Jun 10, 2019

Strengthen 100 Vulnerable HHs 3rd Quarter Report

STRENGTHEN 100 VULNERABLE HOUSEHOLDS IN CALABAR THIRD QUARTER REPORT 07/06/2019

 

INTRODUCTION

In this third quarter of the project under review, the project team’s attention was focused on ensuring the beneficiaries demonstrated the knowledge acquired during the technical training. Twenty new caregivers were enrolled, trained and supervised to plant the improved inputs supplied to them.

 Activities carried out during this period include:

  • Project team strategic planning meeting.
  • Distribution of inputs and planting
  • Application of fertilizer, pesticides and weeding
  • Enrollment of twenty caregivers for the second phase of the project
  • Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the twenty newly enrolled Caregivers.
  • Hands- on technical training
  • Land inspection, evaluation, preparation and fertilization. 

CHALLENGES & MITIGATION PLAN

In order to adopt best practices and learn new strategies, a review meeting was organized with the project team, key stakeholders and the consultant to share reports from monitoring visits in order to identify challenges and develop solutions. From the reports provided by the monitoring teams, weekly visits were paid to the beneficiaries’ farm plots where issues such as non-compliance of a few beneficiaries to professional advice and the infestation of two farm plots with army worms (pests) were noticed. These issues as reported by the team were resolved by encouraging beneficiaries to comply with professional advice and tackling of the pest using recommended pesticides.

FRUITING CROPS

 FRIUITING OF CROPS: From the field visits, it was observed that most of the crops (especially okra) in the initial batch had begun fruiting. This stage however required different nutrients which beneficiaries applied to the crops with the assistance of the consultant who educated the beneficiaries on the type of nutrient to be provided to the plant, method of application and dosage.

PRE-ENROLLMENT AND ENROLLMENT OF NEW BENEFICIARIES:

As the project entered a new phase, the enrollment of new beneficiaries was necessary. This was done in collaboration with Africa Child Foundation (ACF). A pre-enrollment meeting was held with the farmers with Mr. Justine Apebende, Ms. Asari Nakanda and Mr. Arikpo of ACF present. At the meeting, the beneficiaries were oriented on the project objectives and the various processes and activities involved. Thereafter, twenty beneficiaries who met the criteria using the national OVC enrollment tool were enrolled into the program. The caregivers were then asked to prepare their plots for planting.


SIGNING OF MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BY THE NEWLY ENROLLED CAREGIVERS.

As part of the requirement for the newly enrolled caregivers and to ensure that each project stakeholder was aware of and adheres to his/her responsibilities as well as to build a stronger relationship and commitment between the various stakeholders. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) stating clearly the responsibilities of each stakeholder for the completion and sustainability of the project was explained. Finally, the MoU was signed by each of the caregivers and copies filed. The process was an eye opener for some beneficiaries who testified of getting a better understanding of the processes and the entire project after reading through the MoU. 

 

HANDS- ON TECHNICAL TRAINING, LAND PREPARATIONAND PLANTING

The need to build the capacity of the newly enrolled beneficiaries became a necessity as the caregivers were ready with their contributions to the project. They were therefore taken through a thorough technical training session. Training was done on land preparation, the use of organic fertilizers, weed control, mixed cropping etc. The beneficiaries thereafter prepared their plots for planting.

 

CHALLENGES:               

The following are the challenges encountered this third quarter:

  • Lack of commitment by some beneficiaries
  • Non-compliance of some beneficiaries to technical instructions
  • Lack of land
  • Poor cooperation by some community stakeholders

NEXT STEPS

In order for the project to achieve its target. Over the next quarter we plan to:

Support the processes of

  • Harvesting and linking of the first twenty farmers to off takers
  • Fertilizer application and pest control for the second batch of twenty caregivers
  • Fund raising to support the enrollment of another batch of caregivers
  • Formation of Saving and Internal Lending Community (SILC) to promote saving among our empowered caregivers

CONCLUSION:  

