“At a time when we’re seeing a chronic cycle of food crisis and hunger in several areas of Africa affecting tens of millions of people, a resilience agenda helps address the root causes of poverty by overcoming vulnerabilities and building resilient communities,” said Kent Hill, senior vice president of International Programs at World Vision. “This is a smart investment for donors and for the future.”
According to USAID’s updated definition, resiliency means “the ability of people, households, communities, countries, and systems to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from shocks and stresses in a manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth.”
This resilience agenda aligns with World Vision’s experience intervening in recurring crises such as the Sahel region, which left a projected 18 million people food insecure at the height of the lean season, and the Horn of Africa, where some areas are still seeing chronically high levels of malnutrition. World Vision provides relief, development, and advocacy assistance to help sustain child well-being within families and communities, focusing on the most vulnerable.
“A resilience approach promises to reduce people’s reliance on humanitarian assistance by improving their capacity to adapt to inevitable shocks and stresses. This ultimately decreases the need for repeated humanitarian interventions,” Hill said. “Consistent with USAID, World Vision always works to strengthen local capacity so that the local community and stakeholders take the lead in their own development.”
Resiliency has long been a priority of World Vision. For more than a decade, the organization has pioneered an innovative agricultural program known as farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) (PDF). This agroforestry initiative gives farmers simple pruning and harvesting techniques to encourage native tree growth. At the farm level, FMNR rapidly restores the health of the soil by protecting soil from wind erosion, improving soil fertility by allowing farmers to leave crop residue on the soil, providing fodder for livestock, and providing wood for fuel and sale. This in turn helps generate alternate income and contributes to food security during dry seasons.
“FMNR has empowered entire communities to adapt to climate change. The techniques are easy for farmers to modify to fit their local contexts and require little external project involvement,” Hill said. “This proven reforestation practice has reversed desertification and biodiversity loss, increased incomes and food production, improved food security, decreased reliance on external food aid/assistance, and reduced poverty.”
In Ethiopia, the FMNR program in Humbo resulted in Africa’s first large-scale reforestation project registered under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The trees produced there have resulted in 73,000 carbon credits issued to the community. The World Bank has committed to buy those credits, paying approximately $700,000 in income over the next decade to Humbo residents. So far with advance payments the community has already been able to start a bee-keeping business and build new grain storage facilities.
Niger, where FMNR began, has experienced net reforestation according to World Vision’s research and has been able to maintain per capita food production, despite being one of the poorest countries in the world with a booming population rise and with a declining investment in reforestation by the government and NGOs.
World Vision continues to actively promote this technique across Asia and Africa.
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About World Vision:World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews