Supporting Resilient Livelihoods in Challenging Environments: A Post-Event Q&A
Last month, Microlinks invited representatives from three organizations working in the Central African Republic to support the rebuilding of lives and livelihoods through diverse programming ranging from agriculture to microenterprise development. Check out the event page for the webinar recording, presentation slides, and transcripts from the event. Some 100 development professionals from around the world tuned in to learn about their experiences working in such a challenging context. Below, we invited two of our panelists to address a few unanswered questions from the audience.
How were beneficiaries targeted, selected, and verified? What kind of criteria did you use?
Henri-Noel Tatangang, Plan International: The paramount criterion was having been a part of an armed group. We partnered with other actors specialized in demobilizing children from armed groups who provided a list to us on arrival in the area. Once we received the list, we conducted a verification process in the communities to confirm that they were members of the groups.
Valentina Dal Lago, Oxfam Intermon: The team organized project presentation meetings in the targeted communities and set up community-elected beneficiary selection committees composed of six members, three women, and three men. The community was asked to define and validate the target criteria. The committees were trained to fill out targeting sheets and made a pre-targeting of the individual beneficiaries, and of the producer groups. This provisional list was presented to the community in the General Assembly for validation under the supervision of Oxfam agents. The final lists were shared with the local authorities of each village and displayed in the public square.
In projects like these, it’s critical to engage other local stakeholders to help empower beneficiaries to rebuild their lives and grow their businesses. How did you involve government and the private sector in your programming?
Tatangang: The government body in charge of employment conducted our market study to assess opportunities and guide the beneficiaries in their choices for the vocational trainings we organized. The government also validates the curriculum and signs the award certificates at the end of the trainings. The private sector and communities are encouraged to use the services of the beneficiaries during the award ceremony and during community meetings.
Dal Lago: Authorities in the intervention zone were involved throughout the process:
- Needs identification: Prior to drafting of the proposal, Oxfam carried out a needs assessment for which local authorities and the private sector (traders and seed multiplier cooperatives) were consulted as key informants.
- Launching of project activities: All state, religious, and community leaders took part in the project launch
- Targeting: The authorities contributed to the definition and validation of selection criteria during the community assemblies.
- Collaboration with the technical services: As part of implementation, the state bodies, in particular the Central African Agency for Agricultural Development, were enlisted for their technical support with seed certification, training on production, and use of bio-pesticides, monitoring of activities, and evaluation of yields.
- Collaboration with the private sector: Contracts were awarded to local suppliers for the supply of seeds and other items. The local seed multiplication associations also have an agreement with Oxfam, which allows them to collect good quality seeds under the supervision of the technical services of government and Oxfam.
What kinds of psychosocial support did you provide, and how did you rebuild their trust given the trauma some of these individuals have experienced?
Tatangang: We had trained psychosocial workers who interacted with the children during the program, and also trained the host families to know how to live with and care for these children. We also organized recreational activities and a mobile child friendly space for the youth.
Dal Lago: This wasn’t a part of our program activities.
How did you measure effectiveness and sustainability of your programs’ results?
Tatangang: We monitor the beneficiaries three months post training to ensure the livelihood kits are used properly and to test the skills acquired. We also work with government and community leadership as well as community child protection mechanisms to accompany the children post-training and ensure they are not exposed to new forms of abuse or returning to armed groups.
Dal Lago: The effectiveness and sustainability of our programs’ results are measured by the different assessments conducted: baseline assessments and final evaluations conducted by external expertise. The follow-up activities thus make it possible to observe the beneficiaries who continue and those who will have the capacity to carry out their activities after the project phase.