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I - Introduction

I - Introduction

1 - Objectives of the consultancy

On the request of FAO the reporter undertook one and a half month mission (from the 3rd of June to the 23rd of July) to Jordan and Syria for the Forestry and Food Security in the Mediterranean and Near East Region Project (GCP/INT/539/lTA). Since 1992 the Regional Project has tried to identify appropriate approaches aiming at the integrated management of natural resources through the identification of sustainable development models with the participation of the concerned villagers communities and in direct cooperation With the Forestry Department in the partner countries. The field activities have been focused on some selected pilot areas. According to the fact that the action of the Project concerns the rural communities and the important role of women in natural resources management, it is necessary to implement a strategy aiming at integrating women in the actual or future project activities.

Terms of reference (see details in annex 1 ) can be summarized as the following: review women's role in natural resources management assess the areas of support. needed to strengthen their role and participation in forestry agricultural and range management identify potential income generating activities and support for their implementation; formulate proposals for actions aiming at engaging a wider involvement of women in project areas: assess training needs for the staff in charge of this component. According to the general strategy of the Project and terms of reference proposed mechanisms and implementation modalities should resect a participatory approach.

At the same time the World Food Programme sent a Rural Sociologist Consultant to define and propose a WID component for its projects "Support to Participator! Land Improvement Project" in Jordan and "Assistance to reforestation and range land management" (2418/4) in Syria. This Appraisal mission followed the Pre-Appraisal mission achieved in March 1996 by WFP and had for main objectives to propose a range of activities and technical assistance support to build up a specific component for rural women. and in particular women heads of households landless and female workers. The objective of the simultaneous missions was to assess the possible linkages between FAO and WFP Projects.

2 - Organization of the mission

The itinerant of the mission is detailed in Annex 2.

1) Jordan

(3-24 June)

As there is no FAO Representation Office in Jordan. the mission was organized by WFP Office in Amman and made in conjunction with the sociologist WFP consultant. The arrival of the FAO Regional Project Chief Technical Advisor from Damascus permitted to include the visits of the three districts (Salt Jerash and Ajloun) which are the Project areas. As a result a dot of visits concerned the areas covered by the WFP Highlands Project especially the poorest governorates with higher concentrations of poor marginal farmers according to the teens of reference of the WFP consultant ("select geographical concentrations and criteria for selecting areas and participants based on WFP project objectives..." The preliminary results of tile Poverty Identification Study has given the WFP a good basis to identify the beneficiaries of the WID component for the future WFP Project. The priority was given to the interviews of WFP beneficiaries. The mission members also visited some social development centres in the field a great number of them are run by national NGOs (especially Queen Alia Fund Centres Princess Basma Centres for Social services Women's Union Centres...) In general a few discussions were organized with women at village level. In FAO Project areas most of the meetings were very formal due to the presence of many persons and officials accompanying the mission. A meeting was organized with men in Ira Yarga (Salt); in Jerash the mission visited the Women Society of Jerash (Noor Al-Hussein Foundation). Only one meeting was organized With women at village level in Rasoon (Ajloun district).

In Amman the mission members met different national non governmental and international organizations involved in Women's development (Ministry of Agriculture the Jordanian Cooperative Organization Noor Al Hussein Foundation the Federation of Jordanian Women, Queen Alia Fund the General Union of Voluntary Societies. Care International UNIFEM )

Mrs Hines (WFP Headquarters) came for the Appraisal mission, finalized and presented the "Support to Participatory Project" to the government authorities. The WID sub-component will be a part of this Project.

2) Syria

(25 June-21 July)

The FAO consultant benefited from FAO Project support in Syria. One WFP consultant joined the WFP Sociologist consultant to achieve the Appraisal mission of 2418!4 WFP Project. According to the different fields and areas of interest of both organizations. most of the field visits and meetings were run separately by WFP and FAO consultants. On the one hand the priority of the WFP is to assist landless rural women labourers unskilled workers in nurseries and as well as in villages which have high concentrations of plantation workers. The objective of the WFP Project is to improve the short-term income of this target group. On the other hand the activities of FAO are concentrated in a few pilot areas and villages and terms of reference of FAO consultant focused on the Project's areas.

