases, this may take the form of food production, but it may also lead to other activities. Where possible, interventions should take cognisance of this situation and seek to enable a spectrum of activities within and beyond the agricultural sector. This may imply either a broadening out of sectoral competencies amongst existing partners, or the identification of additional partners to provide for the diversity of strategies that may be pursued by the poor. In this report, it is hoped to identify effective mobilisation strategies for local innovation that create improved prospects for both farmers and non-farmers, whilst also exploring potential linkages and synergy across such groups. This work may result in people increasing their interest in food production and farming, or venturing into other rural production activity informed by local opportunities. It is essential that such mobilisation strategies give rise to locally owned processes at the community, group or household levels. Given the South African context, all successful outcomes from such activity that arise out of local initiatives can be considered to be relevant local innovations. These may be initiatives or actions aimed at achieving improved livelihood security, which may include important items of consumption, e.g. education and health. However, the specific ISF activity will focus only on agriculture and natural resource users in order to keep this work focused and manageable. Given this background, this report will at times refer to: Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 6 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment “Farmers” as defined above; “Food producers”, such as gardeners on household plots, including urban dwellers; and “Rural producers”, i.e. people engaged in productive activities in rural areas but not directly engaged in farming. This is considered necessary when partners engage with the questions “with whom is it that we work?” and “how we can achieve a relevant and broader-based impact through this work?” Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 7 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 3 International ISF Experiences and Lessons 3.1 Introduction Some of the key findings from the ETC EcoCulture paper (Veldhuizen et al 2005) are identified in this section. Various international experiences were reviewed with the purpose of guiding and informing the design of ISF pilots within the FAIR project. It is important to note that the thinking and approach adopted by ETC is framed within a PID perspective. 3.2 Funds for Innovation and their Functions At the outset, Veldhuizen et al state that: “It is important to distinguish strategically between: 1) LISFs based in existing institutions such as GOs, research organisations or large farmer organisations; 2) those based in new independent institutions such as NIF [National Innovation Fund] India; and 3) those that are managed by farmer groups or communities, such as the CIALs [Local Agricultural Research Committees] in Latin America and the funds rotating within the SF-FFS [Self-Financing Farmer Field School] in East Africa. If one studies these various cases in more detail, it is clear that all of them, including the local farmer-managed community funds, are catalysed by resources from outside. In the case of funds managed by farmer groups, there is a larger fund above them that channels and manages the resources available for the local funds.” The majority of experiences in introducing ISFs have involved a phased institutional approach with more than one layer. None has moved to a multi-party structure involving joint sharing of responsibility and direct management of funds as a first phase. Many continue to operate with a dual layer, with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) or a research institute usually holding the funds, and these being disbursed on to a more community-based institution, or directly as an input into activities designed to support innovation development. 3.3 Funds and their Sustainability Most of these experiences rely on the injection of outside funds from government, NGOs or donor research-focused institutions. Dependence on outside funds for operation has certain advantages in the short term (e.g. external stakeholder commitment and interest) but these could be outweighed by long-term risks of sustainability and replicability. Most funders have cycles and also experience periodic shifts in focus, placing initiatives with a long-term vision at risk. A model that depends on significant external funding will also experience significant challenges when trying to spread its coverage to other locations. On the other hand, it may be contended that with the right backing a long-term funding stream is a realistic assumption, as many research institutes do receive such support from their national governments. Whilst this may be a fortunate arrangement, it could also serve to limit the focus of support and bring with it a tendency of promoting more narrowly technical responses in situations where the issues are in many instances much broader (e.g. structural, social or institutional). This does not Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 8 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment negate the value of such an option, but it does imply a narrower yet still important outcome. In one example, in the case of the Self-Financing Farmer Field Schools (SF-FFSs) implemented in Kenya, a revolving loan facility is in place and the SF-FFSs apply for a loan from this fund (Khisa 2003). It has the advantage of the FFS taking full responsibility and greater ownership of processes. For instance, the members would typically appoint their own advisor. It should be noted though that these FFSs are not actually self-financing, as they rely on grants or loans. They are really groups managing finance and repaying these funds after harvesting. In some cases, however, there is evidence of self-financing such as generation of funds through sale of products from the FFS. In South Africa, experiences of collectively generated funds by a segment of the community are rare. The track record of the management of loan funds and the repayment of loans are also generally very poor. An exception to this is savings mobilised by savings clubs or stokvels2. This activity is widespread in South Africa and in many other developing countries. However, the purpose of such savings is not normally for collective benefit but for individual household use, though exceptions are found3. These two experiences (FFSs and stokvels) do offer some clues towards developing more sustainable local-level programmes to support innovation processes that expand economic and financial possibilities and improve livelihood security. 3.4 Disbursement Approaches Some of the ISFs reviewed in the paper by Veldhuizen et al (2005) have a two- stream application process. Smaller applications can go through a faster, less onerous track, with larger ones needing to meet tougher criteria. This is a sensible arrangement if the objective of ensuring broad-based access to funds and securing participation of the most resource-poor participants is valued. Typically, qualification criteria are established for accessing funds. Simple application forms are used for small grants and more elaborate ones for larger grants and assistance from local agencies. 3.5 Key Lessons It is very important that the ISF model be thoroughly worked through with local stakeholders so that they understand and commit themselves to the approach. It is also important that the external stakeholders are clear about what it is they want to do and how they would like to do it. “According to the COARD [Client-Oriented Agricultural Research and Dissemination] experience, it is vital that farmers understand the reasons behind … the purposes for which the LISF is intended (all related to innovation, knowledge sharing, developing, learning) and that they do not expect free inputs as a major part of the LISF grants [The types of activities that could be covered by an LISF, according to the experiences reviewed, include]: 2 Stokvel is the term widely used in South Africa for a community-based savings club. 3 According to Alfred Hamadziripi, examples of joint purchases of agricultural inputs or harvests are common in Zimbabwe in the clubs that CARE International has supported. There are even examples where clubs have voluntarily undertaken to support orphans and vulnerable children in their community on a long-term basis (personal communication, 2006). Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 9 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Costs of cross visits of farmers to other farmers or research and extension centres to learn; Costs of farmer-led experimentation, simple measuring equipment, notebook etc; actual purchase of inputs such as seed or fertiliser may need to be excluded, as farmers should be able to recover these from the results of the trial; however, this raises the question as to whether very poor farmers need some kind of start-up money as a grant or loan to make the initial purchase of inputs for experimentation; Payment for involvement of ARD agents – NGO, government or private: most fund managers accept in principle the payment of travel and/or accommodation allowance. But farmers may find it difficult to pay these at official government levels, and may prefer to pay actual costs and arrange accommodation and meals for the ARD agents. For government officials, these allowances are an important source of income, and their motivation and ability to support farmer-led research might be low if they do not receive them. On the other hand, payment of such allowances can lead to a situation in which the funds are owned, in practice, by government agents, who see them as potential sources of income; More controversial is the payment for the time of these ARD agents. To allow all organisations, not just those with strong core funding, to be involved in LISF-supported activities, a reasonable compensation for staff time seems necessary. Documents on the SF-FFSs suggest using a “reasonable” fee (to be determined per country or maybe even per agency?). Most documents … emphasise the need to request “own contributions” from all organisations, assuming they have resources and time to support LISF activities from their regular programmes; Possibly also costs for preparing documentation/sharing materials, brochures, photographs, posters, etc. on the outcome of the activity funded. Need to strategise these carefully (when is it appropriate to do this, which audience requires which kind of information carrier?); Venture capital is a key component of NIF grants in India to allow individual innovators to develop their innovations to a level that they can be commercialised. This is not included in the other grant schemes, which are set up using public funds to produce “public goods” intended to benefit groups/communities rather than individuals.” (Veldhuizen et al 2005). The timing of the introduction of an innovation fund is important. In resource-poor areas, a fund can become a hindrance to development if it is not introduced into an environment where there is some level of cooperation, capacity to lead and social cohesion. If introduced as a lead activity in South Africa, it is likely to attract people with nefarious objectives and leave local agencies saddled with a range of problems. On the other hand, if an effective programme designed to stimulate innovation is in place, and interest in innovating aroused, the presence of a fund has the potential to be that much more valuable. It is for this reason that the ISF is best piloted in areas where PID activities are already in operation. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 10 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 4 Social and Economic Context 4.1 National South Africa has a free market economy with a stable national economic policy that is trying hard to improve growth and employment prospects. It is a highly unequal society, being ranked as the third most unequal country (May et al 1998). It has very high unemployment levels, particularly in rural areas. It has low levels of literacy and human capital, especially in rural area, and an HIV/AIDS rate that is said to be amongst the highest in the world. It has a patriarchal social structure with high crime levels and domestic violence. These features impact most severely on women and children. South Africa has a strong constitution that defends the rights of vulnerable groups, but unfortunately people continue to experience rights violations on a large scale. Urban-based manufacturing, mining, retail and the financial sectors are major contributors to the economy. Agricultural production is strong in certain enclaves of the country but is characterised by a formal capital-intensive sophisticated sector on the one hand and a more subsistence/ survivalist base on the other. There is little connection between the two, with the latter not well established, and tending to attract mostly people intent on maintaining a range of concurrent livelihood strategies and therefore only engaging in part-time food production. This is perhaps because agriculture is perceived as a high-risk, low-return venture, with urban-based activity enjoying a more attractive image and higher incomes. With widespread unemployment and pervasive illnesses (much of these being HIV/AIDS related) small-scale food production is rightfully receiving renewed attention. And yet there are many perceived obstacles. These include skewed land distribution, labour drift to urban areas, tenure insecurity and title which cannot be mortgaged, global market distortions from subsidies in the North, limited access to capital and knowledge, uncontrolled livestock roaming through croplands, limited access to markets, and poor farming and enterprise management skills. 4.2 Local During 2004, primary research was conducted by McIntosh Xaba and Associates (MXA) in the village of Okhombe into the fields of women, rural-urban linkages and livelihood strategies4. The villages in the Okhahlamba District are considered sufficiently similar to allow extrapolation of findings from Okhombe to the other two villages in which the ISF will be piloted. The findings are reproduced in this report in some detail, as they are considered sufficiently current and relevant for setting the context within which the pilot project will be implemented. Having a common appreciation of the context is an important point of departure for partners to develop their strategic direction. 4.2.1 Locality The villages of Okhombe, Busingatha and Obonjaneni fall within the aMazizi Tribal Authority in the northern Drakensberg Mountains. They form part of the Okhahlamba Local Municipality, which is in turn part of the Uthukela District Municipality. They are about 50km west of Bergville town. 4 FSG facilitated the introduction of the researchers into the area and also provided some fieldwork capacity. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 11 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment The area can be described as rural, but at the same time enjoys strong links to nearby tarred roads, which provide access for tourists to the nearby Royal Natal National Park and other resort areas of the Drakensberg. Many analysts choose to describe people living in such as areas as „displaced urban dwellers‟. 