2019 Annual Country Visit of the Executive Board to the Republic of Cameroon
A 12-member delegation of IFAD's Executive Board visited the Republic of Cameroon in July 2019. The visit was intended as an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of the Fund's work in the field. It allowed Board representatives to witness IFAD's work on the ground and observe at first hand the opportunities and challenges that IFAD faces in carrying out its mandate.
On Monday, 22 July, the delegates attended an introductory workshop on IFAD's programme in the country. In the afternoon of the same day, the delegation started a tour across the regions that took them to visit: the Aquaculture Entrepreneurship Promotion Project (PPEA), the Rural Microfinance Development Support Project (PADMIR), the Commodity Value Chain Support Project (PADFA) and the Youth Agro Pastoral Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme (PEA Jeunes).
On Friday 26 July, in Yaoundé, the delegation was received by the Prime Minister for the Republic of Cameroon, H.E Joseph Dion Ngute. The delegation reiterated IFAD's commitment to contribute to rural transformation in Cameroon, by eliminating barriers that impede rapid uptake of new technologies, and for investing in market access, in the creation of opportunities for the youth, and in addressing governance and capacity related challenges.
The Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), Mr Oscar A. Garcia, participated in the visit and delivered a presentation on the country strategy and programme evaluation in the Republic of Cameroon.
Spring Meeting of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) of multilateral development banks
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) had the opportunity to share its evaluation knowledge and experience by participating in the spring meeting of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) of the multilateral development banks. The event was hosted by the Black Sea Trade & Development Bank (Bstdb), in its capacity as ECG Chair for the spring meeting 2019, at its headquarters in Thessaloniki, Greece, on 24-25 June.
The meeting included seven thematic sessions: results frameworks for the evaluation function; role of impact evaluations; processes and key elements of bank-wide evaluation policy; evaluation governance; revision of the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria; and mobilization of private sector finance in the development context.
Mr Oscar A. Garcia, Director of IOE, delivered a presentation on IOE's experience in conducting impact evaluations during the session on the role of impact evaluations.
Ms Johanna Pennarz, Lead Evaluation Officer, IOE, presented the purpose, scope and process of the ECG stocktake on country programme evaluation approaches and methodologies, led by IFAD.
Other IOE staff also participated in the event.
Webinar on inclusive financial services for the rural poor
The webinar was held on Friday, 21 June, from 14:30-16:00 (CET).
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) conducted an evaluation synthesis on inclusive financial services for the rural poor, which provides an opportunity to review IFAD's policies and identify good practices and lessons learned. It reviews IOE evaluations since 2009, and also draws on lessons from other international financial institutions.
The webinar's objectives were to: share the findings, lessons and conclusions drawn from the evaluation synthesis report and stimulate an exchange of experiences on lessons and challenges related to the effective support of inclusive rural finance.
Opening: Oscar A. Garcia, Director, IOE
Presenters: Johanna Pennarz, Lead Evaluation Officer, IOE; Martina Wiedmaier Pfister, IOE Consultant
Remarks: Michael Hamp, Lead Regional Technical Specialist, Rural Finance, Markets and Value Chains
Knowledge-sharing seminar on conducting Impact Evaluations of Agricultural, Food and Nutrition Security Programmes
Growing global attention and demand for better evidence on development results in recent years has increased pressure on international development organizations to measure more precisely and report on their results and impact. In this context, impact evaluations of projects have emerged as an instrument to support accountability and learning.
In recognition of the important aspect of learning from impact initiatives and evaluations, and as part of the gLOCAL Evaluation Week, IFAD's Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) in collaboration with IFAD's Research and Impact Assessment Division (RIA) organized a seminar on Impact Evaluation on Monday, 3 June from 14:00-16:45 (CET). The objective was to promote collective learning in conducting impact evaluations, especially in the field of rural development and rural poverty reduction.
Extended Deadline for Nominations: Evaluation for Transformational Change Award
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank Group, and the International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS) are pleased to announce the Evaluating Development Interventions for Transformational Change Award competition.
This biennial award will recognize outstanding evaluations of development interventions that promote or result in transformational change and are explicitly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The award is in recognition of the growing international understanding that transformational change is needed for our societies, economies and our relationship with the environment to become sustainable. On many fronts the world needs transformational change to be able to reach the aspirations expressed in the SDGs and the Paris Agreement: a world free of poverty; leaving no one behind; and ensuring a prosperous and equitable future in diverse and inclusive societies, with economies that increase wealth but not while undermining our food, clean air and living circumstances, with a climate and biodiversity that safeguards the future of humankind.
A transformational change is one that reshapes models, policies, structures, practices, culture and management. Evaluations can contribute to transformational change in many ways. They provide evaluative evidence on whether changes are truly transformational, leading to systems changes in our societies, economies and the way these interact with our environment. Their design may focus on key aspects of change that need to be understood to achieve further progress. Innovative elements in these evaluations may uncover new areas of evidence and insight. Influential evaluations may provide inspiration for overcoming barriers to change, actively engage with stakeholders and shift societal and institutional debates in new directions to promote change. The roles of evaluations in transformational change may be manifold, and the award competition is open to all credible, innovative and influential evaluations.
