MAY 2016 – APRIL 2019
MARGARET A. CARGILL FOUNDATION
Now in its second phase, the Managing Risks through Economic Development II (M-RED II) program is a three million-dollar, four-year, multicountry program in Nepal and Timor-Leste. MRED II aims to enable smallholder farming communities, particularly the most vulnerable in these communities, to be more resilient to natural hazards and the adverse effects of climate change, and to bounce back better and more quickly from natural disasters. M-RED II’s vision is to create a replicable, sustainable and scalable model for empowering smallholder farmers to build their own ecological resilience.
Nepal is both food insecure and disaster prone. The country’s annual monsoon brings flooding and landslides, with evidence that climate change is adding to the severity and frequency of these events. The hilly areas of the Far West are prone to incidences of drought as well as flash floods and landslides, while the Terai (floodplains) experience river cutting and flooding that damage productive land. The mountain ranges of the Far West give rise to earthquakes, regular rock falls and landslides, and contribute to severe and unpredictable rainfalls that have severely affected the poor farming communities of this region. The Far West region also has the highest rate of poverty in the nation, with communities comprised largely of marginalized groups and ethnic minorities. Baseline studies of the program revealed 50.5% of the target population to be under the poverty line and 11.6% to be below the USAID Extreme Poverty Line.
In Nepal, M-RED II works with 52 hazardprone and poverty-affected communities in the floodplain (Terai) districts of Kailali and Kanchanpur and the hilly Far Western districts of Baitadi and Dadeldhura.
METHOD & APPROACH
By combining traditional, community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) approaches and livelihood work (“nexus interventions”) and building on traditional social systems for mutual support (social capital), M-RED II maximizes benefits for particularly vulnerable groups, such MAY 2016 – APRIL 2019 | $3,000,000 | MARGARET A. CARGILL FOUNDATION | NEPAL, TIMOR LESTE MANAGING RISK THROUGH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT II (MRED II) mercycorps.org as lower castes and women. M-RED II focuses specifically on connecting livelihoods to the larger market system and addresses key constraints limiting vulnerable groups’ participation in markets, such as access to finance, disrupted transportation and market instability during and after natural hazards.
The program design was informed by a set of assessments that analyzed livelihood and economic development opportunities, emphasizing the overlap of hazard risks, ecosystems, livelihoods and markets.
M-RED II uses a systems approach to focus on:
- Addressing constraints that women and other vulnerable groups face by increasing their participation in market activities and control of financial assets to build household resilience;
- Strengthening social capital between community groups to enable them to respond in coordination to recurring shocks and stresses;
- Deepening the focus on risks of climate change and natural hazards to the target market systems to improve market access for vulnerable households; and
- Improving access to financial services to increase market opportunities that promote DRR and resilience.
The research agenda of M-RED II is designed to provide actionable data that can be shared with the development and humanitarian aid sector to understand how these dynamics expand impact across the region. Targeted research topics measure how well resilience capacities contribute to well-being outcomes in the face of particular hazards through high-frequency monitoring following shocks and stresses.
- Thus far, more than 300 hec. of riverbank area has been protected and reclaimed while providing economic opportunity to marginalized people via sugarcane plantation
- In its most vulnerable communities in the Terai, M-RED II constructed 20 riverbank protection bamboo structures using bioengineering and one stone masonry retaining wall for safe evacuation
- In 2017, 872 households from 13 communities harvested yields from last year’s sugarcane plantation, earning NPR 6,472,739.00 ($65,000)
Upon seeing proven benefits, various neighboring communities to M-RED II working communities in Kanchanpur district planted sugarcane on 6.5 hec. of riverbank area during the October plantation season. Non-MRED communities have shown interest in learning opportunities regarding M-RED’s Nexus approach as well.
To offset imports from India, revitalize the latent sugarcane industry and ultimately expand earning potential for program farmers, Mercy Corps introduced a digital tablet-based real time farming data collection system, allowing sugar mills to collect accurate data in a cost-and-time effective manner