Fanning the Spark, or 'project SCAD', is a collaborative project in Burundi set up by Achmea, Wageningen Environmental Research and HealthNet TPO (HealthNet), in partnership with Réseau Burundi 2000+. The project operated from 2013 till 2016 in three Provinces in Burundi and employed the PIP approach (Integrated Farm Planning) to improve the food, financial and social security of the local population. Wageningen Environmental Research provided the expertise in agriculture and soil and water management issues, and after closure of the project the PIP approach was further developed in the currently operating project PAPAB.
Extreme poverty in Burundi’s rural area and tensions between families with limited access to arable land hinder development towards a more stable and peaceful society. Due to these tensions and a rapid population growth, agricultural land is currently subject to increased degradation and low agricultural productivity. The objective of the project’s intervention was to increase food production at village level, by means of health promotion, more investments/micro credits in crop production and a family (income) insurance package that protects rural families against the financial consequences of catastrophic events (natural and health).
To achieve the project objectives, an integrated strategy was developed by the consortium members, with PIP being central to the strategy. The three pillars of the project (Agri-MiFi-Health) were closely connected: food security demands for a more sustainable agricultural production, which on its turn demands a healthy (labour) population with access to financial facilities and health care services. Furthermore, the foundation of development is a well-organized and strong community, where collaboration is crucial in order to develop the agricultural sector, obtain loans and credits, and for making micro-insurance (for health and agriculture) financially accessible.
Results of the agri-pillar supervised by Wageningen Environmental Research
In the 'agri-pillar', the project has used the PIP approach to increase and sustain agricultural production. This approach was new in Burundi, and has resulted in remarkable success. With the PIP approach about 12,200 farmer families were reached, of which 3,200 in adjacent collines (mainly in Gitega). This implies that more than 50,000 direct participants have been involved in PIP creation, and about 20,000 extra beneficiaries in the adjacent villages. This number of extra beneficiaries is lower than expected by the project at the start of activities, but scaling-up still continues, now under the PAPAB project, and the project has only completed three years.
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