In commemoration of Poverty Day on October 17, IRD is working with Interaction to roll out a series of articles highlighting projects that are making a difference. Check out the latest posts in the series, follow the conversation on Twitter with #EndPoverty, and raise your voice to end extreme poverty.
IRD economic growth programs support small farmers, revitalize community infrastructure and essential services, and develop sustainable businesses and livelihoods. Our programs strengthen the capacity of government to formulate and implement policies to improve governance and oversight. IRD provides technical assistance; support for agricultural competitiveness, market linkages, and value chain development; livelihood security; micro and small/medium enterprise development; local economic planning and public-private partnerships; and job creation, vocational training, and market information.
IRD provides opportunities for income generation through job creation, vocational training, and the provision of grants.
Supporting overall economic growth policy, job creation, and community development, the USAID-funded Community Stabilization Program (CSP) brought economic and social stability to 450,000 beneficiaries in urban communities affected by insurgency and sectarian violence in Iraq. Training programs provided opportunities for micro-entrepre-neurs to start, operate, and manage private businesses. Through CSP, more than 23,000 Iraqis were placed in long-term jobs and 16,500 trainees graduated from vocational training courses.
Under the USAID-funded Iraq Community Action Program (ICAP), IRD established a business development program in Baghdad to provide grants to small businesses. Since 2003, IRD has assisted 1,100 microenter¬prises that created 10,000 long-term jobs and provided grants valued at $1.2 million to 13 cooperative societies. In addition, ICAP created over 9,000 short-term and 10,500 long-term jobs and provided 43 voca¬tional training workshops. Under the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund, civilian victims of conflict have received income-generation grants, with the majority given to widows.
One of the most successful components of the USAID-funded Strategic Provincial Roads (SPR) program in Afghanistan was the Community Outreach and Capacity Building initiative. In collaboration with local Afghan bodies, community mobilizers helped conduct rapid assessments to iden¬tify and prioritize community development needs and then apply for and administer grants to complete the projects. Nearly 160 grants worth over $7 million were completed – benefiting nearly 400,000 people.
MARKET LINKAGES & VALUE CHAINS
IRD assists with business and market linkage services, access to improved production technologies, organizational assistance to improve their efficiency and bargaining power, and integration into existing value chains to ensure sustainability. The Better Foods for Better Lives (BFBL) project promoted private sector economic growth in Cambodia. This US Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded program improved value-added food products and distribution networks for private-sector noodle producers, bakeries, and snack and soymilk manufacturers. The project gener¬ated employment, improved production practices, increased sales of local products, and improved the nutritional status of low-income households and schoolchildren. Due to increased efficiency and market share, private sector food processors in Cambodia are now better positioned to compete regionally.
In partnership with DAI, IRD implemented the USAID-funded Serbia Agribusiness Project, which improved agricultural productivity, expanded value-added agricultural processing, and opened new export markets to Serbian producers. The project assisted nearly 40 producer organizations and created over 4,000 new jobs. In addition, 23 agribusiness clients have adopted technologies to enhance productivity and product quality.
IRD provides micro-grants and technical assistance to vulnerable individuals, marginal groups, and resource-poor farmers to provide them with the financial resources and skills they need to develop a sustainable livelihood. IRD’s Pastoral Livelihood Improvement Project targeted vulnerable pastoral and agro-pastoralist communities in Niger. Among the USDA-funded project’s 43,000 beneficiaries were 3,522 female heads of household, who each received two goats along with basic animal husbandry training. In addition, 31 wells and 25 ponds were rehabilitated or constructed.
In partnership with Africa University, Cornell University, I-Train and Evaluate Center, and REDAN ProFoods, IRD implemented the USAID-funded Restoring Livelihoods – Strengthening Value Chains (REVALUE) program in Zimbabwe. REVALUE helped improve the income of 8,550 farmers in Manicaland province by at least 30 percent and linked smallholder farmers to commercial agricultural companies, creating opportunities for increased production and commercialization. The program generated over $1 million in new investment in agriculture and agribusinesses during the first year.
LOCAL ECONOMIC PLANNING
IRD provides economic planning assistance to municipal governments by facilitating dialogue between governmental and nongovernmental actors and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. For example, the Community Revitalization through Democratic Action (CRDA) program in Serbia benefited over 5.5 million people by promoting competitive agricultural improvement, working directly with farmers and agricultural producers to improve farm practices and skills and upgrade equipment. The USAID-funded program also supported community and business groups to engage government to improve agriculture policies.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO DONORS AND GOVERNMENTS
IRD offers technical assistance to donors and governments through its expert staff consultants and established processes. Under USAID’s Human Resource and Logistical Support (HRLS) program, IRD supported institutional capacity building for Afghanistan government ministries and operating entities, and the private sector. IRD also provided human resources and logistical support to USAID Afghanistan’s Office of Infrastructure, Engineering and Energy. IRD provided construction oversight and engineering consulting services to USAID’s reconstruction activities, as well as a range of consulting services to the USAID mission and the government of Afghanistan, including for policy and legal reform, institutional and capacity building, and human resource development and training.
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