Evaluation synthesis on rural infrastructure
IOE produces evaluation syntheses on selected topics, such as gender, rural youth, fisheries and middle-income countries. The aim is to facilitate learning and wider use of evaluation findings by identifying and capturing accumulated knowledge on common themes and findings across a variety of situations.
Synthesizing existing evaluation material together with latest research thinking allows evaluation evidence to be fed into the decision- making process in an effective way.
The Concept Note specifying the evaluation objectives, methodology, process, timelines, and key questions will be made available soon.
Khatlon Livelihoods Support Project in Tajikistan
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) is conducting a project performance evaluation (PPE) of the Khatlon Livelihoods Support Project in the Republic of Tajikistan. The PPE will assess project results and impact based on the project completion report validation, other project documents and data, feedback from stakeholders and, should Covid-19 pandemic circumstances allow, a field visit by local consultants.
Undertaken after the completion of an IFAD-funded operation, the PPE generates findings and recommendations that can inform other projects funded by IFAD.
The Approach paper specifying the evaluation objectives, methodology, process, timelines, and key questions is available at the Download button.
2020 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD operations
The 2020 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD operations (ARRI), the flagship report of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) presents a synthesis of IFAD’s performance, lessons and challenges to enhance its development effectiveness.
To improve its relevance to the evolving priorities and demands of the Fund, the 2020 ARRI has a new, streamlined structure, and focuses on the factors that the independent evaluations have highlighted as recurring in the design and implementation of IFAD-supported projects. The new ARRI format does not include recommendations; rather, its findings are expected to orient further action on the part of IFAD Management and IOE to address the recurring issues.
The rating performance carried out by the 2020 ARRI was based on 259 projects completed between 2007 and 2018. The report confirms that overall, the performance of IFAD operations has been positive, with some exceptions. In the recent period (2016-18), 72 per cent of IFAD-supported projects have been rated moderately satisfactory or better on Overall Project Achievement criterion. Over 80 per cent of projects assessed against the criteria of relevance, IFAD’s performance as a partner and environment and natural resources management have scored moderately satisfactory or better during the same period.
The 2020 ARRI notes that the ratings for environment and natural resources management, and adaptation to climate change, have performed well, mostly rising since 2010-2012. However, the report also highlights that the portfolio performance trend is flat or declining in five criteria in the past five years, most significantly for government performance as a partner.
Corporate-level evaluation on IFAD’s support to innovations for inclusive and sustainable smallholder agriculture
Innovations in rural development approaches and solutions are crucial to improve the effectiveness of agrifood systems and better meet the rising demand for food worldwide. Innovations are thus critical for IFAD to achieve its mandate of investing in rural people and enabling inclusive and sustainable rural transformation.
The evaluation found that innovations are indeed key in boosting the performance of agrifood systems. IFAD-supported innovations are generally institutional or organizational in nature, and usually originate with IFAD or project staff, based on ideas or solutions already proven in a different country or context. As for developing genuinely novel ideas or processes (especially those addressing smallholder agriculture challenges), loan investment projects have little appetite to provide support in this respect, given the risk potentially associated with such innovations; grants are thus especially useful in promoting them.
Moving forward, the evaluation notes that “bundling” together different innovations to address the diverse challenges across the agrifood system is more likely to lead to transformative change, that can be sustained and scaled up. To enhance the bundling of innovations for transformative change, the evaluation recommends (among other things) setting corporate goals for IFAD’s innovation agenda and implementing an operational framework aligned with these goals, as well as fostering the innovation culture within the Fund.
Ardahan-Kars-Artvin Development Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has prepared a performance evaluation report on the Ardahan-Kars-Artvin Development Project (AKADP), in Turkey.
The project was implemented between 2010 and 2017 as a response to some of the country’s key rural agricultural development priorities, particularly the need to shift local practices from subsistence agriculture to more market-oriented ones. Targeting almost 60,000 households, AKADP sought to increase the incomes of poor smallholders and of small rural entrepreneurs and to improve rural infrastructure.
The evaluation found that the rural infrastructure improvements, particularly those related to rangeland roads, contributed to promoting the well-being and market access of smallholder farmers. Also, the modernization of livestock markets resulted in a noticeable increase in trade volume and contributed to the Government’s efforts to improve regulation of the livestock trade.
However, the project was less successful in addressing gender inequalities, partly because of the absence of a gender strategy and the lack of capacity to engage with women to identify and implement activities that responded to their needs and promoted their empowerment.
Moving forward, the evaluation recommends that IFAD should clarify guidance on the targeting approach and gender strategy, engaging in policy dialogue to ensure that laws and regulations do not pose barriers to women accessing public finances to farming activities.
Hunan Agricultural and Rural Infrastructure Improvement Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) has prepared a performance evaluation report on the Hunan Agricultural and Rural Infrastructure Improvement Project (HARIIP) implemented in the People’s Republic of China from 2012 to 2017.
The evaluation found that the project contributed to rural development and poverty reduction for the 182,000 households in the remote areas targeted. This was achieved mainly through adoption of a strategy combining development of rural infrastructure, pursuit of diversified market-oriented agriculture and building villagers’ capacities in agriculture and infrastructure operations and maintenance.
However, the project’s results in terms of reaching the rural poor and the women among them were less successful, partly due to the absence of a tailored approach. Any benefit derived by lower-income families tended to be the form of low-paid, unskilled work; as this is less likely to foster economic and self-development capacities, questions arise as to the sustainability of the project’s impact on income generation for the poor.
Moving forward, the evaluation recommends continuing support to diversified agricultural production through the IFAD-supported follow-up project, developing tools to increase households’ access to project activities, redefining the approach to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and orienting innovations towards project implementation processes.
Tejaswini Women’s Empowerment Programme
The Independent Evaluation Office of IFAD (IOE) has prepared a project performance evaluation (PPE) report on the Tejaswini Rural Women’s Empowerment Programme. The project was implemented in India, in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, between 2007 and 2018.
The evaluation found that the project demonstrated a promising model for women’s empowerment. The development of successful self-financing SHG apex organizations provided valued economic and social services to the target populations, while the effective system to manage the performance of SHGs facilitated access to further sources of financial support.
The evaluation noted some areas for improvement. For example, value chain activities were incorporated at a late stage and were mostly supply-driven: this limited the improvement in household income that the project could bring about. In addition, sustainable and climate-resilient practices could have been integrated further into project activities.
Moving forward, the evaluation makes a number of recommendations, including continued application of the SHG models developed, adopting a market-aware approach to economic empowerment that is responsive to the needs of different groups of women and including an explicit focus on climate change resilience and sustainable natural resource management.
Agriculture Services Support Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has prepared a performance evaluation report on the Agriculture Services Support Project (ASSP) in Botswana.
The project was implemented between 2012 and 2018 to help the target groups adapt to potential cuts to government agricultural subsidies. Targeting about 20,000 smallholder farmers in rural areas throughout the country, ASSP sought to (1) promote conservation agriculture practices; (2) pilot a wastewater irrigation scheme; and (3) build agricultural service centres (ASCs) for promoting market-driven extension services.
Thanks to the wastewater irrigation scheme, horticultural production no longer depended on the country’s erratic rainfall; however, the operation was costly and was undertaken on a pilot scale. Conservation agriculture was not taken up among target groups due to a lack of adequate equipment for the timely preparation of farms. The evaluation found that only two of the ASCs had been completed, against a target of 15 at design, and only one of the ASCs demonstrated delivery of market-led extension services.
Going forward, the evaluation recommends that IFAD focus on engaging in a technical support role, in line with the policy priorities and capacities established by the Government of Botswana.