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 currently reaches over 93,000 farmers, (60 percent women) in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi,
Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The initiative will also introduce insurance in Mozambique this year.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the first quarter of 2020, R4 gradually started adapting its field activities in response to the emergency.
Many Country Offices developed business continuity plans, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and contingency plans to ensure continuity of programme implementation. Through programme implementing partners, WFP shared advocacy material focused on COVID-19 mitigation measures (i.e. social distancing, hand washing stations) in local languages. Due to restrictions of movements and gatherings in all the R4 countries, training activities and interactions with farmers were limited to only small groups to ensure COVID-19 preventive measures were being observed.
The use of technology has been promoted to disseminate capacity strengthening messages and for monitoring activities, replacing the need for in-person interactions.
Restriction of movements and social distancing measures have affected some programmatic activities, leading to revisions of some risk reduction and public works activities, especially those based on community level works that require large gatherings. As a result, shifts in programme activities are currently being assessed, particularly with regard to the conditionalities for beneficiaries to access insurance.