Learning event: Infrastructure at IFAD
On 26 March 2021, the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) will organize a learning event on IFAD’s support to infrastructure, which will present and discuss the 2020 evaluation synthesis report entitled ‘Infrastructure at IFAD (2001-2019)’.
The learning event, which will be open to the public, will offer an important opportunity to share lessons and experiences on infrastructure based on the evidence collected from 35 IFAD-funded projects.
During the event, a panel of distinguished experts will pave the way for a thought-provoking discussion on IFAD’s future projects by presenting options for green and pro-poor infrastructure investments.
Discussions will stem from the findings of IOE’s report, which noted IFAD’s positive track record and added value alongside the need for the organization to step up its internal technical capacity and guidance. Specific issues will include the increasing demand for infrastructure investments in partner countries, the importance of co-financing partnerships to provide infrastructure at scale, and IFAD’s comparative advantage in the provision of small-scale, climate-smart and pro-poor infrastructure.
The link to pre-register for the event will be made available soon.
EvalForward Blogpost: Behind the glossy cover - six reflections on communicating evaluations
Alexander Voccia, Evaluation Knowledge Management and Communication Specialist at IOE, has published a blog post on EvalForward entitled ‘Behind the glossy cover: six reflections on communicating evaluations’
In the post, Alexander discusses the distinctive set of opportunities and pitfalls associated with the communication approaches necessary to enhance visibility, reach and consumption of evaluation findings. In this context, the author presents six reflections that underscore the need for a strategic approach to communicating evaluations in order to broker honest conversations for change.
The piece is based on a recent assessment of IOE’s communication endeavours, and draws from the best practices of the world’s leading multilateral development financial institutions, United Nations programmes and funds, and academia.
Earth-Eval Blogpost: Averting a ‘train wreck’ – Taking stock of environmental consequences of development interventions
Nanthikesan Suppiramaniam, Lead Evaluation Officer at IOE, has published a blogpost on Earth-Eval entitled ‘Averting a ‘train wreck’ – Taking stock of environmental consequences of development interventions’.
In the post, Suppiramaniam discusses IFAD’s pioneering role – within in the UN system – in recognizing the need to evaluate the intended and unintended environmental consequences of development interventions. The piece analyses the key elements of the system developed in IFAD to sustain this effort, and to keep it going strong for the past decade. Among these, the piece highlights that the evaluation of environmental consequences of development interventions is relevant and useful to the extent that organizations are committed to mainstreaming such analysis in their programmes.
The author presents the five interlocking elements of IFAD’s system that ensures integration of environmental consequences into the evaluation process, in the hope that IFAD's experience may serve as a compass to point to possible pathways for others who are embarking on this important endeavour.
EvalForward Blogpost: Making voices count - Gathering community feedback in times of remote evaluation
Johanna Pennarz, Lead Evaluation Officer at IOE, and Prashanth Kotturi, Evaluation Officer at IOE, have published a blogpost on EvalForward entitled ‘Making voices count - Gathering community feedback in times of remote evaluation’.
In the post, Pennarz and Kotturi present the pandemic-induced remote data collection methodology adopted to evaluate the National Programme Community Empowerment project in Indonesia. The evaluation used a bottom-up approach by examining the experiences and perceived benefits of community groups, first through interviews and then by triangulating these with the perspectives and views of project staff such as village facilitators, district facilitators and regency facilitators.
In discussing the findings, strengths and challenges of the evaluation, the authors highlight that although the evaluation was able to provide valuable insights into the ability of Community Driven Development to give control of decisions and resources to communities, it was not able to attain its original purpose of contributing to mutual learning and community empowerment. This notwithstanding, the authors conclude that, in a pandemic-constrained context, a remote evaluation is better than no evaluation.
IFAD-funded projects contribute to higher household incomes in Uganda
Rome, 5 February 2021 – Rural development projects co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have helped to increase household incomes in Uganda over the past seven years. This and other issues were presented earlier today, as Ugandan senior policy makers and representatives of IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) met to discuss the findings of a country strategy and programme evaluation (CSPE), carried out in Uganda in 2020.
Key to the achievements of IFAD’s co-financed projects in Uganda has been the building of infrastructure and market support services, which have reduced transport costs and increased market prices due to improved road access. Equally important have been IFAD’s investments in rural finance, which have supported regulatory reforms and linkages between local savings and credit groups and service providers.
