Ecuador Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation – National Workshop

04 Feb 2020

The Government of Ecuador and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) – in collaboration with IFAD’s Latin America and the Caribbean Division are co-organizing a national workshop for the Ecuador Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE), as a final step in the evaluation process.

The workshop will take place in Quito on 4 February 2020 and will entail the participation of representatives from the Government of Ecuador, IFAD Management and staff (including IOE), multilateral and bilateral development organizations, project management staff of IFAD-funded projects and programmes covered by the CSPE, academics and research institutions, private sector and foundations, non-governmental organizations, and selected resource persons. 

The objectives of the Ecuador CSPE national workshop are to:

  1. discuss the main issues emerging from the Ecuador CSPE;
  2. provide inputs for the preparation of the evaluation’s Agreement at Completion Point (ACP); and
  3. discuss the opportunities and challenges of the IFAD-Government partnership in the future.

Productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers increased through IFAD and Nepal partnership – new report.

19 Dec 2019

Kathmandu, 19 December 2019 – Rural development projects financed and supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have contributed to increased agricultural productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in Nepal, according to a new report presented today.

The report, prepared by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), reviews the joint work of IFAD and the Government of Nepal over the past seven years (2013 -2019), covering eight projects for a total cost of US$206.7 million. The evaluation report highlights achievements as well as issues that still need to be addressed.

“We are determined to continue supporting the government in its efforts to improve food and nutrition security for rural families, while building on lessons learned to improve the impact of our efforts,” said Donal Brown, IFAD Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department.

Over the past decades, farm fragmentation and low crop productivity has endangered the economic viability of traditional farming systems in Nepal. According to the report’s findings, IFAD has helped increase the productivity of small farms by focusing on improved production of high-value crops, such as spices, off-season vegetables, fruits, cereal and dairy products. For example, over 83 per cent of the beneficiaries of the IFAD-supported High Value Agriculture Project in Hill and Mountain Areas in Karnali Province reported increased productivity of high-value crops due to the use of quality seeds, improved farm management practices and better irrigation systems.

“The results of the evaluation give us further evidence that supporting producers in developing high-value agricultural products that correspond to market needs can help them to generate a profit. Also, improving market infrastructure and producers’ access to markets leads to improved outcomes,” said Brown.

 “Linking smallholder farmers with buyers, retailers, and other actors in the value chain was an important step to improving farmers’ economic opportunities,” added Fabrizio Felloni, IOE Deputy Director.

One of the evaluation recommendations is to support local governments in promoting rural development, including local infrastructure and economic opportunities. In rural areas, there are challenges in working with isolated communities due to the underdeveloped infrastructure.

“The  evaluation raises an important question for IFAD’s future work in Nepal. We are asking ourselves how IFAD can improve livelihoods in the most remote rural communities, given that they are even less connected to markets,” said Oscar Garcia, IOE Director. According to the evaluation report, this question should be part of IFAD’s new country strategy for Nepal.

The evaluation concluded that, looking ahead, IFAD should expand its initiatives, in synergy with partners for specialized technical support in crucial areas such as value chain development.


Press release No.: IFAD/56/2019

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$21.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 491 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.

Nepal Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation – National Workshop

19 Dec 2019

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development of Nepal and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), in close collaboration with IFAD’s Asia and the Pacific Division, co-organized a national workshop for the Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE) conducted by IOE in the course of 2019, as a final step in the evaluation process.

The main objectives of the national workshop were to:

  • Discuss the main findings, conclusions and recommendations from the CSPE;
  • Provide inputs for the preparation of the evaluation’s Agreement at Completion Point (ACP); and
  • Discuss the opportunities and challenges of the future partnership between IFAD and the Government of Nepal, taking into account the country context as well as IFAD’s corporate context.

The national workshop took place on 19 December 2019 in Kathmandu, Nepal, and was attended by over 30 participants. Dr. Yubak Dhoj GC, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, and Mr Shreekrishna Nepal, Joint Secretary, International Economic Cooperation Coordination Division, Ministry of Finance, gave keynote remarks. Among the other participants were representatives of the Nepali Government, IFAD Senior Management and project management staff of IFAD-funded projects and programmes covered by the CSPE, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and international development organizations.

