Rural Development Programme for Las Verapaces (2009)

Interim Evaluation

Executive summary



In December 2007, the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) requested the Office of Evaluation (OE) to undertake an interim evaluation of the Rural Development Programme for Las Verapaces (PRODEVER), implemented in Guatemala. Pursuant to IFAD's Evaluation Policy, an interim evaluation is obligatory before initiating a second phase or starting up a similar project in the same region.

Evaluation objectives, methodology and procedure. The main purpose of the evaluation is to assess PRODEVER's performance and impact, seeking at the same time to generate findings and recommendations that will serve as guidelines for IFAD and the Government of Guatemala when carrying out a similar projects in the region.

The evaluation was conducted in accordance with the evaluation manual of IFAD's Office of Evaluation. A preparatory mission took place from 2 to 12 April 2008. The main evaluation mission to the field remained in the country from 30 April to 23 May of the same year. Upon completion of the field mission, an aide-memoire was presented in Guatemala City highlighting the main preliminary findings and key issues encountered during the main mission.

At the end of January 2008, there was a change in government in Guatemala. One major consequence for the programme has been that, in late February 2008, the National Fund for Peace (FONAPAZ), the implementing agency for PRODEVER, replaced much of the programme team, limiting the availability and processing of programme information.

In view of the limited information available on the programme, the evaluation mission decided to conduct a survey with a randomly selected sample of 33 PRODEVER-supported organizations, to obtain data on the interventions and on the programme's effects and impact. This information was triangulated with programme data and interviews with actors involved in implementing PRODEVER.

Country context. Guatemala, with 13 million people, is the most populated country in Central America. It is a middle-income country and ranks 118th of 177 countries in the Human Development Index. Guatemala is characterized by a high degree of income inequality, with a Gini coefficient of 0.57, a level exceeded only by Brazil in Latin America.

The country's recent history has been characterized by recovery, since the Peace Agreements were signed at the end of 1996 after decades of civil war. The upper classes and the State excluded the majority of the population, particularly indigenous people, from public services, and enormous human rights violations were committed. Over the past decade, the State has had virtually no presence outside the country's capital, and public structures at the municipal level have had to be built from the ground up.

Tax collection by the State of Guatemala is extremely low at all levels (including municipal), at less than 10 per cent of gross domestic product until the end of the 1990s and somewhat higher in recent years.

Agriculture sector and land tenure. Agriculture contributes 22 per cent of GDP and employs one third of the economically active population. The sector is oriented mainly towards export crops (coffee, sugar, cardamom, cacao, banana, fruit and vegetables) and staple crops (maize, beans, rice and vegetables).

Rural development. Conflicts in the country's development have been concentrated mainly in rural areas, owing to the marginalization of indigenous people and violations of their rights. This is apparent, inter alia, in the land tenure situation and poverty levels, as outlined below. Rural development occupied a central position in the Peace Agreements signed in late 1996. The last four governments have sought concepts and instruments to respond to these challenges, and IFAD has been one of their chief international counterparts in this regard.

In Guatemala, inequality of land tenure and access is high and the question of land ownership is one of the most conflictive issues for rural development. Census data show that 2.5 per cent of the country's farms average more than 200 hectares (ha) and occupy most (65 per cent of the country's arable land, whereas 88 per cent average 1.5 ha and occupy just 16 per cent of the country's arable land. Accordingly, close to 90 per cent of farms have less than 7 ha of land, and that about 40 per cent of the active rural population are landless.

Rural poverty. According to 2006 figures, more than half the population live in poverty, and 15.2 per cent live in conditions of extreme poverty. Rural areas post the highest rates, with 72 per cent poor and 24.4 per cent extremely poor. Ethnic disparities are exacerbated by the fact that 75 per cent of the poor are indigenous, most of them living in rural areas. Infant malnutrition is of concern, at an estimated 49 per cent of children between 2 and 60 months of age, compared to 22.2 per cent in the Central American region as a whole. The difference in the prevalence of malnutrition between indigenous and non-indigenous children is striking, at 69.5 per cent and 35.7 per cent, respectively, although the rate is high even for non-indigenous children.

The programme. PRODEVER operated in parts of the departments of Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz, which feature different climatic and agro-ecological conditions. The programme's target population included 53,700 rural families living below the poverty line, of which 16,000 were direct beneficiaries. The development objective was to reduce poverty in rural communities living in fragile ecosystems in the poorest departments of Las Verapaces, which bore the brunt of the civil war. The main objective was to support members of local communities in restoring the social fabric and developing a sustainable system of production.

