In response to the performance gaps and challenges identified in farmers associations in the Mapping report of CSOs agriculture in Northwest Nigeria conducted by the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) for OXFAM/ NOVIB in 2013, the dRPC developed an innovative project concept to build the capacity of famers associations in Katsina state to support the “Improving the fuel wood balance” project application to the European Union
Five organizations were identified selected by OXFAM to be targeted in this capacity building project. The rationale for selecting these organizations was as a result of their experience in afforestation and reforestation interventions as well as wide coverage of their activities in the state which translates to their presence in almost the local Government areas of Katsina state.
Some of the significant milestones that were achieved by the dRPC within the period under review (Quarter of November,2014 to January, 2015 ) included:-
- Conducted an organisational assessment of five farmers associations
- Training workshop for farmers association on Project Cycle Management (PCM) conducted and a total of sixteen members of these groups participated and were trained.
- M&E training workshop was conducted and a total of Twenty one members of the 5 organisations were trained.
- The capacities of the organisations on financial management was built and twenty four Farmers benifitted among which were Finanacial officers.
- Mentoring visits was carried out after the PCM training to the various offices of the 5 organisations
- Due to the importance of woomen in implementing this Fuel-wood balance project, a one day Gender mainstreaming workshop was held, where participants were trained on the need to take gender into consideration during planning.
- Consultant contracted to develop a training manual for Local farmer CBOs. This has already been done and is being translated into the local language “HAUSA”.
- Part of the process of developing a training manual for the farmers association is for the Manual to be reviewed by the target population and other stakeholders. Therefore, a One day meeting was called in Katsina where agricultural stakeholders and the organisations came together to review the draft training Manual that was developed, for final completion.
The overall assessment as at the end of this period noted that the evaluation of the knowledge gained in the workshop shows that the represenatatives were in fact learning and understanding.
In conclusion as at the end of this period one hundred and ten participants from the 5 identified farmer’s association and another 2 additional farmers association making the total of 7associations benefitted from this project. Out of this number thirty five were Female and seventy five were male.
However, with all the positive achievements recorded, the participants did not get the support required to put this learning into practice, as the period (six months) that was allocated for the project was not adequate. As the strategy developed originally was to support these groups for sometime, so that they can put into practice what they learnt through continuous supervision, mentoring at their offices and support to apply learning to applications for calls for proposals. The dRPC has therefore, decided not to leave the Farmers associations after completion of this project but has decided to keep monitoring them and also offer assistance and expertise whenever it is required.