Mr Oscar Garcia, Director, IOE, and Mr Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department, opened the workshop with introductory speeches. Mr Fabrizio Felloni, Deputy Director, IOE, presented the main findings and recommendations of the Nepal CSPE. Mr Nigel Brett, Director, Asia and the Pacific Division, and Mr Tarek Kotb, IFAD Country Director for Nepal, shared the key directions for the new country strategy. The workshop was also an opportunity to discuss the main rural development needs and constraints faced by local governments, especially in light of the issues that may arise due to the country’s new federal system.

Prior to the workshop, an IFAD delegation undertook a field visit to the former High value agricultural project in hill and mountain areas and the current Agriculture Sector Development Programme, in the Karnali Province, Surkhet District. This provided an opportunity for the delegation to interact with project stakeholders as well as with representatives from provincial and municipal governments, and to see project activities on the ground.

Rural finance in Sierra Leone strengthened by IFAD projects – new report

27 Nov 2019

Freetown, 27 November 2019 – Rural development projects financed and supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) expanded access to rural finance and increased agricultural production in Sierra Leone, despite the civil war (1991-2002) and Ebola epidemic (2014-2015), according to a new report released today.

The report, prepared by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), reviews the past 17 years of work that IFAD carried out in partnership with the government of Sierra Leone, from 2003 to 2019.

Successes

According to the report’s findings, IFAD increased the reach of rural finance – including to remote areas – to an even larger group than originally planned. Over 280,000 households were reached through rural finance initiatives in the Northern, Southern and Eastern Provinces - more than 120 per cent of the envisaged target. 

“The evaluation provides further evidence of IFAD’s comparative advantage in effectively adapting to the shifting priorities of a fragile context and in targeting the rural poor through dedicated financial institutions,” said Jakob Tuborgh, IFAD’s Country Programme Director for Sierra Leone. In fact, these institutions proved resilient, being able to continue operating even during the Ebola outbreak.

“After almost 40 years of IFAD working together with Sierra Leone, our ability to build upon the accomplishments of our previous projects, especially in the context of rural finance, will advance our progress now and in the future,” he said.

By responding quickly to the country’s needs and priorities, the projects have remained relevant, shifting from supporting the reconstruction of productive assets and infrastructure directly after the civil war, to enhancing growth in production, marketing and the spread of rural finance today.

With 60 per cent of the population under the age of 25, youth is one of Sierra Leone’s most important demographics and an important target for IFAD-supported projects. 

“IFAD’s projects have addressed youth by introducing specific quotas in relevant project activities,” said Fabrizio Felloni, IOE’s Deputy-Director. “Moving forward, it is crucial to make the most of these achievements by adopting a strategy to mainstream the group within the country portfolio, to help unlock their potential in agriculture and improve youth employment in the country.”

Challenges for the future

The evaluation makes recommendations for future collaboration between IFAD and the Government of Sierra Leone to reduce rural poverty. The first is to improve relationships among the value chain actors, including buyers, sellers, service providers and regulatory institutions, and to create incentives for private sector participation. Another is to diversify agricultural activities to improve nutrition and build economic resilience to climate- and market -related shocks.

The report covers four IFAD-supported projects and one IFAD-supervised project for a total project cost of US$201.2 million, of which $98.1 million was financed by IFAD.


Press release No.: IFAD/50/2019

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$21.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 491 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.

Seminar on IFAD’s Support to Community-Driven Development

25 Nov 2019

The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) held a seminar on IFAD’s Support to Community-Driven Development (CDD). The objective of the seminar was to share and discuss the findings of the IOE evaluation synthesis on IFAD’s support to CDD, with the aim of feeding the lessons drawn from completed CDD operations into IFAD’s revamped strategic approach (IFAD 2.0). Over 45 people attended the event, while more than 35 viewers from around the world joined the livestream.

