Seed Security Solution Package economic-wellbeing

Ensuring farmers in conflict-affected contexts have access to quality climate-adapted seeds.

This package of three solutions leverages contests, prizes, field experiments, and peer-learning to identify and multiply high-yielding and climate-adapted seed varieties, increase seed quality and availability, and ultimately enhance the resilience of agricultural livelihoods in crisis-affected contexts.
Filter by status
Design
Test
Scale

Seed Security Solution Package is at the Prototype stage

education

EdTech Global Landscape Analysis

The research identified six EdTech innovation trends that represent patterns of approach we observed across many individual global projects. Accompanying each innovation trend are 2-3 case studies that illustrate how...

Find out more

economic-wellbeing

Local Manufacturing of Medical Supplies in Northwest Syria

Northwest Syria

Open source designs, local manufacturing, and business support can enable a localized supply chain of critical medical equipment while also supporting the market and providing income to families in economic...

Find out more

empowerment

Service Delivery for Mobile Populations

Jordan

As people displaced by the Syria crisis begin returning to their homes, new approaches will be needed to deal with the unprecedented scale of returns.

Find out more

empowerment

Urban Housing

Jordan

Rapid urbanization in many parts of the world has led to a great deal of challenges ensuring the availability of adequate housing. In the Middle East, this is coupled by...

Find out more

This project became inactive following the Design Research phase

No projects currently, try another filter

innovative-finance

Crisis Risk Finance

Global

IRC’s work on crisis risk finance seeks to develop a blueprint for how organizations can reorient more of their resources and processes to be better prepared for, and how the...

Find out more

innovative-finance

Defining and driving innovative finance

Global humanitarian budgets are not keeping pace with our clients’ needs and aspirations. Airbel is designing and testing new approaches to raising finance, and impactful new ways to use funds...

Find out more

innovative-finance

Financing Refugee Crisis Response

Together with the Centre for Global Disaster Protection, Airbel is working to assess the potential to use risk-based financing approaches to respond to refugee influxes.

Find out more

This project graduated following the Generate Solutions phase

empowerment

Information Flows

Jordan

Displaced people live in challenging circumstances where accurate information can become difficult to obtain. Strengthening information flows can aid in decision-making and make their circumstances easier to manage.

Find out more

This project graduated following the Generate Solutions phase

empowerment

Placement Algorithm

United States

Airbel is piloting and scaling an innovative machine learning algorithm developed by the Stanford University Immigration Policy Lab that matches refugees in areas where they are likely to thrive when...

Find out more

This project became inactive following the Generate Solutions phase

economic-wellbeing

Trade Accelerator

Focused support for Jordanian businesses to foster rapid growth and help them tap into the European market and hire refugees to do so.

Find out more

This project became inactive following the Generate Solutions phase

health

Virtual Baby

This portable game would let children earn points for raising a happy baby, teaching them about sexual health and nutrition.

Find out more

This project became inactive following the Generate Solutions phase

No projects currently, try another filter

empowerment

Ask Laila

A hotline, SMS, and web-based service to help resettled refugees get quick answers from a trusted local source - in their own language.

Find out more

This project became inactive following the Prototype phase

education

Audio-Class System

Colombia

The Colombian education system is struggling to support an unprecedented influx of students in the midst of a global pandemic. To respond to the crisis, the IRC created an innovative...

Find out more

health

Dela

Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dela aims to be an open-source mobile application that connects community health workers and their supervisors with a consistent channel of communication, to improve the quality of services delivered through...

Find out more

empowerment

Games for Diversity and Inclusion

Airbel worked closely with colleagues in the Asia Region to prototype approaches to increasing diversity and inclusivity in our workplaces through mechanisms with wide appeal, that can be easily integrated...

Find out more

This project graduated following the Prototype phase

health

Medicine Bank

Jordan

People with low income in Jordan often struggle to access the medicine they need. This solution is aimed at making supply chains more efficient to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals....

