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Harande means “food security” in Peulh, a local language in Mali. The project’s goal is food security, but it goes beyond that. Harande helps communities build resilience and the skills they need to withstand the frequent shocks in their lives. Funded by USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, the project focuses on the Mopti region – an area in northern Mali that suffers from frequent drought and current conflict and instability.

To overcome these obstacles and the underlying causes of poverty and hunger, vulnerable families must be able to prepare for and adapt to climate change. They need to be able to respond effectively to natural, economic, and social shocks such as conflict. Finally, they need access to critical resources such as health care, education, financial services, and agricultural services.


The Harande project addresses these issues through an integrated project design that has five key components:

  • Improving the nutritional status of women of childbearing age and children under 2. Harande has reached over 8,000 pregnant and lactating women with activities focusing on social and behavior change that will help families improve their nutrition, especially for children and pregnant women. It has trained mother leaders who will share what they have learned about health and nutrition with other women in their communities. The project is also using Community-Led Total Sanitation to help communities improve the safety of their drinking water.
  • Diversifying and improving livelihoods for targeted participants (especially women and youth). Harande established 35 Farmers’ Field and Business Schools to promote climate-change-adapted agriculture. In addition, Harande distributes inputs like drought-resistant seeds and stronger animals so participants can improve their production. Harande also promotes non-agricultural livelihoods to increase incomes for youth and women. This has included placing 282 young people in apprenticeships with master craftsmen and supporting local savings groups so families can have resources to start businesses and cope with shocks.
  • Increasing resilience to climate change among participants in targeted communities. Harande works with communities to access the weather information they need in order to plan for and respond to climate issues. The project built meteorological information systems in 119 villages, ensuring participants better information on upcoming weather events. Nearly 2,000 people in 40 villages participated in efforts to reclaim desert to plant gardens, grow animal feed, and improve water systems for livestock.
  • Reducing conflicts that restrict food and nutrition security outcomes in targeted communities. Harande is reviving and establishing new land commissions to manage conflicts over resources. Currently 11 commune-based and 83 village-based commissions have been started.
  • Improving governance related to food, nutrition, and income security. Two hundred fifty village-based Community Development Committees (CDC) are currently training 2,888 community members (33% women) on the roles and responsibilities of CDC and on participatory planning. Studies in the region indicate that every $1 spent on participatory planning will reduce the cost of disasters by $4. These local groups are also consulting with district and local governments to improve services.

of all program villages established early warning systems

of all program villages established early warning systems

Distributed 82.5 tons of locally produced fortified cereal

Program achievements

  • Distributed 82.5 tons of locally produced fortified cereal – helping both women business owners and 1,890 families with hungry children.
  • Built 25 new sources for clean water at the community level.
  • Distributed improved seeds to 4,836 people so they can grow millet, sorghum, and cowpea in drought conditions.
  • Gave 360 women 10 kg each of seeds so that each can produce 200 kg of shallots.
  • Set up 73 Village Savings and Loan Associations with 2,064 members who have saved $6,661.
  • 83% of all program villages have established early warning systems.
  • Reclaimed 11 hectares of land to grow animal feed and create a livestock food bank.
  • Trained 1,770 community leaders to look for conflict early warning signs and act to prevent conflict.

Improving Nutrition with Harande

Harande focused attention on the first 1000 days of a child’s life and on the health of women of childbearing age. It used Care Groups with ten lead mothers and a promoter who are trained to counsel women on nutrition and to overcome barriers to change, conduct peer education, and negotiate behavior change Each lead mother is responsible for reaching ten women, on average. Women in Harande’s Care Groups shared their experiences with the program.

Men’s Engagement Lends to Social Transformation

Harande’s Men’s Engagement strategy identified engaged men, built the capacity of role model men and other community leaders on positive masculinity, and communicated to communities on messages related to men’s contribution to domestic work, the participation of women in community meetings, women’s access to arable land for agricultural activities, the schooling of young girls, and the prevention of violence against women. The Men Engaged Group in Fombori, Mali contributed to key successes, including:

  • A growing rate of school enrollment for girls
  • Coaching women to use VLSA management tools (e.g. through women’s literacy)
  • Livelihood technical training
  • Improving women’s access to agricultural equipment
  • Sharing of domestic chores, such as fetching water, by men


Labor-Saving Equipment Helps Women Improve Incomes

As in many places, women Mali face heavy labor burdens and systemic exclusion in agricultural systems. Less than 20% of women have agricultural equipment, 3% have access to credit, and only 14% of Malian women own farmland. This exacerbates women’s already heavy labor burdens, and so Harande helped women in savings groups to invest in labor-saving equipment to reduce their workload to open up time for income-generating activities. This has allowed for:

  • Effective relief of the double burden on women
  • Diversification of revenue sources
  • Increased VSLA revenues
  • Easier access to credit

Farmers’ Field and Business Schools Help Improve Gender Equity

Rural Malian women make most of their income from agriculture, small livestock and poultry. These women, who make up 75% of the agricultural workforce and play a vital role in food security, face barriers in land access, improved farming techniques, literacy, finance, and gender equity. To address this, Harande established Farmer’s Field and Business Schools to transfer agricultural knowledge to women.

1,483 women and 48 men on garden plots and dry crops

3,245 and 479 men were trained on good agricultural practices, nutrition, and gender.

1,176 women and 83 men trained on liquid compost preparation and planting techniques.