The R4 Rural Resilience Initiative (R4) began as a strategic partnership between the World Food Programme (WFP) and Oxfam America in 2011 to build on the success of Oxfam America’s pilot project HARITA (Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaptation) that broke new ground in the field of rural risk management. After the successful expansion of the R4 integrated approach under the global partnership, in October 2018, Oxfam America transitioned into an advisory role with WFP taking the lead on the management and scale-up of R4 operations, globally. WFP gratefully acknowledges the pioneering role Oxfam America played together with the communities, the Relief Society of Tigray (REST) and other local and international actors in creating, developing and transferring the HARITA model outside Ethiopia. R4 is comprised of four integrated risk management strategies that strengthen farmers’ food and income security.
The initiative combines improved natural resource management through asset creation or improved agricultural practices (risk reduction), microinsurance (risk transfer), increased investment, livelihoods diversification and microcredit (prudent risk taking), and savings (risk reserves).
R4 reached over 93,000 farmers (60 percent women) during the 2019/20 agricultural season in Burkina Faso,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In 2020, R4 expanded to Bangladesh, where the initiative launched an index-based flood insurance product, in partnership with Oxfam Bangladesh and Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd, protecting 2,000 casual labourers engaged in agricultural work from catastrophic flood events. This year, the initiative is also being rolled out in Madagascar, where R4 is targeting 3,500 farmers with insurance and a set of integrated risk management strategies. During the quarter, R4 programme activities were adapted to follow respective countries’ COVID-19 preventive measures. This resulted in some changes with regards to conditionality mechanisms for farmers to access insurance policies, with some countries modifying or removing the conditionality. COVID-19 preventive messages were disseminated leveraging existing project structures and systems, such as radio platforms used for climate services, bulk messaging, or through savings groups. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic,
R4 countries are preparing for the 2020/21 agricultural season.