Six specific programme objectives were set to promote issues relating to income, organization, infrastructure, financial services, gender, and natural resources and integrating communities into local and national economies. In order to achieve its objectives, the programme had five components: (i) building local capacity, particularly in connection with associations; (ii) sustainable productive development, with three subcomponents: (a) support for agricultural production; (b) sustainable natural resource management; and (c) support for commercialization and rural microenterprises; (iii) rural financial services, with two subcomponents: (a) institutional strengthening of financial service providers; and (b) credit funds; (iv) socio-economic investments, with two subcomponents: (a) community interest investments; and (b) rural roads; and (v) programme management and coordination.
The programme was designed in 1999 with a total cost of USD 26 million. Loans from IFAD for USD 15 million and from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for USD 5 million were ratified by the Guatemalan Congress in December 2000 and declared effective in September 2001. The Government has contributed USD 3,7 million and the beneficiaries an estimated USD 2,3 million. The programme began operations in March 2002 with a start-up workshop. As a result of the prolonged FONAPAZ approval process, the first projects commenced in 2003 after a long lapse following programme design, during which the peace process evolved in the country.

PRODEVER was designed and approved under the Flexible Financing Mechanism (FFM) for a duration of 10 years, and has been implemented in two cycles. The first cycle, planned for completion at the end of 2005, was extended for one year to the end of September 2006. A mid-term review conducted in June 2006, led by Jorge Piña Puig, agricultural engineer, found satisfactory compliance with most of the critical triggers to proceed with a possible second cicle of the programme and allocate reserved funding. The mid-term review led to a series of changes in the programme, from the logical framework to a rescheduling of the loans. By mid-2008, the OPEC loan was fully used and the IFAD loan 70 per cent disbursed. The programme is currently in its second cycle, which is scheduled to run until September 2011. However, PRODEVER is expected to close in 2009.

Performance and results

Implementation results

Strategy pursued. When activities began, programme management had to prioritize among the multiple proposed lines of activity. Communities were grouped according to a set of characteristics extracted from a baseline study. PRODEVER sought to operate in ways that would produce tangible results in the short and medium term. Based on the experience of other development projects in the area, PRODEVER initiated its support by building the capacity of community organizations to formulate and design projects, with preference to those generating income in the short and medium term. In addition, to obtain buy-in from beneficiary communities and organizations, the programme responded to the main request made by many of them: to build access roads. The project portfolio in the first two years reflected this approach. At the same time, the programme focused on identifying traditional crops with the greatest commercial potential, such as coffee, cardamom, cacao, banana and citrus fruit, and began to support production and commercialization through producers' associations.

With respect to building local capacity, training modules were imparted to community representatives in 91 communities to enhance their capacity to formulate demands and manage different types of projects potentially funded by different donors. In addition, to promote income-generating activities, the programme identified producers' associations and strengthened them in management and business issues. Two thirds of the organizations supported were already in existence when PRODEVER began, and another third were created with programme support. To measure progress made by the organizations supported, the programme commissioned a consolidation rating study in 2007. Among the 158 organizations evaluated, two were classified as self-managed, 33 consolidated, 90 in the consolidation process and 24 incipient.

The programme promoted sustainable productive development through 568 projects in 297 communities. The greatest success was obtained on traditional commercial crops (cacao, coffee and cardamom) by providing technical assistance and introducing new technologies to manage these crops, as well as by investing in processing and storage and providing support for commercialization. In addition, the programme opted to select other production lines to diversify traditional production systems. To this end, crops are being diversified to include fruit with good profit potential. Efforts were also undertaken for a broad-based improvement in food security, by facilitating the introduction of backyard livestock in 261 communities and supporting various vegetable crops in 44 communities. In addition, support was provided through PRODEVER for the development of agricultural and non-agricultural microenterprises, focusing on business management training and value chains. A total of 56 microenterprises were supported, with participation by 1,892 families.

The execution of sustainable natural resource management was low (39 per cent of resources provided), mainly owing to a lack of interest among community members in reforestation or family forest management. On the other hand, the introduction of improved stoves in 418 households brought substantial savings in firewood and better cooking conditions (shorter cooking times, more erect position, less smoke) and has been much appreciated by the beneficiaries.

PRODEVER has facilitated the construction or rehabilitation of 171,416 km of rural roads in 57 different projects, supporting the creation of road management committees in communities and equipping them with basic tools to this end.

