Question: Which of the recommendations and actions set forth in the Conference Report best achieve the goal of amplifying farmers’ voices in policy debates and decision-making processes?While most of the recommendations and actions set forth could promote farmers’ voices in policy debate, the following recommendations are especially relevant:
- Making policy relevant and responsive to smallholder farmers’ needs;
- Enhancing accountability of state and non-state actors;
- Improving access to financial resources, especially micro-finance;
- Building capacity of farmer organizations; and
- Taking the message to Africa,” with a focus on micro-finance organizations and extension service providers.
Question: How can we ensure that measurable targets are set for gender and equity?
Organizational culture, project and program design are the crucial entry points. The following investments have proven very effective in institutionalizing WFP’s highly successful “Enhanced Commitment to Women” policy:·
- Ensuring that women benefit at least equally from assets created through program interventions;·
- Enhancing women’s control of program resources;·
- Ensuring that women are equally involved in program-related local bodies;·
- Ensuring that gender is mainstreamed in programming activities;·
- Conducting baseline studies in order to set realistic targets and establish a benchmark against which to measure results;·
- Generating and disseminating gender-disaggregated data and information for monitoring and evaluation;·
- Contributing to an environment that acknowledges the important role women play in rural economies and that encourages both men and women to participate in closing the gender gap; and·
- Making progress towards gender equality in staffing, opportunities and duties, and ensuring that human resources policies are gender-sensitive and provide possibilities for staff members to combine their personal and professional priorities.
Question: How can we build capacity of grassroots organisations for basic skills (e.g., organisations and business skills) and leadership (to influence policy and negotiations)?
Basic skills and leadership in grassroots organizations can be most effectively enhanced if these organizations have a strong voice in all stages of project and program design and implementation. Their ownership of these processes should be explicitly enshrined in project implementations workplans, for which they should be jointly responsible and accountable. Organizations with deep field presence are well-placed to support such processes.
Question: How do we strengthen horizontal and vertical linkages and partnerships/networks with other organisations?
From WFP’s experience, local needs and constraints are the main drivers of effective horizontal and vertical linkages, partnerships and networks. Areas in which linkages should be enhanced include a range of services and support functions including: raising start-up funds, institution building, business networking and marketing, innovation and knowledge transfer, technical training, research, legal support, infrastructure development and maintenance, and community health and social services. A diverse variety of partners is needed to help satisfy this range of needs.
Question: How can we increase access to resources and services for small-scale farmers and marginalized groups?
It is crucial to integrate provision of supply-side and demand-side (or market) services and investments. Especially crucial is creation of platforms of substantial and stable demand for the crops grown by smallholder farmers, thereby reducing risks and improving incentives they face when investing in productivity-enhancing technologies and practices. WFP’s recently launched Purchase for Progress initiative is an example of the nature of such investments, which have been lacking thus far.
Question: What investments are needed in governance systems and accountability mechanisms to help farmers’ organisations become more effective in informing and influencing public and private policy processes?
WFP has found the following governance principles to be relevant and useful in its work with local organizations:·
- Personal commitment to accountability and transparency at the head-of-agency and executive-staff levels, which creates a supportive organizational environment;·
- A corporate policy that outlines how the organization will contribute to major equity-enhancing goals (such as the MDGs to cut poverty and promote gender equality) through standards and commitments that relate to the mission of the organization and that are commonly understood;·
- Contractual agreements with partner agencies that further specify and concretize the standards and commitments, and the consequences of non-adherence;·
- Guidelines that specify how to interpret and effectively operationalize the standards and commitments; and· Systematic monitoring-and-evaluation mechanisms of standards and commitments.