4.2.2 History Apparently the people living in these areas were resettled there by colonial powers some 100 years ago. They are not indigenous to the area and had not developed a self-sufficient land-based livelihood (Morag Peden, personal communication, 2006). By the time of their resettlement, they would already have been strongly drawn into the migrant labour system developed to service the mining industry. This raises interesting questions about the role of indigenous knowledge and its relevance to current challenges. In the 1960s, the area underwent „betterment planning‟, a national programme of resettlement where people were relocated into a closer settlement pattern and separated from their main fields. Quite a number of residents have evidently moved from nearby commercial farms. This is likely to have been as a result of various factors including mechanisation and farm owners fearing the legal responsibilities resulting from attempts to protect the rights of farm workers (MXA 2005). The area has and continues to have strong migrant labour links with Johannesburg and gold mining. In the past, it was able men who were the people that migrated but, in recent years, more and more women have also resorted to migration to find work in a variety of locations. Some women have learned to survive without support and remittances. This is borne out by their prominence in household management, including responsibility for day- to-day care of children and a variety of family and home maintenance tasks. The shift from a traditional patriarchal structure often leads to role conflict and identity crises between partners. It usually renders men threatened and vulnerable. This may be expressed through domestic violence and aggression. 4.2.3 Population There are approximately 1000 households living in Okhombe, 700 in Busingatha and 900 in Obonjaneni. The project target population is therefore approximately 2 600 households. These figures should be treated as impressionistic. 4.2.4 Land Tenure The tenure system is a communal one, where traditionally held land is allocated through the iNkosi (tribal chief) or his iNduna (local headman). A plot is allocated for the homestead, and fields are also allocated. In the aMazizi area, people have to pay the local iNduna an annual fee for access to fields. 4.2.5 Resource Base Being at the foothills of the Drakensberg, the area is endowed with a high annual summer rainfall. It has cold winters with snow being relatively common. It also experiences violent electric storms, which can strike cattle and sometimes people. The area produces fine thatching grass, which is harvested seasonally and sold to buyers from a wide area. The grass is in demand for luxury homes. At the same time, Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 12 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment it is used by local residents for their roofs. Local grasses are also used for craft production. Craft products are sold either in the nearby tourist markets or further afield. The area is endowed with clays suitable for making clay pots and models of animals and cars for the local tourist market. There are large communal fields, which are allocated to local residents by the iNduna. The main crops grown are maize and beans. 4.2.6 Infrastructure and Services The project area has no piped water services or household sanitation programme. It has dirt access roads. The villages have altogether five schools, two community halls, a clinic and a mobile clinic station that services Okhombe twice a month. 4.2.7 Institutional Features Fieldwork did not pick up any significant public sector presence in the area. Some people do attend community meetings where issues of public interest are discussed. The area falls under an iNduna and ultimately the iNkosi for the aMazizi Tribe. Many households referred to participation in social clubs, stokvels (savings clubs) and burial societies. A sewing and garden club was also mentioned. An interesting and apparently effective mechanism is used to select the local iNdunas within the aMazizi Tribe. According to a local resident, the procedure takes about five years and involves five nominations of people, who are then voted on by the community in a public meeting by show of hands. The person with the most votes is then recommended to the iNkosi for consideration. It appears that the iNduna in the area is very active and valued. He was on several committees. After his appointment, he resigned from these committees, but still works closely with them. It is not clear whether women can be nominated for this position. By contrast, the municipal councillor seems less engaged in the broader concerns of the village. Whether this has anything to do with the mechanisms and respective standings of these structures, or is simply a matter of timing or chance, is not clear. The Okhombe Development Committee for the area appears to have assumed the role of the Ward Committee. It was in place prior to the introduction of the Municipal Systems Act, which made provision for Ward Committees. This Committee is the overarching structure for the area. It receives reports annually from all of the other committees at its Annual General Meeting. These committees include: a livestock committee, a tourism task team, a craft committee and a gardens committee. A Trust has recently been registered (within the framework of FSG‟s Landcare programme) as a vehicle for securing funds for NRM projects. It has two representatives from all the various project-focused committees. Project partners from outside of the area act as advisors to the Trust. The area has a significant presence of NGOs who are working in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs (DAEA). NGOs include: World Vision, FSG, Bergwatch and the para-statals: Ezimvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife and Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 13 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Much of their work has been focused on donga (gully) reclamation and land care. 4.3 Household Experiences of Poverty and Vulnerability 4.3.1 Access to Goods, Services, Economic and Recreational Opportunities Local opportunities for economic development are few. There does seem to be above average agricultural potential, with high rainfall and some productive land. However, there is a short growing season, with cold winters and the prevalence of sourveld (coarse grasses poor for grazing) and acidic soils reduces its potential. Only a few households can muster the funds and machinery to make use of the land at some scale. Many people complained about having insufficient access to farming inputs. Functional roles across gender within the household were explored with local participants in the research. Roles were broken down as follows: Table 1: Gender roles and responsibilities Adult women Adult men Children All housekeeping roles Look after the livestock. Collect water Food preparation Plough fields Participate in the Collect water Take piece jobs like cleaning of Subsistence agriculture digging of pits for latrines household Collect firewood (if there is any) Take up construction and environment Sell food and vegetables at the building of houses Girls help with the school and pension sites Participate in harvesting cooking Sell city goods at the pension Boys help with disbursement sites looking after Look after the sick livestock Participate in savings and burial clubs Build and renovate wattle and daub houses Harvesting It is clear from the description of roles that women tend to shoulder most of the major responsibilities. They also have to balance a much wider range of activities and therefore need diverse skills and capabilities. The following quotation is a telling one, and symptomatic of a society in distress: “The males [husbands/fathers] either disappear in the cities (by migrating forever), or come back dead or terminally ill, or are just useless when it comes to family responsibility. This forces their female counterparts to be more active than them.” (Respondent in MXA, 2004) 4.3.2 Shocks and Stresses 18.104.22.168 Storms In 1996 and 2000, the area was hit by snowstorms. Many families lost cattle as a result of these storms. Recently, some households received compensation of R800 Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 14 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment per head from the DAEA for loss of some 96 head of cattle5. A few did not receive this compensation, as the funds were exhausted. Local residents claim that it has become normal to be hit by heavy storms and snow. Storms destroy their houses. As a coping mechanism, they build their houses with wattle and daub. They don‟t paint them. This makes it easier for them to repair and renovate. Blockhouses, on the other hand, are very expensive to repair or renovate. Residents say they depend on professional builders (who are very expensive) to repairs these houses. Falling rocks (presumably after heavy rain) are also said to be a threat. 22.214.171.124 Environmentally-centred Action Historically, there were wattle forests that were available for residents to draw on as a source of fuel. This is a very fast-growing alien species that spreads easily, but is also a good source of fuel wood. It is said that the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry came in with an alien tree elimination programme. This is most likely to be the Working for Water Programme. It would have brought some short-term benefits to local people in the form of piecework. However, the long-term impact on the community appears to have been severely detrimental. Many families complain about the absence of fuel wood, and their need to resort to burning dung. This form of fuel is known to emit noxious fumes harmful to the lungs. Those households that can afford it supplement dung with firewood from the surrounding farms, or they buy coal6 from Ladysmith (said to be R400 per one-ton bakkie7 load). 126.96.36.199 Public Transport Public transport plays a crucial role in inhibiting or enabling poor households to execute their livelihood strategies effectively. According to a local resident: “Transport in our area is very expensive. Unfortunately, we cannot do shopping locally. Every load (goods) in a taxi is charged for. This makes goods even more expensive.” For multi-polar households such as these, the pursuit of a variety of livelihoods strategies across space depends on access to affordable and safe transport. In Okhombe, there are only two taxi operators, making for a less than competitive situation. There has been, at times, intense antagonism between taxi operators, resulting in violent conflict and people fleeing the area. Such circumstances are not conducive to a reliable service in the interest of the general public. Moreover, having to pay for goods transported, on top of the normal fare, adds a significant additional expense and stress to household consumption. 188.8.131.52 Migration and Income One of the pernicious effects of long-term migration is the erosion of family ties. A common scenario is for men to form relationships with other women and sometimes establish other families. This may lead to shifting loyalties and pressure to sustain more than one household. The family in the rural area will invariably be the one to suffer with the decline in or severing of remittances. 5 This should not be construed as the value of a beast. Market value of a beast today is around R2 800 (approximately US$460). 6 Sourced from the Dundee/ Newcastle area. 7 A bakkie is a one-ton pickup truck. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 15 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment As one fieldworker reports: “Women and grannies allege that husbands enter into unrecognised polygamy. This makes them fail to support two families.” This is a severe economic shock that also carries with it traumatic social consequences. It frequently gives rise to prolonged stress on women, who become the de facto household heads. 184.108.40.206 Migration and Chronic Illness “Death has never been friendly. It is always shocking” (Group participant in Okhombe, 2004). A resident described the dynamic of migration and its impact on residents as follows: “Historically, most men migrated to Johannesburg for jobs. This has complicated family lives for years and many households are still feeling it. Separation of families, the spread of HIV and AIDS, school dropouts, and many social evils, these we blame on them and the migrancy system8. Most men who were laid off in mines came out with no skills at all that they could use to support their families. It explains why women are more productive than them. Women have been taught to survive without any support and remittances. Migrant labour has crippled this community.” It is evident that the migrant-labour system has divided communities along gender lines and led to considerable alienation between men and women. Women have been rendered far more vulnerable, yet exhibit great resilience. The hostels, where men live for most of the year, have contributed to the breakdown of families and created conditions where extra-marital sex is considered the norm. Violent and abusive relationships are also common. When the men return from the mines, wives are often forced to have unprotected sex and are, in turn, infected with HIV. People who contract the virus usually try to keep it a secret so as to avoid being ostracised by their communities. These social patterns are graphically and chillingly portrayed through a film called Yesterday (2004). It is set in the Okhombe area, and has been nominated for various international awards. A local source describes the following additional problem: “In cases where the disappeared or lost migrants come back, their wives reject them in fear of HIV and AIDS infection. They are not requested to go for HIV testing, it‟s only the suspicion that they are infected. They become unappreciated in their households.” Illnesses associated with migrancy are not confined to HIV/AIDS. Tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases and various psychosocial problems are also common. 220.127.116.11 Migratory Shifts and Family Impact The increased rate of migrancy and mobility of women observed in Okhombe carries with it a double-edged impact. 8 Under the apartheid regime, South Africa had laws preventing black people from permanently relocating to the cities. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 16 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment On the one hand, this represents a shift of economic power and denotes independence for women. It enables women to access income directly and to be less vulnerable to patriarchal relationships. It therefore brings greater economic freedom and power. However, the absence of women as key agents in the care of children and the aged places greater strain on the household in general. Combined with the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and a range of other stresses, the situation is serious. Children become more vulnerable to a range of threats, including poor diet, poverty, social abuse, infection and child labour. Often the aged and the youth are left carrying household responsibilities beyond those which they can bear or are suited to. 18.104.22.168 Crime and Business Crime and conflict between entrepreneurs in the area is a big threat to local economic development, including agriculture. Those that succeed are frequently undermined. Speaking for a family reliant on their spaza (informal) shop for an income, a resident said: “Crime is our frustrating experience. They break into the spaza shop and steal goods. Even if we report the case to the police, there are no arrests afterwards.” 