Jun 17, 2013, 11:16 AM
SLMP participatory monitoringThe Sustainable Land Management Project (SLMP) Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) manual was validated by services providers/ institutions at a two-day forum held at the Agricultural Rural Farmers Training Center (ARFTC) in Jenoi recently.
At the official opening, Ashme Cole, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, revealed that the SLMP is four years (2011-2014) Global Environmental Fund (GEF) incremental financing grant on PIWAMP.
He added that the project seeks to improve livelihoods through the promotion of community-based watershed/ landscape management approaches, enabling resource poor communities to reverse declining land productivity thereby overcoming the causes and negative impacts of land degradation.
According to him, the priority beneficiaries of the project are the poor smallholders that are dependent on traditional upland crops and lowland rice cultivation as their main source of livelihood.
“This PM&E manual validated was designed with the objective to support each of the participating communities to take active part in monitoring and evaluating the various activities in which they are involved with the project,” he remarked.
“Your valuable contributions in the finalization of the document will remarkably assist each of the communities in the future and develop their own set of locally agreed indicators; determine the data collection methods to be used to measure the indicators; and establish the institutional mechanisms to be used for: collecting, presenting and reviewing the data within the community, and reporting the M&E conclusions arrived at by the community to the project,” he said.
He urged participants to come up with ideas and participate fully during the course of the validation, adding that sharing ideas and knowledge is paramount.
Kebba S. Manka, principal agricultural officer and SLMP coordinator stated that it is an incremental financing for the Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project (PIWAMP).
“It is designed to have nationwide coverage of the low and high lands that are used in agriculture production in The Gambia which seeks to address interlinked problems of rural poverty, food insecurity and land degradation,” he said.
The main outputs of the project include operational national and regional level SLM platforms comprising a multi-level partnership of stakeholder institutions promoting the project.
The SLMP, he said, would be implemented over four years with a total GEF grant of USD 4.4 million.
He went on to say that the project is expected to realize major environmental and socio-economic benefits through its investments in SLM interventions aimed at restoring, sustaining and enhancing the protective and productive functions of the lowland and upland ecosystems.
According to Manka, the lowland and upland sustainable crop, livestock, forestry and eco-tourism activities will be supported by the project.
This in turn will have a positive impact on food security at various levels, while also contributing to the alleviation of rural poverty, he pointed out, saying the beneficiary communities will take the lead in the participatory planning activities, thus ensuring a demand driven local planning process.
Manka stated that the incremental grant funding from the GEF) will complement the current investment in the Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project (PIWAMP) that is co-financed by the Government of The Gambia, the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agriculture Development.
Hon. Bafaye Saidykhan, vice chairperson of the National Assembly Members select committee on agriculture, on behalf of the governor of Lower River Region, spoke at length on the importance of agriculture, saying agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy.
He urged M&E officers to disseminate accurate information within their project lines and called on SLMP secretariat to work hand in glove with the National Assembly on matters relating to agriculture.