At the end of 2017 the Boris and Ināra Teterev foundation concluded a four-year cooperation with Global Fairness Initiative to implement a program in Guinea-Bissau farming communities. The Guinea-Bissau Livelihood Initiative (GBLI) aimed to break the current poverty cycle affecting small holder producers and improve livelihood through support of government priorities on economic growth and poverty reduction with a focus on agricultural production, market access, and regulatory improvement for the farming sector.

Prior to commencing the project, key activities were selected as part of an intervention packet that included modern horticulture techniques. Among these were the introduction of a drip irrigation system, production of compost & natural pesticides, modern rice production techniques, trainings on farming as a business & financial literacy, addressing gender issues, human and financial resources management, the microloan program, and the community store program. GFI implemented GBLI alongside two farming associations that represent GBLI’s beneficiary communities. APALCOF – a women’s farming collective of more than 3,500 smallholder producers – was supported on multiple initiatives aimed at strengthening the capacity of the association and its members to access markets, advocate for their rights and interests, and improve their livelihoods. GBLI also engaged ANAG – Guinea Bissau’s national farming association of more than 100,000 members – to strengthen its organizational capacity and support the economic and social development of its members.

More than 3,500 households have directly and indirectly benefited from the program.

GFI supported dry season rice production with a fund to support motor pumps, fertilizer, and gas. GBLI’s 8 demonstration sites were developed in 8 communities and showcased new technologies and production methods including drip irrigation, crop spacing, organic fertilization methods, and crop diversification, all of which led to improved diets for beneficiaries and increased market opportunities. Furthermore, 13 seed varieties were introduced on the demonstration sites and later in the beneficiary communities’ personal farms. Overall, beneficiary farmers experienced a 30% increase in production, and in many cases production doubled or quadrupled. The impacts of the financial literacy and farming as business trainings reached over 120 families in the community, totaling nearly 1,000 individuals. Finally, over 10,000,000 XOF were distributed to 202 projects to expand plot and production size, purchase livestock to breed, purchase raw produce from the market to cook and sell for a profit in the village, and pay people to work their land to increase production.

Additionally, GBLI supported APALCOF in opening a community store, expanding their micro credit program, and offering new trainings and services to their members. These efforts led more people in the region to engage with the association, resulting in expanded participation in Bafata and Gabu.

Nearly 2,700 individuals have been trained across 9 villages on gender equality and equity, domestic violence, nutritional health, female leadership, decision-making in communities, and women’s access to and ownership of land. Communities have reported the following as a result of these trainings: for the first time, men are working alongside women in agricultural fields; men are supporting women with household chores and with the children, also for the first time; domestic violence has been reduced in the targeted communities and gender trainers are called to mediate when disputes arise; and more young girls are attending school (in some communities, the increase is upwards of 50%).

Get to know more about the project from "The Guinea-Bissau Livelihood Initiative (GBLI) Newsletter".