4.3.3 Growing up in the Area The youth stressed that no matter how hard they try to make a mark in life, there is no hope of success in this community. “Soccer players, singers, and other talents never grow and eventually die over time.” This is a tragic perspective and, if accurate, represents a stress that will have repercussions well beyond these youths. Another resident described the most painful stress as being that their children could not secure employment for a better life. With these perceptions, many people will be reluctant to participate in agricultural or natural resource harvesting. 4.3.4 Support Networks and Reciprocity People tragically refer to a prevailing culture of competition and „pulling each other down‟. Some residents believe the area is bewitched and people try to advance at other people‟s expense. Nevertheless, households do belong to social clubs, stokvels and burial societies. Some families, however, are said to be too poor to participate in these networks. 4.4 Household Livelihood Strategies 4.4.1 Income Strategies The following table provides a profile of income and expenditure. It is interesting to note the wide range of activities that are seasonal. Food and transport understandably represent the most prominent form of expenditure. This is typical of very poor families. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 17 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Table 2: Income and expenditure tree9 Income sources Seasonal income Expenditures Pension grants Livestock, cattle, goats Food Child support grants and sheep Transport Taxi business Small-scale agriculture Burial societies (town only) Tractor services (potatoes and maize) Local food stokvel (food savings Formal employment Cutting thatching club) Government grass (winter) Servicing debts (pensioners) employment Mat and broom Fuel (firewood and coal) – a 1 ton 10 (teachers) making load of firewood costs R400 Traditional healing Other craft work Medical expenses Hawking (resale of Poultry Clothing city goods) House building School fees and school uniforms Sewing and dress Selling peaches in House maintenance making nearby towns House construction and (December to March) sometimes house re-construction Photography only on Soil preparation, seeds and demand fertilisers The primary source of income for the area has been migration to the mines of Johannesburg. Over time, employment localities have diversified. Dagga11 grows well in the mountains. The Drakensberg area is known to offer good harvests and considerable income-generating potential. Dagga is also used by traditional healers as an herb for healing purposes. From an assessment of the well-being ranking conducted with local residents, it is evident that the very poor engage in more local income-generation activity. This often involves quite menial piecework for other families in the village. The clear difference that sets the less poor apart from them is access to a state pension or other grant. They will also tend to have bigger gardens and are able to cultivate more land through hiring of a tractor to plough their fields. 4.4.2 Asset-based Strategies 22.214.171.124 Money Management There is evidence of many residents participating in stokvel and burial society activity. These institutions play an important financial and social support role. Reference is also made to the role of informal moneylenders in the area. Debt servicing, particularly for the pensioners, was cited as a significant problem. Interest rates are said to be high. There is great concern that it is very hard for pensioners to get out of this debt. “It is one arrangement that we do not understand and we hate it. It is crippling our households.” One resident referred to her participation in a revolving stokvel, to which she contributed R20 per month12. This type of institution plays an important role in 9 This is the term used for a Participative Learning and Action (PLA) tool used in the study. 10 $66. 11 Cannabis. 12 This is known as a Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA) or Merry-Go-Round, as distinct from an Accumulated Savings and Credit Association. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 18 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment meeting a range of household financial needs including stocking a vendor‟s supplies or buying food in bulk. 126.96.36.199 Natural Resource Harvesting Harvesting of thatching grass and incema13 is extensive. Mats and brooms are made within the village. This activity is widely practised in several neighbouring villages. Sometimes incema is bought into the area from as far as Harrismith. One family reported harvesting about 100 bundles of thatching grass per annum and selling these at R6 each. 188.8.131.52 Stock Farming Quite a number of people in the area have cattle, some in the region of 20 head, with one or two owning more than 100. At an estimated present value of approximately R2 800 per head, this represents significant value. The role of livestock as a form of „banking‟ and asset management is generally understood to be an important feature of local society. 184.108.40.206 Food Production The soils are generally good in the area, though some suffer from over-cropping. The area is not well positioned to take advantage of cash-crop markets. Production is mostly for subsistence and local markets in the village. Eighty-nine per cent of all households surveyed reported use of their gardens or fields for food production. This is considered high. Peaches are an important seasonal cash crop sold outside of the area. 4.4.3 Mobility and Linkages A force field analysis was conducted with local participants. It revealed the following trends. Table 3: Force Field Analysis14 Pulling factors Pushing factors Push-back factors Search for jobs Food shortages and hunger Those who are very Quest for better Search for better health care sick and on the verge income in big cities services for the sick of death return Better service Preference to stay with relatives Those who have lost delivery and and friends outside Okhombe jobs return development in other Crime: burglary, theft; and murder Those who are sick areas attracts us that has been common amongst with HIV/AIDS come Entertainment in big business people back cities Allegations of witchcraft Worse crime in the Better education in Family conflict (fighting with the in- cities drives people the cities laws) away Death of family members Traditional particularly the heads of family ceremonies and cultural practices 13 A form of reed grass. 14 A PLA (Participatory Learning and Action) tool used to develop an understanding of the dynamics and linkages in the area. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 19 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 4.4.4 Movement of People Historically, it has been the men who have migrated to cities and stayed there, as long as there was a job. Those women who had lost their husbands to the cities started to move in an attempt to make ends meet. They are mainly hawkers and vendors, and tend to go wherever they can buy and sell their goods. The youth are also under pressure to move, especially where household livelihood security is threatened. This is more likely to occur when there is no adult or responsible person to keep the family intact. Durban and Pietermaritzburg are attractive for hawkers for buying their wares. Women buy clothing, shoes and linen in Pietermaritzburg. Johannesburg has been the main magnet to men involved in migrant labour. Those people who are very attached to Okhombe prefer to search for work around local towns and farms. The very old people claim that this is their land, where they were born – and they want to die there. There is also an ancestral connection that they feel15. They feel attached to their arable land. They believe that the soil feeds them. Sometimes they also produce enough harvest for their consumption and selling. Some have no relatives or friends outside the greater Bergville area, which is a disincentive to exploring alternatives. 220.127.116.11 Flows of Money Money flows to the area from remittances, but quickly leaves the area again in order to buy food. It is noteworthy, however, that this area exhibits more by way of significant local subsistence through food production than many other areas of KwaZulu-Natal. 18.104.22.168 Flows of Goods Various craft products, mats and brooms are produced for sale outside of the area. Peaches and presumably dagga also leave the area for sale elsewhere, but little else. 4.5 Implications for Action Multiple strategies and deep penetration of capital on a scale not experienced in other parts of Africa, resulting in stronger influence of migrant labour and dependency on urban-based economic activity, are in evidence. This led to decline in agriculture. It is mostly not a priority venture amongst the youth and many households, and yet it has the potential to play a critical role in achieving livelihood security and mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS. The most salient feature coming through in fieldwork is the significance of migrancy and how it has fuelled the erosion of family life and the spread of chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Responding to this problem is a major challenge, especially since behaviour patterns are now deeply ingrained within the cultural and economic life of the community, combining to encourage oscillatory migration. 15 This may be contrived for reasons of attempting to secure their rights to the land, as people have not resided in the area for very long. It is also possible that people assume these practices over short periods. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 20 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment The duality of mobility and multi-polar households, as both a strategy for responding to poverty and a pernicious practice that undermines and destroys families, is evident. Awareness generation and an inculcation of respect for rights are obviously important areas of focus that can alleviate this problem. A more accommodating environment for migrants and their families in the area of work would serve to alleviate some of the family stresses. It may also create conditions more conducive to permanent relocation by some families, thereby reducing pressures on the more finite resources. Access to fuel and energy sources is a critical problem in the area. In many respects, this is a readily definable problem that can be dealt with quite effectively through electrification. Given the prevalence of patriarchal relations and the strong role that it plays in spreading HIV/AIDS, it will be important for partners to consider how participation of women can be strengthened. Ways of raising awareness of rights and risks of contracting the HI Virus need to find a place in the development dialogue. Representation of women in ISFs and other structures with which partners are associated will need to be considered. Local facilitators will need to be sensitive to gender and power dynamics, with specific interventions being designed to increase space for participation of women and other vulnerable groups. In short, gender and HIV/AIDS issues need to be mainstreamed in the design and implementation of interventions, including ISFs. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 21 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 5 Development Context 5.1 The State, Policy and Experiences South Africa is strong on policy commitments to rural development, poverty reduction, environmental management and sustainable development. In general, however, there is a substantial gap between policy and outcomes being achieved. There has been little progress in tenure development for people living on tribal lands. Lack of tenure security inhibits investment in these areas. National performance in promoting local economic development (LED) and in promoting financial services for the poor has been especially weak. There is currently a significant push towards the development of capacity at local government level in understanding what LED is and how to facilitate it. But much of this activity is centred on the larger urban areas and is unlikely to have any direct bearing on the areas targeted for this project. In some sectors, the state is considered to have performed well in terms of delivery targets. However, it is questionable whether the overwhelming emphasis on delivery is the correct one. With delivery comes a pattern of doing things for people and the development of patronage relations between government and citizen. This is a weak platform for development, though it must be acknowledged that improved access to services and infrastructure can enable people to embark on their own developmental initiatives. Nevertheless, South Africa, as a middle-income country with a substantial fiscal base, sets itself apart from much of the rest of Africa in its ability to allocate considerable resources towards poverty reduction. Many billions of Rands are allocated annually, some of this going into housing and infrastructure and a growing proportion into social grants16, many of which are distributed in rural areas. 5.2 Policy thrusts The following information has been extracted from government websites. Discussions with people in the sector suggest that claims should be treated with caution, as these policies for the most part have yet to find their way into KwaZulu- Natal Province. A Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) has been developed. Through CASP, it is said that „beneficiaries‟ can look forward to government assistance in six priority areas, namely: Information and knowledge management; Advisory and regulatory services; Training and capacity building; Finance; On-farm and off-farm infrastructure, and Marketing. It was planned that CASP support will reach at least 50 000 beneficiaries in the rural areas in 2005, particularly in the Rural Development Nodes serviced by the national Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs (DALA). The DALA supports the Village Financial Services Cooperatives and aims to make banking services accessible to rural areas and mobilise community savings for development (Vote_25.pdf, p.192, National Expenditure Survey, 2000). 16 Examples of social grants include: old-age pensions, grants for orphans and people with AIDS. Grants are in the region of $125 per month. