AGFUND INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR PIONEERING DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
For projects by Individuals.
The role of governments in adoption of new technology solutions to improve agricultural output.
The Winning Project:
Rural Employment Project.
(Selected winner from 18 projects).
General Directorate of Forestry – Algeria.
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – Algeria
To combat unemployment, the Algerian government is depending on various multi- sector highly labour-intensive projects devised to create a very large number of jobs. It is within this framework that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (General Forestry Directorate) initiated and launched the Rural Employment Project with the aim of promoting jobs and reduce poverty in rural settings by means of creating and rehabilitating agricultural infrastructures and protection of the environment.
The “Rural Employment Project” was implemented over a period of 7 years in the North-West Algerian region – a poor region marked with unemployment and low revenue. The objective was to contribute directly and indirectly to the creation of jobs in the rural environment, to increase employment and reduce poverty in a sustainable way through the creation of agricultural assets, mainly through management of natural resources and protection of the environment. It also aims at initiating development of depressed / deprived population living in mountainous areas into a viable community with better socio-economic conditions in a sustainable way by creating large number of jobs. It was a multidimensional project implemented through the involvement of rural population in a sustainable and responsible way targeting large number of beneficiaries by involving them in different activities viz: to combat erosions, agricultural development operations, small water works activities, women promotional activities, institutional development and finally monitoring & evaluation.
The components of the project cover:
Anti-erosive measures which include reforestation, fixing riverbanks, excavation and creation of flood control structures;
The agricultural development interventions comprise property improvements, fruit plantations, vineyards, windbreaks and opening up of the resident populations through opening and development of rural trails;
The mobilization of water resources through construction works of hillside dams, development of water sources and water points;
Activities targeting disadvantaged rural women (agricultural and artisanal activities);
Institutional reinforcement (training programmes, studies and equipment).
The project succeeded in achieving its major objective i.e. employment generation in depressed / deprived population living in mountainous area of Algeria.
The planned targets of most of the activities were either achieved or surpassed including creating a long term and sustainable employment opportunities for farmers and women in various components of the project.
The performance of project components like agricultural development and erosion control measures was excellent. However, the small water works component remained quite behind the target mainly due to security issues, environmental and technical problems and severe droughts in the initial project years. However, their targets were revised /replaced with other activities such as small dams, wells and springs.
The achievements of revised activities were satisfactory in the end. Similarly, the original targets of activities for the promotion of rural women were also revised and fully achieved at the end.
The project was extremely successful in terms of its positive impact on targeted beneficiaries particularly creating employment /income raising opportunities for poor farmers and rural women in addition to improvement of environment.
The project is highly related to the theme of prize and establishes a good benchmark for initiating rural development projects in developing countries.
The experience of Algerian Government could very well be followed / replicated by other Afro-Asian countries. For this type of projects, seven years is enough to achieve project objectives mentioned in the report and to evaluate and generalize the project impact.
The strategic and development objectives of the project are relevant to the AGFUND mission, values and objectives.
The mechanism for promoting the participation of local communities is clear.
The project has very significant positive effect on the beneficiary’s way of life and household consumption.
The financial resources were used effectively. This was very clear through the economic and financial analysis, and cost effectiveness analysis.
The project had significant impact on soil erosion alleviation, poverty reduction, and socioeconomic aspects.
The project document mentioned clearly the lessons learned from the implementation of the project activities.
One of the essential outputs and contribution of the project is the human capacity building and institutional development, particularly in the participatory approach.
Evaluation report shows progress at the level of policy development, institutional capacity and marketing infrastructure.