The award competition will have a total prize money of US$15,000. The inaugural winners will be announced at the 2019 IDEAS Global Assembly, which will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, between 2 - 4 October 2019. The event focuses on Evaluation for Transformative Change: Bringing experiences of the Global South to the Global North and includes the Third International Conference on Evaluating Environment and Development.
Who can nominate:
Nominations may be submitted by evaluators or evaluation teams from or commissioned by multilateral and bilateral organizations, not-for-profit organizations (e.g., NGOs, foundations), academic institutions, private sector, or public sector organizations.
Evaluations cannot be nominated by commissioners or by the institutions that mandated these evaluations. Furthermore, staff of IOE IFAD, IEG World Bank Group and the Board of IDEAS cannot participate in this Award Competition due to conflict of interest.
Nominated evaluations must be published and publicly available, to assure the ability to make them public and available in the Award electronic library.
Evaluations must be written in English.
Date of the evaluation
Evaluations can be from 2015 or later, when the SDGs and the Paris Agreement were approved.
The Award will recognize winners and runners-up in three categories:
- Credibility: Credibility is grounded on independence, impartiality and a rigorous methodology. Key elements of credibility include transparent evaluation processes, strength of the evidence base, inclusive approaches involving relevant stakeholders and robust quality assurance;
- Innovation: The novelty and originality of the scope and/or conceptual/methodological approach of the evaluation;
- Influence: The (potential) contribution of the evaluation to transformational change towards the SDGs.
Judging Panel and selection criteria
The Judging Panel will be an independent panel of evaluation experts with knowledge of transformational change and of the SDGs. The Judging Panel will review submissions and select a winner and two runners-up in each award category. The selection criteria will include the three aspects outlined above (credibility, innovation and influence) as well as additional ones that will be further refined by the Judging Panel:
- Design: Clear planning of the evaluation and its adequacy to address transformational change and the SDGs. Design of approach and methodology, specific analytical tools, data gathering and analysis, and quality assurance.
- Process: Clear identification of the phases of the evaluation and their description – planning, implementation, analysis, due process with stakeholders and quality assurance, completion, and interactions on the conclusions and recommendations.
- Presentation: Overall presentational aspects of the report – including readability and focus on key issues, infographics, clarifying data, analysis and evaluative findings.
- Dissemination: Implementation of the dissemination strategy/plan and outreach to target audiences (and beyond). Evidence of feedback that may be transformational to the evaluand itself and to future evaluations.
The first-place winner in each category will receive a monetary award of US$ 5,000 and a certificate and will be invited to write a chapter in an IDEAS publication after the Global Assembly. Second- and third-place runners-up in each category will receive a trophy or certificate. Winners will be invited to Prague to take part in the 2019 Global Assembly and Award Ceremony.
Deadline for Nominations: 31 July 2019
The announcement of winners and runners-up will be made in early September 2019.
2019 UNEG Evaluation Week
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) participated in the 2019 United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) Evaluation Week, which includes two key components: the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the Evaluation Practice Exchange (EPE). The event took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 13-17 May 2019.
The AGM provides an important business forum to review UNEG’s current work and discuss its upcoming strategies and work programmes.
The Evaluation Practice Exchange seminar is an informal forum for UNEG members to share their experiences on a range of topics. The Director of IOE, Oscar Garcia, participated in the discussion on Evaluation Standards, Norms and Principles in the session "Evaluation and hindsight: assessing interventions’ in the context of the SDG’s and 2030 agenda".
PRiME Impact Evaluation Course
This year and for the first time, the Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) have joined forces to design and implement PRiME, a monitoring and evaluation training and certification programme.
PRiME offers two training programmes - available in English, Spanish and French - : Fundamentals on M&E and Impact Evaluation. Until now, PRiME has delivered two editions of the Fundamentals on M&E, where 144 rural development professionals from more than 80 countries have been trained.
The objective is to develop capacities in impact evaluation applied to rural development through a dedicated course that draws from good international practices as well as IOE's experience in the field. The course covers experimental and non-experimental impact evaluation methods focused on rural development projects.
Mr Hansdeep Khaira, Evaluation Officer, IOE, participated as a trainer in the event, which took place on 6-10 May 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. He and another trainer delivered the course with a particular focus on sharing experiences of IFAD-supported projects and programmes, highlighting the challenges faced in conducting impact evaluations and identifying solutions.
Please visit the event website for more information.
Evaluating the rule of law policy dialogue – IDLO seminar
The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) organized a seminar on evaluating results and impact of policy advocacy activities. The seminar took place on 29 March 2019 in Rome.
In the context of IDLO’s Strategic Plan and Results Framework, the seminar fostered knowledge sharing on measuring the effectiveness of policy and advocacy activities for championing the rule of law agenda with decision makers and mobilizing political will at all levels. Presenters and participants debated the importance and use of evaluations, research, learning, and knowledge sharing for effective rule of law implementation.