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 22 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment It is claimed that the successes of the DALA are based on budget allocations that have increased over the last four years, rising from R871.1 million in 2001/02 to R1.4 billion in 2004/05. This constitutes an annual average increase of 18.5 percent (Budget Speech 2005, Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs). Cabinet approved the Micro-Agricultural Finance Schemes of South Africa (MAFISA) in principle in January 2005. It remains to be seen whether it will get off the ground and achieve geographic spread, as well as reach down to the poor. Given recent experiences in credit in South Africa, it would not be prudent to depend on this programme to provide for credit needs amongst the socio-economic profile that prevails in the three sites where the ISF will be piloted. Recent shifts in policy have seen a more critical appreciation of the role of grants in stimulating development. Widespread distribution of poverty alleviation funds have spawned many funding-driven local projects that have mostly only endured for as long as there has been funding. Food gardens and sewing clubs have been two of the standard formulations. This kind of dissemination of grants, with vague objectives, poor project design and weak allocative mechanisms, has not served to build a developmental climate. It has tended to encourage expectations that government will secure the livelihoods of the poor, instead of the poor taking charge of their situations. This has perpetuated a culture of dependency that has stifled initiative and innovation. Emerging LED policy is shifting away from the distribution of grants to local community groups towards the development of a more strategic, facilitation role for local and provincial government. Due to serious limitations in capacity, this policy is only slowly filtering down from national level and it will be some time before all of its dimensions can be properly put into practice. With respect to provincial agricultural capacity, “the DAEA is charged with responsibility to harness the massive potential for agricultural growth and development within the province. The combined challenges of poverty, unemployment and HIV/AIDS have created increased demand for the DAEA to sharpen its strategic focus and deliver tangible results” (DAEA 2006). There is policy precedent in South Africa for supporting innovation through a fund. A National Innovation Fund exists through which proposals are called for annually. They target projects “that generate products/processes for commercialisation or new methodologies for development programmes orientated towards service delivery. Preference will be given to proposals submitted by consortia of researchers or stakeholders drawn from the business community, non-governmental organisations, research institutes and the higher education sector.” “The Innovation Fund is not designed to support micro-projects that could be funded through other programmes. A minimum annual funding requirement of one million Rand and a maximum of five million Rand has been set for large, two to three-year collaborative projects aimed at technological innovation. The focal areas supported are: crime prevention (until 1998/1999 financial year) the promotion of an information society biotechnology (genetics-based) and value-addition in respect of: Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 23 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment (i) exploitation of our natural flora and fauna, and (ii) advanced materials and manufacturing” (Innovation Fund website, 2002 http://www.dacst.gov.za/science_technology/innovation/Introduction.htm) Whilst the presence of this fund at national level does indicate an interest in supporting innovation, it is not likely to have any presence in the targeted areas of FAIR, unless intermediaries with capacity enter into local partnerships and try to secure such funds for local innovation. The size of grants and the list of possible proponents indicate that this fund is not meant to be accessible to the poor. 5.3 The Civil Society Context In general, civil society in South Africa has weakened over the past decade. As apartheid was removed, many people drifted into government and, for a time, there were fewer galvanising issues that fed mobilisation of this sector. There is now one major exception to this trend: HIV/AIDS. The impacts of HIV/AIDS are being experienced on a massive scale in both urban and rural areas. South Africa has one of the highest rates of infection in the world: in the order of some 30% of the adult population. This situation and the, at times, ambivalent response from government have precipitated a broad-based reaction across many organisations in the country, giving renewed life to civil action. 5.4 Local Institutions in the Pilot Areas The areas selected for the FAIR pilot have a mix of local government elected leadership and traditional tribal authority leadership. Both are recognised by local residents and value is attached to their respective roles. The tribal nature of the areas means that the character of civil society is quite different to that in more urban parts of South Africa. Groups are focused more on functional responses to specific needs in the community, rather than effecting substantial changes in society. For example, there are school committees, sewing clubs, garden groups and stokvels, each with quite specific functions. Broader civic issues are raised in tribal gathering organised by iNdunas (local headmen). In the agricultural sector, there are some functioning farmers associations in the district. Such associations do represent an important platform for possible innovation. Research into their geographic spread and their demographic and economic profile will assist further in clarifying such possibilities. The development of these associations is receiving attention from the DAEA. FSG has commenced a drive to promote Farmer Learning Groups in the pilot areas. It is hoped that these will become important platforms for PID activity. 5.5 Partnerships across Sectors National policy gives strong endorsement to the value of partnerships across public and private sectors with express recognition of the value of NGO and community stakeholders. However, the general trend has been towards fewer partnerships and more state delivery, usually backed by contracting of the private sector into most aspects of implementation. At local level, the partnerships involving FSG and the DAEA and other groups have been in operation for several years. They have experienced some ups and downs as personnel changes and restructurings have occurred. Over the past two years, the focus has shifted from landcare to PID. There is a good understanding and Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 24 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment cooperation across the partners. There is willingness to deepen cooperation and extend the partnership into joint activities such as piloting of an ISF. PROLINNOVA–SA has been able to introduce the DAEA to PID through arranging training at a senior level, and through introducing an extension officer to the international workings and debates of the network. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 25 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 6 Principles and Design Informants 6.1 Opportunities If pitched in the right way and communicated by people with a clear vision and understanding of how broad-based innovation can be stimulated, the opportunities for securing such an outcome are great. This is all the more the case if it is implemented within a broader framework of complementary programmes. This is the reason why the ISFs are being piloted in areas where NGOs and government extension workers are engaged in an ongoing programme working with community- based organisations. It is important that FAIR invests in institutions that are effective in responding to the needs of the right target group(s) or at least have prospects for being effective in addressing the project objectives. A more in-depth institutional assessment of these associations is recommended as a next step in designing the FAIR project interventions17. Presently, the DAEA is working with various farmer associations in the targeted villages. These could prove to be important institutions for introducing PID. Some initial steps towards this have already been taken. FSG is planning to pilot the concept of Farmer Learning Groups (FLGs) in the three villages with the intention inter alia of creating an improved environment for PID and the FAIR project. FLGs are institutions aimed at mobilising and supporting farmers and natural resource users into mutual support and PID activity. They are similar to FFSs, especially some of the more contemporary variants. Main design characteristics include: Self-directed Securing horizontal learning Providing exposure to diverse knowledge and experiences that can foster and challenge ideas Becoming a space where innovation can emerge Providing a place for social interaction and support from like-minded and similar age groups Enabling networking with agribusiness professionals Resulting in improved problem solving, decision-making, leadership and farm/ land-use management (Salomon & Malinga 2006). One FLG has already been established in Okhombe. 6.2 Risks The risk that the image of a fund being established in the district will serve to attract non-developmental sectors and people for the wrong motives is a real one. Funds associated with government in South Africa are frequently assumed to be a “cash cow” to be appropriated through whatever means possible. It is recommended that the facility be billed not as a fund but rather as an innovation support facility. 17 One effective tool for assessment has been developed by CARE International. It is known as the Spider Model. Information is available on their website. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 26 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 6.3 Targeting the Poor and Vulnerable It is generally accepted development practice to target the poor and vulnerable. These categories would include the very poor, women and children and people with AIDS, amongst others. Many programmes set out to work with the poor, only to find that the least poor or less vulnerable groups benefit most. This experience has spawned a number of tools to secure more effective targeting. Means tests and special participative selection mechanisms are now widely used18. A means test needs to be developed within the local context, as there are no reliable universal measures. Odame et al (2004) observe that there is a strong relation between gender and agriculture in developing countries. Women are twice as likely as men to be involved in agriculture-related activity, according to the 2000 United Nations report on the status of women. National averages of female workers in the agricultural labour force vary, but globally women have a principal role in agribusiness, food processing, and consumer-related activity. As producers, women who work in the field help feed their families. But it goes beyond farming alone to encompass marketing and value-added food processing. In the areas targeted for piloting the ISF, this may be true for food gardens but, with respect to cropping and livestock, this is very much the domain of men. Impressions by those interviewed about activities in the Okhahlamba District were that men, more than nine times out of ten, undertake cropping and livestock. Women do not tend to own or control the key resources, such as land, on which their agricultural activities depend. These are usually the domain of men. Historically, women have also had less access to formal information and communication systems associated with agricultural research and extension. Thus, complementary, conflicting, and collaborative gender roles and relations may characterise developing- country agriculture and rural development (Poats et al 1988). Given that women are also most strongly affected by HIV/AIDS, it is important that interventions take cognisance of these conditions and such issues are mainstreamed into the project design. Caution is needed in the application of targeting. It is probable that those most likely to be interested in local innovation development will not only be those from poor 18 Many examples of a means test use housing as an indicator of poverty. For example, CASHPOR has been a pioneer in developing a composite index known as the CASHPOR House Index. It scores houses based on: - Size: Small: 0 Medium: 2 Big: 6 - Structural condition: Dilapidated: 0 Average: 2 Good 6 - Quality of walls: Poor: 0 Average: 2 Good: 6 - Quality of roof: Thatch/Leaves: 0 Tin/Iron sheets: 2 Permanent roof: 6 A cut-off score of total points is established to separate the houses of the poor from those of the non-poor. The index is context specific and CASHPOR has refined its index for adaptation to different regions. In South Africa, the Small Enterprise Foundation has achieved recognition for its poverty- targeting tool that allows it to target the very poor in its lending operations. In Lesotho, CARE claims success in targeting the poor in agricultural extension through: village gatherings known as pitsos to publicise the project and to identify the poor; PLA exercises to assess knowledge and opinions; training modules oriented to the needs of the poor; informal household visits to non-participants; use of case studies to illustrate project benefits; and facilitation of linkages with service providers, including traders. Home visits were found to be the most effective of these (CARE Lesotho–South Africa 2003). Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 27 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment households. At the same time, it is the poor and especially women who would have the most direct experience of the issues that need to be addressed in developing technical and socio-institutional innovations that will help them climb out of poverty. On balance, it seems therefore that – in the piloting phase – a mix of income groups should be sought. Therefore the target should be predominantly poor, but also take up others that show initiative and innovation potential. It would be valuable to monitor the profile of those accessing support from the ISF. This can be done by field staff monitoring the activities of experimenters. A simple means test along the lines discussed here with additional questions on age, gender and affiliation to group(s) should enable this. In the short term, it is suggested that the FAIR project in South Africa does not apply any means test to ensure targeting of the poor or very poor. However, if the experience is that women and more vulnerable groups are not participating in and benefiting from the local innovation development activities supported by the fund, then more deliberate targeting measures should be introduced. This could be done in two ways: 1) those technology options can be given priority for funding that are likely to be applicable to the poor; 2) the fund could be restricted to applications by poorer farmers measured according to one of the above-mentioned means tests that have proved to be workable in South Africa. In the initial stages, it will be important to note who shows interest in the opportunities offered by the ISF and who demonstrates commitment to developing innovations on behalf also of others in the community and to sharing the results. In any case, if the innovation support grants are kept small, richer farmers or other people seeking quick financial benefits would probably not be attracted to apply. 6.4 A demand-driven approach For decades, farmers and government officials alike have become accustomed to the government providing (unsolicited) services for farmers. Reversing roles by giving farmers the decision-making power in selecting services – in this case, to support farmer-led innovation development – is a new challenge for all parties. Through farmer groups and farmer forums, communities are taking on new roles and expectations with enthusiasm, although competencies in group management, agro- enterprise development and monitoring of the implementation processes are still needed. Research and development partners are working towards strengthening local organisation to enable farmers to „own‟ development processes. South Africa is no exception in this regard. The situation has led Koelle et al (2003) to suggest that: “Adoption of „new paradigm‟ approaches for extension is vital if the farming community is to be helped to make the sorts of changes that the global environmental imperative demands, and to lead lives that are fulfilling and sustainable. Unless extension can successfully promote the satisfaction of a range of needs of farmers and their families, it will fail in its vital task of promoting conservation farming. The values, beliefs, experiences and learning of the farmer, together with his or her financial situation are the prime determinants for the survival strategy adopted by the farmer.” However, indications are that the supply-driven approach has found renewed impetus at local government level in South Africa. It is common to see municipalities buying tractors and agricultural machinery and making these available to local Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 28 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment communities in the name of the „agricultural revolution‟ (cf. Natal Witness 2006). Such approaches are seriously questionable and pose a direct threat to any measured demand-driven approach being applied. 