On Tuesday, 6th June 2023, the IFAD Implementation Support Mission embarked on a significant four-day field visit alongside the ROOTS Project Support Unit (PSU). The primary objective of this mission was to provide valuable implementation support to the ROOTS team, particularly in addressing challenges encountered during the project’s execution. During their visit, the team had the opportunity to engage with various beneficiary communities and project sites, gaining firsthand insights and fostering collaboration for enhanced project outcomes.
Empowering Communities: Ndemban Jola and Toniataba
The mission’s first stop was Ndemban Jola, a community in Foni that benefits from the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) and Literacy and Numeracy training program implemented by the ROOTS Project. The team engaged in fruitful discussions with the program’s beneficiaries, exchanging ideas and experiences. This interaction provided valuable feedback for project improvement and highlighted the transformative impact of empowering communities through skills development and gender inclusion.
Continuing their journey, the mission proceeded to Toniataba in the Lower River Region (LRR), another beneficiary community of the GALS program. Here, they witnessed firsthand the positive changes brought about by empowering local communities. By equipping individuals with knowledge and skills, the ROOTS Project is contributing to the socio-economic advancement of the region, fostering a sense of ownership and sustainable development.
Exploring Infrastructure: Cold Store Facility in Soma
As the mission progressed, the team visited the Cold Store Facility in Soma. This essential infrastructure plays a vital role in enhancing post-harvest management and preserving agricultural produce. By ensuring efficient storage and proper handling of perishable goods, the ROOTS Project is reducing post-harvest losses and enabling farmers to access better market opportunities. The visit provided the team with insights into the facility’s operations and reinforced the importance of infrastructure development in promoting agricultural value chains.
Youth Empowerment: Entrepreneurship Training in Pakalinding
The mission’s final destination was Pakalinding, where the ROOTS Project is conducting a five-day entrepreneurship training program for the first batch of Youth-Based Matching Grant (YBMG) beneficiaries. The team engaged in meaningful discussions with the participants, aiming to gather valuable lessons learned and identify areas for improvement in subsequent rounds of the program. Empowering the youth with entrepreneurial skills not only enables them to become self-reliant but also contributes to the overall economic growth of the nation.
Strengthening Collaboration and Impact The IFAD Implementation
Support Mission’s visit to the ROOTS Project sites exemplifies the commitment to ensuring project success and maximizing its impact on beneficiary communities. By engaging directly with program beneficiaries and stakeholders, the mission gathered essential feedback and insights, fostering collaboration and shared learning. These interactions will contribute to refining project strategies, addressing challenges, and further enhancing the sustainability and effectiveness of the ROOTS Project.
The IFAD Implementation Support Mission’s four-day field visit with the ROOTS PSU marked a significant step towards strengthening the implementation and impact of the project. By engaging with beneficiary communities, exploring crucial infrastructure, and empowering the youth, the mission highlighted the transformative power of the ROOTS Project. Through continuous collaboration, lessons learned, and targeted improvements, the project aims to create sustainable change, uplift rural livelihoods, and contribute to the overall development of The Gambia.