COMPASS overview

People in the regions Centre Nord in Burkina Faso, Tambacounda in Senegal, West Equatoria State in South Sudan and Oromia in Ethiopia are particularly affected by food insecurity. Difficult climatic conditions, conflicts, poor access to resources and inputs, unsustainable agricultural practices and low awareness of the need for a balanced nutrition prevent families and especially infants from having adequate food throughout the year.

Supporting poor rural families to lift themselves out of hunger in the long term – this is the vision that unites Caritas Austria, Meki Catholic Secretariat, Solidarity with South Sudan, Caritas Tambacounda and Ocades Kaya. As part of a joint five-year strategic partnership and with financial support from the Austrian Development Agency, the program team will sensitize, accompany, train and support around 5.560 smallholder households (which is around 32.000 individuals).

The aim of the COMPASS programme is to improve the food security of those poor rural families in the long term. With this strategy, we contribute to the second UN Sustainable Development Goal “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture“.

As a result of the programme:

  • 5.560 smallholder households will have permanent access to food as a result of increasing/ diversifying their agricultural production, their livestock production and/or income generation activities
  • Natural resources in the region will be maintained/restored through resource protection and promotion of biological diversity (e.g. the rehabilitation of 2.520 ha of land)
  • Access of 700 targeted households to drinking water and good hygienic and sanitary practices will be improved
  • The nutritional status of family members of 2.050 targeted households, especially children, will be improved

The proposed on-site interventions include diversification activities (vegetable growing, cereal farming, livestock farming), organic farming (model farm operation, sustainable methods training, compost and bio-preparation production, seed propagation, seed and equipment support), and the reduction of post-harvest losses (granaries, grain mills, storage bags), low-level support in the sale of surplus production (agricultural fairs, cash crop seeds, grain trading funds, promotion of savings groups), resource conservation (sensitization, creation of stone terraces, reforestation, use of energy-saving stoves) and drinking water supply (infrastructure). Nutrition measures are planned to improve nutrition at household level (awareness raising, training, cooking classes, supplementary food and long-term monitoring of malnourished toddlers).

Furthermore, three cross-country aims are pursued:

  • Organisational capacities will be strengthened by common learning activities and knowledge management within the COMPASS team
  • Innovative methods will be identified and experimented by the programme partners in Africa
  • Networking and exchange with relevant stakeholders working on topics around food and nutritional security will be improved

To increase the effectiveness of the interventions on the ground, the strategic partnership of the five organizations aims at creating space for reflection, learning together, sharing experiences, stimulating change processes and taking on new ideas and developing them further. Therefore, a special focus of the programme is set on innovation and knowledge management at country level, between the regions of West and East Africa and at program level. Networking with other stakeholders in the region in the same sector shall accelerate the achievement of the results.

A program team with representatives of all five organizations steers the implementation of the concerns defined in the COMPASS programme.