6.5 Identifying and Developing Mechanisms for Mobilisation 6.5.1 Introduction As discussed earlier, there is an important need to identify and support effective institutional arrangements for participation in developmental and innovative activity, including PID. Institutions grounded in indigenous knowledge and practices can be a fertile base from which to start. A strong common economic link can also provide important glue for sustaining participation and securing institution stability for either managing ISFs to support farmer-led experimentation, learning and sharing or making effective use of their services. Two options are considered to fulfil these requirements in different ways. These are discussed below, with a view to considering not only what is already in place for piloting the ISFs under the FAIR project but also to what type of local institutions may need to be developed or strengthened for sustainability of ISFs. 6.5.2 Farmers Associations The DAEA has worked on the promotion of farmers associations over many years. They are widely established institutions in South Africa, especially in mainstream agriculture (dominated by white land-owner interests). In recent years, steps have been taken to develop these institutions amongst black farmers. In the villages targeted by FAIR, there are various associations in existence. Some are concerned with crop production and others with livestock. They are said to be well-established and functional. They will mostly have benefited from a number of projects from various agencies over several years. These have included the provision of fencing and grant funds for donga reclamation. As such the associations would have become accustomed to grant-based interventions, many of which have proven ineffective. It is likely, therefore, that there will need to be adjustment towards a new development culture and approach. The scale of this feasibility study did not allow for a direct and rigorous assessment of the effectiveness of these associations. It is recommended that this be given attention early on in the FAIR project, so as to enable a better assessment of their potential to play a role in PID and innovation in general. 6.5.3 Farmer Learning Groups / Farmer Field Schools FSG is in the process of introducing FLGs into the villages targeted by the FAIR project. The character of these groups is outlined in Section 6.1. FSG has some recent experience from Msinga in another part of KwaZulu-Natal which is relevant to this work but, over the next few years, their form will be developed and refined. Since much of the recent experiences of Farmer Field Schools (FFSs) is very similar if not identical, these are discussed in some detail. The FFS approach is a participatory methodology of technology development and dissemination that gives farmers an opportunity to learn though practical field activities. The FFS usually involves about 30 farmers, who are facilitated by an extension worker or farmer trainer to find solutions to their own problems through season-long training and on-farm experimentation. The FFS approach was initially Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 29 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment applied among rice farmers in South East Asia in the late 1980s. During the 1990s, an estimated 2 million farmers were trained through FFSs in that region. The approach was first introduced in Africa in 1995 and is now widely applied in a dozen African countries (Pontius et al 2000 in Duveskog et al 2002). Typically, in Kenya, the FFS model now requires that members engage in some joint farming activity. New FFS groups normally divide their joint field into three parts: One on which they carry out various experiments with new technologies and innovations One on which they cultivate as usual (used as a check) One on which they carry out a commercial enterprise with the aim of generating profits that can sustain the group‟s activities beyond the initial grant (Friis-Hansen, personal communication, 2006). The FFSs provide a powerful learning experience, as farmers directly experience the benefits or limitations of the different approaches. Action-based learning is widely regarded as a very important and effective mobilising tool. According to Gallagher (2002), food-security FFSs are now including HIV/AIDS, literacy, saving groups and nutrition as special topics in their programmes. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are testing self-financing mechanisms and cluster models to encourage networking for marketing and self-management. Cambodian Farmer Life Schools are encouraging social agendas to be dealt with. Thai FFS Integrated Pest Management programmes are meeting the needs of the next generation. And there are many other developments being nurtured. In Kenya, direct funding to farmer groups for payment of extension services in FFS has drastically improved the performance of extension delivery and accountability of extension providers and introduced farmers to a demand-driven extension system where farmers are empowered to choose the extension activities they are involved in (Gallagher 2002). There can be little doubt that the application of the FFS model and, in particular, a self-financing FFS approach provides a very strong platform for innovation and would offer a valuable complementary arrangement to the effectiveness of ISFs. Though the FFS model or variations on it are widely implemented in Africa and Asia, it has not been applied in South Africa. The Gender and Development service of FAO has put a large effort into adapting the approach in the area of health, particularly in HIV/AIDS, and also working with young orphans. These so-called Farmer Life Schools and Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools have built on experiences in Cambodia; pilots are taking place in Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe (ibid). An expanded model known as Promoting Farmer Innovation in Farmer Field Schools (PFI-FFS) has been implemented in Kenya. This builds on the experience of the Promoting Farmer Innovation (PFI) project, which was a forerunner of PROLINNOVA. The PFI-FFS is a more challenging model than the conventional FFS. The latter tends to encourage farmers to experiment and discover what formal science already knows and wants to convey to farmers through an action-learning mode. The PFI- FFS has a more active component of identifying local innovations and initiatives growing out of the dynamics of indigenous knowledge and then engaging in joint research by farmers and formally-educated advisors to discover what neither of the two groups knew before. Its experiences are apt for FAIR content and programming Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 30 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment considerations, as it becomes evident that this approach requires a longer time span than simply conveying the known through FFS: “In the PFI-FFS project, it took nearly a year to identify the innovators and document the innovations. Even though innovators were to some extent involved in FFS activities even during this process, full integration could not effectively take place until the second year. Ideally the process of identifying innovators should be initiated in good time before the establishment of FFS, in order to ensure fruitful interactions throughout the whole FFS process. Implementation of FFS is very involving and time consuming for the field staff (extension staff and farmer trainers), who operate under a strong, but positive, pressure from their FFS to live up to the expectations of the groups.” Duveskog et al 2002. It was also identified that innovators are generally busy people with limited time to put into the training of other farmers. Despite these difficulties, if the ultimate objective is to support local innovation, then there does seem to be some merit in embracing this additional focus. Such work in building up PFI-FFSs could not be funded by an ISF. It would have to be programmed with additional support and would, ideally, eventually become part of normal agency operations. The approach is resource demanding and requires considerable funding to get started. It makes sense also to try to build these institutions as self-sustaining entities with a minimum of dependence on external support and funding, as invariably there will come a time when donor funds are no longer available to provide this support. Within the short time frame for FAIR as implemented under the DURAS19 timeframe of two years, it will not be possible to use such institutions as a basis for testing ISFs, as they do not yet exist in South Africa. It will therefore be necessary to focus on: 1) farmer interest groups forming around already identified local innovations and interested in exploring them further (e.g. in FLGs); and/or 2) existing institutions in the communities where the ISF will be tested. Building up PFI-FFSs would have to be a longer-term activity which could be based on the FAIR-related work with the existing local institutions and/or FLGs. 6.5.4 Savings Clubs Savings clubs or stokvels are an established mechanism in many developing countries and are well entrenched in South African (and African and Asian) society. They take various forms. In their simplest form, they involve savings but invariably include a rotating savings and credit association (ROSCA) arrangement or an accumulated savings and credit (ASCA) arrangement. Terms and rules differ widely but a common feature is that they successfully bring households together to mobilise lump sums of money that can be made available to poor households in times of need. Some are more responsive than others to those needs but all generally succeed in servicing payments of school fees and/ or end-of-year Christmas expenses. Perhaps most significant is that savings clubs as institutions represent a particularly robust and effective form of social capital. Some organisations have recognised their potential for responding to poverty. For example, in a number of African countries, CARE International has for several years promoted these institutions and trained them to operate in more formal ways that allow members to access financial services 19 Promoting Sustainable Development in Agricultural Research Systems Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 31 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment in the form of savings and credit as well as social funds designed to be responsive to specific household shocks. More recently, they have begun to introduce this model in South Africa, with an emphasis on people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Promoters of this model have argued that this mechanism is more effective and efficient in enabling access to financial services than are the more formal providers of credit. The model involves the promotion of savings clubs, along similar lines to those of stokvels. Members save and deposit on a regular basis, and then on-lend to members of their group according to agreed terms for a defined purpose. In contrast to a typical stokvel, interest on the loans is charged, and so members are able to grow their savings. Members are provided with training in the model. Some promoters may also offer additional training in life skills, and business-development/ income-generation ventures. This is consonant with thinking on how people can work their way out of poverty through incremental asset accumulation20. Through this model: capital growth is structured so that funds circulate within the community, rather than being absorbed by the micro-finance institution (MFI).21 This is vital to accumulation and poverty reduction within a poor community. the model builds on indigenous knowledge and culture and enjoys acceptance into daily livelihood strategies of the poor. extensive spontaneous growth of the model has been witnessed after its introduction. For example, membership in Zimbabwe stands at approximately 55 000 people (after +/- 5 years) and is growing. It has a very low drop-out rate. the model builds social capital and has the potential to catalyse a more organised voice of the poor. A recent evaluation undertaken by consultants to CARE concluded the following: “It is clear that there is potential for [the programme] throughout Zimbabwe, not just in Midlands and it is time that the Country Office recognised that ..[it].. is amongst the most powerful tools at its disposal for attacking poverty and creating a force in civil society that politicians and planners can scarcely ignore” (Allen & Hobane 2004, p24). the model readily accommodates and can catalyse a wide range of livelihood strategies, including: income generation, responding to household consumption peaks and crises, purchasing agricultural inputs, supporting natural resource harvesting, development of life skills and social action (see Figure 1 below). Savings is „the glue‟ that moulds and holds these groups together, and provides the platform for addressing a range of issues. 20 Ellis & Harris (2004) have suggested, in order to move out of poverty, poor households have to increase the assets that they can deploy productively in order to generate higher incomes. Moving out of poverty is a cumulative process, often achieved in tiny increments, and constantly vulnerable to counter factors which threaten a return to poverty. Assets are traded up in sequence, for example, chickens to goats, to cattle, to land; or, cash from non- farm income to farm inputs to higher farm income to land or to livestock (Ellis & Mdoe 2003, in Ellis & Harris 2004). It is also well established that a critical constraint slowing down or preventing such „virtuous spirals‟ is the inability to borrow or to generate cash. This is sometimes referred to as credit market failure. Access to savings and credit can make a major contribution to enabling this struggle out of poverty. 21 Many MFIs in South Africa tend to have a high cost-to-lending ratio due to market forces in an underdeveloped sector (see Baumann 2003). Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 32 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Figure 1: Savings Clubs as a Catalyst for Development Support members Provide lump sums of money Empower in distress women that enable members to cope better with shocks/ stresses; grow people’s money Manage/harvest local natural Become vehicles resources for environmental Provide action and home capital to What improvement start/ run Savings Promote financial small businesses Clubs can literacy do Save Ensure that school and lend fees/ medical costs are met Become voices of Civil Prevent & respond Society to HIV/AIDS From SaveAct, 2005. In South Africa, indigenous knowledge and practices in stokvels are arguably more embedded than any other socio-economic activity. They enjoy widespread acceptance and support, with many people investing significant sums of money into these institutions. They therefore represent a platform from which to build responses to poverty, vulnerability and innovation. A note of caution is needed. Generally, experiences of savings clubs in developing economic enterprises are weak. They are not regarded as effective vehicles for this purpose, though they can be effective in bulk buying of food for members‟ consumption, or for storage and selling at a higher price when demand is stronger. Nevertheless, they represent an important platform for learning, and from which individuals can initiate or expand economic activity, including in food, agriculture and natural resource harvesting/ management. SaveAct, a new NGO which is piloting a savings and credit model in KwaZulu-Natal Province and which is based at the FSG offices, is promoting this model. It has an interest in developing linkages with agencies committed to poverty reduction and socio-economic development. SaveAct has commenced working in Obonjaneni with the recent establishment and training of three Savings and Credit Groups (SCGs). Each group has approximately 12 members. 