Economic development often entails high environmental costs and widening income gaps. Rural areas are mostly disadvantaged in their access to major markets. The majority of the rural population, in particular small farmers, women and minorities, are poor by national standards. These social groups only have limited options concerning their involvement in mainstream development. Moreover, unsustainable production techniques threaten the prospects of future generations.
GFA concept and services
Sustainable development in rural areas requires a comprehensive and cross-cutting approach to achieve ‘pro-poor’ and ‘green’ growth. Because of the variety of conditions regarding natural and human resources, there can be no blueprints. GFA concepts are therefore based on sound and specific situation analyses. Selecting from a diversity of state-of-the-art tools and methods, GFA services are tailor-made packages of interventions that best meet rural development needs. Depending on the situation, the services we offer are modular combinations of several of the following intervention options.
Poverty reduction and social development
Our teams of experts implement national poverty reduction and food security strategies at the local level. They integrate marginalized population groups and open gender-specific opportunities. GFA specialists foster participatory planning, community development, administrative decentralization and democratic institution building.
Environment and natural resources
GFA experts strive for the protection and sustainable use of natural resources in conservation areas and buffer zones, land use planning, and land management. Sustainability principles also rule community forestry as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation measures at local levels.
Through participatory assessments of competitive advantages, GFA assists boosting regional competitiveness as well as local economic development. To our teams, planning and implementing needs-based, small-scale rural infrastructure often is a point of departure.
GFA specializes in participatory agricultural extension, low-input strategies, and increasing agricultural productivity and market orientation in a sustainable fashion. Off-farm income opportunities and the processing of primary products from agriculture and forestry are crucial elements of our trade and marketing efforts. We also promote producer groups, associations and cooperatives by facilitating production clusters and local value chains and connecting these to international supply links. Similarly, GFA experts assist public and private service providers and small enterprises in rural areas, e.g. by facilitating small-scale credit programs or providing microfinance.