R4 Rural Resilience Initiative Quarterly report: January – March 2012
For the 1.3 billion people living on less than a dollar a day who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, vulnerability to climate-related shocks is a constant threat to food security and well-being. As climate change drives an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural hazards, the challenges faced by foodinsecure communities struggling to improve their lives and livelihoods will also increase. The question of how to build rural resilience against climate-related risk is critical for addressing global poverty.
In response to this challenge, Oxfam America and the UN World Food Programme have launched the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative, known as R4, referring to the four risk management strategies that the initiative integrates. R4 builds on the initial success of HARITA (Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaptation), an integrated risk management framework developed by Oxfam America, the Relief Society of Tigray (REST), and their partners to enable poor farmers to strengthen their food and income security through a combination of improved resource management (risk reduction), insurance (risk transfer), microcredit (prudent risk taking), and savings (risk reserves).
The first example of this pioneering approach is the HARITA project, which brought together a network of partners, including Ethiopian farmers, REST, Nyala Insurance Share Company,
Africa Insurance Company, Dedebit Credit and Savings Institution (DECSI), Mekelle University, the Government of Ethiopia, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI),
Swiss Re, and Oxfam America. The project is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and Swiss Re.
HARITA has broken new ground in the field of rural risk management by enabling Ethiopia’s poorest farmers to pay for crop insurance with their own labor. In its three years of delivery in Ethiopia, HARITA has shown promising results for replication. The project has scaled from two hundred households in one village in 2009 enrolled in the financial package to over 13,000 enrolled households in 43 villages in 2011—directly affecting approximately 75,000 people.
R4 represents a new kind of partnership, bringing public- and private-sector actors together in a strategic, large-scale initiative to innovate and develop better tools to help the most vulnerable people build resilient livelihoods. R4 promises to leverage the respective strengths of its partners: Oxfam America’s capacity to build innovative partnerships and the World Food Programme’s global reach and extensive capacity to support government-led safety nets for the most vulnerable people. This partnership will enable thousands more poor farmers and other food insecure households to manage weather vulnerability through an affordable, comprehensive risk management program that builds long-term resilience.
The R4 partnership will test and develop a new set of integrated tools that extend the risk management benefits of financial services, such as insurance and credit, to the most vulnerable populations. R4 focuses on mechanisms that can be integrated into social protection systems, including productive safety nets, so that the results can be applied at a much larger scale by governments and international organizations, if successful.
For example, insurance for work—a key part of the R4 approach and an innovative food assistance tool—can be used not only to expand access to insurance, but also can be added to laborbased safety nets to protect beneficiaries and reduce costs for governments and donors from the disruptions caused by climate disasters.
By combining HARITA’s successful model for participatory design and capacity building with the World Food Programme’s global capacity, R4 will help accelerate the scale-up and testing of this innovative approach in Ethiopia, Senegal,1 and two other countries in the next five years. R4 also constitutes a first step toward developing a sustainable insurance market for poor people, an essential factor in ensuring farmers’ livelihoods and food security over the long term.
In this report we share key accomplishments during the January– March 2012 quarter, present the Senegal pilot rollout plan, and provide summary results of the customer satisfaction survey conducted in December 2011 to assess farmers’ satisfaction with the index insurance products offered by HARITA for the 2011 agricultural season in Ethiopia.