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Over the summer, country teams were invited to pitch project ideas under the theme ‘inclusive markets and livelihoods’. The ITL funding review panel heard 12 pitches from a wide geographic spread across Christian Aid’s global programmes and were pleased to select three ideas to move forward with.

A new funding model: 

To strengthen the achievement of the goals of ITL (impact, innovation, learning and sustainability) these new ITL projects will test a new two-phase funding model. 

  • Phase 1: Initial funding of approximately £50,000 will be provided to develop an innovative idea or do initial concept testing. If the idea proves viable and is approved by the ITL committee, there is an opportunity for progression to Phase 2 funding.  
  • Phase 2: Scale-up funding of up to £350,000 will be offered to implement the idea/findings from Phase 1 over a period of 2 to 3 years. These phase 2 projects will include a plan to apply learning and scale impact beyond the end of the projects. I 

Below is a very short teaser on each of the project concepts we have selected.

Female livestock farmer

Afghanistan: Saffron and Silk 

Afghanistan is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. With high unemployment levels and sustained inflation, millions face acute hunger - a situation which is exacerbated by climate-related natural disasters and increasing violations of human rights, particularly against women and girls. This project explores how sericulture and saffron cultivation - which are suitable for growing in harsh climatic conditions and considered deemed an appropriate occupation for women - can play a major role in improving livelihoods, creating meaningful economic opportunities for women and girls within an incredibly challenging context.   


Malawi: Bamboo 

Tobacco farming has traditionally been a major export earner in Malawi but has small profit margins for vulnerable smallholder farmers and has serious consequences for the environment. Bamboo provides a sustainable and profitable alternative income source but Malawi’s bamboo sector faces a number of serious challenges. 

This project explores the current situation of bamboo farming in Malawi, the market opportunity and how the value chain can be promoted to meet increasing global demand. The core focus is on supporting the development of the bamboo market in a way which will directly benefit smallholder farmers. 


Zimbabwe: Livestock 

Mudzi district in Zimbabwe has high rates of malnutrition, food insecurity and poverty. The majority of the population rely on subsistence agriculture, including livestock farming, but erratic weather caused by climate change is increasingly destroying livelihoods.  

This project seeks to increase household incomes by combining modern technology and traditional customs, supporting the economic empowerment of women by adopting a novel approach to encourage their inclusion in the dairy value chain.


The ITL Programme Manager is currently working with country teams and partners to narrow down and finalise plans for these Phase 1 pilot projects, with the hope of starting them in the coming months. We will continue to keep you closely updated and will be back in touch soon with more details.