The financial services component has not been implemented as designed (supply was to be reinforced), and has been realized only in part on the demand side by supporting 30 producers' organizations that are further advanced in managing their own funds. Although the programme commissioned two diagnostic studies (in 2004/2005 and 2006/2007), its management did not find the resulting recommendations persuasive given recent failures by other international initiatives in the area of financial services.

Gender has been a cross-cutting issue throughout all the programme activities. Design began with an analysis of the situation of women who are discriminated against and at a clear disadvantage compared to men. The programme performed a sound analysis to promote greater inclusion of women in organizations and to generate conditions of equality through economic development. The design took into account the experiences of other IFAD programmes implemented previously in Guatemala, demonstrating a high degree of consistency with the policy guidelines of both the Government and IFAD.

Evolution. The programme evolved in response to challenges encountered during implementation and remained in line with the Government's policies. Monolingualism and illiteracy among indigenous communities represented formidable obstacles and necessitated inclusion of a literacy campaign. In terms of food security, in 2005 the Government established the Food Security and Nutrition Secretariat. In line with this policy, PRODEVER strengthened its projects in this area by introducing reproductive health. Another activity line that evolved was support for non-agricultural rural microenterprises. Given the lack of success in promoting this area, the programme complemented it with a project to provide vocational training for young people.

Relevance.The programme design is aligned with the priorities and policies of both the Government and IFAD. PRODEVER attempted to address the many needs of indigenous peoples in Las Verapaces, and to meet the challenges of encouraging sustainable income-generating activities. Based on a participatory diagnostic, a complex programme was formulated that was also flexible, leaving room for learning and adaptation during implementation. Six different target groups were identified without sufficiently conceptualizing the difference in measures to address target groups possessing land and other means of production and target groups living in extreme poverty with no such resources. From the point of view of implementation, the programme was expected simultaneously to address an excessively broad spectrum of issues, all of them important, but which together were enough to overtax the implementation capacity of any programme team.

The results obtained on local capacity-building, supporting traditional commercial crops and building road infrastructure have confirmed the relevance of these areas of intervention to poverty reduction. The same cannot be said of food security, sustainable natural resource management and the development of a supply of financial services in the programme area, where implementation difficulties placed the relevance of design in question. In the case of food security, the introduction of backyard animals and vegetables for family consumption was done in haste, without diagnostics, training or proper follow-up. When the time came to set goals for natural resource management, insufficient consideration was given to (dis)incentives for target groups to invest efforts in this area. With respect to access to financing for the target groups, the programme intervention was limited to demand (training of associations), where it was relevant. On the supply side, the situation did not lend itself to the kind of intervention included in the programme design.

The effectiveness of the programme in achieving its objectives has varied. Two of the six target groups – those possessing land – achieved a marked increase in income through improvements in production and commercialization (in particular of coffee, cardamom, mandarin and banana). The programme also strengthened the capacities of many community organizations supported, with a marked increase in women's participation. In addition, the construction and upgrading of road and agro-industrial infrastructure has been crucial to achieving the objective of bringing small farmers into the economic mainstream. On the other hand, the programme has not been effective in preserving the natural resource base, promoting non-agricultural income-generating activities or promoting greater food security. The latter area requires more time to show the results of training and small investments made under the programme. With respect to improving access to rural financial services, the lack of implementation on the supply side did not limit the programme's success in economic development, but the lack of local microfinance alternatives may have contributed to the limited effectiveness of measures intended to increase food security.

Efficiency. Overall, the ratio of resources invested to results achieved has not been satisfactory owing to dispersion over too many (sub)components, implementing agency approval procedures poorly adapted to implementing multiple lines of activity, and the replacement of all programme team members in March 2008. During implementation, administrative expenses increased from 9 per cent of the initial budget to 21.4 per cent while, following a delay in start-up, only a small fraction of the amount provided for M&E in the original budget was used.

Impact. PRODEVER has made a noticeable contribution to the development of Las Verapaces in terms of communal social organization and productive development, as well as road infrastructure, with a consequent reduction in poverty.