Ms Johanna Pennarz, Lead Evaluation Officer, IOE, delivered a presentation on "Evaluating policy engagement in IFAD", which presented lessons and insights from evaluation of policy engagement in IFAD. It started by discussing a generic theory of change, identifying the sphere of influence for IFAD's policy engagement. Partnerships are instrumental for influencing policy issues, as highlighted by the Evaluation Synthesis on Partnerships (2017). The evaluation synthesis on IFAD's engagement with indigenous peoples (2015) has highlighted some positive results from policy engagement at global level.
In addition to Ms Pennarz, other key speakers were Dr Isabelle Ioannides, Policy Analyst, European Parliament, and Dr Ilaria Bottigliero, Director of Policy, Research and Learning, IDLO.
IFAD-financed projects contribute to improved agricultural productivity and incomes in Sri Lanka
Colombo, 13 March 2019 – Rural development projects financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have contributed to increased productivity and incomes in Sri Lanka, according to a new evaluation report presented today in Colombo.
"In the decades since IFAD began its collaboration with the Sri Lankan government, substantial achievements have been made, yet there is still more work to be done to improve the nutrition and livelihoods of rural families so that they do not slip back into poverty," said Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President of IFAD's Programme Management Department.
The report, prepared by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), reviews the past thirteen years of work that IFAD has undertaken together with the government of Sri Lanka.
According to the report's findings, IFAD has been successful in introducing technical changes that have improved agricultural production and productivity. These changes have included the instillation of irrigation systems as well as providing smallholder farmers with support to establish or upgrade tea and rubber plantations. Such interventions, combined with support for better access to markets, have also led to higher incomes for a great number of project beneficiaries.
The report highlights the achievements as well as the issues that still need to be addressed. "According to the available data, poverty was reduced from 23 per cent in 2002 to 4 per cent in 2016, but poverty pockets and disparities still persist in different parts of the country," said Oscar Garcia, IOE Director. "It is therefore crucial to understand how IFAD, based on its global experience, can better reach the poorest of the poor. This evaluation offers valuable recommendations on the way forward," he added.
The report notes that the IFAD-funded projects have increased their focus on partnerships with agribusinesses and financial institutions, and that some partnerships were successful in bringing benefits to smallholder farmers such as reliable market opportunities and access to technologies.
The report recommends that more innovative technologies be incorporated into future projects as well as methods to use water more efficiently to strengthen climate resilience and to review rural finance support, exploring ways to innovate and leverage more systemic improvements in the rural finance sector in Sri Lanka.
According to the evaluation report, the country programme should continue to build partnerships with agribusinesses and support ongoing relationships between smallholder farmers and the private sector.
Since 1978, IFAD has invested in 18 projects and programmes in the country for a total cost of US$590.6 million, with an estimated outreach to over 614,000 rural households.
IFAD has invested in rural people for over 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$20.4 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 480 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) conducts evaluations of IFAD-financed policies, strategies and operations to promote accountability and learning. The main purpose is to contribute to improving IFAD's and its partners' performance in reducing rural poverty in recipient countries. IOE's independent evaluations assess the impact of IFAD-funded activities and give an analysis of successes and shortcomings – to tell it the way it is – as well as identify factors affecting performance. Based on the key insights and recommendations drawn from evaluation findings, IOE also shares IFAD’s knowledge and experience in agriculture and rural development with a wider audience.
Sri Lanka Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation – National Workshop
The Department of External Resources, the Department of National Planning and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) co-organized a national workshop for the Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE) conducted by IOE in the course of 2018, as a final step in the evaluation process.
The event was held on 13 March 2019 in Colombo. Around 115 participants attended the workshop, including Mr. J. A. Ranjith, Secretary, Ministry of Plantation Industries; Mr. K. D. S. Ruwanchandra, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Economic Affairs, Livestock Development, Irrigation and Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development; Mr. S. S. Mudalige, Director General, Department of National Planning; and Mr. Ajith Abeysekera, Acting Director General, Department of External Resources. Among other participants were representatives of IFAD senior management and project management staff of IFAD-funded projects covered by the CSPE, resource organizations and international development cooperation institutions.
The IFAD delegation included the Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department, the Director of IOE, the Director of the Asia and the Pacific Division, the IFAD Country Programme Manager for Sri Lanka, and the IOE evaluation team.
Ms Fumiko Nakai, IOE Senior Evaluation Officer, presented the key findings, conclusions and recommendations from the Sri Lanka CSPE. The key themes emerging from the CSPE were then discussed in working groups.
Prior to the workshop, on 11-12 March, the IFAD delegation undertook a field visit to selected field activities of interventions co-funded by IFAD in relation to the completed National Agribusiness Partnership Development Programme, the ongoing Smallholder Agribusiness Partnerships Programme and the Smallholder Tea and Rubber Revitalization Project in Kalutara, Ratnapura and Kurunegala districts. This provided an opportunity to directly hold discussions with the rural communities, staff and partners in the field, and to see project activities on the ground.
During the workshop, as a final step in the evaluation, the Government of Sri Lanka and IFAD Management signed an Agreement at Completion Point. The ACP presents Government's and IFAD's commitment to adopt and implement the CSPE recommendations within specific timeframes.
The workshop was widely covered by the Sri Lankan media.