Find out more

health

InforMH

Jordan

Leveraging people’s existing practices to bridge the information and stigma gaps that prevent people from seeking mental health and psychosocial support.

Find out more

health

Sprout

Niger

Over 16 million children under the age of 3 are afflicted by severe acute malnutrition. To pinpoint the most impactful prevention methods, Sprout is experimenting with 3 distinct approaches.

Find out more

This project graduated following the Prototype phase

economic-wellbeing

Seed Security Solution Package

Syria, South Sudan, Pakistan, Niger

This package of three solutions leverages contests, prizes, field experiments, and peer-learning to identify and multiply high-yielding and climate-adapted seed varieties, increase seed quality and availability, and ultimately enhance the...

Find out more

education

Spark

Tanzania

Spark creates alternative learning spaces outside of refugee camp schools to practice play-based learning and social-emotional skills with primary school children.

Find out more

This project became inactive following the Prototype phase

No projects currently, try another filter

empowerment

IRC Connect

United States

In partnership with Twilio.org, Airbel is developing an SMS-based system to streamline communication between caseworkers and newly-settled refugees as they adapt to their new lives in the United States.

Find out more

This project graduated following the Pilot phase

education

Coach Erevu

Tanzania

Coach Erevu is a virtual teacher coaching program designed to empower teachers to learn and practice social-emotional learning activities that they can use in their classrooms.

Find out more

This project graduated following the Pilot phase

health

Low-Literacy Malnutrition Tools

South Sudan

In hard-to-reach areas local community health workers are key to treating malnourished children. Commonly used tools for diagnosing and treating malnutrition have been adapted to meet the needs of workers...

Find out more

This project graduated following the Pilot phase

health

Micronutrient Condiment

Kenya

Two billion people are affected by micronutrient deficiencies worldwide. One third of them are children. We aim to introduce an affordable product inspired by existing porridge preparation practices for sale...

Find out more

education

PlayMatters

Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda

PlayMatters is an IRC-led consortium funded by the LEGO Foundation that cultivates holistic learning and wellbeing outcomes for refugee and host-community children aged 3-12+ in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda through...

Find out more

education

Pop-Up Class Tanzania

Tanzania

Pop-Up Class Tanzania is an after-school digital learning program where children learn on personalized game-based learning software called onecourse and Kitkit School.

Find out more

education

Pop-Up Learning Tanzania

Tanzania

With more students out of school around the world due to COVID-19 than ever before, we need solutions that ensure the hardest-to-reach children receive quality education. The IRC is delivering...

Find out more

innovative-finance

Resettlement Revolving Fund

In this new model for refugee resettlement finance, a self-sustaining fund provides countries with finance for refugee resettlement, and is replenished as refugees fuel economic growth.

Find out more

This project graduated following the Pilot phase

education

Tunakujenga

Tanzania

Tunakujenga is a family learning program designed to empower caregivers to engage in nurturing and playful parenting to support their children’s social and emotional development.

Find out more

This project graduated following the Pilot phase

No projects currently, try another filter

education

EmpaTeach

Tanzania

EmpaTeach is a project that aims to reduce corporal punishment in low resource settings by helping teachers learn positive discipline methods, change destructive thought patterns, and plan ahead for positive...

Find out more

This project graduated following the Rigorous Evaluation phase

safety

Real Man Challenge

Liberia, Uganda, Peru

The Real Man Challenge is a mobile messaging campaign that engages men with an aspirational and positive masculine identity to prevent intimate partner violence. It sends WhatsApp messages to men...

Find out more

education

Pop-Up Learning Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Pop-Up Learning is a tablet-based computer-assisted learning program, aimed to mobilize quickly and efficiently on the onset of crisis.

Find out more
No projects currently, try another filter

safety

Becoming One

Uganda

Becoming One is a counseling program designed to bring couples closer and prevent intimate partner violence. The program is delivered in partnership with local faith leaders, who guide couples through...

