Best Practices & Innovations
Nearly a billion people worldwide are afflicted by hunger and almost 2.5 billion live in extreme poverty. With agriculture, the best potential pathway out of poverty for most rural populations, identifying and disseminating best practices and innovations in food security and agriculture remains a key priority. The global financial crisis has imposed significant constraints on donor resources, making it more important than ever for development programs to become more effective and efficient. To that end, in September 2009 InterAction launched phase 1 of its Best Practices & Innovations (BPI) Initiative with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The purpose of the initiative is to promote information-sharing on effective program approaches and to improve practice standards by boosting the efficiency and impacts of field programs. The BPI also exemplifies the NGO community's commitment to information-sharing and improving practice standards in building the assets of rural communities. InterAction's ultimate goal in highlighting these promising interventions and successful program models is to support NGOs in improving the lives of the millions of people suffering from poverty and hunger.
Over the course of the three rounds of BPI, 16 projects were recognized for the quality of their technical interventions and the scope of their impacts in food security and agriculture.
In February 2012, InterAction launched phase 2 of the BPI, focusing on the ways that international NGOs help build the capacity of local implementing partners working in food security and agriculture. Though many organizations provide capacity building for local counterparts that aspect of their work has often received less attention and resources.
Capacity building is important to highlight as an NGO activity for a number of reasons. In the current very challenging budget environment, the most cost-effective ways to scale up the impacts of rural development programs often centers on local civil society implementers. Another important consideration is that aid effectiveness principles call on all development actors to foster a process of inclusive country ownership. This means that international NGOs, rather than directly providing development services, will increasingly need to create the capacity for local entities to do so. The sustainability of development impacts also depends on the capacity of local organizations to work with communities in addressing service needs after programs end. These goals can only be realized if capable local institutions and organizations are better able to initiate, manage and extend transformative development processes.