Every year, the Strengthen Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) Institutions and Resilience (SPIR II) consortium, representing World Vision, CARE, and ORDA Ethiopia, comes together to assess its work, learn from experiences, tackle challenges, and strive to achieve common objectives and expected outcomes. They recently convened in Adama, 90 kilometres (62 miles) northeast of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for a Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting to enhance collaboration and achieve even better results.
SPIR II, now in its second phase, operating within the Ethiopian Government’s flagship “Productive Safety Net Programme Phase 5” (PSNP 5), one of Africa’s largest social protection programmes. SPIR II’s mission is to enhance livelihoods, increase resilience to shocks, and eradicate food insecurity and nutrition among vulnerable rural households in Ethiopia. This ambitious goal is pursued through a multifaceted approach, including savings initiatives, income diversification, skills training, and building institutional capacity. SPIR II is a Resilience Food Security Activity (RFSA) funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and implemented in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Oromia regions.
During the recent TWG meeting, participants noted significant achievements, such as strengthening partnerships between consortium members and Ethiopian government officials. One notable success has been the empowerment of unemployed youth through income-generating opportunities. The government provided training on their specific value chain activities, supported group business management, and legalised land ownership through its Natural Resource Management (NRM)-based livelihood initiatives. The TWG developed a plan to support youth in accessing NRM-based activities and securing loans to start businesses, thereby fortifying collaborative links.
Mr. Michael Mulford, SPIR II’s Chief of Party, expressed the programme’s commitment to improving the PSNP clients’ lives and livelihoods and enabling them to invest in their futures.
"We need to push ourselves for greater results in assisting vulnerable communities to become more resilient in the face of multiple shocks,” Mr. Mulford told participants.
The meeting also highlighted successful internal collaboration across different purposes and thematic areas. Another noteworthy initiative on Sustainable Land Management (SLM), integrated with home gardens, includes a study led by SPIR II’s learning partner, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). This initiative integrates central programme purposes, including gender and nutrition considerations, agriculture, and SLM techniques, fostering synergy across objectives.
Among other achievements discussed were improvements in health and nutrition interventions, leading to increased attendance rates in Nurturing Care Group (NCG) sessions, a key intervention program. The NCG platform plays a crucial role in promoting evidence-based health and nutrition interventions, with a focus on practices such as infant and young child feeding and early childhood development.
SPIR II recognised the pivotal role of maintaining relationships with local partners, such as ORDA Ethiopia, despite the security complexities in the Amhara region. As the sole national partner to SPIR II’s consortium, ORDA Ethiopia has been able to design community-centric activities that offer solutions, fueled by its capacity to mobilise resources, local leadership, and innovation, all directed towards advancing equitable change and securing the positive impacts of sustainability. The approach not only amplifies the influence of development initiatives but also empowers local actors to lead and foster community ownership and long-term sustainability.
Looking ahead, SPIR II is expanding its operations to four districts or areas in the Tigray region. The focus remains on improving essential aspects such as food security, mental health, livelihoods, and resilience to shocks. This expansion is scheduled to launch in October 2023, reaffirming SPIR II’s unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on vulnerable households.
About SPIR II
Strengthen Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) Institutions and Resilience (SPIR) II is a five-year Resilience Food Security Activity (RFSA) implemented by a consortium of partners led by World Vision that includes CARE, ORDA, and learning partner IFPRI. It is powered by funding from the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), which focuses on enhancing livelihoods and resilience to shocks and improving food security and nutrition for rural households in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Oromia regions through interventions aligned with the government’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP).
By Emnet Dereje, Communications Specialist, World Vision Ethiopia