SUR1M: Intelligent agriculture, savings circles, and radio messaging for resilience in the Niger River basin

  • Countries of Operation: Niger, Mali
During its first phase of implementation (January 2015-December 2017), SUR1M (Scaling-Up Resilience for 1 Million People in the Niger Basin River of Niger and Mali) assisted up to 1 million people in Niger and Mali to increase their resilience and adaptation to climate change and disasters. A package was introduced including: grants to commune authorities and civil society organizations, support to farmers for climate change adaptation and natural resource management, women’s savings groups (SILC), and disaster risk reduction through communal early warning systems.

Main achievements to date

SILC: 2,057 groups with 15-30 members each were formed and trained in operating a savings system with a domestic loan scheme, which benefits from governance, community life, and recordkeeping trainings. There are currently 53,578 active SILC members, including 42,055 (78.5%) women, who have started making loans with a total value of $142,680.

NRM: To date, 3,016 lead-farmers (1,198 in Niger, 1,818 in Mali) have received training on climate change, the practice of smart agriculture (CSA), assisted natural regeneration (ANR), and natural regeneration, and are putting these methods into practice in their own fields.

Value chains: SUR1M promotes three value chains in which men and women can participate through subsidies financed by the project: cowpeas and small ruminants in Niger, and bourgou and small ruminants in Mali – with trainings conducted in both countries.

Seed multiplication and distribution: In collaboration with private sector partners, SUR1M gives poor farmers greater access to a variety of certified improved seeds. It is with this purpose that certified seed growers in Niger and Mali were trained and supplied with basic seeds – so that in spite of ongoing conflict, farmers have access to seeds ahead of the harvesting season.

Local governance: SUR1M has worked with municipal governments to incorporate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and gender inclusiveness in the formal municipal planning documents and budgets. Early Warning System groups have been revitalized to produce disaster preparedness action plans and contingency plans.Furthermore, SUR1M has awarded 38 micro-grants worth $448m.

Next steps

SUR1M-X seeks to scale up impact in Niger and Mali through an integrated strategy, fostering a culture of risk management and CCA learning, continuing to build resilience to climate extremes through gender-responsive, community-centred, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (CCA) approaches.

It aims to foster women’s empowerment and increase demand for good governance and access to improved seeds and other technologies through market engagement, radio messaging, and targeted advocacy.

SUR1M-X will continue to target the same 19 communes (12 in Niger and seven in Mali), though it will expand activities into new villages within six communes in Niger and four in Mali (“High Impact” or HI communes). In the remaining nine communes, the project will reduce direct support and provide a “light touch” to ensure sustainability and continued monitoring of activities, including data gathering for research and learning. The commune selection—focusing on those with the most potential for high impact—is based on updated SUR1M criteria including: security, accessibility, government engagement, population, and other actors present.

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