NCBA CLUSA & USAID Diversify Funding and Program Approach

NCBA CLUSA‘s Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel-Enhance Resilience (REGIS-ER) project, is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) multi-sectoral initiative started in November 2014 and will continue until November 2018. REGIS-ER promotes sustainable livelihoods, strengthened governance, and improved health and nutrition. This project breaks out of silos in funding and programming to bring integrated program design to a susceptible region.

The USAID RISE program is bringing humanitarian and development funding under a single initiative. The relationship between humanitarian and development funding is found in resiliency. By building resiliency, communities hit with disasters will be able to break out of the cycle of crisis management and need less humanitarian aid. Projects in REGIS-ER are community-driven: community members are intimately involved in program participation and execution. Highlighted projects include poultry vaccinations, water borehole rehabilitation, conservation farming techniques, and mother-to-mother groups that promote healthy pre- and ante-natal care.

The REGIS-ER projects engage local governments and, in partnership, work together to build infrastructure. Physical infrastructure like new wells and field improvements will help a community become resilient. Investment in human infrastructure will lead to healthier children and soon, a healthier population. Programs that encourage exclusive breastfeeding and educate about good nutrition are beneficial and necessary for long-term sustained resiliency. Additionally, many programs encourage women’s engagement and participation in the economic sector.

This integrated multi-sectoral approach breaks down siloes and promotes development that is community-driven and sustainable. This kind of approach gathers support from within communities and is more self-sustaining in the long-term. As more evidence that supports integrated solutions and community-led and driven development emerges, USAID should continue to fund these kinds of projects. The long-term benefits from community-led and community-driven development will make regions like the Sahel less susceptible to crises caused by severe weather occurrences and other disasters.

This type of integrated approach is mirrored within USAID, too. In the Request for Application form for this project there is a directive to carefully track funds used in the project that come from earmarked funds (p.74): Global Climate Change, Global Health Initiative, Feed The Future, Environment, Water, and Humanitarian Assistance. The request to track and report these specific funds suggests that the RISE program is gathering funds from multiple stakeholders; a collaborative and integrated approach. Here USAID is truly leading by example.

Read more about USAID’s RISE initiative and NCBA CLUSA’s work here, here, and here.

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SDSN Report for Sustainable Settlements

This Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSNreport was written for municipalities to make progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs provide a roadmap to sustainable and balanced development. Sustainable human settlements, both cities and rural areas alike, are critical for our planet’s health.

SDG 11 is the ‘cities’ goal, which recognizes and prioritizes the importance of sustainable, inclusive, resilient, and safe cities. There are concerns that Goal 11 “may promote separation between urban and rural areas,” but Goal 11 refers to all human settlements, cities and rural communities alike. Organizations who provide reports such as this one, whose focus is to help cities and urban areas, should construct and provide a toolkit for rural areas as well.

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The 2011 IFAD Rural Poverty Report states 55% of the world’s population lives in rural areas, about 3.3 billion people in 2010. About 34% of these 3.3 billion people live under $1.25 a day and 70% of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people are living in rural areas. These numbers are a bit dated, but the impact is still relevant. The World Bank’s updated number of those living in rural areas worldwide to be 46%, still a very large number of people. With our human family numbering around 7.3 billion people, 46% is still 3.358 billion people, which suggests the 2011 numbers are still very plausible.

The points made in this report to promote sustainable cities and inclusive development apply to cities as well as rural areas. Each bullet point below summarizes a part of the report and can be applied to both urban and rural areas.

  • Local governments play a key role in defining local SDG policy and programming, as well as monitoring progress. What’s needed for local leaders are access to development resources and a ‘Sustainable Development Roadmap’ with concrete goals and targets to help settlements become more sustainable.
  • Initiate an inclusive and participatory process by stimulating public participation, increasing political alignment between stakeholder groups, by promoting the convergence of efforts by different development actors, and ensuring the inclusion of marginalized demographic groups and communities.|
  • A local SDG agenda should be prioritized by needs the community deems important and the targets should be relevant, achievable, and correspond to the local government mandate.
  • Sustainable SDG implementation needs policy coherence, multi-sectoral planning, and reflexive and responsive policy-making.
  • Monitoring and evaluation processes are important to gauge local SDG progress. The best M&E practices for monitoring local SDG progress are program performance administration, accurate settlement data, and evaluations, preferably external.
  • There is an opportunity for decentralized governments to have more power over SDG implementation and success. Cooperation and partnership with local government maximizes effectiveness for SDG success.
  • The triple bottom line of social development, economic development, and environmental protection calls for integration across government and policy by working across sectors, encouraging coordination among institutions, aligning development goals across government, and promoting multi-sector planning.
  • Adequate municipal finance will be crucial for the accomplishments needed for the SDGs to be successful. Cities should explore alternative financing mechanisms.
  • All levels of government will have to build institutional capacity to achieve the SDGs.
  • Policy frameworks are a set of principles and long-term goals that form the basis of legislation and regulations, giving overall direction to the planning and development for a country/region, or within a sector of operation. Policy frameworks will need to be shifted and made to be more enabling for the SDGs to be achieved.

A rural report need not be a completely new project. The processes outlined in this report to localize government and integrate participatory practices applies to rural areas as well. The success of Goal 11 will be best met when all local governments are transparent and inclusive. Delving into the subnational level of government is critical for the success of the SDGs; as much as 65 percent of the SDG agenda may not be fully achieved without the involvement of urban and local actors. However, a focus on urban development only is detrimental for the inclusive growth between urban and rural areas. A proportional amount of resources should be available for rural areas to ensure Goal 11 and all of the SDGs are met.


Rural poverty statistics from IFAD report and presentation.