SPIR Learning Briefs

SPIR's approaches and learning

Take a look at the approaches SPIR is taking to increase food security, resilience, nutrition, and women's empowerment. SPIR has 4 program pillars:

  1. Increased income, productive assets and equitable access to nutritious food for vulnerable women, men and youth;
  2. Improved nutritional status of children under two years of age, pregnant and lactating women, and adolescent girls;
  3. Increased women’s empowerment, youth empowerment and gender equity;
  4. Strengthened ability of women, men and communities to mitigate, adapt to and recover from human-caused and natural shocks and stresses.


Government extension workers and community volunteers give nutrition education and promote health and nutrition services the community level.


VESAs (Village Economic and Social Associations) are groups of 15-25 households, brought together as a foundation for all economic and social activities. In SPIR, VESAs serve as an entry point for: financial literacy & business  trainings, agriculture production, savings, and connections to markets.


The “Youth” VESA is a new program piloted by SPIR which brings together the children of PSNP4 households as a self-selected group of peers who save together and support each other. Organizing PSNP4 youth into VESAs is a cost-effective way of delivering services  to a previously underserved population.

Public Works

SPIR and the government of Ethiopia's PSNP project partner to get communities involved in public works. The benefits of the public works program extend well beyond earning each PSNP participant 6 months of food rations.


Families grow gardens at home year round so they can access fresh vegetables. This way they have healthier diets, and can sell the surplus for extra cash.

Access to MFIs

Access to finance is a major barrier for farmers in Ethiopia, especially PSNP4 beneficiaries who are part of the USAID-funded SPIR program. This 4 page brief highlights how the project is helping them access to loans.


SPIR supports local entrepreneurs to create agricultural input supply stores that will sustainably serve local farmers. Training on how to use inputs, connections to bulk suppliers for inputs, and additional infrastructure for stores are key supports.

Potato Seed Production

To help farmers grow potatoes--a much desired and profitable crop--SPIR works with local farmers to create seed multiplication businesses. That means they have sustainable sources of new seed close by, and profits stay in the community.

Participatory Scenario Planning

“Climate is the base of all of our livelihood activities. We need to have information and decide what to do based on the information about the weather in order to be successful." SPIR helps communities make decisions based on weather information.

Youth Businesses

SPIR supports young people to create their own sustainable businesses with loans from their VESA activities.