The Economic Empowerment programme was new in 2016 when NCA decided to move from traditional livelihood programming to working towards job and income creation, and applying value chain and marked based approaches. The last three years have been a learning process for all the countries and partners involved. A number of approaches and models were contextualised and tested, resulting in a number of good results that could be more targeted and scaled up for greater impact. In the next programme period, NCA will focus on rolling out and scaling up the models that have performed well, such as Micro Investment, NCA’s market based vocational training model, and technological and programmatic innovation.
Climate change is a harsh reality in most programme locations and negatively affecting food production, income opportunities and the general resilience of the communities NCA supports. As a result, various climate resilience building activities have been introduced. The lesson learned is that programmes need to factor in climate change risk mitigation, while recognising that economically empowered rights holders are more robust to tackle climate change and other shocks. NCA will systematically integrate climate smart practices and resilience building in future Economic Empowerment programming.
In Zambia, a target was set for establishing formal business contracts, which was not achieved mainly because the target NCA Zambia set was too rigid. To enter into a formal contract the parties need to be legal entities, something the rights holder groups were not, and therefore the target was not achieved. A lesson learned is that gaining access to markets may not necessarily require formal business contracts. This was evident from monitoring that indicated that all rights holders that established micro enterprises with support from the programme were able to sell their commodities without formal contracts. The results were therefore in fact good, but the indicator did not reflect this and will have to be adapted accordingly in the future.