In the News | Dec 12 2016

As the world moves into an era above the ominous 400 parts per million carbon dioxide threshold, carbon storage and reforestation are becoming even more significant.

Press Release | Sep 26 2016

Ghana received approval on Thursday, September 22, 2016 from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a project to restore degraded forest reserves and double a sustainable forest plantation through a first-of-its-kind Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in its forest sector. The project is backed by a US $10-million concessional loan from the Climate Investment Funds’ Forest Investment Program (CIF FIP) approved on July 1, and supplemented by US $14 million in co-financing from the AfDB. 

Blogs | Jul 20 2016

As we got out of the car and started walking to a cocoa farm in Ghana’s Western Region, I was happy to see some female cocoa farmers welcoming us. What a pleasant surprise! Knowing that it is not easy for women in West Africa to own or access productive land for their own use, I was very glad to see that the Forest Investment Program – FIP – is directly benefiting them.

Typically, women in West Africa have use rights to land through their husbands, fathers or brothers[1]. In Ghana, most land and/or home-owning households in Ghana have their land and houses in the men’s name only.[2]

The FIP, together with Ghana’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the national Cocoa Board and other agencies, is helping reverse this imbalance for female cocoa farmers. The FIP is investing in Climate Smart Cocoa, which focuses on planting shade trees in cocoa farms (see this blog post about Climate Smart Cocoa in Ghana). 

When asked about shade trees and the tree tenure system in cocoa farms,
female farmers said that they now have hope

The FIP, through Ghana’s Forestry Commission, gives shade tree seedlings at no cost to cocoa farmers. Some of the species of indigenous trees used are: Terminalia Superba, Terminalia Ivorensis, African Mahogany (Khaya Ivorensis). 

With the new tree tenure policies introduced by the FIP, male and female cocoa farmers can now register each individual shade tree under their name. By doing this, they are securing the ownership and rights of each tree and reducing gender-based social and economic exclusion. Each shade tree represents a high value timber asset for cocoa farmers, which they can liquidate once maturity is reached.

The FIP also strengthens more inclusive tree tenure arrangements by supporting expanded participation of women in local forest governance, for example Community Forest Committees. Such multi-pronged efforts are at the heart of the upcoming CIF Gender Action Plan – Phase 2, in support of all of CIF’s climate mitigation and adaptation investments.   

A nursery of shade tree of seedlings

In addition to the economic benefits of the shade trees, Climate Smart Cocoa practices offer improved yields, and greater protection against capsid attacks on cocoa trees, which implies reduced use of pesticide. Other benefits include better soil protection and enhanced biodiversity in cocoa farms.

When asked about shade trees and the tree tenure system in cocoa farms, female farmers said that they now have hope. With better cocoa yields, and the secure asset of shade trees, female farmers can plan for a better future for them and their families.  

___

FOOTNOTES

[1] Rünger, M. 2006. Governance, Land Rights and Access to Land in Ghana – A Development Perspective on Gender Equity. Paper presented at the 5th FIG Regional Conference, Promoting Land Administration and Good Governance, Accra, Ghana, 8-11 March 2006

[2] Oduro, A. D., W. Baah-Boateng, and L. Boakye-Yiadom. 2011. Measuring the Gender Asset Gap in Ghana. Research Report, University of Ghana.

Blogs | Aug 04 2015

A couple days ago, some friends asked me about my recent trip to Democratic Republic of Congo for the Forest Investment Program (FIP). I enthused about the forest investment projects I visited, the dedicated colleagues I met, and the value of monitoring and reporting or “M&R.” Pardon? Come again? M&R? Clearly, I had lost my friends.  

So, what is M&R and why is it so important to development projects like those supported by the FIP? I had to answer quickly. I told them about this cartoon, which I find very descriptive of what could happen without proper M&R in project management. 

M&E cartoon

Source: IFRC ME guide

Imagine sailing down a river without paying attention to where you are going. If you are not actively navigating your vessel (checking your progress toward your destination) and simply going with the flow, you may run into troubled waters like these two. The same thing happens with project monitoring. If we monitor the project’s progress, we can know if we are achieving the expected results and whether we are on track for project success or not. My friends started to understand.

A well-functioning M&R system is a critical part of good project and program management and accountability.  It provides evidence on the progress of the project. It generates reports, which ensure transparency and accountability, and allows for lessons to be shared. Furthermore, it reveals when the project is not on track to achieve its expected outputs or results, while offering paths for learning and improvements. It is a powerful tool for evidence-based decision making. M&R is a robust tool for raising funds and influencing policy.

M&R is at the core of the FIP, and this year marks the first time that pilot countries have submitted progress reports on achievements of their investment plans. To gear up for this reporting, the CIF has held M&R training workshops in FIP countries worldwide, including one in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

A large group of the stakeholders attended the two-day workshop in Kinshasa. Participants learned how to use the FIP monitoring and reporting toolkit. They learned how to establish baselines and targets for the common themes, established scoring criteria for other relevant co-benefit themes and discussed how to formulate the texts for the elements for narrative. Essentially, stakeholders learned how to work together to “steer their ship” through the sometimes tumultuous waters of project implementation into which the DRC will enter in earnest in 2016. All participants confirmed that the training workshop will be very valuable for the DRC’s FIP results reporting.