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The COVID-19 pandemic has made life even more challenging for many low-income families, yet despite the challenges it brought, our country programs worked tirelessly to improve the lives and safeguard the rights of rural communities. IIRR continued to develop new ways of dealing with rural poverty and reaching out to partner organizations.

In Africa, IIRR assisted rural communities in restoring and protecting local livelihoods. Most program activities in 2020 engaged smallholder farmers, women, and youth entrepreneurs to help them cope with economic stresses. Disaster risk management projects are also implemented in some countries to strengthen the capacity of rural communities in managing risks and preparing for disasters. IIRR programs have also led and organized webinars and online conferences that advocate for strengthening safety nets to ensure economic recovery for rural women and young entrepreneurs who are most affected by the pandemic.

In Asia, IIRR remained at the forefront of promoting sustainable, healthy, and inclusive food systems through participating in regional and global learning exchanges. IIRR’s Regional Center for Asia (RCA) hosted and organized a webinar series together with partners that tackled Asia’s Food Systems. Two more webinars are expected to take place in January 2021 to share lessons and experiences on implementing and scaling out Climate-Smart Agriculture, with experiences from the IIRR Myanmar program. IIRR in Asia is also preparing to actively engage in two global key events happening this year: Food Systems Summit (September 2021) and the Nutrition for Growth (December 2021).