NOTES FROM THE FIELD #1
In an effort to keep you informed about our ongoing projects with communities, we will post “Notes from the Field” blog updates on a regular basis. We look forward to sharing our work with you, and reading your comments!
In partnership with the Global Diversity Foundation, HAF recently completed a three month participatory monitoring and evaluation program in the Imenane Valley. All nine of the villages in this valley, which includes approximately 3,000 people, participated in HAF’s fruit tree agriculture program during the past three years (42,000 fruit trees were distributed 2006-2008). The evaluation brought associations and communities together to discuss the successes and challenges of fruit tree agriculture in the region, along with identifying other socio-economic and environmental projects the communities would like to pursue. In addition to using participatory methods, such as pairwise ranking and community mapping, the evaluation also included an empirical component in order to determine survival rates and health conditions of the fruit trees. Key findings include:
- The need for a community walnut tree nursery because a) walnut trees are hardy and can withstand cold temperatures and require little water; b) they have multiple uses beyond the nut itself (i.e., the bark and roots can be used for medicinal purposes); and c) the walnut tree can live many years, thus providing a long-term source of income for families.
- In order to increase agriculture yields, immediate attention must be given to improving irrigation methods in certain areas.
- Improved fruit tree agriculture training programs.
- Both men and women identified the formation of an iris cooperative as a desirable project. Irises offer an alternative to fruit tree agriculture for those families with little land available to plant fruit trees since they can be planted on the edges of fields. The iris plant has excellent earning potential in the local medicinal plant market.
- Women identified small animal husbandry (i.e., chickens and rabbits) as a desirable activity because they are easy to raise, and increase accessibility to eggs and meat in a remote region like the Imenane Valley.
HAF is currently assessing these needs and making plans for more community meetings where beneficiaries will work with partnering agencies to create action plans. Please check HAF’s website soon for a complete summary of the report, along with a PDF of the full report.
During the months of August and September, HAF is meeting with communities in the Tifnoute Valley to evaluate the Kate Jeans-Gail Tree Nursery Memorial project (a community nursery of 60,000 fruit trees) and create an action plan for the distribution of these trees this winter. We are also meeting with communities to review technical plans for clean drinking water projects, and meeting with women to create a cooperative that will serve up to twenty villages in the region. Please check our website later this fall for updates on the Tifnoute Valley.