The Project’s Steering Committee (PSC) convened its third meeting on March 15, 2017 at the Project Management Unit (PMU) office in Katsina State and concluded with the conviction that the Project is focused and gearing strongly towards delivering target results. Present in the meeting were the Associate Country Director (Evelyn Mere) and Project Coordinator (Austin Terngu) from OXFAM Country Office Abuja and the Clean Cookstove Advisor (Adedamola Ogunsesan) who represented the co-affiliate entity – International Center for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED). Also in attendance were the representatives of the Emirate Councils of Katsina and Daura, and Directors from Department of Forestry in Katsina State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Project Manager (Dr Chris Udokang) served as the Secretary to the Committee.

In her welcome remark, the Associate Country Director (ACD) appreciated the traditional rulers for their interest and honest involvement in the Project and affirmed that OXFAM, as one of the promising international NGOs, was impressed on the support given by stakeholders in the State, LGAs and the Community levels and appealed that her message be conveyed to the Emirs and other stakeholders.

Shortly after her speech, the Project Manager (PM) presented a brief Progress Report prepared according to the approved Specific Objectives of the Project. These specific objectives planned that 5.5m trees be planted and maintained; 55,000 farmers involved in tree planting exercises in 160,000 ha of farm land and 35,000 targeted households use the mud efficient clean cookstoves as an alternative means of dissuading beneficiaries from cutting trees for firewood consumption. The PM highlighted that despite the initial challenges, over 3.4m trees representing 61.36% of target 5.5m trees were achieved while 20,358 (representing 37.01%) of target farmers had participated in Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) and other Agroforestry models in 86,390.121 ha of farm land representing 53.99% across the seven LGAs achieved in 30 months’ timeline. He further informed that 6,614 mud efficient clean cookstoves were produced and 5,578 effectively disseminated within the period under review.

From his analysis, Daura LGA led in trees planting with 68.61% while Zango LGA led other LGAs with a 50.06% farmers’ participation. In the same vein, Sandamu LGA led on available hectares of farm land having recorded 67.5% involvement while Dutsi LGA led with 88.6% and 76.18% in stoves production and dissemination respectively. Members of the Steering Committee were also informed that the PMU had effectively managed and overcome most of the challenges reported at the second Steering Committee meeting and attributed the milestones achieved as a result of effective buy-in and support from stakeholders at all levels.

Speaking also on perceived challenges, the Project Coordinator informed all that useful discussions had been going on with the National Planning Commission and the European Union in Abuja and assured that soonest positive responses shall be communicated as the duo are equally impressed on the progress of the Project in Katsina State.

In his remark, the representative of the Emirate Council of Katsina, Alhaji Abba Balarabe (Sarkin Dawa) who chaired the meeting expressed satisfaction on the progress made and confirmed that as a retired Director of Forestry, he was impressed on the achievement made by the Project Management Unit. According to him, there has been a significant progress and major shifts from the impression he had at the previous meeting. Other participants also acknowledged the positive progress made by the Project Manager and his team. The Committee unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the team and pledged support to the Project Implementation Committee and LGA Multi-Stakeholders Coordination Platforms.  The Committee however warned that it will expect nothing less than total success at the end of the Project and requested the Project Manager to communicate hindrances for immediate attention.

In conclusion, the ACD remarked that the reactions and commendations made by members, to her, were clear signs of accepting the Project and a confirmation of taking up ownership. She also informed the Committee that similar acknowledgement was made by her during the Project Implementation Committee (PIC) meeting held the previous day when the verifiable indicators were presented. She advised the Project Manager and indeed FuWoBa implementing team to continue to work together and focus on delivering targeted results on approved timeline. According to her, it is by achieving these results that the Project would influence replication or scaling up in comparative States in Northern region. The Committee agreed to visit Project sites in Dutsi, Sandamu, Zango and Baure LGAs and adjourned to meet in October 2017.

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