  • Social capital has been strengthened by giving community organizations new knowledge on organizational operations and self-management, and by broadening the local outlook towards communal and regional development. In 2007, 35 organizations reached a certain degree of consolidation, most of them operating in commercial crops. Most of the 158 organizations reached (90) are now in the process of consolidation, and 24 are still at an incipient stage.
  • Arrangements to improve the production and handling of cardamom, coffee, cacao, citrus fruit and banana; to facilitate collection and drying by producers' associations; and to improve sales by bypassing one or two intermediation levels, have enabled 27 producers' associations to benefit from higher global and national prices since 2005; and another 25 cacao producers' organizations are in the process of doing so (the international price for cacao did not fall in 2008). As a result, 250 families have crossed the poverty line by increasing their incomes; the same number had already done so. Given the situation at programme start-up, this represents a real impact that could be enhanced provided the new programme team completes the work begun by the previous team.
  • The programme has made major efforts on behalf of the most vulnerable target groups by promoting training projects, supporting community investments and promoting educational projects in literacy, reproductive health, environmental issues and food security. Nevertheless, to date the programme has had less of an impact in connection with these interventions. The evaluation notes that such training and investments require a significantly longer period of time to have an effect.
  • Also in the case of sustainable natural resource management, a component with a low implementation rate, impact will come about over the longer term. The target groups gave low priority to measures with barely perceptible results. A poverty reduction programme such as PRODEVER can have only a modest impact given the serious degradation of natural resources in the area.

The programme's gender approach was properly oriented towards creating conditions to reduce inequality between men and women in terms of participating in decision-making, access to resources, and the use and control of resources. Until the end of 2007, the gender approach, with no budget of its own, was successfully incorporated into the programme through the determined efforts of the programme coordination unit from the outset. Gender considerations were built into all PRODEVER activities, and gender training was provided to technical teams and implementers. In addition, a picture of the number of women participating in the programme was formed thanks to disaggregation by sex of most programme data, and a record of women's presence in most project documentation.

Indigenous peoples. PRODEVER has been implemented from the outset in a fully indigenous area with a majority presence of three indigenous groups: achíes, quechíes and pocomchíes. However, the intervention strategy addressed primarily their poverty rather than their ethnic condition. It was assumed that no special strategies would be needed to include the indigenous population as beneficiaries, nor was there a perceived need to thematize their rights.

Sustainability. The programme has placed priority on promoting grass-roots organizations in poor communities to enable them to move towards self-management, empowering their capacity to manage projects and generate resources. Under the local capacity-building component, 35 organizations (of 158 rated) were deemed consolidated in 2007. Among them are 27 producers' associations for commercial crops (coffee, cardamom, cacao, fruit), whose sustainability will depend on future demand for their products. Public and private institutions in the area of associations is still weak (municipalities have low resource levels and planning capacities, vested interests have a strong influence, etc.), and the sustainability of community structures requires continued support with links to emerging structures (development councils, municipalities, networks of organizations). PRODEVER faced constraints in providing adequate support: FONAPAZ project planning and implementation procedures, subject to state guidelines, led to discontinuity and at times poor timing of support, undermining the sustainability of their impact on production lines and food security. 

Innovation. In view of the baseline situation in Las Verapaces, promoting a participatory approach was innovative for the area. Moreover, new technologies and production alternatives were introduced (fruit, tourism), and more advanced linkages were established for product commercialization.

Performance by actors. IFAD has made a substantial investment in defining the programme and has monitored its implementation closely, visiting the programme area at least twice a year. In key areas such as developing and implementing an M&E system, IFAD made external consultants available from the beginning and closely monitored their performance. At the level of policy dialogue, IFAD has had a marked influence on the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food, FONAPAZ and other government agencies, including the Office of the President of the Republic. This work has borne fruit, first, in the form of capacity contributed to define models and approaches through projects such as PRODEVER, and then in setting strategic guidelines to promote rural development, as evidenced in the two IFAD COSOPs of 2003 y 2008. Guatemala's President, Oscar Berger, visited PRODEVER six times, demonstrating the Government's appreciation for IFAD's efforts in the area. In addition, the new Government declared rural development one of its main priorities in January 2008, creating the Rural Development Council and a coordinating agency represented by the National Rural Development Programme.

The Government has fulfilled its financial obligations. Following a prolonged preparation process, FONAPAZ competitively recruited a programme management and team with sound professional skills and kept it in place following the change in government in 2004. Despite FONAPAZ support for PRODEVER's work, in the absence of decisive governance, programme management decisions were accepted and the lack of a steering committee (provided for in the IFAD loan agreement) was tolerated.

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, as cofinancier, has not been involved in programme implementation, relying on the monitoring and supervision capacity of IFAD and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) as cooperating institution.

UNOPS was contracted as a cooperating institution to monitor compliance with the loan agreement. In general, it performed satisfactorily. At the end of 2007, by IFAD decision, UNOPS was replaced in this function by the Andean Development Corporation (CAF).

