By Mamadou Edrisa Njie
Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project (PIWAMP), a demand-driven project co-funded by the Government of The Gambia (GOTG), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), has been ranked fourth in IFAD’s fiduciary rating 2011.
The design of PIWAMP was built on the successful experience of the concluded Lowland Agricultural Development Project (LADEP), its achievements, effects, impacts, as well as the strengths and shortcomings.
At a Financial Management training workshop held in Rome, Italy from the 25th to 30th August, 2012, the Fiduciary Ratings of the top ten IFAD supported projects in West and Central Africa (WCA) was announced.
According to this rating which compares the total financial investment of a project against it achievements, PIWAMP is rated fourth best performing project among 45 IFAD supported projects in West and Central as of June ending 2012.
In an interview with journalists in his office, Mr. Momodou Gassama, project coordinator of PIWAMP said “this is the first time PIWAMP scores among the top ten best performing projects in WCA Fiduciary rating.”
This performance will significantly improve the overall country portfolio rating by IFAD and therefore make more IFAD resources available to The Gambia, he said while thanking the GOTG through the Ministry of Agriculture and the other two IFAD supported projects in the country - Rural Finance Project (RFP) and Livestock and Horticulture Development Project (LHDP).
He noted that the enabling environment provided by the government also made it possible for the three IFAD projects in the country to work closely and as a result of their collaboration, PIWAMP was able to achieve this result. He also thanked his staff staff for what he described as “excellent team work” but was quick to say this high rating is a challenge for them to continue working harder to maintain this performance.
He said PIWAMP is performing well in executing its mandate of addressing soil erosion and improve soil fertility status in the uplands, prevent village flooding, enhance water retention and prevent salt water intrusion in the lowlands, facilitate access to the swamp rice fields and improve inter-village road connections through innovative soil and water management technologies with the aim of significantly increasing food security for the rural poor.
In August 2011, the AfDB A nominated PIWAMP as one of its candidates to the US Treasury Department MDB Award for innovation of simple land management techniques aimed at increasing food security.
“If successful, this could open up the country to more investments from the USA,” Mr Gassama said.
The PIWAMP project coordinator explained that IFAD started its active operations in The Gambia in 1982 and has since financed nine projects and programmes totalling US$53.6 million (GMB 1.6bn, 41%) benefiting more than 120, 000 households in rural areas.
Mr. Gassama said PIWAMP’s objectives are to increase land productivity and increase crop production on a sustainable basis. The project’s main expected outputs are; to enhance the capacity of the stakeholder institutions and beneficiaries, to train and empower communities in natural resources management, and increase production and productivity in the project area on a sustainable basis. PIWAMP, he stated has improved the livelihood of Gambian communities across the entire country.
IFAD, a UN agency, is committed to rural poverty reduction through equitable and inclusive development. Its priority target group is the poor rural smallholders dependant on traditional crops and lowland rice cultivation as their main source of livelihood.
Over the years, IFAD have become one of the largest sources of development financing for agriculture and rural development in many developing countries. It has invested US$13.1 billion in 899 projects and programs that have reached some 400 million poor rural people in the world since 1978 when it started operations.
The Author: Mamadou Edrisa Njie is the publisher of Mansa Banko (The Kingdom) a leading blog in Banjul, The Gambia.