Hi All - I am posting this on behalf of my colleague Jean Marie RUHANAMIRINDI, well-regarded acroecologist & community facilitator for The Federation of Agricultural Producers' Organizations of Congo in South Kivu (FOPAC SK):
Hello SEDA KOJOYAN,
Greetings to all of you who take the time to share their experiences on agroecological evaluation.
I am sharing with you the monitoring of agroecological agricultural practices carried out by FOPAC SK (Federation of Agricultural Producers' Organisations of Congo/South Kivu) in the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO; because in our opinion, we first need to define the evaluation reference system, i.e. what are agroecological agricultural practices? On our side we consider: agroforestry, permaculture, the use of organic fertilizers, the use of local or adapted seeds, water management and the integration of agriculture and livestock.
We don't have a specific tool but we base ourselves on the sustainability of the system:
- For the forest area, the degree of practicability of permaculture taking into account the biomass production power of intercrops. The upper natural forest is retained but reduced to allow for the integration of crops. We see in all cases the number of men, women and youth involved in the system.
- For the Ordinary Rural zone: the focus is more on agroforestry, agriculture-livestock integration practices, recycling of crop residues. An analysis of cultural and food traditions is also attempted for the definition of species (Acceptability). Integrated soil fertility management practices, protection of land capital and the degree of application of animal and plant pharmacopoeia.
- Wetlands: attention is focused on water management, whether the systems pollute water, the crop cycle and the amount of biomass left after harvesting. The protection of marshes and lowlands from the onslaught of the hills -
for FOPAC SK
Ir Jean Marie RUHANAMIRINDI
John Hoven and I have spent considerable time developing an evolving ToC for my work serving the community of Rwenena, S. Kivu province, DRC. Along with local NGO partners, I have been active in programs I co-create and direct in the Ruzizi Plain for 10 years. I am currently working with professional agronomists and community facilitators at the Congo Federation of Smallholder Farmer Organizations-S. Kivu (FOPAC).
Most of our team's premeditated plans for advancing community-led development in 2020 were overtaken by 3 concurrent crises: a deadly flood in the town of Uvira, after which 75 IDP families joined the Rwenena community; crop devastation in Rwenena from the same flood; and mandatory stay-at-home orders as the threat of COVID-19 hit. Each one contributed to dire food insecurity.
Largely in response to these conditions came a positive outcome: the formation of a licensed and certified women’s enterprise whose members produce and sell their own formula of hand-sanitizing gel. This initiative emerged over a tense period of several months, and every week presented new and tentative changes.
John and I have tracked the course of this development with frequent assessments using an innovative approach to reflect local conditions. The flexibility of an adaptive ToC made perfect sense: we experimented with an evolving graphic tool that incorporated new sets of conditions to evaluate and act upon. Components included root causes, cause-and-effect, capabilities, actions, and outcomes. In another section, the tool featured programmatic sensitivities, with history, financial liabilities, cross-cultural inputs, challenges, actions, and successes. Another Congolese NGO is willing to try out an evolving ToC for a new project in Rwenena, Ituri province, and/or N. Kivu province.