Sudan Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation – Virtual National Workshop

22 Jun 2020

The Government of Sudan 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 Sudan Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE), as a final step in the evaluation process.

The virtual event was held on 22 June 2020 and entailed the participation of several representatives of the Government of Sudan, including project coordinators, and IFAD Management and staff (including IOE).

Mr Abdelgader M. Ahmed Turkawi, Undersecretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources delivered the opening remarks. These were followed by statements from: Mr Adil Farah Idris, Undersecretary, Ministry of Animal Resources; Mr Fabrizio Felloni, Interim Officer-in-Charge, IOE; and Ms Dina Saleh, representing the Director of IFAD’s Near East, North Africa and Europe Division.

Ms Fumiko Nakai, Senior Evaluation Officer, IOE, presented the main findings emerging from the CSPE and recommendations for future activity. After a session for comments and discussion, speeches and statements were given by: Mr Tarek Ahmed, IFAD Country Director for Sudan; Mr Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President, IFAD; His Excellency Abdelwahab Mohamed Elhijazi Mohamed Khair, Ambassador of the Republic of the Sudan to Italy; and Mr Mekki Mirghani Osman, Undersecretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, who delivered the event’s closing remarks.

Evaluation HEAD-lines: Remote Approaches to Evaluations in Times of COVID-19

09 Jun 2020

Fabrizio Felloni, Deputy Director and Interim Officer-in-Charge of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), and Juha Uitto, Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the Global Environment Facility discuss Remote Approaches to Evaluations in Times of COVID-19 with the Independent Evaluation Department (IED) of the Asian Development Bank.

This episode of the Evaluation HEAD-lines series focuses on the challenges emerging from the current travel restrictions and subsequently the inability to collect empirical data.

Watch the video:

EvalForward Blogpost: Value chain approaches - reaching the very poor

09 Jun 2020

Fabrizio Felloni, Deputy Director and Interim Officer-in-Charge of IOE, has published a blogpost on Evalforward on “Value chain approaches: reaching the very poor”. 

In the post, Felloni recalls the burgeoning importance of value chains in development today, a topic also explored in IOE’s latest corporate-level evaluation on IFAD’s engagement in pro-poor value chain development (2019)

The author discusses good practices identified in the evaluation on reaching poor and very poor households through value chains, but notes that their effectiveness depends on specific attention at project design and implementation.


Read more:

IFAD supports projects that increase agricultural productivity and incomes in Madagascar

04 Jun 2020

Antananarivo, 4 June 2020 Rural development projects financed and supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have helped to reduce rural poverty and increase rural entrepreneurship in Madagascar, according to a new report presented today.

The report, prepared by IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE), reviews the joint work of IFAD and the Government of Madagascar over the past seven years (2013-2019), covering six projects with a total project cost of US$510 million, of which 59 per cent was financed by IFAD. The evaluation report highlights achievements as well as areas for further improvement.

IFAD- supported projects aim to raise the incomes and improve livelihoods, food security and living conditions of the world’s poorest people, who live in rural areas of developing countries. In the years after the 2009-2012 political crisis, IFAD-supported projects helped rural poor by providing them with the abilities and skills to improve their productivity and better capitalize on economic opportunities.

Several projects introduced innovations into Madagascar, leading to positive results. For instance, IFAD was successful in integrating a large number of microenterprises and small businesses into high-value sectors by pairing farmers’ organizations with market operators, which improved farmers’ access to the markets. According to the report, the creation of nearly 400 of these pairs attracted over US$5.4 million in private sector investments.

“We are quite proud of our gains in Madagascar in terms of rural productivity, incomes and entrepreneurship. Linking farmers with market operators was key for improving economic opportunities in rural areas”, said Sara Mbago-Bhunu, Regional Director of IFAD’s East and Southern Africa Division (ESA).

IFAD played a key role in improving access of rural entrepreneurs to productive assets, support services and financial services. The report states that IFAD helped create networks of service providers, and collaboration and support platforms, thus contributing to the development of rural entrepreneurship.

