At the end of June 2020, COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings and meetings were lifted, enabling the undertaking of field missions to Erigabo in Sanaag, and Lasanood and Ainabo in Sool. Consultations took place with the local authorities, including governors, mayors and focal points from the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery Development and the Ministry of Agricultural Development. Representatives were extensively briefed and informed about the FNS-REPRO project, their approval was obtained for the selected villages, as well as their support for the project implementation. Lastly, the FNS-REPRO team held consultations with the local universities of Nugaal and Sanaag to seek their partnership in the implementation of activities under Output 1.
During the field missions, the project team identified a number of lead farmers and visited their farms to assess their needs, confirming the support needed to tap the opportunities fodder production offers in both Sool and Sanaag. These lead farmers will be key drivers in the project implementation as they will gain knowledge and encourage other fodder producers to adopt good agronomic practices (GAP). Adherence to GAP practices will not only improve the quality and the production of fodder but will ultimately increase the income of the household.
In all of this, consultation meetings with community members have been critical. They provided an introduction to FNS-REPRO, and its differentiation from other projects that adopt a “handouts” humanitarian approach. The communities also had an opportunity to clarify their expectations and give their ideas on the programme implementation. This included a very important group of community leaders and elders, who have a critical role in creating and maintaining peace and will be a key partner in ensuring localized and sustained peace in the programme areas.
The inclusion of additional villages necessitated a second Resilience Measurement Index Analysis (RIMA) and food Systems Resilience Analysis (FOSRA), successfully conducted in October 2020 and will provide the baseline information for the project. As of February 2021, all implementing partners in Somaliland are on board and have started the implementation of field activities in Sool and Sanaag.