6.5.5 Conclusion It is under conditions where mechanisms such as FFSs, FLGs or SCGs are active and functional that an innovation fund can really come into its own. It is possible that an ISF may play an important though more limited role in the period during which these institutions are developed. There is some risk that the ISF may attract some associations that could be detrimental to its profile in a later period more ready for such a facility. Playing down its role as a funder, and stressing its role as a support facility, can mitigate this risk. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 33 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment It is evident that there are considerable overlapping interests across participants of FFSs, FLGs and SCGs and there is scope to explore hybrid models. A savings club comprising rural producers with a common interest in experimentation and innovation development seems to be a fertile mix. With savings, problems of sustainability can be addressed, as a portion of savings can be allocated to the innovation-focused activities of the group. Indeed, Gallagher (2002) suggests: “the FFS should fit into a large development process – namely one in which FFS provides education for farmers on specific needs of farmers and communities in such as way as to build towards community action. Education should include savings programmes leading to groups accumulating financial and social capital that can be used to build more capital.” Gallagher goes on to suggest that the FFS concept could be something like a two- step process of education with savings programmes followed by access to livelihood assets (cash, seed, animals, tools, etc.). In South Africa, the merging of models may be better tackled the other way around, with savings being the initial platform from which FFS activity is then embraced. This is due to the relative lack of rural focus on agriculture, and the relative extent of involvement in savings. In the end, it is important to approach this in ways that do not conflate the savings club and FFS learning activity with that of joint economic activity (though with the limited exceptions noted above). It is probably wise to experiment with different options. More research into the potential for SCGs to act as group-based innovation support funds is needed. Experiences from other contexts such as Tanzania and Zimbabwe indicate that there is scope for them to play this role (Personal communication, Palakurthi, 2006 and Hamadziripi, 2006 respectively).. At some point, partners should consider possibilities for introducing PID into SCGs, or SCG activities into FLGs. Another option to be considered is the establishment of a hybrid model involving groups that have an interest in pursuing objectives common to both concepts. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 34 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 7 Proposed interventions 7.1 Introduction It is proposed that, under the unique conditions in South Africa, a broader approach than in other PROLINNOVA Country Programmes be adopted. It should involve implementation of the FFS or FLG model and the savings-and-credit model. In time and when respective agencies are ready to take it on, a hybrid model may be developed and piloted. It is likely that the FFS or FLG approach, on the one hand, and the savings-and- credit approach, on the other, will tend to attract different segments of society. For instance, it is probable that the FFSs and FLGs will attract people who regard themselves as farmers, and will provide platforms for exploring their issues in depth, whereas the savings clubs will tend to attract a broader spectrum of people concerned with livelihood security, micro-enterprise development and life skills. From experience, SCGs tend to attract a membership of about 70% women. They can also draw in very poor people and people with limited capacities and skills. Options exist to also focus savings clubs around households concerned with activity related to natural resource harvesting. In addition to catering for a broader range of interests, the development of a dual- track mobilisation approach also has the advantage of gearing in more capacity. 7.2 The Farmer Field School or Farming Learning Group Approach For an ISF to be effective, there is a need to apply and scale up the FFS or FLG model. It is important to identify an agency and preferably a set of partners that will collectively commit to its implementation. It is likely that FSG and the DAEA are best placed to take on such a programme. As mentioned above, FSG has some experience in piloting FLGs in Msinga. FFSs are resource demanding on agencies involved in their promotion. They have tended to rely quite extensively on grant funding for their sustainability. For example, costs of farmer-to-farmer exchanges and introduction to new technology would be typically grant funded. However, more recent variants have introduced revolving credit and some own contributions. If sustainability and group ownership is valued, then it is recommended that the own contribution option be pursued. If the methodology of SF-FFSs or FLGs is to have impact in South Africa, it will be important to develop a systematised and structured methodology that can be replicated at some scale, either by different agencies or a number of extension practitioners. This will require the development of manuals that respond to annual seasonal cycles, learning imperatives, and activities associated with action-based learning relevant to local conditions. This should only occur when the lead agencies are confident with the approach and it has been adequately tested. Clear targets and timeframes involving training of trainers for spread of the model will need to be developed. The approach will need to be elaborated by the partners and taken on as a complementary activity to the development of the ISF. Since FSG is already developing its FLG approach, it would make sense for it to take on a leading role in this. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 35 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Whilst the FLG concept is being developed and PID processes are being established in these groups, it is recommended that concurrent work be undertaken with the interest-based groups already in existence in the three villages. This will allow for the ISF to test its role and develop its mechanisms, whilst undertaking important support for learning and experimentation work. 7.3 Savings and Credit As SaveAct has begun to reflect on the FAIR project and potential synergies, it has started to conceptualise what some of the linkages between savings and credit and supporting innovation in agriculture and NRM could be. Some of these are presented in the diagram below. Figure 2: Potential linkages between SCGs and promoting local innovation in Okhahlamba Potential Linkages & Opportunities in Okhahlamba Support members Provide lump sums of money that enable in distress & members to cope better with shocks/ stresses & grow people’s money resulting in: therefore increase • Improved capacity to take on capacity to engage entrepreneurial activity in micro-enterprise • Stimulation of local markets (buying power) activity Become vehicles for Natural Empower women with Resource Management or agri- confidence & resources to be business more entrepreneurial Promote financial literacy that feeds Improved range of Potential other initiatives possibilities to manage/ harvest local linkages/ natural resources for Ensure that school synergies fees/ medical costs agribusiness are met, thus strengthening social base for micro- Provide capital to start/ enterprise development run small businesses Prevent & respond to HIV/AIDS & so Financial services extended to strengthen the social base for agri-business entrepreneurs outside of the & responding to tourism market clubs, or clubs grow to absorb Become the basis of ISF for entrepreneurs as they see innovation associated with FAIR opportunities project Source: SaveAct 2005 The promotion of SCGs can empower local people (mainly women), giving them confidence and resources to be more entrepreneurial and thus position them to innovate. SCGs can support members in distress and increase their capacity to engage in micro-enterprise activity (and thus enable them to focus on more productive activity). The provision of lump sums that enable members to cope better with shocks and stresses and increase their disposable income creates a platform for entrepreneurial activity, stimulates markets and encourages innovation. SCGs themselves can become vehicles for NRM or agri-business activity. More financially literate people (a consequence of participation in savings) are better placed to plan and undertake new initiatives. Equipping households to cope with household demands such as school fees and medical expenses enables households to engage in activities related to food and NRM, as they are able to rise above the day-to-day Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 36 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment pressures of debt. Being part of a social network and a group that is engaged in HIV/AIDS mitigation measures means that members can better cope with the shocks and stresses of this disease; this places them in a better position to innovate. It is also possible that a SCG can itself form the basis of a group-based ISF (GISF), if their funds are channelled into experimentation activity. Precedent for a variety of funds being established, each with their own unique objectives and rules, has been widely observed in implementation of the CARE model in Zimbabwe and Kenya (Alfred Hamadziripi, personal communication, 2006). Typically, these groups establish social funds to respond to specific needs of group members. In the same way, it is possible for groups to establish innovation funds to support group or individual initiatives. These funds can also exist at a cluster or associational level, i.e. across SCGs. Such ventures could be stimulated through co-sponsorship (e.g. a rand-for-rand contribution). A further possibility is that financial services may be extended from SCGs to other members of the community. This can be achieved by food producers and natural- resource harvesters buying the equivalent share that a SCG member has in a given cycle, so that they can take advantage of these services. Alternatively, they can form SCGs as groups engaged in similar activity. For existing SCGs, members‟ access to capital can expand possibilities in terms of starting new businesses or engaging in new food or NRM-related activities. In all of these instances, the potential for innovation is enhanced, as poor people are better able to cope and manage their lives. now more favourably . The model itself, if effective, may become an innovation with social, financial, economic and institutional impacts. If synergies are developed and the respective components well implemented, this model could make an important contribution to the development of PID and ISF development. The experience of CARE Tanzania, where they integrated the CARE Niger Mata Masu Dubara model, which is an SCG promotion model, into a wider household economic security programme (Magu District Livelihood Security Project22) with an emphasis on developing the agricultural economy, is instructive. The financial services component had attracted 16 000 members in just four years and it was evident that the MMD mechanism was capable of mobilising and intermediating large quantities of funds, permitting farmers to (among other things) achieve their production and marketing objectives, helping to increase both production and 22 “The project planned to improve the capacity of extension workers by providing training and working in collaboration with the district agricultural department, particularly at the ward level, to define and implement project activities. In addition, the on-going extension programme included training on the proper packaging, storage, application and disposal of chemicals to further minimize negative impacts on human health and the environment, and improved soil management through the use of organic fertilizers. Training and technical support for establishing marketing and savings associations was provided to women and women‟s groups and a women‟s extension program was a part of the overall agricultural extension program, but directed specifically toward women‟s needs and taking into consideration their responsibilities in the local farming system. In terms of addressing SL principles: the intervention took household livelihoods as the starting point for action, but disaggregated in terms of gender, and utilized participatory methods with villagers to allow them to identify and prioritise problems and opportunities. Partnerships were formed with the district agricultural department, commercial farm input suppliers, research organizations and community-based organizations (including traditional mutual assistance, savings and dance groups).” (Toner, 2003.) Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 37 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment incomes. This was also done in a very targeted way with a specific focus on women. The non-financial component was strongly oriented to a market-based approach based on different value chains and had resulted in a growing number of contracts between farmer groups and industrial buyers in less traditional crops (Palakurthi, personal communication, 2005). 7.4 The ISF The presence of various agencies acting with common purpose in the promotion of PID in the villages selected for the ISF pilot makes for a unique opportunity to test out the ISF approach. The existence of various farmers‟ associations represents an opportunity to promote innovation amongst farmers and natural resource users. The initial emphasis of the piloting will need to focus mainly on the established institutions until such time as these newer generation groups begin to participate in PID activity. This will provide opportunities to test the effectiveness of these institutions in representing farming and natural resource user interest and in acting as a platform for action. With the implementation of the FFS, FLG and SCG interventions outlined above, a more fertile ground for an ISF is being generated. Suitable local community-based representatives from a broader base of interest in communities will be more readily identified for inclusion in an ISF management committee. The timing of the establishment of the ISF in relation to these other institutions calls for a flexible approach. 