Methodology, process & results
Sustainability concerns have always been central to Vredeseilanden's programmes. In 2007, we made a shift from a food security agenda to one focused on market access for smallholder family farmers through inclusive value chain development. Our concern for sustainability remained central, but we lacked clarity on how to define ‘sustainability’ in the context of a value chain development programme, how to make sustainability in its many dimensions actually happen and how to measure progress.
Therefore, in 2011, we decided to embark on what came to be known as our ‘sustainability trajectory’. To this end, a vision was formulated, a ‘road show’ (series of motivational workshops) was staged at different locations worldwide to motivate personnel and partner organisations, screening tools were developed, and a Colloquium (‘The Farmer Effect‘) was organised.
The primary tools were one for sub-sector screening and one for screening value chain interventions. The purpose of the subsectorscreening was to verify whether our choices of sub-sectors – made some years ago – were the ‘right’ ones. The purpose of the chain intervention screening was to check the extent to which our interventions and their impacts are contributing to the development of sustainable livelihoods. After developing the two tools, we conducted our first round of screenings. This document is a reflection of the process and describes the methodology we developed to detect the 'hot spots’ for sustainability in the value chains we support. It is an ongoing process and in coming years the tools (annexes in the bar on the right) will be improved for further use.