The seminar took place on Friday 13 December 2019. Community-driven development (CDD) has been an integral part of IFAD’s operations for more than 30 years. IOE’s evaluation synthesis shows that projects using a CDD approach fare better on criteria such as effectiveness, women’s empowerment and sustainability. CDD has also been instrumental in providing access to infrastructure and services to poor and marginalized people while, at the same time, giving them agency. A CDD approach addresses mainstreaming issues that are at the heart of IFAD’s mandate and strategy, such as empowering indigenous peoples, women and youth, strengthening food security and promoting sustainable use of natural resources. Furthermore, the CDD principle of local ownership is critical for improving IFAD's performance on sustainability, in particular in fragile situations. Finally, CDD can make a major contribution to developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions and ensure responsive, inclusive and participatory decision-making at all levels (as envisaged by SDG 16).

Mr Janmejay Singh, Lead Social Development Specialist for South Asia and former Coordinator for the CDD Community of Practice, World Bank, gave comments on this evaluation synthesis. Mr Singh noted that CDD has followed largely similar expansive trends in IFAD and the World Bank, confirming that CDD is the preferred option when working with vulnerable people, in vulnerable places and in vulnerable times. Mr Singh suggested further exploring the excellent results achieved on social cohesion by IFAD through CDD, because the lessons learned would be valuable globally. In this regard, additional outreach and information-sharing would help circulate IFAD’s CDD knowledge, enabling it to make the most of its comparative advantage in CDD in the context of agriculture.

The seminar featured two discussion panels. The first presented lessons learned on how and why CDD is relevant for IFAD’s future strategy. IFAD’s experience shows that CDD has made a substantive difference in ensuring the sustainability of project results and in reinforcing the social cohesion of communities, even serving as a powerful peace-building tool. CDD elements will therefore continue to feature strongly in IFAD’s work, strengthening the social fabric in fragile contexts while also contributing to business development and market-oriented approaches.

The second panel discussed the ongoing initiatives to strengthen CDD principles as part of IFAD 2.0. In this context, it was noted that although the social capital built by CDD is difficult to quantify, this does not mean that it is any less important. IFAD should provide stakeholders with evidence of why CDD works, and retain its unique approach to community-driven initiatives.

The recording of the event is available here.

Fall Meeting of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) of multilateral development banks

22 Nov 2019

The Annual Fall Meeting of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) of multilateral development banks was hosted by the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 2-4 December 2019.

The event was attended by the heads of evaluation and evaluation officers from multilateral development banks members of the ECG, as well as representatives of countries' Ministries.

The Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), Mr Oscar A. Garcia, took part in the panel discussion on the “Global Value Chain – An Effective Approach to Achieving Development Results”. He also chaired the thematic session titled “Evaluation Policies”.

Fabrizio Felloni, Deputy Director of IOE, also took part in the event.

Sierra Leone Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation – National Workshop

07 Nov 2019

The Ministry of Finance of the Government of Sierra Leone and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) – in collaboration with IFAD’s West and Central Africa Division (WCA) – co-organized a national workshop for the Sierra Leone Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE), as a final step in the evaluation process.

The workshop took place in Freetown on 27 November 2019. The Chief Guest was Denis K. Vandi, Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Forestry. Around 60 participants attended the workshop, including Emmanuel T. Komba, Senior Deputy Financial Secretary, Ministry of Finance; Amara I. Sheriff, Chief Agricultural Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; Samking Braima, Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Forestry; Robert Chankanda, Deputy Minister for Planning and Economic Developmment; and several other representatives from the Government of Sierra Leone. Among the other participants in the workshop were representatives of IFAD Management and staff (including IOE), multilateral and bilateral development organizations, project management staff of IFAD-funded projects and programmes covered by the CSPE, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and selected resource persons. 

The IFAD delegation included the Deputy Director, IOE, the IFAD Sierra Leone Country Director, the WCA Lead Regional Economist, and the IOE evaluation team.

Mr Hansdeep Khaira, Evaluation Officer, presented the key findings, conclusions and recommendations from the Sierra Leone CSPE. These were then discussed in an extensive round of questions and answers, as well as group discussions on the key thematic areas emerging from the evaluation.