7.4.1 Who should the ISF target and what should it be used for? For the purpose of piloting the ISF, it is proposed to focus from the outset on experimentation in natural resource use and agricultural, including gardening, activities. A broad approach that is responsive to local conditions may identify the following thematic areas: 1. Stimulate social/ human capital development for promoting learning and innovation (amongst locally organised groups or individuals) 2. Support farmer or natural resource user-led innovation initiative, through technical assistance, co-finance inputs, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) design and implementation. The first could be achieved by exposure to PID and good practice, enabling dialogue between innovators, exchanges of experiences, communication between local innovators and external sources of advice, and so on. Careful selection of participants and provision of associated support would be important. It is assumed that there will be few who will be able to benefit from access to funds without any significant additional agency support. Therefore, the ISF will be piloted with existing and currently emerging groups that are receiving agency support. The ISF‟s success will depend on a stable, mature, capable entity able to manage and disburse funds with technical assistance and M&E. This implies more of a regional forum to begin with. This will increase transaction costs of grants, but this is seen as necessary in the piloting phase. As soon as there is confidence in readiness Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 38 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment of available candidates to play a leadership role in a more formalised institution capable of managing the ISF, steps should be taken towards constituting it. The definition adopted by the PFI-FFS project in Kenya for defining innovators is the following: “Farmer innovators are farmers or „land users‟ who innovate, test and try new methods of conservation or production, on their own initiative, often using ideas from various sources.” Innovators tend to be curious, creative, proud of their innovations, willing to take risks and skilful in blending their own ideas with ideas picked up elsewhere (Duveskog et al 2002). The ISF should target and seek to attract individuals and groups of people with such a profile to take up its services. At the start of the process of identifying innovators in the PFI-FFS project, a set of guidelines were set up for the initial screening of potential innovators. These criteria serve as a rough description of “who” the innovators are that the programme tries to attract. According to the project guidelines, innovators should demonstrate the following qualities: Practise effective (or potentially effective) innovations in the area of land or animal husbandry; Use own initiative, but may also bring in ideas from various other sources; Demonstrate a willingness to experiment, develop, monitor and disseminate; Should be more or less a full-time farmer or “land-user”; Should not be outsiders in the community, i.e. very rich, hobby farmers, “model farmers” or farmers that have received continuous project support. All of the above are considered relevant to the FAIR project, though the second from last would run the risk of excluding important initiatives in South Africa, as few land users are engaged full-time in farming. Criteria for ISF access are dealt with in 7.4.3 below. 7.4.2 How could the ISF be configured? At present, PROLINNOVA–SA has the makings of both national and provincial partnership. These inter-organisational links extend down to the local level in the project site. It is possible to design the ISF in ways that reflect these different levels. Given that there is no substantial experience in South Africa in this field, it makes sense to focus initially on defining and developing the local relationships with farmers and rural producers. If this link is not well developed, the value in the ISF model will not be fully realised. The development of GISFs will provide the local links needed to be effective. In time, it may be possible for the ISF to expand to a regional focus, or embed it still further in the local level (with similar local ISFs being replicated in other areas). The second option will require more resources and is therefore likely to prove more difficult. It was already proposed earlier that the ISF be defined as an innovation support facility rather than an innovation support fund. This is in order to place emphasis on its overall purpose rather than its financial resources. Funds close to poor communities, as discussed earlier, have potential to generate conflict and divert attention away from the intended purpose. Better still will be the development of a vernacular name for the facility. It is proposed that the initial design look something like this: Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 39 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Figure 3: ISF Configuration Prolinnova SA Mainly FFS/ R Club linked e modality S p u o p R e r p t o p Dialogue r o Fund Holder Meet t r t quarterly together Disburse ISF Stakeholders Partner Convert Key The funds should be lodged in a registered trust (Fund Holder) since a trust is the simplest legal entity to establish and operate, whilst still having legal recognition by donors and policymakers in public-sector financial management. For a trust to be effective, it needs only a small number of people involved on a consistent basis. After some few years, depending on performance, it may be appropriate to bring in new people. This should be done on an incremental basis so as to secure continuity of participants and „institutional memory‟. The trust should comprise: Local representatives of farming and rural production interests, specifically as follows: o one person representing livestock interests (from Area A if most suitable crop production representative is not from Area A) o one person representing extensive crop production interests from Area B o one person representing food garden group interests from Area C o one person representing natural-resource harvesting interests from Area C, with two of the four being women DAEA as a public sector partner to be represented by the Farming Systems Research Unit The Farmer Support Group, as the NGO with a presence in the pilot areas and initiator of the FLGs. The breakdown of local representation is designed to achieve a spread across areas, gender and land-user types. The matching of people from the respective areas should, if possible, be approached in a way that secures the best possible representation. Local representatives should be put forward by local people active in the fields that the ISF is supporting. The nomination of candidates should be made following a thorough description of the role of the institution and the qualities of the people needed for the trust. Criteria should include: Their standing in the community as citizens known to respect the rights and interests of all groups within and across the villages Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 40 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment A history of leadership that is respected across groups in the villages Active participation and knowledge in the activity area that they represent. In the end, some discretion and flexibility may be applied in the process, if soundly motivated. Being an innovator may not be the most important consideration, as the fund itself is designed to support such people. If they are sitting in the trust, this may create conflicts of interest and adversely affect the trust‟s operations. Should someone sitting on the trust wish to access support, it should still be possible for him or her to do so, as long as there is an understanding that they recluse themselves from any decision-making concerning support. The same would apply if they are members of an organisation seeking support. If conditions of establishment as they relate to inter-area or inter-personal dynamics prove more difficult than anticipated, it is recommended that the ISF work be handled by a committee comprising local and regional stakeholders. The funds can then be drawn on application to FSG in the same way as such requirements are presently handled. The difference in this instance is that the request would come from a decision arising from the committee and made in writing to FSG through agreed channels. Disbursements should be made initially for the following purposes: Assistance in accessing information needed before local experimentation can start (including visits to other farmers and/or research centres) Advice in setting up experiments and in monitoring them Facilitation in joint analysis of results. To whom the funds are disbursed and in what form will depend on the nature of the assistance requested by the local people, as well as an assessment of the capacity of the applicant to manage the funds. An established FLG/FFS or SCG, with a track record in fund management, could potentially receive funds directly for a specified purpose. A more general and/ or larger application will invariably need more controls and risk-management measures. The options outlined in the paragraph above are likely to be rare at this point, and in general, payments should go directly to the supplier of a service to an experimenting group or individual. Specific simple controls and paper work will be needed to record delivery of services. FSG‟s Financial Manager will be well-placed to advise on and prepare forms for this purpose. The ISF should meet at least quarterly to: plan for the next quarter, e.g. for calls for expressions of interest process applications for support and awards: done as a closed session before the meeting is opened to other parties monitor and review of work Handle any other business, e.g. identifying areas for strengthening PID and institutional development interact with all interested stakeholders who may attend the open sessions and offer advice. 7.4.3 Criteria for approval of an award The following criteria are proposed: Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 41 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment prior record of food/ agricultural/ natural resource usage activity (broadened in the case of consensus and additional funds) technical feasibility idea owned/ driven by applicant(s) preferably some demonstration of prior innovation idea is replicable amongst poor and vulnerable value addition achievable through ISF support agreement to adhere to plan and report results willingness for results to be shared. In the interests of transparency and ensuring that funds are used in line with objectives, it is recommended that each fund disbursement follow a particular procedure. Applications should be filtered according to criteria agreed by the ISF. The procedure can be depicted as follows: Figure 4: Fund Allocation Procedure From project collection to project selection Strategy, Principles, Selection criteria Financing/ Applications Tendering/ Partnering F i l t e Applications r s Screening: Pass/ Rejection/ Referral Filters to be reviewed annually so as to establish appropriate mix of support If there is strong competition for support and difficulties in processing applications, it may be appropriate to attach a weighting to criteria and introduce a selection process determined by points scored. Regular reporting on uptake of funds, and for what purpose, should be undertaken and posted in various public places in the project areas alongside reports on the process and outcomes of the related PID activities. This will help ensure a broad- based understanding of what the ISF is all about. Results should be disseminated and support considered for the innovators to undertake aspects of this, e.g. through addresses to Farmer Associations, FLGs or FFSs. This implies additional work from the partners involved. It may be possible for some of these costs to be covered from other DURAS budget lines, though funds in this contract are very limited. Discussion with the partners will be needed to establish whether they can allocate a portion of their time to supporting these additional aspects. It will be important that these contributions are recorded and costed for evaluation and future fund raising. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 42 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 7.4.4 How do we anticipate demand on the ISF? Demand will depend on several variables, including: supply factors, such as promotion of and communication about the fund, scope of fund, qualifying criteria and user-friendliness of the application process the extent of mobilisation of people in project areas into forms of PID that meet the fund objectives (e.g. through FFSs, FLGs or SCGs) the extent to which capacity exists or has been built through these activities access to local support in preparation of proposals, where appropriate. 7.4.5 Grant sizes and numbers The funds assigned to the ISF under the DURAS grant amount to €13 000 (approximately R97 500 at a rate of exchange of R7.50 to €1). At an average grant size of R3 000, this will translate into 32 awards. In terms of the contract with DURAS, partners have until 31 October 2007 to complete their projects. 7.5 Monitoring and Evaluation Plan M&E plans will need to be prepared for each component, i.e.: for the ISF itself for PID training and support for the farmer group (associations, FFS, FLG, SCGs, etc.) for the organisational development support to the farmer group. These need to be prepared by the key drivers of each, and should be conducted in a participative manner with the stakeholders closely involved in the work. There is value in bringing in specialist support capacity for the design and setting up of the M&E plans. The fact that all components are to be piloted strengthens this argument. It is important to document as much information about trends, efficiency, effectiveness, relevance and impact as possible, as these lessons will assist in model refinement as well as the development of cross-linkages. DURAS is contributing €3 330 (approximately R24 975) towards M&E over the two-year project period. An „own contribution‟ from FSG of a similar order has also been identified. The contract with DURAS outlines the following M&E requirements. It should generate detailed insights into the practical operation of such funding mechanisms and their capacity to promote local innovation. Unfortunately, the timeframe of the present DURAS funding is limited and the answers to questions related to acceleration of local innovation can only be partially addressed within the two-year project period. The M&E activity will include: participatory preparation of a monitoring framework for use in all countries; a central concern will be identification of key criteria for success/failure of the ISF. This activity will be the responsibility of the lead proponent with support from the international partner; data collection in all countries; the support of a research organisation or university has been enlisted to ensure quality of data collection; moderated electronic mini-conferences every six months to document progress and experiences; PROLINNOVA already uses this mechanism successfully for annual programme progress monitoring. The logframe in Annex 1 identifies indicators for the M&E of programme implementation, up to the level of individual activities. An important step in the pilot Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 43 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment M&E is the development of an M&E framework across the four countries. Table 4 gives the outline for such a framework, indicating the main criteria and detailed potential indicators. