Social Assessment

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY As a successor to the second phase of Sustainable Land Management Project, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources (MoALR) is presently finalizing the preparation of the Resilient Landscape and Livelihood Project (RLLP). The Project is planned to be implemented in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, SNPPR, Gambella and Benishangul-Gumz National Regional States. The Project covers 192 woredas/watersheds (57new and 135existing) Land degradation has been recognized as the leading cause hampering Ethiopia‟s agricultural led development strategies, and the country is fully committed to addressing the issue in a comprehensive manner as clearly elaborated in the Ethiopian Strategic Investment Framework (ESIF) for Sustainable Land Management. In line with this, the main objectives of RLLP are to reduce land degradation and improve land productivity in selected watersheds of the project regions. The Project has four components: (i) Investment in Green Infrastructure and Resilient Livelihood; (ii) Strengthening Institutions and information modernization, (iii) Land Administration, and Use; and (iv) Project Management and monitoring. Based on the framework of SLMP-II, and considering its principal features and aspects, it was found necessary to update the social assessment report to produce inputs for the preparation of RLLP. As a result, this social assessment has been carried out and updated with the following major objectives in focus: ▪ Assess key socio-economic factors that require consideration; ▪ Identify vulnerable and historically underserved groups that may be excluded from the project and be adversely affected as a result, and the necessary impact mitigating measures. ▪ Assess any potential adverse social impacts of RLLP, and determine whether the project is likely to trigger the World Bank social safeguards policies; ▪ Recommend in the early stage of project preparation the appropriate measures towards addressing World Bank requirements on social safeguards triggered by the project (OP/BP 4.10 and OP/BP 4.12).
The RPF is prepared using primary and secondary data, and qualitative data collection approach. Field data was collected from 29 sample woredas (11 new and 18 existing). In the existing woredas, purposive sampling was used to include those where community infrastructures were constructed while accessibility was used as a criterion to select the sample woredas from the new ones. Focus group discussions were made using semi-structured checklist with male and female community members, Religious leaders and elders Attempts were made to include vulnerable community members like female household heads, people with disabilities, the old, and the poor. Key informants such as Development Agents (DAs), woreda experts from different line offices, SLMP-II woreda focal persons, experts from Regional Bureau of Environment, Forest and climate, and SLMP-II regional environment and social safeguard specialists were also consulted.

In line with the Ethiopian Government‟s decentralization policy, organizational structure and implementation arrangement and with due consideration to the implementation of project activities at the grassroots level, RLLP is designed to operate at federal, regional, zonal, woreda kebele levels and beneficiary communities level. The monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and reporting system of the project is in-built in the implementation arrangement to be executed at all levels of the organizational structure. The institutional arrangement includes RLLP related conflict/grievance redress mechanism/GRM, consisting of community watershed teams, indigenous local institutions, kebele watershed teams, and people from woreda agriculture and natural resources offices. In the context of the sample woredas, community groups identified as vulnerable and underserved/disadvantaged are the elderly, female-headed households, families with members living with HIV or other chronic illnesses, and historically disadvantaged ethnic groups. This finding agrees with the list of vulnerable groups indicated in the Ethiopian social protection policy developed in October 2013. This social protection policy identified pregnant and lactating women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, labor constrained individuals and households, the unemployed, those exposed to natural and manmade calamities , persons living with or directly affected by HIV and AIDS and other chronic debilitating diseases, victims of social problems such as drug users, beggars, victims of human trafficking and commercial sex workers and people with difficulties in accessing basic social services as vulnerable groups in the country. The findings of the assessment revealed that the implementation of SLMP has, to a large extent, been accommodative of the needs and circumstance of these population groups. Thus, it was ascertained that issues related to gender, age, social status, occupational factors and income levels were given proper consideration in respect to the inclusiveness of participation and fair access to benefits to project investments. The social assessment ensured that preliminary free and prior community consultations were carried out in SLMP-II woredas at watershed level. During the consultations, the communities have properly reiterated their interest and readiness to actively participate in all phases of the project i.e from planning, implementation and monitoring. In fact, the local population has already been involved in the containment and reversal of natural resource degradation as part of the government-led social mobilization initiative. The free and prior community consultation and mobilization was found to be consistent and inclusive. Hence, community members were sufficiently informed concerning the benefits and their role in the implementation of the Project and efforts were made to include all social categories in consultation meetings regardless of their various backgrounds.
