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LESSONS:

Poor Farmers’ Income Improvement Through Innovation Project

sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development, Finance | country: Indonesia

The participatory approach and the adoption of gender mainstreaming in village investment planning and implementation are key factors in the project’s success. Poor farmers, including women, decided on the type of investments needed in their villages. That instilled in them a sense of ownership and responsibility that was critical to sustainability.

The focus on very poor, remote villages where limited government programs were operating contributed to the success of the project. The villagers really valued the investments and were willing to provide significant contributions.

Village-based planning, construction using local labors, and the operation and maintenance (O&M) of small- scale village infrastructure have leveraged local resources, as compared with contracting them to a third party. This strategy minimizes potential corruption.

The mobilization of farmer groups is most effective with the active participation of village facilitators (50% of whom were women) who are village residents or respected village leaders (e.g., religious leaders), and the successful involvement of a consortium between a national nongovernment organization or NGO, local NGOs, and other civil society organizations.

Close coordination between the district governments, the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD) and assessment institute for agricultural technologies (AIATs), and the village heads from the start of the project is crucial in ensuring their continuous support after project implementation to sustain the benefits gained from the project.

An effective monitoring system that uses clear criteria and indicators to track development, including a digital map monitoring system, contributed significantly to the successful implementation of the project.

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