Press release: Pro-ARIDES programme officially launched

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Multi-year €100 million programme launched to support governance, increase climate resilience, food security, farmer and pastoralists incomes in the Sahel

SNV, CARE-Nederland, Wageningen University & Research, and KIT Royal Tropical Institute to implement 10-year ‘Pro-ARIDES’ programme with local partners and governments in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.

12:00 CET, Tuesday 22 June 2021, Den Haag, Netherlands

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, a not-for-profit international development organisation, together with other partner agencies CARE-Nederland, Wageningen University & Research and KIT Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), today officially launched Pro-ARIDES – a 10-year, multi-country programme that aims to increase resilience, food security as well as farmer and [agro] pastoralists incomes in the Sahel region.

Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and led by SNV, the Programme Agroalimentaire pour la Résilience Intégrée et le Développement Economique du Sahel (Pro-ARIDES) programme will work through decentralised institutions, private sector and civil society organisations across Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to help improve service provisioning, natural resource and land management as well as economic development and social inclusion at local levels across the Sahel.

National institutions and organisations as change agents will be central to the programme strategy, which focuses on systems change and scaling up as a route to sustainable impact that will grow to reach people beyond the direct beneficiaries of a programme and contribute to re-establishing the social contract between citizens and local governments.

The Programme will run in two phases. The first five years will focus on infrastructure and empowering institutions; strengthening capacity and establishing trust; and developing, testing and improving working methods and strategies. The second phase will move towards expanding and scaling up successful approaches and interventions from the first phase, and embedding the corresponding approaches, practices and technologies to ensure sustainability and lasting change. The Programme will additionally focus on stimulating mutual learning and strengthening practices and knowledge management.

‘Today, the launch of this programme marks a significant step not only in putting in place real commitment to increasing resilience and food security to the Sahel region, but in ensuring that the region has access to lasting solutions that will benefit farming and pastoralists households and contribute in the long-term to stability across the region,’ said Pro- ARIDES Programme Manager, Dr Jean de Matha Ouedraogo. He continued, ‘Building closer working relationships with local farmer and pastoralist organisations as well as national and regional governments will be an essential part of our joint efforts to realise the changes across eight key regions in the Sudano-Sahel zone.’

The Sahel region

In addition to the increasingly apparent impacts of climate change, the Sahel region is contending with multiple challenges from land and water degradation and frequent conflicts, to inequality, displacement and fragility in its food and nutritional sources.

‘Over the years, we have seen the region hit by numerous man-made and natural challenges which require us to appreciate and use the lessons learnt,’ according to Peter Zoutewelle, Project Manager at CARE Nederland. ‘With agriculture including pastoralism a significant sector and source of income across the Sahel, it is clear that investing in sustainable agriculture and inclusive value chains could address malnutrition and contribute to raising income levels. Men and women play an important role in the agricultural sector and this can have a positive impact on livelihoods and the wider society.  This makes the work we intend to do through Pro-ARIDES, vital on several levels. We intend to work complementary to other existing initiatives.’

The population of the Sahel region is also growing rapidly, with some 65 per cent under the age of 25. Simone van Vugt, Senior Advisor Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation & Multi-Stakeholder Processes in Agricultural Sectors at Wageningen University & Research, noted, ‘This is a trend, particularly in the youth demographic, which could prove pivotal to transforming the overall agricultural sector. In fact, youth are not only a vital, potential workforce, but together with the empowerment of women, can take up important roles in developing and sustaining value chains. The Pro-ARIDES approach takes these and other factors, such as inclusive multi-stakeholder engagement into consideration – all of which contribute to establishing sustainable impact.’

Commenting on the focus on systems change and lasting impact Bertus Wennink, Senior Advisor in Sustainable Local Economic Development at KIT Royal Tropical Institute added, ‘Building upon existing positive local dynamics, this approach further ensures that Pro-ARIDES gets to the heart of the real issues which in turn can bring about strong transformations for more inclusive, ecologically sustainable and resilient local development in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.’

The Programme aims to bring about the changes needed by focusing on five key areas:

  • Improved food, farm and herd management for more resilient production systems and better household nutrition

  • Increased business, service and employment opportunities and market linkages generating more economic value

  • Sustainable management of land, water and other natural resources through peaceful and collective resource use arrangements

  • Gender, youth and inclusiveness for resilient food systems development

  • Underlying – Strengthening institutions to re-establish social contract

For further information on the Pro-ARIDES programme, please contact Dr Jean de Matha Ouedraogo at: jouedraogo@snv.org, or visit our programme page at: snv.org/project/pro-arides.

Notes to Editors:

About SNV

SNV is a not-for-profit international development organisation that makes a lasting difference in the lives of people living in poverty by helping them raise incomes and access basic services. We focus on three sectors – agriculture, energy and water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) – and have a long-term, local presence in over 25 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, supported by a team of more than 1,300 staff. Learn more about SNV by visiting our website or following us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

For more information contact: Dr Gabrielle Daniels-Gombert at gdanielsgombert@SNV.org

About CARE Nederland

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization working in more than 100 countries around the world to save lives, overcome poverty and achieve social justice. We do so by providing emergency assistance, facilitating women’s entrepreneurship and stimulating the participation of local communities in decision-making processes. In addition, CARE supports communities’ resilience to the effects of climate change. Our approach is practical and tailor-made, working side by side with local partners. CARE’s work aims to create a fair world. By this we mean: equal distribution of wealth, equal rights and opportunities, power equality, safety and human dignity.

To find out more about CARE Nederland, go to: www.carenederland.org

About Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 6,800 employees (6,000 fte) and 12,900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

To find out more about WUR, go to: www.wur.nl

About KIT Royal Tropical Institute

KIT Royal Tropical Institute is an independent centre of expertise and hospitality dedicated to sustainable development. Guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, we assist governments, NGOs, and private corporations around the world to build inclusive and sustainable societies. Our experts provide research, advisory and training services focussing on global health, economic development, gender and intercultural communication. Our campus in Amsterdam is one of the city’s leading sustainability hotspots. It houses an education centre for students and professionals, including a graduate school in global health, a certified eco-friendly hotel, and complementary conference and events facilities. We are also home to SDG House: a thriving community of sustainability experts, social entrepreneurs, and NGOs with a membership of more than 70 organisations.

To find out more about KIT please visit: www.kit.nl