Empowering smallholder farmers: securing a $1 million grant for Agriculture Risk Management and climate resilience

At Written Progress, we’re committed to helping organizations maximize their impact. Our recent partnership with the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT resulted in securing a $1 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for a transformative project focusing on Agriculture Risk Management (ARM). This substantial funding will support small-scale farmers in Eastern Africa as they grapple with the challenges of climate change. Here’s how we did it:

1. Understanding the landscape

The foundation of our successful GEF grant application was robust strategic planning.  Grounded research, facilitated by in-depth dialogues with pivotal public and private sector voices, led us to pinpoint three core challenges stifling smallholder farmers in Uganda and Zambia:

  1. Limited access to climate data: Our dialogues revealed a clear gap in the availability of actionable climate data. Farmers expressed their challenges in sourcing reliable information, vital for making informed agricultural decisions.
  2. Inadequate tailoring of services: Further discussions spotlighted the disconnect between available agro-advisories, financial offerings, ARM tools, and the specific needs of these farmers. The current solutions weren’t tailored enough to address local concerns.
  3. Perceived risk by financial institutions: A consistent theme was the scepticism from financial service providers. They viewed smallholder farming as a high-risk venture, limiting their willingness to offer essential financial support.

2. Crafting the proposal

Armed with a comprehensive understanding of the prevailing challenges, our team, spearheaded by Isabelle Le Marois, set out to develop a compelling proposal tailored for the GEF evaluators:

  • Challenge statement: We articulated a clear statement that delineated the project’s objectives and highlighted the commitment to overcoming the barriers identified.
  • Theory of change: This mapped out a trajectory towards substantial impact, underscoring the strategic intent to counter the hardships faced by the farmers.
  • Monitoring and reporting: A robust framework was set in place to guarantee transparency, accountability, and accurate measurement of the project’s impact.

Through these concerted efforts, the proposal stood out as a comprehensive, solution-driven blueprint that resonated with the unique challenges confronting smallholder farmers.

3. Impact beyond climate adaptation

At Written Progress, we’re big advocates for the interconnected aspects of environmental and social challenges. We made sure to outline the multiple benefits of this project:

  • Improved quality of life: Beyond simple adaptation, the project plans to uplift farmers’ daily lives.
  • Strengthened food security: We demonstrated how the project would help ensure stable food sources for communities.
  • Sustainable agriculture’s broad impact: We highlighted the ripple effects of sustainable practices on overall community well-being.

4. Perfecting the Details

Details matter, especially when it comes to grant proposals. We were rigorous in our adherence to GEF’s specifications, from word counts to formatting, ensuring the proposal met every criteria, making it a standout among its peers.

Interested in learning more?

We, at Written Progress, specialize in turning ambitious aspirations into tangible realities. If you share our passion for creating change, let’s collaborate.