Since 1999, IRD’s Economic Development programs have strengthened the capacity of individuals and communities to protect lives, respond to recurring disasters, and strengthen human capital investment. IRD’s
Economic Development sector focuses on four areas:
• Sustainable Agriculture
• Livelihood Security
• Micro-Enterprise Development
• Local Economic Planning and Development
IRD has assisted tens of thousands of rural farmers and their communities to adopt and implement agricultural practices integrating environmental health, economic profitability, and social equity. In Serbia, Iraq, and Azerbaijan, for example, IRD has provided technical assistance to prepare farmers for certification and established cooperatives to provide them with the collective bargaining power and access to competitive markets necessary for a sustainable source of income.
IRD provides micro-grants and technical assistance to vulnerable individuals to provide them with the financial resources and skills they need to develop a sustainable livelihood. Micro-grants are often leveraged via a “pass-on” component where each recipient is obligated to share with another family. Such IRD programs have assisted over 5,000 vulnerable families in Serbia, Montenegro, Azerbaijan and Iraq.
Micro and small enterprises provide sustainable jobs but need assistance to enhance their competitiveness, productivity, and market access. This requires business services, market linkage services, access to improved production technologies and organization of these enterprises into groups to improve their efficiency and bargaining power. It also requires integration into existing value chains to assure growth and sustainability. In 2005, IRD assisted apple growers in Serbia to expand their local and export markets through improvements in packaging and advertising, and worked with enterprises in Indonesia in fishing and livestock to revitalize business supply chains.
Local Economic Planning and Development
IRD provides technical support to municipalities to undertake municipal and regional economic assessments. In Serbia, using a World Bank Local Economic Development methodology, nine municipalities have developed and adopted strategies resulting in improved economic infrastructure, increased investment, and greater citizen participation in municipal-level planning. In Montenegro, IRD has implemented Mesopartner’s Participatory Appraisal for Competitive Advantage (PACA) methodology, which enables municipal, business, and civil society organizations to identify and act on local and regional competitive advantages.
In 2006 IRD will continue our community revitalization programs in Serbia and Montenegro, promoting citizen participation to address the critical need for economic and social revitalization in community life. In Indonesia, IRD will continue job training programs to assist those affected by the 2004 Tsunami. And in Iraq, IRD will work to involve and empower all citizens through community action projects that target under-represented groups including women and religious minorities.
• Afghanistan – Construction Trades Training Center
• Azerbaijan – Greenhouse Investment Project
• Azerbaijan – Poultry Investment Project
• Indonesia – Sustainable Livelihoods II
• Indonesia – Emergency Livelihood Recovery Income Generation (ELRIG) Banda Aceh
funded through an IRD micro-grant.
• Iraq – Iraq Community Action Program (ICAP)
• Montenegro – Community Revitalization through Democratic Action-Economy (CRDA-E) program
• Serbia – Community Revitalization through Democratic Action-Economy (CRDA-E) program