The Sierra Leone CSPE national workshop was an opportunity to obtain inputs for the preparation of the evaluation’s Agreement at Completion Point (ACP), the brief document summarizing the main evaluation recommendations and including follow-up actions that the Government of Sierra Leone and IFAD Management agree to adopt and implement.

Finally, the workshop also explored the opportunities and challenges of the IFAD-Government of Sierra Leone partnership in the future.

The workshop was widely covered by the Sierra Leone media.

2019 ARRI learning event

28 Oct 2019

The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE)  organized a learning event on the 2019 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD Operations (ARRI). The event was held on Monday, 28 October 2019 from 14:30 to 16:30 (Central Europe Time) in IFAD headquarters in Rome, Italy.

The 2019 ARRI presents a synthesis of IFAD’s performance and highlights results and issues from evaluations conducted in 2018. The objectives of the learning event were to share and further discuss the findings presented in the 2019 ARRI, with a particular emphasis on the 2019 learning theme: relevance of IFAD project interventions.

The event was be opened by Oscar A. Garcia, Director, IOE, and Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department of IFAD provided his reflections on the ARRI findings and recommendations.  A panel of IFAD colleagues led a discussion on the question:  how to improve the quality of IFAD operations for “better” results? Panellists included: Margarita Astralaga, Director, Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division; Fabrizio Felloni, Deputy Director, IOE; Sara Mbago-Bhunu, Regional Director, East and Southern Africa Division; and Ashwani Muthoo, Director, Quality Assurance Group.

The event was well-attended by over 70 participants, including IFAD staff, some division directors, representatives of the Executive Board and the Evaluation Committee. Participants also included professors and students of the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, John Cabot University and the European School of Economics Rome.

IOE thanks all the participants for their valuable inputs.

Watch event replay

Book Launch: Information and Communication Technologies for Development Evaluation – New York

24 Oct 2019

The United Nations hosted the launch event of the new book “Information and Communication Technologies for Development Evaluation”. The book gives insights into the implications of new and emerging technologies in development evaluation and particularly the challenges of charting progress towards Agenda 2030.

The book is the latest issue of Routledge Studies in Development Economics, and was edited by Oscar Garcia, Director, IOE, and Prashanth Kotturi, Evaluation Analyst, IOE. It presents important contributions made by a team of expert practitioners as the result of an international conference on this topic that IFAD hosted in 2017.

The event was held on Thursday, 24 October 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters’ Dag Hammarskjöld Library in New York from 15:00 to 16:00 (Eastern Standard Time). It fostered international dialogue and exchange of knowledge through a panel discussion on innovative solutions for evidence-driven development.

Book Launch: Information and Communication Technologies for Development Evaluation – Washington, D.C.

22 Oct 2019

 

The Inter-American Development Bank hosted the launch of the new book “Information and Communication Technologies for Development Evaluation”. The book provides insights into the implications of new and emerging technologies in development evaluation and particularly the challenges of charting progress towards Agenda 2030.

The book is the latest issue of Routledge Studies in Development Economics and was edited by Oscar Garcia, Director, IOE, and Prashanth Kotturi, Evaluation Analyst, IOE. It presents important contributions made by a team of expert practitioners as the result of an international conference on this topic that IFAD hosted in 2017.

The event was held on Tuesday, 22 October 2019 from 11:00-12:30 (Eastern Standard Time) at the Inter-American Development Bank headquarters. It aimed to foster International dialogue and exchange of knowledge through a panel discussion on innovative solutions for evidence-driven development.

The discussion was chaired by Ivory Yong-Protzel, Director of Office of Evaluation and Oversight, Inter-American Development Bank. Panellists included: Geeta Batra, Deputy Director and Chief Evaluation Officer, Global Environment Facility; Jawoo Koo, Senior research fellow and Co-founder of CGIAR Big Data Platform, International Food Policy Research Institute; and Samantha Custer, Director of Policy Analysis, AidData.

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