Find out more

health

ComPAS: Combined Protocol for Acute Malnutrition Study

South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Mali, Chad

The current malnutrition treatment is inaccessible for 4 out of 5 acutely malnourished children globally. A new combined approach is simpler, less expensive, & offers more comprehensive treatment, with the...

Find out more

other

Dioptra

Dioptra simplifies the process of conducting cost analyses, helping humanitarian and development actors make use of limited resources in a transparent and effective way.

Find out more

economic-wellbeing

Match

Jordan

Working to counter the high rates of unemployment that follow mass displacement, the Match project in Jordan is testing a set of new innovations for placing vulnerable populations and refugees...

Find out more

education

Ahlan Simsim

In this historic effort, IRC and Sesame Workshop have partnered to help children whose lives have been uprooted by the war in Syria to build brighter futures.

Find out more
No projects currently, try another filter

Seed selection is one of the most important and high impact climate adaptation actions that a farmer has available to them. Strong seed systems are critical to ensure farmers have access to appropriate and high quality seeds at the right time. In fragile contexts when those systems are disrupted, it further threatens vulnerable populations by limiting their access and options for seeds—they often are forced to use lower quality or less appropriate varieties for changing climatic conditions.

In Northeast Syria specifically, the effects of chronic drought, a sharp decline in water flow into the Euphrates and other rivers, the destruction of vital agricultural infrastructure, rampant inflation, and an 11-year war have produced a negative feedback loop wherein seeds are decreasing in quality and availability and escalating in price season after season. 370,000 people are now in need of food and agricultural assistance and farmers agree that if nothing changes a disaster is imminent. Within this context of generalized urgency and severe need, it is essential to make special considerations for women given their expanding role as bread-winners and heads of household in Northeast Syria but their more limited access to agro-inputs and information as compared to men.

To increase seed quality and availability in Northeast Syria and enhance the resilience of agricultural livelihoods, we have developed a package of three solutions which leverage contests, prizes, field experiments, and collaboration and mentorship models to 1) test seed varieties to identify those best adapted to the climatic conditions, 2) multiply the identified higher yielding and more climate-resilient varieties, and 3) enhance women’s participation in the agricultural sector. Importantly, all three solutions in the package are rooted in local communities and market actors to both promote the acceptability of the solutions and to enhance their resilience to potential political shocks and contextual changes. According to our preliminary modeling, this solution package has the potential to reach 216,730 clients in five-years, representing nearly 60% of the population in need.

The solution package fills a gap where current bread and butter seed solutions are insufficient. Current approaches, such as cash for seeds interventions (which provide farmers cash to purchase the inputs they need most in the local market) or trainings in climate adapted agricultural practices, don’t work when the seeds available in the local market are of low quality or are non-existent. Community level approaches, such as seed banking, are also not common in Northeast Syria as there was a centralized agricultural system prior to the war. Supply side interventions, such as those proposed within our package, are therefore necessary to promote an enabling environment wherein cash for seeds programming and trainings can be more effective.

Solution Package Deep Dive

A more in depth description of each of the three solutions in the package is included below.

  1. A competition to test new seed varieties: The end-users of the first solution in the package are clients who work in the dual role of both agro-dealer or agro-pharmacist and farmer. An agro-pharmacist in Syria would have a degree in agricultural engineering and trade a range of chemical products, such as fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides etc. Agro-dealers trade seed, which does not require a formal qualification. Through this solution, clients are directly invited by the IRC to participate in a competition that involves testing wheat varieties in their own fields (field experiments) to identify those that are more resilient to drought and that are higher yielding. Participants get the agricultural inputs for free (including seed varieties for testing and fertilizer) along with a workbook with some guidelines to be able to experiment independently. They share progress and information during the season in a WhatsApp group, which is supervised by an agricultural expert in field experimentation. They learn how the same seed variety performs in other locations and different conditions.  Participants keep the harvest from their experiments and, if successful, will receive a prize. The more experiments participants try, the higher their chances of winning a prize. An example of a prize may be a voucher for a solar panel installation for irrigation or other agricultural equipment (e.g. seeder machine, sprinkler irrigation system).
     