Organized by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development of the government of Uganda and IFAD’s IOE, in collaboration with IFAD’s East and Southern Africa Division, the on-line virtual workshop brought together policy makers from the Ministries of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and Local Government, and development counterparts, civil society organizations and private partners.
During the event, meeting participants discussed the main findings, recommendations and issues emerging from the CSPE, reflected on opportunities and challenges in the IFAD-Government partnership, addressed strategic priorities for IFAD's continued financing in Uganda, and agreed to finalize and sign the evaluation’s Agreement at Completion Point (ACP)*.
Uganda’s economy has grown strongly in the past 20 years, during which time agriculture has provided a quarter of the country’s GDP whilst employing 72% of its labour force. However, multiple structural challenges have constrained agricultural growth, including climate change and unsustainable natural resource consumption patterns.
To offset these challenges, government policy frameworks have sought to transform agriculture into a commercially viable sector around a set of key value chains. However, notable challenges remain. Moreover, while overall funding for agriculture has fallen below the government’s international commitment, the rising impacts of climate change could setback IFAD’s achievements if not addressed promptly.
Looking forward, the meeting called for exploring ways to expand IFAD’s effective value chain approach to other commodities with greater beneficiary outreach potential, for mainstreaming climate change more extensively in IFAD’s future in-country investments, and for delivering more transformative approaches and interventions tailored to the specific needs of women and youths.
For further information, please contact Alexander Voccia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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*NOTE: The ACP summarizes the main CSPE findings and recommendations, which the Government of Uganda (represented by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development) and IFAD (represented by the Associate Vice-President of the Programme Management Department) agree to adopt and implement within a specific timeframe. The role of IOE is to facilitate the preparation and finalization of the ACP, which will be included in the Uganda CSPE final report, to be presented to IFAD’s Evaluation Committee in March 2021.
Uganda Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation – virtual national workshop
The Government of Uganda and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), in close collaboration with IFAD’s East and Southern Africa Division, co-organized a virtual event for the Uganda Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE), as a final step in the evaluation process.
The virtual event took place on 5 February 2021, with the participation of several representatives from the Government of Uganda, project coordinators, and IFAD Management and staff (including IOE).
The objectives of the Uganda CSPE national workshop were to:
- discuss the main issues emerging from the Uganda CSPE; and
- discuss the opportunities and challenges of the IFAD-Government partnership in the future.
Hon. Dr Ajedra Gabriel Aridru, Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development, delivered welcome remarks and an opening statement for the event. Mr Donal Brown, Associate Vice President, Programme Management Department of IFAD, gave a statement, followed by Mr Fabrizio Felloni, Interim Officer in Charge, IOE, who pronounced an introductory statement.
Ms Chitra Deshpande, Senior Evaluation Officer, IOE, then presented the main findings and conclusions emerging from the evaluation, as well as recommendations for future work in Uganda.
After a question-and-answer session, Ms Lakshmi Moola, Country Director, and Ms Sara Mbago-Bhunu, Regional Director, East and Southern Africa Division, IFAD, gave statements on the future directions for the IFAD programme in Uganda.
Closing remarks were delivered by Mr Felloni and Hon. Bagiire Aggrey, Minister of State for Agriculture.
Ms Maris Wanyera, of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, acted as Master of Ceremony for the event.
IFAD-supported innovations enhance agricultural productivity in Morocco
Rome, 3 February 2021 – Interventions on local production systems in Morocco, realized through IFAD co-financed projects, have contributed to increased agricultural productivity, sustainable management of natural resources and greater resilience to climate change. These and other issues were presented earlier today, as Moroccan senior policy makers, representatives of IFAD’s Near East, North Africa and Europe Division (NEN) Division and the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) met to discuss the findings of the country strategy and programme evaluation (CSPE), carried out in 2020.
Key to the achievements of IFAD’s co-financed projects in Morocco has been the improvement of rangelands management combined with efforts aimed at strengthening crop and livestock production systems. These interventions have contributed to improving agricultural productivity, to promoting sustainable management of natural resources, and to improving resilience to climate change.
Co-organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests of the government of Morocco (MAPMDREF) and IFAD’s IOE, in collaboration with IFAD’s NEN Division, the on-line virtual workshop brought together representatives of public sector institutions and national stakeholders, multilateral and bilateral partners, and selected private sector organizations.