In the first phase the FAO Project started a number of activities in three pilot areas located in the provinces of Aleppo (Kessebia village) Latakia (Al-Zeitounah) and Quneitra (Trungi). Recently the Project was asked to stop its activities in Kessebia and the new area of Katma/Marassat Al-Khatib was selected in 1995. In Ma! 1996 the Project management was requested to expand its activities to new areas located respectively in the provinces of Tartous Homs Hama and Idleb. A preliminary mission was fielded in the new areas and it was decided to select the three following areas:

The mission visited the following villages: Al Zeitounah, Trungi and Haddar, Marassat Al-Khatib, Ayn Al-Khatib, Hadia, Ayn Jourin); meetings were organized with women. Since villagers were not informed of the visit in the new areas, meetings were very unformal. With a few women who were not often representative of the whole women community at village level. Even in the older project areas, as Al-Zeitounah, only a few women (young women who had already had relations with Project for mushroom cultivation) attended the meeting. In Marassat Al-Khatib the women's meeting was very well organized; about twenty women from different ages and social categories attended (this can be explained by the good relationship between the village extensionist and the villagers). These drawbacks might come from the fact that up to the present time the Project has not developed specific relations and activities with women and according to the cultural specificity, to be in contact with them is not so easy, as most of the staff implicated in the Project are males.

In conclusion the conditions were not combined to carry out Participatory Rural Appraisal; nevertheless informal interesting discussions with women took place in the villages.

The mission visited some institutions and projects involved in women community development as extension social development centres, carpet factories. Women Union. Community Development Project of Al-Faradis. Silkworm factory and breeders were visited in Dreikish area according to the potential development of this activity as income generating for women.

Meetings with authorities (Ministry, of Agriculture State Planning Commission) were conjointly hold with WFP mission. WFP mission (led by Ms Hines) had to present the conclusions of the Appraisal Mission (Project 241814).

At the end of the mission a few meetings were hold with WFP mission members. FAO Project staff to analyze the possibilities of collaboration between FAO Forestry and Food Security Project and 2418/4 WFP Project.

3 - Acknowledgement

Conducting this mission, the consultant received logistical and technical support from WFP in Jordan and FAO in Syria. The consultant would express her appreciation’s to the WFP Country Director in Amman and his staff as well as FAO Representative and GCP/INT/539/ITA FAO Project staff in Syria. The consultant thanks especially Mr Benedetto Cavalcaselle, Mr Toni Ettel, Mr Salim Zahoue and Mr Ziad Al-Jebawi, National Coordinator. for their efforts in the organization and participation in the field trips and activities.

The consultant wishes to thank the personnel of the Forest Department in both countries and is greatly indebted to all those who assisted in the implementation of the mission by providing information, advice and facilities. Their names are listed in Annex 3.

4 - Background of GCP/INT/539/ITA Project

The Project covers Jordan, Syria and Turkey and is considered as a contribution to a long-term approach for a participatory approach development toward the integrated natural resources management. It was funded up to '.599,000 USD by the Italian Government during its first phase (1992-95) with additional funding of 2,507,470 USD in its second phase (199598).

During the first phase the Project focused its activities much more towards the demonstration of the importance of forestry and agroforestry activities than towards the villagers participation in such activities. It has also provided valuable inputs under the training, component creating opportunity for the staff to learn community forestry experiences in other countries and specifically in the region. An evaluation was made in 1994. One of its recommendations was to focus project activities and objectives on pilot sites identified during the first phase: Meisara and Ira-Yarga areas in Jordan, Trungi and Al-Zeitounah in Syria.

The objective of identifying sustainable models of integrated natural resources management in pilot areas with villagers participation was clearly stated in the Phase !! Project Document. The bottom-up process started after an international consultancy on "Community Forestry" (April 1994 in Syria and June 1995 in Jordan). Models of integrated village development plans were prepared for three villages in Syria (Kessebia, Al-Zeitounah and Trungi, based on the results of participatory decision making process, giving emphasis on agroforestry, sylvo-pastoral and income generating activities. The methodology is based on the US' of Participatory Rural Appraisal.

