Labor-Intensive Work (HIMO)
The HIMO (Haute intensite de la main d’oeuvre/labor-intensive work) approach improves rural infrastructure and promotes agro-forestry. This “labor-intensive work” strategy creates jobs building infrastructure (primarily roads) to facilitate access to and from remote areas so that trade – particularly agricultural trade – opportunities can be increased. Roads selected are located in areas where agricultural commodity chains could flourish if market access were improved.
HIMO activities also include plantings of thousands of tree seedlings in a specific area to implement erosion-control measures to prevent soil loss. These plantings also help fight deforestation and create long-term opportunities for members of the fuelwood value chain.
HIMO has been implemented as part of the CATALIST project. Helpage, a partner organization of CATALIST, has overseen most of the project’s HIMO work in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa. CATALIST has supported Helpage activities in three countries, resulting in nursery production of more than three million agroforestry plants, establishment of 840 hectares of agroforestry plantations and improvements on 182 kilometers of feeder roads. These activities generated part-time employment for 13,500 people and injected about $350,000 into local economies.
Those employed through HIMO activities are primarily poor farmers, widows and widowers, displaced persons and demobilized soldiers. Women make up about 50 percent of CATALIST’s HIMO workforce. Another IFDC project, CATALIST/SEW, also uses the HIMO method extensively.