During this phase of the project, the focus was ensuring that the crops grew as expected, pests were prevented, fertilizer application was done at the appropriate time, weeding was carried out to prevent competition among crops and weeds for soil nutrients and records were properly kept. Also in this phase another set of twenty beneficiaries were enrolled into the project. In the next quarter the plan is to link the first set of beneficiaries whose crops have started fruiting to off-takers and form them into a Saving and Internal Lending Community (SILC) or Village Saving and Lending Association (VSLA). This is to promote a savings and investment culture and planning amongst them for business growth. Finally, we are really grateful to everyone who has contributed to this project, so far your support is transforming the lives of forty households it is our conviction that by the end of the project we would have transformed the socio-economic status of 100 households. Thank you for your continued support.

 

 Please find the full report attached with photos.


Attachments:
Mar 11, 2019

Strengthen 100 Vulnerable HH Second Quarter Report

Strengthen 100 Vulnerable Households in Calabar

Second Quarter Report 8/3/2019

In the second quarter of the project under review, the focus of project team was geared towards ensuring the beneficiaries were adequately prepared to succeed on the project. Activities included:

  • Project meetings, review of the project plan and budget, review of the monitoring and evaluation plan, drafting of project documents, risk management etc.
  • Drafting and Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the initial twenty Caregivers for the households participating in the project as well as the agriculture consultant.
  • The conduct of Financial Literacy and Technical Training for the first twenty

enrolled Caregivers on the project.

  • Land inspection, evaluation, preparation and fertilization of the caregivers involved in the project. 

 

SIGNING OF MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

In other to ensure each project stakeholder was aware of and adheres to his/her responsibilities and to build a stronger relationship and commitment between the various stakeholders, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was drafted stating clearly the responsibilities of each stakeholder for the completion and sustainability of the project. 

The MoU was signed by for each beneficiary by both parties as well as one between the organisation and the consultants participating in the project.

The signing of this document was significant as it enables the beneficiaries understand the project better and increases their commitment and responsibility to it.

FINANCIAL LITERACY AND TECHINCAL TRAINING

A two day capacity building workshop on financial literacy and best practices for cultivation of proposed crops for the first twenty enrolled caregivers took place at 139 Marina Road, Bayside, Calabar South, Calabar on Thursday January 31st – Friday February 1st 2019. The training was attended by 20 participants and it was aimed at achieving the following objectives:

  • To provide a detailed description of the project to the beneficiaries;
  • To educate beneficiaries on the importance of keeping financial records;
  • To educate beneficiaries on various methods of keeping financial records of their daily and monthly income and expenses;
  • To educate beneficiaries on relevant types of crop cultivation;
  • To educate beneficiaries on land preparation;
  • To educate beneficiaries on the use organic fertilizers and its benefits.

 

The technical sessions on financial literacy and crop cultivation were facilitated by Mr. Dennis Ikapli and Mr. Edwin Ayuk respectively, adopting a participatory and learner centered methodology. During the financial literacy sessions, Mr. Ikpali taught topics such as value for money, saving, budgeting and record keeping. At the end of his sessions, participants realized the importance of savings and record keeping and hence committed to doing so. This was significant because though many of the beneficiaries have been involved in business and petty trading very few if any had a culture of keeping records. Most of them didn’t see the need to. Record keeping is a new habit that they have to learn.

Mr. Ayuk on the other hand handled topics that had to do with crop cultivation addressing land preparation, production of organic manure, its application and its uses. He also held sessions on the various types of crop cultivation as well as the methods of crop cultivation where he spoke about the use of sack bags in situations where there is no land for direct planting.

Beneficiaries were evaluated after the trainings using a set of previously set questions based on training objectives. Results showed that most of the women (about 95.5%) understood the sessions and could put into practice what they have been taught.

 

LAND PREPARATION AND FERTILIZATION  

Ensuring the availability of adequate land for the beneficiaries had been a major challenge to the project. Most had struggled to get land that was sizeable enough to achieve the desired targets.