The main aims of the second phase are the contribution in more sustainable development and rational utilization of forest and range resources through strengthening staff capabilities and institutional structures, introduction of suitable participatory integrated natural resources management approaches and creation of environmental awareness among, populations. The main components to promote the over-mentioned process are summed up as follows:

1) Jordan

Activities began later in Jordan than in other countries covered by the Project. Some demonstrations concerning agroforestry and afforestation have been made but till now these punctual trials have not involved local populations. Following socio-economic and physical studies pilot areas were identified in Jerash Ajloun and Salt districts. There are 6000 ha of range lands in Salt (Ire Yarga) and 2000 ha in Ajloun. Two schemes have been prepared by consultants for the formulation of integrated management programmes in Meisara and lra-Yarga. The objectives consist in improving the socio-economic conditions of the rural populations by introducing on state and privately owned land agro-sylvo-pastoral systems This would consist in making use of multipurpose tree species improving range and pastures organizing rotational grazing through the participation of the concerned populations. There is an important delay for the implementation of the participation of the populations to the integrated management programme which can be explained by the lack of forest extensionist. he general hostility of local populations in regards of natural resources conservation, the bad state of the relationship between populations and foresters and the restricting: legislation concerning forestry and grazing activities.

The Project has focused its main activities on awareness socio-economic and legal studies (in particular "report on forestry legislation in Jordan"), capacity building and training courses and the experiment of some income generating activities, like beekeeping and mushroom cultivation.

A socio-economic survey was carried out in Jerash and Ajioun districts by two national consultants (male and female) together with, the National Project Coordinator and district forest staff. The methodology of the survey was Participatory Rural appraisal meetings combined with, questionnaires. Eight villages (Sake Nahle Souf Jazareh, Majdal, Eshtafena Salkhneh, Ainjanna) were concerned. The objectives were to identify with the villagers the main socio-economic constraints and possible solutions. to analyze the potentialities existing for edible mushroom cultivation beekeeping improvement and other income generating activities and to prepare integrated rural development programmes. The problems identified by the populations were classified in two categories according to the links with, the FAO Project:

Forest related problems are ranked as low priority.

Problems identified by women showed similarity to those identified by men, however the priorities were different: lack of technical assistance and extension, training and support for income generating activities as well as the lack of women's organizations.

After carrying out Participatory Rural Appraisal meetings with the village representative, a list of activities to be carried out was prepared but a detailed definition of the priorities for the pilot areas still need to be improved, as well as the participation of populations in the project activities.

Mushroom cultivation, which is quite developed in Turkey, was experimented in the project areas. This was possible thanks to the female consultant, both specialist in mushroom cultivation and owner of an important farm producing mushrooms. Twenty families were selected and involved in the experiment of this new cultivation. There were given technical assistance and all materials needed (included inoculated compost bags). At the present time and although this activity has been recently implemented, the results do not seem encouraging in spite of the assistance, training and follow-up given by the national consultant. The production is not under the technical control of the producers and the yields are widely inferior to those expected. The production is rarely sold and local populations are not used to consuming mushrooms. All the assistance is given free of charge and the consultant can collect the production to be sold in her commercialization network. In spite of this support villagers do not seem neither cooperative nor motivated. Mushroom cultivation has been implemented at family level and even if the control of the production is under the male management, the females participate to the activities and seem more efficient in learning techniques and more strict in following the instructions (according to the consultant).

The three areas selected by the Project are very good for beekeeping and this activity is well known in Jordan. At the present time, there are about 10,000 beehives in Jerash. Ajloun and Salt districts and according of a consultant's study 20,000 might be raised. The Project has given out two beehives to 30 beneficiaries who did not know this activity (5 in Salt, 14 in Jerash and 16 in Ajloun). As beekeeping was already, widespread in these areas, it gives good results. Female are not involved in this activity.

2) Syria

Field activities are more developed than in Jordan. Three models of integrated natural resources management were carried out in 1994 (Al-Zeitounah. Kessebie, Trungi) and one in 1995 (Marassat Al-Khatib). The general methodology used can be resumed by the following:

The main problem is that in general the main problems of villagers have no direct relation with the tasks and activities of the Project and the Forestry Department. As implemented activities at village level, we can list the following:

To answer one of the priority problems expressed by the populations and which concerns low incomes. the project proposed beekeeping and mushroom cultivation Twenty persons (10 in Marassat Al-Khatib, 5 in Al-Zeitounah and 5 in Trungi) received free of charge inputs for mushroom cultivation Unfortunately this first experiment was a failure because Or mistakes in compost making (prepared in Marassat), A second experiment loot; place in spring 1996. Some women participated in the cultivation in Al-Zeitounah.

