Eco-friendly Livelihoods & Rural economy
Our vision: Productive smallholders and sustainable use of resources
We address questions like:
- How can smallholder farming be organised in a more productive and environmentally sustainable way? How can their organisations support them effectively?
- How can companies understand and improve their value chains and manage their social and environmental performance?
- How can rural economies link urban and rural spaces to promote development?
- How can protection of the environment strengthen the livelihoods of local communities?
- How can management of natural resources and food security be combined in a mutually reinforcing way?
- How can communities and “local champions” be empowered to lead the process of local and regional development?
Examples of our work:
Developing a multi-stakeholder sustainable fisheries programme in Madagascar
Context: The deterioration of natural resources endagers the livelihoods of fishery and agricultural communities in Madagascar and threatens the conservation goals of coastal and marine national parks. The Madagassi national park agency approached conservation NGOs to develop a programme to tackle this issue.
Services: We facilitated the development of individual projects by NGOs and assessed their feasibility and suitability. In addition, we combined the projects into a joint programme and developed the its governance and management structure, as well as its monitoring system.
Approach: For the individual projects, we guided the proposal writing process with the NGOs and led review workshops together with the Madagassi national parks agency and conservation experts. For the development of the programme, we employed an iterative, participatory process to reflect the needs and concerns of all stakeholders.
Increasing the sustainability of a corporate supply chain in Bangladesh
Context: A multinational company decided to verify the social and environmental performance of the value chain for raw materials in their country of origin.
Services: We assessed the social and environmental risks along the entire value chain, from farmer over middlemen and processors to exporting firms. For this purpose, we developed a field study methodology and applied it in Bangladesh. Based on the results, the client received concrete suggestions on how to improve the developmental performance of their value chain.
Approach: We partnered with a local consultancy and a local academic expert on the specific raw material. During the assessment, target-group adapted methods were applied to achieve optimal results. We triangulated the study findings through a high-ranking workshop with local industry leaders and important stakeholders in Dhaka.
Taking a fresh look at agricultural mechanisation in Sub-Saharan Africa
Context: A deeper understanding of how agricultural mechanization can contribute to food security in Sub-Sahara Africa and how financial services can support mechanization is fundamental for promoting food security. These study questions were part of a larger SEWOH funded research project „Promoting food security in rural sub-Saharan Africa” that seeks to cross the barriers between the different sectors and academic fields and to derive broader insights and recommendations on food security in rural areas.
Services: We authored a study in which we analysed the relevance of mechanization in Sub-Saharan Africa to increase agricultural output. We discussed diverse and partly contradicting social and environmental effects. We proposed alternative and sustainable usage models, such as machinery rings, and customized technologies, such as two-wheel tractors. In addition, we proposed adapted financial products to promote mechanization and make it more inclusive.
Approach: Based on the insights from a comprehensive literature review, we conducted interviews with stakeholders from German Development Cooperation, international donors and research institutes among others. Participatory workshops served to analyse the results internally and triangulate them with senior researchers and development experts.