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Concern Worldwide Oxfam International Southern African Regional Poverty Network

Report of Regional Workshop on "Strengthening responses to the Triple Threat in Southern Africa - learning from field programmes in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia"

Joint Project of Concern Worldwide (CW), Oxfam International (OI) and The Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN)

August 2007

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Background

For many poor people in Southern Africa, a situation of chronic livelihoods insecurity has been unfolding. Many households run a continual risk of being unable to meet their livelihood needs. NGOs across the region have been exploring ways they can ensure poor people achieve better livelihood security. It's been recognised that to develop better operational responses, there is a need to learn from grassroots practitioners on how they are responding to livelihood insecurity within their programmes and projects and look at how this can be strengthened by knowledge and information from research and policy level. This work has meant taking account of what has been called the Triple Threat - the combined web of factors that reduce people's livelihood security:
(1) Food Insecurity (Environmental), (2) Governance and (3) HIV and AIDS

To better understand how programmers were recognising and responding to this complex situation, Concern-Worldwide (CWW), Oxfam-International (OI) and the Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN) commissioned a study. Scott Drimie visited practitioners in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to better understand how they saw livelihood insecurity on the ground, and how they were responding. The exercise was highly flexible, allowing practitioners an opportunity to identify how their own activities help respond to long-term livelihood insecurity. The study results provided a synthesis of programme responses to livelihood insecurity, with a particular focus on food insecurity and tried to tease out the differences experienced by men or women. The results point to the importance of livelihood diversification and innovative strategies, support that underpins self-reliance not perpetuating dependency, access to information, building on community coping mechanisms, close link between livelihood insecurity and politics. It also emphasises the challenges of non-state actors in working on governance or rights issues and livelihood security. The report was then fed back to all participants and presented at regional level meetings in Ireland, UK and South Africa as well as shared on the SARPN website.

This workshop has been organised as a follow up to the study, to provide participants a platform to discuss their experiences on how civil society organisations can better support poor people. People from CWW, OI and partner organisations in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique along with RENEWAL and FANRPAN at a regional level were invited to spend two days collectively analysing how we as development practitioners can improve our work to ensure poor people are better able to achieve livelihood security, taking better account of the Triple Threat factors. The emphasis was on learning from each other's experiences. It was agreed at the beginning of the two days that we would aim towards one simple expectation:

Expected workshop outcome:

We aim for participants to take home one action that would improve the way their organisation responds to the Triple Threat.

This workshop report is a synthesis of the work undertaken over the two days. Rather than providing a verbatim account of the proceedings, it highlights the key sharing and learning under three main headings. The content under each heading was pulled together through brainstorming, group discussions, and plenary, mapping and other participatory techniques. As such, the contents of this report are the responsibility of all people present at the workshop.



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