Rural livelihoods in the context of COVID-19: impact and intervention needed for resilience


22 September 2020


Zoom event


African Union (AU)
Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA)

In September, the African Union (AU) Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) co-organised with IFAD, FAO and other partners, a virtual conference to provide policymakers, planners, value chain actors and experts a platform to share successful approaches and strategies for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on rural livelihoods and institutions. 

During the conference, RFS Implementing Agencies FAO and IFAD gave presentations that provided an overview of the actions that each organisation has been taking to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on rural livelihoods as well as concrete examples of projects and programmes that are facilitating a post-COVID recovery. 

Both presentations highlighted knowledge and experiences generated by the RFS programme that could be used to inform other COVID recovery approaches in the agriculture sector. FAO provided valuable insights from the guidebook “Running Farmer Field Schools in times of COVID-19”, which was co-published by the RFS programme. The impact of the guidebook, along with complementary posters and training webinars for extension workers, has extended beyond the programme, supporting the adaptation of participatory extension models around the world. 

The IFAD presentation noted, in particular, the important role of rural institutions in planning and executing emergency responses. RFS offered valuable insights in this respect, highlighting the pivotal role of multi-stakeholder platforms in bringing together environmental, agricultural and food security actors, while connecting decision makers at the local level with country and regional responses. Maintaining and growing these lines of communication and knowledge exchange will be key to facilitating a post-COVID recovery in both the short- and long-term. 

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