Developing the livestock value chain in Mali with AECOM
AECOM is a global network of experts working to develop and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most complex challenges. Funded by USAID, AECOM recently implemented a Livestock for Growth project (L4G), with the aim of increasing inclusive livestock sector growth by improving animal health and weight, expanding market access and including historically marginalised groups in value chain development.
Above: Cattle in the Mopti region of Mali, October 2016.
Mali is among the world’s poorest countries, with chronic food insecurity and poverty. According to AECOM, approximately 80% Mali’s population is engaged in agricultural activities, while the livestock sector accounts for about 20% of the country’s GDP and provides employment for almost 30% of its population. Livestock therefore holds huge potential for driving economic growth and reducing poverty in Mali, but many challenges remain. The market is underdeveloped and market access is limited, particularly for women and poorer households. Due to this lack of market access, marginalised groups often lack knowledge regarding best farming practices and nutrition.
In order for AECOM to decide where best to invest their L4G activities and monitor the progress, they needed to capture and understand a variety of data.
First of all, AECOM conducted an inventory in rural areas of Mali in order to establish which livestock markets and households would benefit most from the L4G activities and have the most sustainable and positive effect on the livestock sector as a whole. This qualitative data was collected using surveys on Akvo Flow, which were created by AECOM and adapted by Akvo to fit the local context in Mali.
Once the households had been selected, the AECOM team began their L4G activities, which included building water reservoirs built for farmers and providing training on caring for healthy livestock and pastureland. In order to evaluate the progress of the project, AECOM used Flow to collect quantitative data at each household, from the number of livestock to the number of products and the profit margins.
Locals at a livestock market in Mopti, Mali.
The persistent security issues in the region of Mopti, where the project is being implemented, made data collection unsafe for AECOM staff. With Flow, they are able to monitor the progress of their activities remotely, since the implementing partners on the ground can update the data quickly and easily. This means that the monitoring and evaluation team are in possession of high quality data in a short period of time, and are able to make informed and timely decisions to reach the maximum impact.