During the event, meeting participants addressed the main findings, recommendations and issues emerging from the CSPE. Discussions centred on how to promote local products, including by supporting their continued access to markets in order to ensure sustainability of agricultural production systems. In this context, participants also focused on the numerous technical and institutional innovations developed within the framework of each project thanks to partnerships with public and non-public actors.
During the 12 years (2009-2020) considered by the evaluation, the socioeconomic situation of Morocco has improved and the incidence of poverty has decreased significantly. Nevertheless, the grip of poverty remains high in rural areas, particularly in IFAD's geographic areas of focus, where it stands at 9.5%, compared to 1.6% in urban areas. This, notwithstanding that the agricultural sector employed 38.7% of the labour force in 2017. Challenges thus remain, and call for increasing actions towards women and youths, strengthening rural organisations sustainably, as well as a more proactive involvement of IFAD in the formulation of agricultural policies and strategies.
Looking forward, workshop participants focused on avenues through which rural organizations of women and youth may evolve into modern agricultural entrepreneurs, and discussed opportunities for mobilizing external partners in order to further support and upgrade agriculture systems in disadvantaged and less attractive geographical areas.
For further information, please contact Alexander Voccia at email@example.com
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IOE’s learning notes on conducting evaluations during the Covid-19 pandemic
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has released two learning notes on its practical experience with conducting evaluations under the travel, health and social restrictions established internationally to fight the spread of Covid-19.
These restrictions had a severe impact on IOE’s work, preventing international missions and field data collection – signature elements of its evaluation approach.
The learning note on “The experience of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD in conducting evaluations during Covid-19” analyses the main challenges faced and lessons learned by IOE as it made every effort to assure evaluation quality and sustained delivery under Covid-19 conditions.
The learning note on the “Coastal Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Project” in Bangladesh provides information on how IOE conducted its first fully remote evaluation. The learning note discusses the adaptations made to its traditional evaluation approach – including the leveraging of national consultants and modern technologies – and details the lessons learned.
Morocco Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation – Virtual National Workshop
The Government of Morocco and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), in collaboration with IFAD’s Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, co-organized a virtual event for the Morocco Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE), as a final step in the evaluation process.
The virtual event was held on 3 February 2021 and entailed the participation of several representatives from the Government of Morocco, public sector institutions, IFAD Management and staff (including IOE) and other stakeholders. Over 100 people attended the virtual workshop.
The objectives of this event were to:
- discuss the main issues emerging from the Morocco CSPE; and
- discuss the opportunities and challenges of the IFAD-Government partnership in the future.
Welcome remarks were given by Mr Fabrizio Felloni, Interim Officer-in-Charge, IOE. His Excellency Mr Mohamed Sadiki, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests, then delivered opening remarks. Mr Maximin Kodjo, Lead Evaluation Officer, IOE, presented the conclusions emerging from the evaluation and recommendations for future IFAD’s operations in the Kingdom. Mr Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President, IFAD, gave a statement.
After a session for comments and discussion, statements were given by Mr Nicolas Martin, Head of United Nations Resident Coordinator Office in Morocco, and Ms Dina Saleh, Regional Director, and Mr Naoufel Telahigue, Head Hub/Country Director, of IFAD’s Near East, North Africa and Europe Division. The event’s closing remarks were delivered on behalf of HE Mr Sadiki by Mr Said Laith, Director of Rural Area and Mountain Zone Development, within the Ministry in charge of Agriculture.
The virtual workshop was moderated by Mr Thiendou Niang.
The event took place in French with simultaneous interpretation to English.
Evaluation Cooperation Group – 2020 Webinars: Pushing the boundaries
As part of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) 2020 Webinars, on 8 December 2020, the European Investment Bank Operations Evaluation Division (EIB-IG/EV) held a pilot virtual event – open for the first time to all ECG members – to share hands-on experience with using innovative evaluation methods. The event was also envisaged to foster exchanges between ECG evaluation practitioners.
Mr Fabrizio Felloni, Ms Simona Somma and Mr Hansdeep Khaira, respectively Interim Officer in Charge and Evaluation Officers of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), took part in the event, with a presentation on IOE’s experience with the use of geospatial data and imagery in evaluations in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.