In 1994 30 beehives were distributed in Al-Zeitounah (5 per household) and recently 15 beehives were given to persons who had participated in afforestation project activities in Trungi. The share was made on a croup basis

Some remarks concerning income generating activities as there were introduced at an experimental level. beneficiaries din not support any cost. Beneficiaries received inputs for mushroom cultivation and the yields were often very low according to the lack of technical control of the production, process It could have been more efficient to experiment the cultivation at very small scale and to make an intensive follow-up in order to demonstrate the profitability vi this activity. Then only really interested and motivated people co id have launched in the business venture This approach means that people have to support costs The free of charge investment hides the profitability of the activity and the real interest of the farmer. It should also be interesting to promote this activity at local self-help groups and to support them in the commercialization of the production.

In general the main objective of the development of income generating activities is to increase and diversify the incomes at family level in order to decrease the pressure on the forest and the range lands, that is to say his component should concert, villagers whose economy depends on the exploitation of natural resources. As these criteria have not always be taken info consideration, it is sometimes difficult to see the linkages between the income generating activity- and the natural resources management (especially in Jordan)

5 - Institutional aspects: The forestry sector

The Counterpart Government of the FAO Project is the Department of Afforestation, and Forest in Jordan and the Forestry and Afforestation Directorate in Syria The management of the Project is located in Damascus and there are three FAO experts: one Chief Technical Advisor, one Forest Expert and one Extension Officer. There is also a National Coordinator in both countries.

There are no female personal in forestry services involved in FAO Project in Jordan. Only one woman is involved in Project in Syria (Forestry Service in Lattakia).

1) Jordan

The Department of Afforestation and Forest (DAF) under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) is responsible for the management of all forest, range and bare lands as well as for soil conservation activities. The MOA has various Directorates (Animal Health Projects, Forestry and Afforestation, Information and Extension, Animal Production, Agriculture Policy and Economics...) In each of the 19 Agriculture Districts of the country the Directorate services are organized into divisions veterinary, forest and range management, extension. technical and finance/administration). The Forest Office includes a forest officer. forest rangers and forest guards in the field. The national staff involved in the FAO Project activities include the personnel of the forest offices of the districts concerned by the Project (Ajloun, Jerash and Salt) and the Nationa! Coordinator in DAF Headquarters. From the beginning of the Project the lack of personnel, especially of forestry extensionist has been highlighted. A few months ago, a forestry extensionist (mobile extension unit) was officially nominated for the follow-up of the Project's activities. but a "on the job" training is still needed to make his is action effective. Some national consultants (mushroom cultivation, beekeeping, socio-economic survey) are regularly recruited by the Project.

Lands devoted to forests and afforestation make up only 150,000 ha (1.6% of the total). Although the northern region is one of the most. forestry in the country the forest offices arc a small part of agricultural administration. One of the main difficulties is the inadequate collaboration with the agriculture extension services. Some of the activities carried out by, the Project should be cared by agronomists who have competencies more appropriate.

2) Syria

The Forestry and Afforestation Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (MARR) is the main central Government Institution responsible for forest management, protection and exploitation. The Directorate consists of four divisions: utilization (public and private forests), silviculture (management), protection (fire control guards natural reserve, extension) and production (nurser afforestation).

MAAR is operating through Directorates of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (DAAR) at Province (Mohafazat): in each Province there are Forestry and Afforestation Services the Service Chiefs report to the Forestry Central Directorate through the Provincial Directors of Agriculture At district level. there are district sub-Directorate of Agriculture and forest services.

Although there are no institutional relations with the Agricultural Extension Directorate at central level some links have sometimes been established at Province level: this is the case of Trungi, Al-Zeitounah and Marassat Al-Khatib where agricultural extensionists have been posted for the implementation of FAO Project's activities.

One of the main constraints faced by the FAO project is the lack of community foresters (requested by the management) who would work at village level.

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