 The land was their own contribution to ensure their commitment to the project. Several visits had to be made over the course of the last several weeks to inspect various tracts of proposed land. Beneficiaries who could not come up with their own tracts of land or who did not  show sufficient commitment at this stage were dropped from the project and an additional process of recruiting additional beneficiaries was done to achieve the minimum target number of twenty.

After the approval of land, it was now important to prepare the land for planting the beneficiaries had been taught how during the technical sessions of the workshop. To ensure highly productive and prompt responses from the beneficiaries the agricultural consultant Mr. Edwin Ayuk and the technical team of the Foundation paid a number of visits to the caregivers in their farms to conduct site monitoring and confirm readiness for planting.

It was observed that 90% of the beneficiaries had completed land preparation and application of organic fertilizers. Some beneficiaries made use of the sack bag gardening in the absence of adequate farm land. The women also proudly displayed their financial records showing resources they have expended so far.

Conclusion:  During this phase of the project a lot of attention has been paid to ensuring the beneficiaries are ready in terms of their attitude, commitment, knowledge and skills to embark on the activities designed to significantly enhance their income. Particular attention was paid by the monitoring team to understand the peculiar situations of each household. Those who fell short were dropped from the project and replaced with others. Our next activity is to provide them with the agricultural inputs required for cultivation.

We are grateful to everyone who has supported the project thus far. We are confident of its progress, the journey to sustainable successes is a long one we would continue to put one foot in front of the other as we walk down this path.

 

Thank You

Odo Effiong

Project Director.

 

  


Attachments:
Dec 10, 2018

First Quarter Report

Although this is a first quarter report for the project and should cover the period September 9th to December 9th 2018.  Since it was our first time on the platform we decided to wait to see how much would be finally received before finalizing the plans and the budget. The funds that were raised on the platform during our initial campaign finally arrived on the 29th of October and was just above 10% of the total sum desired. Work on the project commenced thereafter. We therefore decided to restructure the project to commence from November. This report essentially covers the period from the beginning of November up till now.

Our first task was to restructure the implementation plan to accommodate the fact that we raised just a little more than 10% the total sum required for the hundred households we planned for. We therefore had to find a way to plan the project to accommodate a reduced budget yet still accomplish its goals. After several meetings we decided that our best option was to implement the project in phases. Each phase would require funds to be raised before implementation. Essentially the hundred households would be divided into groups starting with an initial twelve. As each class proceeds beyond the early intensive phases of training, allocation, planting into phases that require monitoring and control, the next group would be started. Each group would run its own two year cycle. We decided that this would actually make the project easier to manage and will reduce the risk of mistakes as each group would have lessons learnt from the last included in their training, processes, monitoring and control.   

After agreeing to the plan we now had to restructure our previous budget based on this phased system. This was challenging because not every expense scales down linearly. We found this to be particularly true of our agricultural inputs. We therefore held meetings with our agricultural consultant and facilitator to restructure the budget. We had to confirm the variations of the costs of the various inputs in order to accommodate them in the revised budget. We also had to receive his input as to which crops were suitable to plant and in demand for the dry season.

During this time, we communicated with our partners for the financial literacy component and reaffirmed their participation in the project.  In this last week we commenced sensitization for enrolment of the beneficiaries in preparation for enrolment (see photo). We are also in the process of drafting the agreement that enrolled beneficiaries would sign.

Over the next few weeks still in December, we plan to complete draft project documents forms and templates for various processes required, conduct and complete enrolment of the pilot group of beneficiaries, ensure they have an understanding of what is required from them and get a sign off on the required documents, purchase the inputs required for project start off, inspect, and finalize the sites for the cultivation of the crops.

All components that require significant time commitments from the beneficiaries including technical and financial training, crop cultivation, value added processing etc all start from January 2109. As we have agreed that we may struggle to hold the attention of our beneficiaries during the festive holiday season if we commence these now as it is traditional for many to travel home to spend time with family.

Thank you for your attention and continued support.


Attachments:
 
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