Engaging partners in Zimbabwe

10/11/2015 - 

Zimbabwe’s efforts to address the root causes of poverty and food insecurity and build resilience against climate change are being supported by means of a four-year USD 48 million (GBP 30 million) initiative made possible through a partnership between the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) and FAO. 

Running through 2017, the Zimbabwe Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP) is expected to reduce poverty for nearly 300 000 smallholder farmers through climate-smart farming practices increasing agricultural productivity, and initiatives improving farmers’ access to markets. 

FAO is responsible for leading the preparation of the programme’s implementation during an inception phase, including coordination of activities, technical quality and reporting on results, underscoring the partners’ trust and confidence in FAO’s ability to coordinate all the stakeholders involved in the partnership.

Rather than resulting from mobilizing resources for a fully designed programme as the last step in the process, this action grew out of the good relations between partners who have worked together in Zimbabwe for decades. Keen on encouraging sustainable livelihoods, the DFID and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) collaborated with FAO for nearly a year on the programme’s two-phase design. The inception phase provides the basis for the programme’s implementation stage by producing a results matrix, a four-year work plan and budget, and a procurement plan. Notably, partners agreed to fund both phases up front. To reduce costs, a “silent agreement” was reached whereby AusAID transferred its contribution to the DFID, and the latter negotiated the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FAO.

The success of FAO Zimbabwe illustrates the benefits of connecting with partners early on, collaborating with them from the initial concept stage through programme formulation, implementation and results monitoring.