Niger: Sharing Experiences

Sharing experiences to improve the methods and better work together

In order to better take advantage of the former experiences, UNCDF has started a series of parallel approaches that aim at enhancing the methods of collective work. Learning from the past lessons and put on a transmissible way the internal experience thus appears as crucial to the memory work and contributes to the formulation of programs more adapted to the reality of the country.

It therefore appeared that the local level seems to be the most appropriate level to lead efficiently and with participation the actions for development. The prior PADL as well as other programs have revealed that the approach that consists in making the local and national actors accountable and register their action in an institutional sustainability enabling to strengthen the decision makers’ capacities and the support-counselling structures at the local level, to bring the local governments to mobilize their resources, to encourage the capitalization and the transmission of learnings and best practices, has revealed through its use capable of producing notable results to improve the well-being of the populations.

This is why the present PADL has mobilized the accumulated knowledge and is based on a certain number of learned lessons that can be synthetized as follow:

  • Valuing the local expertise and provide technical support for the achievement of the mandates that can be assigned to them, notably through training/support counselling, and gradually encourage their management by the municipalities themselves.
  • Ensuring a planning of the development actions in relation with the potentials and opportunities present in the areas and avoid getting into non-proficient actions.
  • Supporting the production of documents that will serve as educational support post-literacy.
  • Ensuring a tighter and more rigorous of the management committees and see to the strengthening or the changes of them in the case of inability in the management of investments and the activities implemented.
  • Supporting the training (capacity building) through an in-depth analysis of the constraints that affect the municipalities and not only on an exhaustive offer of training themes, and supervise to the selection of trainers with experience with the challenges of decentralization and the setting up of practical solutions vis à vis the encountered bottlenecks.
  • Encouraging the outsourced NGOs in initiating relevant mechanisms to transfer competences to the municipalities while ensuring a good complementarity with the technical services.
  • Supporting the reflection and action around the sanitation of the recovery chain in order to counter the abuse and re-establish the credibility of the populations towards decentralization and the representative authorities.
  • Respecting the budgetary agreements and avoid the delays in the procurement of funds in order to not harm the credibility of the programming processes, the relations between the municipalities and entrepreneurs, between municipalities and the populations.
  • Promoting the local tax system and gradually favour the transfer of financial assistance among the municipal accountings by ensuring a regular audit on the performed transactions.
  • supporting professionalism and the sustainability of the initiated micro-credit services because they are crucial to support income generating activities (notably the feminine groups), thus favouring their autonomous management.
  • modifying the planning of actions approach by first respecting the needs, potentials and local opportunities, while looking for complementarity with the SDGs of the government.

To this is also added the following observations gathered from the former PADELs:

The funding conditions promoted by the former PADL to support initiatives in matters of food security have shown, however, few possibilities to make important productive actions.

The approach aiming at funding a set of micro-projects originating from the grassroots, but spread on a vast territory, was not very efficient and relevant as a mean to fight against food insecurity.

This conception has given weak results on the field, with the exception of some support to the market gardening activities, processing of milk products and in parallel the construction of pastoral wells serving jointly human and animals. The promotion of productive capital has often been done in the absence of a true valuing of the productive sectors and a sufficient availability of funds.

Other recognised weaknesses, relative to the weakness of the monitoring, the insufficient perception of the vulnerable groups towards food insecurity, a lack of in-depth knowledge of the vulnerable groups and the real needs, the need to strengthen the dispositions for sustainability, the reduction of micro projects’ sprinkling and concentration to reach a critical mass in structuring domains such as the organisation of the production and processing/marketing sectors, strengthen local initiatives and a partnership with the savings and credit insurances (MUTEC), with the producers organisations for the sectors of production and the warrantage through microfinance.

Based on past experience, the new PADEL thus places the emphasis on:

  • A sensitive planning/programming to the specific needs of the vulnerable groups, an innovative mechanism to set up the structuring investments by introducing flexibility in the management of the LDF (dimensioning of the drawing rights in function of the funding needs, structuring investments identified in the Plans for Development, possibility to mobilize once the gathered amounts of the tri-annual investment program on a continuous space in order to possess considerable resources and avoid sprinkling).
  • Sectoral targeting of the development problematics having received not much attention despite the participative planning such as the food security with assistance actions such as warrantage, good governance measure of the cereal banks, support to micro-finance and local economic development.
  • Operational measures for the targeting of the vulnerable groups and the implementation of actions specific to their place by relying on the institutional arrangement of decentralization.

Food security calls on the key actors of development which are the State, the local authorities, the providers of financial services, the organisations of producers.

In the framework of its program, UNCDF tackles the question of improving food security and fight against poverty in a holistic fashion, to have more synergy and a more visible and sustainable impact. Thus, PADEL aligns on the policies and strategies of the government.

Niger has set up an institutional arrangement comprised of several elements. It first has set a Strategy for Rural Development that articulates around three strategic axes:

  • Favour the access of rural producers to economic opportunities to create the conditions for a sustainable economic growth in a rural environment.
  • Prevent the risks, improve food security and sustainably manage the natural resources to enhance the living conditions of the populations.
  • Build the capacities of the institutions and rural organisations to improve the management of the sector.

PADEL also integrates the gender dimension and actively searches for the involvement of women and the vulnerable groups in the entirety of the promoted activities and in the taking into account of the specific needs of women in matters of financial services.

Indeed, the inclusion of gender has been done through a review of the Program through the lens of the national policy in matters of gender and the interim Program of the government which constitute the frameworks in which PADEL fits.

As a transversal dimension, the gender approach helps for a better inclusion of the vulnerable groups (women, youth, handicapped, etc.) through the nominal targeting of the beneficiaries at the grassroots. The Program aims at balancing the social relations in order to dampen the fact that poverty has increasingly more a feminine aspect. The interventions of the Program take into account in priority the constraints linked to the inequitable relations between genders as a main cause of poverty and vulnerability in order to enable women and the most vulnerable to improve their future.

The promotion of social dialogue is at the centre of the preoccupations of the Program, which takes into account the diversity of stakeholders. The community participation results has the effect of involving vulnerable groups, including women, in the setting up, project management and sustainability of actions while promoting good governance.

Stories from the Field