World Food Programme (WFP) Malawi: Rural Resilience Initiative (R4)
Since 2014, the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative (R4) has integrated four risk management strategies — risk reduction, risk transfer, prudent risk-taking and risk reserves — to help poor households improve their food security and deal with climate variability, thereby strengthening their resilience.
The initiative is implemented across the districts of Balaka, Zomba, and Blantyre, benefiting over 10,000 households, with the vision to reach over 40,000 households by 2020 through social safety net programmes.
The four components
Risk Reduction activities are conducted as part of WFP’s Food Assistance for Assets programme (FFA), with participating households receiving food, or cash, in exchange for their labour in asset-building activities, in addition to a micro-insurance policy in exchange for extra days worked (the Insurance-for-Asset (IFA) mechanism), or participation in skills trainings.
The risk reduction component is intended to enhance the quantity and productivity of natural resources vulnerable farming households have access to in the face of a changing climate, thereby contributing to the mitigation of disaster risk and livelihood adaptation, encompassing activity and income diversification.
Risk Transfer is offered via weather index micro-insurance with the goal of providing timely compensation following seasons of significant rainfall deficit, thereby, limiting the need for negative coping strategies.
The index of the insurance has been based on historic rainfall patterns, given that the principal weather-related shock that participating households face include drought, and dry spells. Insurance is targeted to cash-constrained households and offered in exchange for their participation in asset creation activities (IFA mentioned above), while working throughout the time to introduce and progressively increase cash-payments, as their food and income security improves.
Prudent Risk Taking (Credit) and Risk Reserve (Savings) facilitate participants’ access to credit and promotes savings through both microfinance institutions and Village Savings and Loan (VSL) groups. The savings act as a buffer for smaller, individual shocks, and act as foundation for making investments in more resilient livelihoods by enabling loan uptake.