The objective of RIPAT was to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition among small-scale farmers by improving farming methods and livestock production. The initiative was based on the principle of helping people to help themselves. Through practical and theoretical training on a shared area of land, the groups were introduced to a variety of crops and methods for improving their farming practice. The individual farmers could then choose which crops and methods they wished to work with on their own farms.
Since the first RIPAT project was launched, the ROCKWOOL Foundation teamed up with the Tanzanian NGO RECODA to develop and implement RIPAT through a series of projects. These projects can be divided up into three concepts: RIPAT Start, RIPAT Dissemination and RIPAT for Peace.
The RIPAT Start model was the launch pad when a new RIPAT project was initiated in an area consisting of around 15–20 villages facing approximately the same challenges in relation to poverty and hunger, and with roughly the same opportunities for developing farming practices. Around half the villages were included in the RIPAT Start project. In each of the selected villages, two groups of 30–35 farmers were established and care was taken to ensure that the groups elected trustworthy leaders to head up the activities.
Over the following 2–4 years, the groups were visited every week (later on, once every two weeks) by a skilled facilitator who was typically a member of an NGO. The groups were offered a range of new, improved farming technologies and cultivation methods through participant-oriented trialling, demonstration and reflexive learning.
The participating households then shared their new knowledge with their neighbours and other interested farmers in their villages, and used this interaction to pass on seed grain and plant material for the new crops. The most skilful farmers in the groups – the “super-farmers” – were selected by the groups themselves. The super-farmers were social entrepreneurs and change agents who had quickly assimilated the new technologies and methods, and who had successfully implemented them at their own farms. They played a key role in the subsequent dissemination phase.
The 2–4-year RIPAT Start model was followed by a 1-year RIPAT Dissemination model, which was highly cost-effective in relation to spreading the RIPAT project to the nearby villages. The super-farmers from a RIPAT Start project were paired up with the public sector farming consultants with a view to starting up new RIPAT groups in the surrounding villages. The facilitators from the NGO provided advice and support for the super-farmers, while the farming consultants observed and supervised their work.
During the dissemination phase, the groups were thus not facilitated by the cost-intensive staff from the implementing NGO, but by the less costly super-farmers and farming consultants who lived locally. The super-farmers were provided with a bicycle and they received modest but fair payment for each day they visited a group to provide training in all the new techniques, etc. that they had recently learned themselves.
RIPAT for Peace
In addition to the models described above, the ROCKWOOL Foundation launched development of a new project called RIPAT for Peace in 2014. This project was being implemented among agropastoralists in northern Kenya, where the political climate was distinguished by conflict and uncertainty. RIPAT for Peace was being implemented jointly with a range of peace-keeping activities in an attempt to improve food security and the status of peace in the region.
In 2017, the RIPAT programme was transferred to World Vision and RECODA.
Read more about RIPAT
See more about the initiative hereripat.or.tz
Rural Initiatives For Participatory Agricultural Transformation (RIPAT)
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