It is evident that the local governments‟ structures (one to five local arrangement, community watershed teams, kebele watershed teams, woreda technical committees, and woreda steering committee) and communities in all regions have developed implementation capacity that helped them successfully execute activities of the projects. The coordination of this arrangement created an immense opportunity for the enhancement of project implementation capacity and effective execution of project activities. Although SLMP-II contributed a lot to the enhanced capacity enhancements in local government and community structures through the provision of office and field equipment‟s (computers, laptops, motor bicycles etc…) there are capacity constraints particularly related to field vehicles. There has been delay in budget disbursements and workload of local government officials (technical and steering committee members), unable to devote adequate time to supervise and monitor implementation of project activities. The nature of land take in SLMP-II has been voluntary and small in scope. Based on regional reports and information from field visit, the type of projects requiring land include access road construction, afforestation, community pond, hand dug well, nursery establishment and small-scale irrigation activities. These lands were acquired for project implementation on voluntary bases and appropriate land for land and cash compensations from local government budget and other benefit arrangement, such as short-term employment, draw benefits from project activities have been provided to land owners. The voluntary land donation followed due process of consultation, appropriate documentation specifying the scope of land take. However, VLD should not occur if it requires physical relocation, loss of structures or fixed assets on affected portion of land. Likewise, RLLP activities/sub-projects will be identified by the communities based on their local needs and priorities through a participatory watershed planning process with the coordination of community watershed team (CWT) whereby all community members have the opportunity for sharing ideas and making decisions. It is evident that there is a wealth of social capital in communities in the Project woredas that SLMP-II has leveraged for its successful planning, implementation and monitoring of the Project activities and the achievement of expected outcomes. The social capital exists in the form of self-help groups, mutual assistance mechanisms such as Idir (social and financial mutual institution), religious associations, and land-related dispute settlement institutions such as elders and religious leaders, and indigenous land use and conservation knowledge and practice. The institutions may vary in their names, functions, structures and modes of operation in different socio-cultural and linguistic contexts but serve as bonding relationships of members of communities towards the same goal. The indigenous institutions played significant role improperly implementing SLMP-II activities such as physical and biological soil and water conservation measures, livelihood and rural land certification. These indigenous institutions supported the implementation of the project through community mobilization, provision of advices, settlement of conflicts and grievances and passing information/messages to facilitate the speed up of project implementation. The respective indigenous institutions in communities in all the six regions are part of SLMP-II Grievance Redress Mechanism and will continue to be instrumental during the implementation of RLLP.
The assessment further pointed out that the presence of formal and informal cooperative societies and Self-Help Groups (SHG) in the visited Project communities which could be utilized for RLLP. These institutions include saving and credit, marketing and multi-purpose service cooperatives are the formal cooperative established and operated by relevant government sector offices, NGOs, women and youth associations. The informal societal institutions refer to the kind of long-established rotating credit associations (equb), burial associations (iddir), and socio-religious groups (mahiber and senbete). Although the latter social institutions are intended to serve respective establishment purposes, they still perform certain economic functions that the project may properly tap. Thus, cooperative establishments; formal and informal alike, can be instrumental in the efforts made at watershed and micro watershed levels to enable smallholder farmers cope with challenges related to marketing and finance in the context of the relevant RLLP activities. There are about 1,948 (SHGs)established by SLMP-I and SLMP-II engaged in poultry, apiculture, vegetable production, shoat fattening, forage production, agro-forestry seedling multiplication, etc. Besides, updating of the social assessment has demonstrated that a wide range of non/off-farm activities are being practiced in the Project areas engaging many vulnerable women and youths. Among the common non/off-farm activities are small scale tannery, weaving, basketry, blacksmithing, milling, petty trade, brewing and sale of local drinks, and agriculture based income generating activities (beekeeping, poultry, animal fattening, and fodder/forage development). These activities will remain relevant for RLLP activities under Component 1.3; Income Opportunities and Resilient Livelihood, these non/off-farm activities may be nurtured and expanded to contribute to employment opportunities and income growth for community members in the project watersheds. There is a need to focus on capacity building work and the creation of an enabling environment for community members engaged in non/off farm activities. RLLP implementation strategies include knowledge and skill enhancement trainings, expanded access to financial support in the form of credits, and institutional innovation by organizing them under various functional cooperative societies among others. It was found to be one of the strengths of the SLMP that gender issues have been properly addressed. At the start of SLMP-II, gender analysis was conducted and gender mainstreaming guideline was prepared to facilitate the implementation of gender issues. Women informants acknowledged being consulted about the Project, as well as their active participation during project implementation and access to benefits. Women are also involved in leadership positions in grassroots community structures like CWT. For instance, women members in CWT are 10, 24,32, 36, 40, and 43 percent in Oromia, Amhara, Gambella, SNNPR, Benshangul Gumuz, and Tigray national regional states, respectively. Moreover, there are representatives of youth, religious leaders and elders/influential persons in the grassroots level established CWTs. The inclusive nature of SLMP-2 institutional arrangement enhanced planning, implementation and monitoring of activities. In addition, the implementation of soil and water conservation (SWC) on individual farm land often start from the upper part of a slope and is applied uniformly regardless of age, sex, occupation and race of the land user right holder household. Moreover, the highly vulnerable groups of societies such as households with small land holding or landless farmers and youth have been given priority for labor work with incentives depending on requirements. Regarding targeting for different income generating activities, due focus has been given to farmers with tiny landholding or landless, jobless youth, women, people with disabilities and elderly persons.
With a view of addressing gender issues to the desired level, RLLP has defined its gender approach based on analysis and an action plan is being developed taking into account the needs of different women groups. Download the full document here. Social-Assessment-RLLP.pdf