'I am here to give a speech, for I am a farmer'

01 Mar 2009


Development projects, despite their bureaucratic and long names, generally target poor people and the unemployed. These sorts of projects is generally managed by professional organizations. However, beneficiaries of the Small Investments Fund (SIF), created by UNDP and the Baku Tiblisi Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline Company Environmental Investment Programme, are not professional project managers.

New Horizons - In fact, farmers, retired teachers, civil servants, and young people who live on the route of Baku Tiblisi Ceyhan pipeline create and implement development projects. In the context of Small Investments Fund, project management capacities of local people are improved and the needs of poor people and those who depend on natural resources are met with environment-friendly new alternatives. Experience sharing meeting held in February as part of the Second Phase of the SIF Project showed that the project contributed to corporate capacity development, local communities’ capacity enhancement and created employment for local communities.

Starting their speeches with the sentence “I am here to give a speech, for I am a farmer”, many farmers, who received technical and financial support through the SIF project, related their success stories. The establishment of the first large-scale biogas reactor, production of medical aromatic plants and their use as a source of revenue for women villagers, improvements in local diet habits, production of local seeds which were once neglected, eco-tourism activities, that received international recognition, to conserve a prominent wetland area and the fact that all of these were accomplished by local people are just some of the achievements of the project…

So far 3,000 people have benefitted directly or indirectly from the projects carried out in 11 residential areas. The projects in the scope of SIF not only conserved the unique natural resources in places where the projects were implemented but also succeeded to draw the attention of international organizations, Turkish government, national and international media on local solutions. The projects can also be a model to be replicated in other regions.  

At the experience sharing meeting held in February at the General Directorate of Forestry in Ankara, the organizations, which benefitted from the SIF project, made a presentation. (Please click the following links to access the presentations: “Development of Eco-tourism in Yoğunoluk Village of Samandağ District, Hatay Province”, “Boğatepe Village Sustainability and Life with Plants”, “Production of Bio-gas and Bio-mass from Systematically Collected Cattle Manure”, “Development of Eco-tourism Possibilities in Kuyucuk Lake”, “Centre for Promoting the Yumurtalik Lagoons”)

In his presentation, Associate Professor Bülent Gülçubuk from Ankara University, Turkey examined the results of projects (please click here to access the presentation). Following the discussions about capacity development in development projects and how projects contributed to behavior change, workshops were held on the contribution of projects to UN Millenium Development Goals.