The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), lead implementing partner CARE and a host of consortium partners officially launched the new GRAD program – Graduation with Resilience to Achieve Sustainable Development.
The goal of the GRAD program is to assist poor, rural households who are currently receiving support from the Government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) to achieve self-sufficiency and “graduate” from the PSNP. Overall, GRAD aims to reach roughly 375,000 Ethiopians in four regions where PSNP operates: Oromiya, Amhara, Tigray and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNPPR).
This five year project, a USAID investment valued at over USD 23 million, will use market driven approaches to work in food insecure and climate-vulnerable areas to diversify livelihoods, build assets, raise income and enable them to withstand climate and other shocks. GRAD will improve household productive skills, nutritional intake and climate change adaptation practices while focusing on women’s empowerment and their aspirations to graduate.
The GRAD program is designed to assist poor households by linking them to micro finance services and functioning markets supported by a number of strategies such as strengthening women’s participation and skills, adapting farming and natural resource conservation practices, improving nutrition, and enhancement and modernization of agricultural extension services, in order to eliminate dependence on the PSNP for subsistence.
“The goal of GRAD reflects our new USAID strategy that aims to accelerate the transformation of people’s lives and progress toward sustainable, rural development in Ethiopia” said USAID Mission Director, Thomas Staal adding, “Our goal is to promote food security, improve nutrition and provide opportunities that will reduce reliance on food aid and lift them from a life of poverty.”
The GRAD project will work closely with the Government’s Household Asset Building Program (HABP) and with the Agricultural Extension Offices, Federal and Woreda Cooperative Agencies. USAID’s new GRAD program is implemented by a consortium of national and international NGOs. CARE is responsible for overall consortium management as well as project implementation in SNPPR. In the other regions, the GRAD program will be implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRF) in Oromiya, Relief Society of Tigray (REST) in Tigray and by the Organization for Relief and Development (ORDA) in Amhara.