Community Empowerment through Sustainable Resource Use and Agricultural Value-Chain

8 June 2021

CES Rural is a 2-year-long project which features the Instituto Superior Politecnico de Gaza (ISPG), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Dabane Trust, IHE Delft, and Acacia Water. The goal of the CES Rural Project is to contribute towards the empowerment of women, men, and young farmers within Mozambique and Zimbabwe so they can feel encouraged to participate in the development of the local economy and enhance food security.

Increasing food security with women and youth empowerment

CES Rural places focus on irrigation management and agro-economic practices in order to contribute to the empowerment of women and youth. This aims to increase food security and socio-economic development. The mission is to work towards more sustainable, secure, and resilient livelihoods, which are based on individual irrigated farming. This project also wishes to establish a strengthened institutional setting in order to encourage inclusive irrigation development. The central activities within this project consist of research, collaboration with farming communities - namely women and youth, food production, land, water, and soil management, and access to food markets.

CES Rural: Achieving Goals and Mission

How does CES Rural plan on accomplishing the goals outlined above? The project aims to divide the procedures into two ‘phases’ or ‘areas.’

Phase 1: Understanding the Demographic

Different types of farmers were identified during this phase. The category of farmers were men, women, and youth, all of whom were located along the Limpopo river basin. After this process was completed, identification of agricultural practices and socio-economic characteristics of the farmers was done. Following this procedure, there were specific challenges related to the farmers, which included water abstraction, irrigation methods, and marketing for young, male, and female farmers.

The final procedure of Area or Phase 1 involved collaborating on sustainable uses of alluvial aquifers. Alluvial aquifers can be described as an underground layer of water, which consists of unconsolidated materials.

Adjustments to the design of the irrigation equipment, agricultural practices, financial agreements, crop choices, and marketing strategies were also made in Phase 1. In the end, various strategies and packages were tested, including the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Phase 2: Adjusting the Curricula

During the second phase of the CES Rural Project, the desired project outcomes (as outlined above) were analysed once more. After this was completed, adjustments to the curriculum at ISPG and NUST were made, so that the project outcomes could be met. Training seminars were also organized so that the target groups (farmers of the female, male, and youth demographics) could attend. In addition to the training seminars, a strategy to update the services that the District Services for Economic Activities (SDAEs) provides was developed. The District Services for Economic Activities is well known for supporting farmers in their financial and economic affairs.

CES Rural: Results and the Future

The CES Rural project has received praise for documentation and innovation that allow for the empowerment and growth of women within rural communities of the Limpopo Basin in Mozambique. This is accomplished by creating videos and conducting interviews with farmers, during which they outline their own agricultural practices and methods. The CES Rural Project also develops flyers, documentaries, and other material based on the interviews with farmer, which is shared and discussed in the local community, government institutions, and various international gatherings.

In Zimbabwe, for example, the project activities started with District and Community meetings. A local NGO, Dabane, in collaboration with NUST introduced the CES Rural Project to the Matobo District Council during a Project Stakeholder workshop. During the period of January to March, farmers were being categorized, along with the markets, for the purchase and sale of produce. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was difficult to continue , but parts of it which were already established earlier were carried out. This included all of the work in the fields.

CES Rural is an ongoing project, Due to the restrictions (such as social distancing guidelines), the project has not been able to be carried out to its full potential yet. However, as restrictions ease gradually, the project can continue to work towards empowering women, men, and youth farmers socioeconomically.

This project is linked to the other research going on at IHE Delft, A4Labs and ‘When-crises-multiply-entrepreneurship-and-survival-zimbabwean-countryside. Read more about the project here.


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