UN World Food Programme

Swiss Re joins WFP and Oxfam America in the R4 Initiative

Financial tools like insurance and credit can help people like these poor women farmers in Malawi plan for the future. Copyright: WFP/Hatch Barnwell

Leading insurance company Swiss Re has joined WFP and Oxfam America in a strategic collaboration to link community disaster risk reduction with the benefits of financial tools like insurance and credit allowing poor households to invest in their future knowing that it will be protected when a drought or flood hits.

For the 1.3 billion people living on less than a dollar day who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, natural disasters are a constant threat to their food security. Climate change will only exacerbate this challenge by increasing the frequency and intensity of climate hazards.

In response to this challenge, Oxfam America broke new ground in Ethiopia through the Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaptation (HARITA) project in 2007.

Find out more about R4

HARITA

HARITA allows cash-poor farmers and landless rural households who are participating in food and cash for work projects to pay for their insurance with their own labor – through insurance-for-work.

The HARITA project combines community disaster risk reduction with support to enable households to take ‘smart risks’ allowing them to build more sustainable and resilient livelihoods, which are protected through insurance and savings.

Much more than a traditional community disaster risk reduction programme, this approach extends the benefits of financial tools such as insurance and credit, that most of us take for granted, to the most vulnerable populations in a sustainable way – allowing poor households to invest in their future knowing that it will be protected when a drought hits. 

R4 Initiative

Building on the success of HARITA, WFP and Oxfam America established the Rural Resilience Initiative, known as R4 for short, to rigorously test the approach at a large scale in multiple countries.

If successful, the model could help make the productive safety net programmes that support millions of food insecure people around the world cheaper and more effective.

Today, Swiss Re announced it is joining WFP and Oxfam in the R4 Initiative, making it a truly strategic public private partnership.

Swiss Re has been instrumental in supporting the development of Oxfam America’s HARITA project and will lead the design and implementation of innovative risk transfer solutions in R4, making sure that the solutions we develop are commercially viable and sustainable – helping to build resilient livelihoods and effective markets.