ETC-Urban Agriculture applies and advocates a participatory and engendered development approach that focuses on poverty alleviation, local capacity development and enhanced participation of civil society in policy making and action planning / implementation.
We apply a learning oriented approach with strong emphasis on learning by doing, exchange of experiences, action and reflection, participatory monitoring and evaluation. We start from local initiatives and build on local capacities and existing knowledge and seek to further develop and strengthen the local partners.
Empowerment of the urban and peri-urban farmers (men and women) is an important focus and to that effect strengthening of farmers organisations (men and women) and enhancing their access to public decision making and allocation of resources. We seek to involve the urban farmers, local policy makers, urban planners, NGO's, community based organisations and other stakeholders in urban agriculture in processes of diagnosis, identification of effective problem solving strategies, planning and budgeting, implementation and monitoring a/o through the establishment of local platforms for information exchange, dialogue and collaboration. In such multi stakeholder processes, joint action planning and early implementation of pilot actions are combined with review and reformulation of existing policies and legal frameworks, in a mix of building trust and cooperation among the actors, interactive learning and capacity development and the establishment of coordination and monitoring mechanisms, a/o.
We approach problems and potentials in an integral way e.g. by looking at all stages in the productive chain and the actors involved (or to be involved) in each stage, identifying the main problems and potentials in each stage and building strategies that strengthen the system as a whole.
Facilitation of processes of organisation among urban gardeners and livestock keepers, strengthening micro-and small enterprises (production, small scale food processing, recycling or organic wastes, direct food marketing) and enhancement of their access to required services (technical assistance, credit, market information, a/o) conform important elements in our approach.
We encourage the transition to ecological and safe farming practices and facilitate processes of farmer managed innovation of the urban farming systems, which have specific characteristics and problems (space confined, specific health and environmental issues, strong competition for land, etcetera).
Practical and strategic gender issues in urban agriculture are given proper attention in our activities and gender mainstreaming is actively promoted.
We encourage the systematisation and diffusion of successful local experiences and their uptake in policies and wider programmes (mainstreaming).