Rating summary

Evaluation Criteria


Core performance criteria








Project performancea


Rural poverty impact


Household income and assets


Human and social capital and empowerment


Food security and agricultural productivity


Natural resources and the environment


Institutions and policies


Other performance criteria




Innovation, replication and scaling up


Overall project achievementb




Performance of partners








a  Average of ratings for relevance, effectiveness and efficiency.
b The overall project achievement rating is calculated based on the ratings for project performance, rural poverty impact, sustainability and innovation.
Rating scale:  6 = Highly satisfactory; 5 = Satisfactory; 4 = Moderately satisfactory; 3 = Moderately unsatisfactory; 2 = Unsatisfactory; 1 = Highly unsatisfactory.


The following conclusions summarize the lessons that may be drawn from PRODEVER's design and implementation.
When PRODEVER was designed, the baseline situation presented a series of challenges to promoting development: a recent history of civil war with a significant impact on Las Verapaces and serious human rights violations, particularly against women; a population composed of different ethnic groups speaking different languages, with minimal relations among them; land distribution characterized by large estates in the hands of latifundistas or large landowners, with campesinos relegated to marginal land; power structures dominated by local caudillos; the lack of a central State presence; fledgling municipalities; communities isolated by inadequate infrastructure and services; informal markets and financial services; mass migration by young people; and a high incidence of poverty. Clearly, this situation entailed a series of risks in terms of design and implementation if the desired results were to be achieved, particularly in identifying which issues should be included in the programme.
Arriving at a design that enables implementers to respond to the complexity of such a situation means coming as close as possible to the actual circumstances in communities. PRODEVER's implementation has shown that in this situation, design by external missions has limitations, and that a presence is needed for a longer period to determine what is feasible to carry out. Conscious of the risks involved in designing PRODEVER, the designers requested the flexibility to adapt the design during programme implementation and IFAD agreed, adopting the flexible lending mechanism modality. This decision has been shown to be correct, since one component (rural financial services) and aspects of another (land titling) were not implemented, and new elements were included such as literacy, reproductive health, food security projects and vocational training.
IFAD required a clear programme focus and agreed to a design distinguishing among six different target groups. Following an initial study, the management defined poverty characteristics and levels in the communities to be served and selected the communities accordingly based on the nature of the projects implemented. However, no record was kept of the characteristics of the families and persons participating in the projects. As a result, given the stratification of results, it is not possible to accurately state to what extent each of the six target groups have benefited.
The design included two kinds of target populations: those with the means of production and potential for productive self-development, and those living in extreme poverty without such resources. PRODEVER has demonstrated that the most visible results were achieved in the segment of landowning families, who have plantations of perennial crops such as coffee, cardamom or fruit (banana, citrus), and those who were able to establish a permanent relationship with an exporter to sell vegetables. On the other hand, in order to reach target groups in the second category, the management designed projects not originally included, in particular in the food security sector. For this more numerous second segment, however, a significantly longer time is needed to cross the poverty line. Serving these different target populations calls for different approaches, methods and measures. These are not easily combined, and the programme has not differentiated clearly among them.
Additionally, the evaluation points up the fact that building local capacities requires an extended period of support. The programme results show that of the 158 organizations supported since 2003, 35 were deemed to have reached a level of development that merited rating them as "consolidated institutions". The majority of those remaining need continued support to achieve that status.
The programme objectives set initially were achieved in part, with notable progress made on organization, economic development, gender and road infrastructure. Substantial investments were made in improving conditions of access to markets for rural producers, such as roads and agro-industrial infrastructure, and much work was done on market access. An increasing economic dynamic was observed in Las Verapaces during programme implementation, to which PRODEVER made a substantial contribution in the form of training, technical assistance and investment in production and roads. Poverty was reduced by 5 per cent of the target population, coinciding with the national trend announced by the Government at the end of 2007.
The proposal to use the flexible lending mechanism was a sound one, as it allowed for the programme to be adapted on the basis of achievements and experience. However, this flexibility – indispensable for a programme such as PRODEVER – not only brought benefits in terms of adapting the programme to better achieve its objectives, but also entailed risks in terms of its evolution and the monitoring of implementation. In fact, the logical framework, which was to be used to measure progress, was applicable only in part and required significant changes to reflect the programme realities (see mid-term review recommendations). Clearly, such a situation calls for proper monitoring by those responsible for implementation. In the case of PRODEVER, IFAD made frequent visits to the field and provided constant support for the development of an M&E system.
Promoting rural development calls for interventions at various levels to cultivate related strategy and policy, linked to the actual realities in the field, by facilitating inter-project exchanges. PRODEVER is an example of best practice in this regard. IFAD supported the responsible agencies, such as Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food and FONAPAZ, in defining various rural development programmes, and made important contributions to government policy through the COSOPs of 2003 and 2008. In addition, it facilitated an exchange of learning and experience between IFAD projects and other agencies operating in the country and elsewhere in Central America.
In view of the complexity of implementing a programme such as PRODEVER, it was very important to recruit a programme management and team of good professional calibre, to define and implement the proper entry and execution strategy to achieve the programme objective. In addition, the team needed to acquire the knowledge to design and implement effective projects that would increasingly be adapted to needs. FONAPAZ selected the appropriate management at the programme's outset, which applied sound judgment in setting up the team and selecting co-implementers. In addition, the fact that this team remained in charge of the programme from the outset until the end of 2007 was one of the main reasons for its good performance. Continuity was key to the results achieved. The change in the team at the beginning of 2008 interrupted the learning curve, and a new team had to begin again to establish relationships with the communities, earn credibility, and acquire the knowledge to provide continued support.
During the programme's implementation, significant changes occurred in the institutional framework, when legislation on decentralizing the State was passed, assigning a crucial role to municipalities as new agents of development. Taking advantage of this new environment in which public and private structures are emerging, PRODEVER has attempted to support the integration of its activities into municipal development plans, in some municipalities more successfully than in others. Members of organizations supported by PRODEVER currently participate in these structures, including community development councils (COCODE) and municipal development councils (COMUDE), which serve as an essential nexus to better anchor the programme's efforts within local structures. Through this process, opportunities for citizen participation have opened up and are gradually being employed.
PRODEVER operated in an environment that had become virtually bereft of public services. In this context, the programme sought out new ways of encouraging development in Las Verapaces. The participatory approach was innovative for the Las Verapaces area, as was the initial rating of communities by development level to facilitate selection on the basis of poverty and potential. At the same time, new technologies were introduced to improve the production and productivity of commercial crops. Opportunities were created for a sustainable increase in income by linking producers' associations with processing plants and with more advanced links in the market chain.