Capacity development and training for young farmers helped them set up and develop their own businesses. “Approximately 70,000 people benefited from training and outreach activities, which are essential for the development of our beneficiaries’ capacities and the dissemination of improved production techniques”, said Fabrizio Felloni, Interim Officer-in-Charge, IOE.

IFAD’s work in the country is not over, however, and he went on to describe some of the areas for future work. “The report shows that there is a need to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of the operations, by better engaging key actors such as microfinance institutions, better defining the geographical reach of operations and further strengthening capacity development and skills,” Felloni said. “Additional efforts are also needed to integrate the most vulnerable into the country strategy and programme. The evaluation recommends to fine tune targeting, providing more subsidies for income-generating activities and credit to help the most vulnerable people participate fully in these activities.”

According to the evaluation report, the management of natural resources and adaptation to climate change impacts needs to become a key objective in IFAD’s next country strategy for Madagascar. IFAD is looking at how it can improve work in this area in order to ensure sustainability and improve the livelihoods of the rural poor.

Press release No.: 25/2020

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.

Virtual event: How do innovative evaluations contribute to achieving SDG2?

04 Jun 2020

In the context of the gLOCAL week, the evaluation offices of FAO, IFAD and WFP with the support of EvalForward organized a virtual learning event on 4 June 2020. The event was dedicated to discussing innovative methods and approaches in evaluation, and on how innovations can provide lessons for progress under SDG2 “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.

Mr Hansdeep Khaira, Evaluation Officer, IFAD, participated in the parallel session Innovative approaches and tools for evaluation. The session discussed approaches that evaluation can adopt in times of crisis and presented practical methods and tools such as remote sensing and synthesis, and more.

Ms Johanna Pennarz and Mr Maximin Kouessi Kodjio, Lead Evaluation Officers, IOE, took part in the parallel session Learning from experience: Community-driven development approaches and innovations. The session illustrated how evaluations contribute to knowledge and learning, using the cases of the evaluation synthesis on community-driven development (CDD) approaches and the corporate-level evaluation on innovations in IFAD.

Visit the EvalForward website for more information


Madagascar Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation – Virtual National Workshop

20 May 2020

The Government of Madagascar and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), in collaboration with IFAD’s East and Southern Africa Division, co-organized a virtual event for the Madagascar Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE), as a final step in the evaluation process.

The virtual event was held on 4 June 2020 and was attended by over 35 participants. These included representatives from the Government of Madagascar, IFAD Management and staff (including IOE), management staff of projects and programmes co-funded by IFAD covered by the CSPE, and selected members of multilateral and bilateral partners and producer organizations.

Mr Fabrizio Felloni, Interim Officer-in-Charge, IOE, opened the event with opening remarks, followed by speeches from Sara Mbago-Bhunu, Regional Director, East and Southern Africa, IFAD, and Fanomezantsoa Lucien Ranarivelo, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Madagascar.

Mónica Lomeña-Gelis, Senior Evaluation Officer, IOE, then explored the main issues emerging from the Madagascar CSPE, as well as the opportunities and challenges of the IFAD-Government partnership in the future. 

IOE continues implementing good evaluation and data collection practices during the COVID-19 outbreak

28 Apr 2020

Throughout the world, the Covid-19 pandemic is raising challenges of unprecedented magnitude and scope. Economies face severe disruptions, and individuals and businesses are ill equipped to cope with the turbulence that invariably ensues. Serious uncertainties are expected to persist for the foreseeable future, as the virus spreads to unaffected areas and countries face the pressures associated with recovery. This is all the more true in the developing world, where the turmoil caused by the disease risks undoing the development progress made over the decades, including towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

As IFAD redoubles its efforts in support of smallholder farmers and rural communities, we at the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) remain firmly committed to our mission to promote accountability and learning through independent, credible and useful evaluations of IFAD’s work, which we deem are critical to ensuring the effectiveness of IFAD’s operations to the benefit of the rural poor.

In particular, for us at IOE, the restrictions on personal movement ordered globally to fight virus spread have required rethinking of some of our methods, as the travel crucial to development and evaluation work cannot be undertaken. For example, project performance evaluations (PPEs) are affected, given that they are indispensably based on additional information and data collected during missions.

