PROSPER – Promoting Sustainable Partnerships for Empowered Resilience

Case Summary: 

PROSPER aimed to build the resilience of households and communities, strengthen shock-sensitive social protection, expand climate-smart agriculture, reduce exposure to hazards and risks, achieve food and nutrition security, and diversify and improve income generation and economic opportunities. It sought “a reduction in extreme poverty and an end to the recurrent cycle of hunger and humanitarian assistance in Malawi” through strengthening the resilience of over 950,000 low-income and vulnerable people to withstand current and future weather- and climate-related shocks and stresses, and to achieve their full economic potential.

In practice, PROSPER’s multi-million dollar programme across four districts of southern Malawi involved the following activities in pursuit of its goals, targeting the different levels (individual, household, community, ecosystems, markets and governance) necessary for resilience:

  • Promoting climate-smart agriculture and good agricultural practice.
  • Organising events with private sector and district authorities to promote farmers’ access to high quality agricultural inputs (certified, improved and drought-tolerant seeds, inoculants and key agro-chemicals).
  • Strengthening agricultural extension services.
  • Disseminating agricultural and market information.
  • Developing market systems by promoting private sector engagement and demonstrating pro-poor business initiatives.
  • Promoting access to financial services for rural households, including credit and loans, insurance products and entrepreneurship training.
  • Enabling women and men to engage in sustainable land use and watershed management, while addressing resource, social and gender constraints.
  • Supporting community-led solutions through participatory planning processes.
  • Supporting community-managed disaster risk reduction through local contingency plans, etc.
  • Supporting shock-sensitive social protection, and other activities (please see the pdf for full case study details).
  • PROSPER developed a Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) strategy, which established that gender inequality is a significant barrier to resilience building. The strategy presented a framework for the programme to be, at minimum, fully gender-responsive in the delivery of its work, but also to strive towards transforming gender relations more broadly in society.

The GESI strategy said that if the PROSPER programme was “blind to the inequalities in access to resources and opportunities that further drive people’s vulnerability, its ultimate aim of reduction in extreme poverty and putting an end to the recurrent cycle of hunger and humanitarian assistance in Malawi cannot be fully met.” The GESI strategy developed five strategic pillars to enable the PROSPER programme to meet its resilience goals and each of these had nine pathways (specific activity streams) to underpin them:

  • Basic needs
  • Meaningful inclusion
  • Safety from harm
  • Public sphere influence
  • Private sphere influence.

The GESI strategy was developed part-way through the inception phase of this major climate resilience programme, and programme personnel said it would have been even more effective, had it been developed at the very beginning. Notwithstanding, programme staff considered it a ‘guiding lifht’ and inspiration, as they rolled out activities.

Logframe indicators were adjusted so that they would measure advances in wellbeing for women as well as men. The rationale was that this would commit the programme to collect gender-disaggregated data and encourage the programme to target a balance of women and men. Significant effort was dedicated to household surveys, focus group discussions and key informant interviews to collect sex-disaggregated data on how women and men were differentially participating in and benefiting from different aspects of the programme.

Staff said that they had learned key lessons from their early efforts to implement PROSPER’s GESI strategy, which they would take forward into other climate and development programmes.

This case study starts on page 48.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Action Area 
Planning and Implementation Activity 
Analysis and Data Collection, Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures, Sub-national Action and Integration, Linking with the Sustainable Development Goals, Monitoring and Evaluation
Sectors and Themes 
Agriculture, Disaster Risk Reduction, Gender, Poverty, Water
Barriers overcome 
Capacity, Economic, Financial, Information, Institutional, Political, Socio-cultural, Technological
PROSPER and Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN)
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