  2. Seed multiplication as a collaborative and rewarding process: The end-users of the second solution in the package are clients who are farmers. Through this solution, clients can sign up for a seed multiplication program, aiming to increase the supply of quality seed in the region. Participants receive both in-kind and cash support to cover their needs for: seeds, fertilizer, and fuel for irrigation at the right times in the seasonal calendar. They will benefit from free expert support via an initial training, twice monthly field visits and ongoing WhatsApp groups. To participate in the program they need to be willing to work on their own land for the entire season (leveraging otherwise unused land - in 2020 and 2021, 60% of wheat and barley plots were left unharvested across Al-Hasakah and Ar-Raqqah), have access to a water source (irrigated land), and to commit to donate from their production (at least the same amount of seed that they receive) to other farmers. The agricultural expert will facilitate problem-solving and sharing of information and tips through the WhatsApp groups. Successful and engaged groups will be recognized and rewarded. Rewards could be agricultural inputs (e.g. seed, fertilizer) that can be shared among the group members.
     
  3. Empowering women as seed multipliers and entrepreneurs: In addition to identifying strategies and approaches to promote the full participation of women in solutions 1 and 2, we are exploring a third solution that will specifically target women as the end-users, who are most often responsible for vegetable and barley production. Through this solution, clients participate in a women-to-women network which is focused on vertical integration of multiplying barley seed for fodder, producing fodder and other horticultural crops, processing of products, and marketing produce and seed for sale. During the first prototyping phase, we will focus on solutions 1 and 2, and will leverage the learnings and insights from those solutions to inform and refine the design of solution 3.

What’s Next

In the prototyping phase, we plan to refine and specify this package through co-creation and iteration activities with clients. We will start by conducting interviews and co-creation group workshops with farmers, agro-dealers, and agro-pharmacists to identify the most attractive characteristics to include in the model for each solution as well as potential behavioral barriers and drivers to uptake. We will then leverage these insights to co-create more detailed solution prototypes, and finally test those with clients again through interviews to refine the solution models to take forward to piloting.

While this prototyping phase is focused specifically on Northeast Syria, where we have identified a population of 370,000 in need of food and agricultural assistance, we have additionally already conducted design research across Pakistan, South Sudan, and Niger, where we have identified a combined population in need of nearly 3 million. While solutions for each of these three countries will need to be generated with their unique constraints, barriers, opportunities, and other contextual factors in mind, lessons learned through prototyping in Northeast Syria will inform design sprints and the generation of solutions across each of the other three priority countries.

July 2022 | Prototyping in Northeast Syria

  • We are currently collecting user-feedback on the draft solution package to identify the most attractive characteristics to include in the model for each solution.
  • Throughout summer 2022, we will iterate and refine the solution models, test the refined models with clients, and develop a functional prototype for testing through a pilot.

December 2021 | Design Sprint in Northeast Syria

  • We identified Northeast Syria as the first context in which to generate a solution.
  • We conducted a series of four design workshops in partnership with the Northeast Syria country program team to generate a broad range of solution ideas based on the insights surfaced through design research.
  • We assessed each idea in terms of its feasibility and potential impact and identified a draft package of three complimentary solutions.
  • We conducted preliminary interviews with eight farmers as an early and light touch validation exercise and to surface questions for further iteration.
  • We developed quantitative models to project the potential reach of the solution package and developed a preliminary theory of change.
Resource

August 2021 | Design Research in Syria, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Niger

  • We conducted an evidence review of best practices in seed security programming, with a focus on fragile contexts, globally.
  • We conducted design workshops with our country program teams across all four countries during which we co-created problem statements to identify systemic challenges related to seed security in each context.
  • We conducted semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with 270 farmers, agro-dealers, and representatives from local NGOs to surface deeper insights into challenges, opportunities, needs, desires, and preferences across each context.

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.