In response to these extraordinary circumstances, we have been exploring ways to fully leverage the content of existing documentation and the power of new technologies, to resume travel, field visits and shorter missions only when safety conditions allow. These alternative options are detailed in the table below; their respective strengths and weaknesses of each are illustrated, to facilitate tailoring the approach taken to a range of different situations.

We are also examining solutions for our country strategy and programme evaluations (CSPEs), and will be sharing them here shortly.



IFAD Leaf: IOE’s new app

29 Mar 2020

Leaf through all of IOE’s reports…in the palm of your hand!

The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) is pleased to announce the launch of its mobile application, IFAD Leaf.

IFAD Leaf is a further step towards bringing our evaluation work to the widest possible audience, enhancing the transparency of IFAD’s operations and the utility of evaluations.

Our reports span across varying levels of granularity, to include corporate-level evaluations, country strategy and programme evaluations, project performance evaluations, impact evaluations, evaluation synthesis reports, and annual reports on results and impact of IFAD operations. All contain details on the geographical context of IFAD operations, their relevance for rural development, the operations financed by the Fund and a summary of performance ratings, according to IOE’s applied evaluation criteria.

IFAD Leaf is a compact reference hub holding all of IOE’s reports in a format optimized for mobile use. Users will be able to consult the 270+ reports published by IOE since 2003 easily and rapidly, at any time, on their mobile devices.

With IFAD Leaf, users will be able to:

  • Search through IOE evaluations quickly and accurately thanks to customized filters
  • Save evaluations on their devices by adding them to their Favorites folder, which also makes them available offline
  • Learn from IOE’s evaluations to increase the impact of IFAD’s operations for sustainable and inclusive rural transformation

Do you want to learn more about IFAD’s relevance, effectiveness or efficiency, or the sustainability of its projects’ benefits, in a given country? Access IFAD Leaf now!

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University of Arizona and World Bank Development Economics Conference 2020

17 Feb 2020

From 17 to 19 February 2020, the University of Arizona and the World Bank co-organized a development economics conference, Empowering the Poor: Reducing Vulnerability, Enhancing Livelihoods at the University of Arizona, Tucson, United States of America.

This conference brought together a group of development practitioners from regional governments in Asia and Africa, World Bank, academia and other international development institutions who are at the forefront of development, implementation and study of one specific type of anti-poverty development programme: the Rural Livelihoods Program.

The three-day conference was dedicated to in-depth discussions on a selected number of livelihoods programmes in Asia and Africa. It highlighted what has been achieved so far, what lessons have been learned, and what the implications are for programming the implementation of similar programs in other countries.

The Deputy Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), Fabrizio Felloni, participated in the conference, presenting IFAD’s evaluation approaches and discussing relevant issues arising in the field of monitoring and evaluation.

Read more

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 (LAC), co-organized a national workshop for the Ecuador Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE), as a final step in the evaluation process.

The workshop took place in Quito on 4 February 2020 and was attended by over 260 participants. These included 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, academic and research institutions, the private sector and foundations, non-governmental organizations, and selected resource persons.

Mr Oscar Garcia, Director, IOE, opened the workshop with introductory speeches, followed by statements from: Luisa Migliaccio, Lead Portfolio Advisor of LAC; Matilde Mordt, UNDP Resident Coordinator; Lourdes Pacheco, a beneficiary of the Project to Strengthen Rural Actors in the Popular and Solidary Economy (FAREPS) project; Mr Andrés Briones, Director General of the National Institute of Popular and Solidarity Economy (IEPS) and chair of the session; and Hon. Hector Romero, Vice Minister for Rural Development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, representing the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock.

Thereafter, a press conference was held during which members of the morning panel responded to questions from national press and television journalists regarding the ongoing IFAD portfolio in Ecuador, as well as the future direction of the partnership between the Government and IFAD.

Jorge Carballo, IOE Evaluation Analyst and Claudia Ranaboldo, IOE rural development consultant, then explored the key findings, conclusions and recommendations from the CSPE report.

Finally, a group work session took place after lunch. The discussions of each group focused on key thematic areas emerging from the evaluation: territorial approach, entrepreneurship and policy dialogue.

The workshop was widely covered by the local media.