Design and preparation of future programmes

It is recommended that consideration be given to modifying the preparation of future programmes similar to PRODEVER by giving more of a voice to stakeholders active in the programme area.
It is recommended that, from the outset, different approaches and methods be identified to support different types of target groups: those who have the potential to lift themselves out of poverty through economic investments, and those living in extreme poverty without resources who need social assistance, at least initially. Focusing attention on both types of target groups risks lowering efficiency and effectiveness in both cases. Accordingly, it is recommended that greater conceptual clarity be applied in defining and combining modalities responsive to the two categories and their different levels of resources to help them.
It is recommended that IFAD's loan agreements include a due diligence requirement with respect to the executing capacity of the implementing agency, evaluating requirements in terms of governance and administrative guidelines to be met by future projects and their degree of compliance to ensure smooth and successful implementation.
Regarding rural financial services, it is recommended that the search be intensified for alternative forms of bottom-up savings and credit promotion to underwrite small financial markets adapted to the habits of potential community clients (savings and credit associations).

Continuation of PRODEVER

It is crucial that PRODEVER, FONAPAZ and those involved in defining the current government food security programme incorporate lessons learned from the implementation of PRODEVER to improve their operations in the country's 45 poorest municipalities, considered a priority by the current Government.
It is recommended that IFAD and CAF, together with FONAPAZ, perform an analysis of PRODEVER's current operating and financial capacity, including government contributions, up to the programme's conclusion. In addition, consideration should be given to a review of the continuing components and subcomponents and those which are to be closed, identifying the target groups on which the programme should focus to enhance the sustainability of supported structures. Also, the logical framework should be adapted and simplified. Finally, it is recommended that annual financial planning be established up to the programme's conclusion, including government contributions.
To ensure the sustainability of PRODEVER's successes and to promote public institutions at the community and regional levels, it is critical that closer links be established between organizations supported by the programme and permanent structures now emerging in the area: municipalities, development councils and others at the communal, municipal and departmental levels.
The results facilitated by PRODEVER in Las Verapaces would be orphaned without the continuous support of another programme to build upon accomplishments. It is recommended therefore that an investment be made in a programme to continue strengthening the capacities supported to date.

Policy dialogue

It is suggested that policy dialogue be maintained and reinforced by setting an agenda agreed upon by the authorities, IFAD and other agencies, with periodic meetings and work plans that include a review of the application of the Government's rural development policies.



07 December 2009




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