SAFIRE’s mission is “to facilitate the development and application of innovative approaches to improve rural livelihoods resilience and sustainable natural resources management.” To fulfill this mission SAFIRE’s activities and projects are organised into five broad livelihood enhancement programmes namely: Benefit driven Natural Resources Management, Improving Household Resilience, Information for Development, Relief for Development and Research.
1.Benefit Driven Natural Resources Management
Benefit-driven Natural Resources Management remains SAFIRE’S core business since inception. Projects under this component focus on management of the natural resource base through product and technology development, business and market development and marketing. The overall goal is to promote the economic, social and environmental development of communal areas based on the sustainable productive use and management of natural resources. Focus is also on product and technology development and marketing, as well as value chain development and market linkages Some of the successfully developed products that are on the market are marula oil, pulp and jelly;baobab oil and pulp, makoni tea, honey and dried vegetables.
2. Information for Development
The main objective of this component is to empower rural communities to make more informed choices for a better livelihood through targeted information generation and knowledge sharing. This is achieved through:
- Knowledge sharing supported by a range of information and communication media technologies
- Documentation of indigenous knowledge and promoting access to information that is relevant to their livelihood situations
- Community information centres
- Information and knowledge sharing and exchange (thematic seminars, workshops, tours, fairs, exhibitions)
3. Food Security and Livelihood Cushioning
SAFIRE’s projects also focus on promoting the use of natural foods for nutrition and seek to enhance production and productivity by promoting conservation agriculture principles, establishment of nutrition gardens, rehabilitation of irrigation schemes and promotion of improved processing of indigenous vegetables to preserve nutrients and extend shelf life.
Projects under this component also focus on the establishment of market linkages between smallholder farmers and agribusiness to facilitate marketing of high value crops and natural products. This helps to improve productivity, enterprise development and income generation for livelihood and food security. The key strategies include formation of business models, access to finance through commercial banks and establishing enduring links with private companies.
4. Relief for Development
Projects on relief for development focus on:
- Emergency response to disasters to support long term initiatives
- Disaster preparedness and mitigation
- Conflict and environmental management
As a continually learning organisation that is at the cutting edge of development, SAFIRE is also involved in research with the aim of learning new things to add to its store of knowledge as well as gathering new evidence for its programming. Currently SAFIRE is in partnership with GEF to conduct research on land sharing and land sparing in Zimbabwe. The study site is in a dry area in Lupane.
Land Sharing is A situation where low-yield farming enables biodiversity to be maintained within the agricultural landscape.
Land Sparing: Where high-yielding agriculture is practiced, requiring a smaller area of land to attain the same yields and therefore leaving greater areas of natural habitat untouched.
In a nutshell, the research is looking into whether the area of land being used for agriculture should be increased (land sharing), or production on the land already being used be intensified (land sparing).