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 44 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Table 4: Outline of M&E framework for ISF Criteria/ Performance area Possible indicators 1 Adequate awareness among Number of applications received farmers and support agencies on Percentage of applications found ISF opportunities and access meeting ISF criteria mechanisms Percentage of proposals addressing valid and relevant concerns within NRM and farming 2 Working, cost-effective Number of proposals processed mechanisms to process Percentage of proposals received applications that fit key ISF criteria Staff time and other resources used for processing each application Time period between receipt of application and communicating decision to applicants 3 Effective disbursement Time period needed for mechanisms disbursements to reach applicants Timing of disbursement in relation to fund needs (e.g. seasonal imperatives) Banking and other costs incurred in disbursement 4 Proper utilisation of the funds Expenditure statements in line with agreed terms for use Random in situ inspection of experimentation work 5 M&E in place Number of brief grant reports received Information from grant reports processed and used in ISF 6 ISF has a strong, farmer co- Institutional setting of ISF is clarified managed, institutional framework and formalised Relevant stakeholders, including small-scale farmers (men, women), endorse and support institutional setting Adequate resource mobilisation to replenish pilot capital expenditure Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 45 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 8 Conclusion This assessment concludes that it is feasible to establish an ISF in the targeted areas of Busingatha, Obonjaneni and Okhombe in the Okhahlamba District of KwaZulu- Natal. It further concludes that: there are real and significant risks with the application of the concept in South Africa the concept of a locally owned or farmer/land user-led facility is not realistic in the short-term, except perhaps at a very localised level for a group-owned fund (GISF). However, a local, co-managed institutional framework is possible, with a deepening role for local stakeholders over time it would be preferable to market it as an innovation support facility (rather than fund) but would also benefit from a vernacular name with similar meaning the detailed configuring of the ISF institutional arrangements should be discussed in a workshop and developed by consensus with the key partners and be allowed to evolve with time and building of skills, but should closely adhere to the suggested configuration outlined in 7.4.2 discussion should be held with the DAEA on the possibility of phasing in funding to support the ISF in the longer term it should ideally be complemented by drives to promote PID through local institutions such as farmer associations, FFSs, FLGs and SCGs. These vehicles can respond to the uniqueness of the South African situation and expand opportunities for poorer and more vulnerable groups, such as women and people affected or infected by HIV/AIDS, whilst improving the potential impact of the ISF facility itself. They further suggest potential to evolve into GISFs, some of which could be self-sustaining in the long term. in strengthening the drive towards encouraging the development of GISFs, it is recommended that FLGs and SCGs be promoted initially in distinct areas, but later as hybrids when there is increased confidence in the form and content of their operations and how they can link with each other there is a need to debate amongst partners the rural context and implications for the scope of the project and achieve a common understanding on which types of interventions should be prioritised following a firm commitment to a specified set of actions and the development of a programme, it will then be important to develop a resourcing strategy, an implementation plan and an associated M&E plan23. 23 Considerable work on M&E for the FAIR project was undertaken in the annual PROLINNOVA meeting held in Cambodia during March 2006. This work is presently being documented and will be a valuable reference in this process. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 46 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 9 References Abate, Augusta & Duveskog, Deborah: Application of the Farmer Field School approach in Kenya, and FAO, Kenya. In: Farmer Field Schools: The Kenyan Experience, Report of the Farmer Field School stakeholder‟s forum held on 27th March 2003 at ILRI, Nairobi, Kenya, 2003, p. 18. Allan, H & Hobane, P: Impact evaluation of Kupfuma Ishungu, for CARE Zimbabwe, 2004. CARE Lesotho–South Africa: Strategies for promoting client participation and reaching the poor: an experiment with agricultural extension in the TEAM Project in Lesotho, Maseru, 2003. DAEA, http://agriculture.kzntl.gov.za/dae/index.aspx, 2006. de Haan, Arjan; Drinkwater, Michael; Rakodi, Carole & Westley, Karen: Methods for understanding urban poverty and livelihoods, CARE International, 2002. Duveskog, Deborah; Mburu, Charles & Critchley, Will: Harnessing indigenous knowledge and innovation In Farmer Field Schools. Paper submitted to the International Learning Workshop on Farmer Field Schools, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 21–25 October 2002. Ellis, Frank & Harris, Nigel: New thinking about urban and rural development, Commissioned by DFID, 2004. Friis-Hansen, E: Personal communication, Danish Institute for International Studies, 2006. Gallagher, Kevin: Common questions, answers and suggestions on Farmer Field Schools. International Learning Workshop on Farmer Field Schools (FFS): Emerging Issues and Challenges, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 21–25 October 2002. Khisa, Godrick S: Self-financing Farmer Field Schools. In: Farmer Field Schools: The Kenyan Experience, Report of the Farmer Field School stakeholder‟s forum held on 27th March 2003 at ILRI, Nairobi, Kenya, 2003, p.37. Hamadziripi, Alfred: Interview by author on linkages between Zimbabwean CARE- supported village savings & loans groups and agricultural activity, SARPN, 24 March 2006. Koelle, B; Oettlé, N; Thobela, M & Arendse, A: Learning in partnership to conserve biodiversity: findings of the social research team of the Conservation Farming Project. Presented to the National Botanical Institute, Cape Town, 2003. May, J et al, Poverty and Inequality in South Africa: Report prepared for the Office of the Executive Deputy President and the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Poverty and Inequality, Summary Report, May, 1998 MXA (McIntosh Xaba & Associates): Role of women: urban-rural linkages and household livelihoods, by Anton Krone, Amanda Williamson, Pearl Sithole, Anne Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 47 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Vaughan, for Provincial Planning and Development Commission, 2005, copy available on http://www.livelihoods.org/hot_topics/UrbanRural.html - 4. Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs: Budget Speech, 2005. Natal Witness, 2006. National Innovation Fund, South Africa: Introduction, http://www.innovationfund.co.za/, 2002. Odame, Helen Hambly; Hafkin, Nancy; Wesseler, Gesa & Boto, Isolina: Gender and agriculture in the Information Society, CINSA, 2004. Opondo, Chris; German, Laura & Stroud, Ann: Lessons from using participatory action research to enhance farmer-led research and extension in South Western Uganda, undated. Palakurthi, Puneetha: Personal communication, School of Community Economic Development, Southern New Hampshire University, 2005. Peden, M: Personal communication, 25 March 2006. Poats, S.V., M. Schminck, and A. Spring (eds). Gender issues in farming systems research and extension, Boulder: Westview Press. 1988. Salomon, M & Malinga, M: Farmer Learning Groups. Presentation to Farmer Support Group staff, February 2006, FSG. SaveAct: Unpublished proposal for working in Okhahlamba, December 2005. Toner, A: Exploring sustainable livelihoods approaches in relation to two interventions in Tanzania. Journal of International Development 15: 771–781 (2003) Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com), 2003. Veldhuizen, Laurens van; Wongtschowski, Mariana and Waters-Bayer, Ann: Farmer Access to Innovation Resources (FAIR): Findings from an International review of experiences by PROLINNOVA International Support Team, PROLINNOVA Working Paper 9, ETC EcoCulture, December 2005. Waters-Bayer, Ann & Espineli, Marise (eds). Proceedings of Second International Prolinnova Workshop, Entebbe, Uganda, June 2005. Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 48 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Additional people interviewed De Villiers, Dr Hannes, Director of Farming Systems Research Unit, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Letty, Brigid, Coordinator of PROLINNOVA South Africa Mudhara, Maxwell, Deputy Director of the Farmer Support Group, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Nkosi, L Skumbuzo, Agricultural Extension Officer, Okhahlamba District, Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Salomon, Monique, Director of the Farmer Support Group, University of KwaZulu- Natal, Pietermaritzburg Shezi, Sanele, Project extension officer, Farmer Support Group, Okhahlamba District Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 49 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment 10 Annex 1: Logframe Narrative Summary Indicators Means of Verification Important Assumptions Goal: To create conditions for Improved levels of food Household There will be funds available (outside farmers to manage natural production and NRM are livelihood security FAIR) to conduct these assessments resources (NRM) in ways that achieved assessment Allowing for time for impact to be contribute to improved food Livelihood security is improved Data related to realised before assessments are security and livelihoods through the presence of a more livelihoods undertaken enabling environment Purpose: The acceleration of Improved NRM practices as Field work reports There will be funds to conduct these local innovation in NRM and result of ISF support activities; on ISF-supported assessments sustainable farming practices Farmer innovations spread and activities The strategy will have been in terms of innovation used by other farmers Grant reports implemented sufficiently, and allowing process, outcome and spread Six-monthly report, for time for impact to be realised before Year Two and assessments are undertaken Final Country Report Objective 1: The Models are developed for each Year One Report identification, design, and country situation piloting of ISFs as promoters Data indicating strengths and ISF synthesis of local innovation weaknesses of pilots is captured report and analysed to develop understanding of the best ways to implement ISFs Objective 2: The Key findings are documented and Media products/ Some costs of this can be covered documentation and packaged for dissemination reports/ from PROLINNOVA activities already dissemination of lessons Lessons are promoted amongst publications/ planned and budgeted for learnt re: appropriate ways, farmers and policymakers in four website content mechanisms and conditions countries for ISFs to become effective promoters of local innovation Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 50 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Narrative Summary Indicators Means of Verification Important Assumptions Objective 3: The Four ISF approaches are refined Final Country establishment of sustainable and institutional arrangements Reports long-term ISFs actively formalised for longer-term supporting community- innovation support managed funds in four countries Outcomes/ Result Areas Indicators Means of Verification Important Assumptions Objective 1: Activities 1.1 Country-level feasibility Four studies conducted and Study reports There is relevant previous experience in studies to identify the most reports prepared the countries appropriate mechanisms and Studies have provided clear characteristics of an ISF guidance for the operationalisation of the ISF 1.2 Backstopping to country Summary report is produced and Summary report studies and preparation of disseminated, providing countries experiences summary note on experiences with material/ increased capacity elsewhere elsewhere Active dialogue between international and national consultants/staff 1.3 Stakeholder consultation One workshop held in each Workshop on the ISF design and country with different proceedings definition of roles and stakeholders, in which the ISF Progress reports activities set-up is decided upon 1.4 Implementation of ISF 4 pilot ISFs are established and Year One Report pilots running Records of Pilots display design applications and characteristics processing Number of applications (12 per Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 51 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Outcomes/ Result Areas Indicators Means of Verification Important Assumptions Objective 1: ISF) received and processed 1.5 Monitoring and evaluation M&E framework & plan is Document of M&E of ISF pilots developed framework and M&E plan is implemented plan M&E report prepared per country M&E reports on with key lessons each ISF pilot 1.6 Cross-country exchange Active sharing of information (e- Record of mini- This will be enabled through of experiences mail and PROLINNOVA meetings) workshop piggybacking on planned PROLINNOVA amongst countries. meeting One mini-workshop organised coinciding with PROLINNOVA meeting to share experiences, cross-referenced with Nepal and Niger Outcomes/ Result Areas Indicators Means of Verification Important Assumptions Objective 2: 2.1 Country experience Lessons are documented Report on lessons reports are prepared on Information prepared in accessible Style of document lessons for dissemination form Year Two six- through: media products, the PROLINNOVA website updated to monthly report PROLINNOVA website, include lessons Agreed distribution publication and synthesis 350 copies of report are prepared plan report A distribution strategy is adopted 2.2 A cross-country synthesis Report prepared reflected Report and its report is prepared with experiences and lessons from content inclusion also of other partner each country with a comparative country experiences (Nepal & assessment and conclusions and Niger) and disseminated 100 distributed Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 52 PROLINNOVA South Africa ISF Feasibility Assessment Outcomes/ Result Areas Indicators Means of Verification Important Assumptions Objective 2: 2.3 Dissemination of Country 250 copies of each report Mailing list and Report and International distributed (across four countries) country report Report on lessons at country level 2.4 Posting of summary of Updated website reflecting these Viewing of site Cost of this posting to be covered from International Report on additions other PROLINNOVA funding for this PROLINNOVA website purpose Objective 3: 3.1 A policy dialogue is Meetings convened with partners Year Two Report There are significant results from the initiated in each country on and stakeholders covering progress pilot experience and sufficient interest the future role of ISFs with Experiences are examined for in these areas amongst stakeholders to develop attention also to resource relevance in contributing to further the concept of ISFs mobilisation for ISFs farming and NRM innovation An action plan is developed for the medium term 3.2 An operational plan for Four documents showing Year Two Report There will be a clear understanding of long-term functioning of ISFs institutional form for each country conditions and their implications for in each country, with a budget Alignment of form with lessons institutional form is compiled from pilot and other experiences Ref: D:\Docstoc\Working\pdf\e06e045a-740b-4869-8978-41333044fded.doc 53