Imani Development has recently conducted a baseline evaluation for a 23-month long project which seeks to build the resilience of disaster-prone communities in Central Malawi, more specifically in the Dowa and Ntchisi Districts, to withstand climactic and economic impacts.
In a statement posted on its website, the organization says it has observed that communities in Central Malawi are heavily reliant on rain-fed agriculture (primarily maize and tobacco) as their primary livelihood, hence the necessity to safeguard these vulnerable households against droughts, erratic rains and floods that are experienced in Malawi.
“These threats are magnified by the economic impacts of high food prices and agricultural inputs as well high inflation rates” reads the statement.
The organization says the evaluation for the L4R project it ran on behalf of Land O’Lakes and funded by USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance will promote the expansion and maintenance of small livestock assets as a diversified livelihood to aid in adapting to these vulnerabilities.
“With a community-based approach, the L4R project will increase the capacity of households to maintain their livestock asset base as well as their ability to plan save and mitigate risk. It will also improve capacity of and access to animal health services. These efforts are aimed at further increasing the abilities of the targeted households within the two districts to sustainably adapt to the identified risk factors”.
The primary purpose for The L4R evaluation’s which was held recently was to gather relevant and meaningful data to better inform the Land O’Lakes implementation team’s planning and decision-making with regards to project implementation.
“Structured household questionnaires were conducted across 390 households in the Ntchisi and Dowa Districts to assess the demographic and socio-economic status and vulnerability levels of the targeted communities.
“The questionnaire, combined with several key information interviews with relevant district officials, enabled the assessment of the potential for livestock-based livelihoods in both districts.
The organization says key component of the evaluation was the integration of a gender analysis on gender considerations for the project.
“To provide a level of nuance unattainable through a questionnaire, the analysis was primarily conducted through focus group discussions regarding livestock decision-making within households, use of livestock-related incomes, constraints and opportunities for women in animal husbandry, and gender roles in livestock value chains and producer groups.
“This component of the baseline evaluation was undertaken to inform the implementation team of gender dynamics in the targeted communities thereby enabling them to better ensure that women are equally able to participate and benefit from project activities”, reads the statement.
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