French | Spanish

Welcome to Roots, the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) podcast for rural communities.

Personal stories of people who participate in IFAD-funded projects evaluated independently allow us to stop, reflect and see what is working well, what is not, why, and what needs to be corrected.

Beneficiaries' voices are references to improve projects intended to promote an inclusive and sustainable rural development.

IOE listens to these voices and disseminates them through Roots, a podcast produced for a broader audience to share knowledge and learning amongst rural communities around the world.

Roots travels with evaluators to IFAD-supported projects that help to change the lives of rural people and communities, bringing you a new voice from a different place on our planet once a month.

IOE invites radio broadcasters to use our podcasts in their schedules of programmes.

Roots' interview on country strategy and programme evaluation in Tunisia (In Arabic)

Over the last 15 years, Tunisia has made great progress in reducing rural poverty. IFAD has been working in partnership with the Government since 1980 to improve the living conditions of rural populations.

This month, Roots spoke with Philippe Remy, Country Programme Manager of IFAD in Tunisia, and with Ali Abaab and Diane Abi Khalil, two evaluators who worked on the second country strategy and programme evaluation in Tunisia, carried out by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. The evaluation covers six projects financed by IFAD between 2003 and 2018, which contributed to an increase in agricultural and livestock productivity and diversification.

Despite the significant progress made so far, there are still some areas to be improved. The evaluation noted that there have been sustainability risks related to the environment and limited scaling up of the projects' results.

Roots in Kalikot and Rukum, Nepal – Credit-based cooperatives' support to rural populations

Nepal is a landlocked country with a rich diversity of ethnicities and cultures and home to Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. In this episode Roots visited the Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project in the Mid-Western Region of Nepal and spoke with beneficiaries about the changes the project has brought in their lives.

Pankha Bahadur Hamal and Prem Kala Sahah live in Kalikot, an area characterized by harsh climatic conditions, geographic isolation and high food insecurity. They tell Roots how the IFAD-supported project helped them improve the irrigation system and obtain some loans to start their own businesses. Not far from them, in Rukum, Sita Pun started to conduct commercial agriculture, generating more income to support her family.

For more information about the evaluation objectives, methodology, process, timelines, and key questions, please read the approach paper.

Roots in Coahuila, Mexico – The production of Candelilla

Sandra and Isidra live in the state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico. The economy of this area mainly relies on the production of Candelilla, a plant that lives in the desert and finds its main use in the production of wax and cosmetics.

In this episode, Roots visited with the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD the "Sustainable development project for rural communities in semi-arid zones: (Northern and Mixtec Regions) PRODEZSDA" and spoke with beneficiaries about the changes the project has brought in their lives.

Since the death of her husband, Sandra has been supporting her family thanks to the production of Candelilla, which guarantees a stable source of income for her children. She tells Roots about how the provision of specific training has improved working conditions as well as health conditions in the area where she lives.

For more information about the evaluation objectives, methodology, process, timelines, and key questions, please read the approach paper.

Roots' interview on evaluation synthesis on fisheries

Fisheries and aquaculture are extremely relevant to IFAD's mandate, as fish and other sea products are essential for a balanced diet. The sector employs 190 million people in the world, of whom 90 per cent are small-scale fishers and producers.

This month, Roots spoke with Tullia Aiazzi, IOE senior consultant and author of an evaluation synthesis on IFAD projects' support to fisheries, which draws information from evaluations between 2009 and 2018. The synthesis looks at three countries that benefitted from IFAD's support: Bangladesh, the Maldives and Mozambique.


Despite the positive steps undertaken so far, there are still some challenges to face. For example, IFAD will need to ensure that all its projects in this sector integrate social development and rights-based approaches.


Roots in Nakuru, Kenya – Dairy farming

David Kamgoro, a father of six, is a dairy farmer who lives in Nakuru County in Kenya. He found in dairy farming a stable source of income, which has even allowed him to pay school fees for his children.

Over 800,000 small farmers in Kenya depend on dairy farming for their livelihoods. Since 2006, IFAD has been working with small dairy farmers to strengthen their understanding of the production process and improve their organizational and enterprise skills.

In this episode, Roots visited with the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD the Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme in Kenya and spoke with beneficiaries about the changes the programme has brought in their lives.

Roots in Ferké and Nahoulakaha, Côte d’Ivoire – Agricultural productivity

Koné lives in the small village of Ferké in the North-East of Côte d'Ivoire and is Vice-President of an agricultural association.

At the time of the creation of the association, he encountered financial difficulties to support his agricultural activities. Now his financial situation is stable and has allowed him to increase his production and obtain better harvests thanks to higher quality rice seeds, cassava and yam roots.

The funds have also supported him and the other members of the association with school loans for their children.

Not far from Koné, in the remote village of Nahoulakaha, near Korhogo, Sita is one of the many poor small farmers who also received inputs and farming tools to increase agricultural productivity.

In this episode, Roots visited with the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD the Agricultural Rehabilitation and Poverty Reduction Project (PRAREP) in Côte d'Ivoire and spoke with beneficiaries about the changes the project has brought in their lives.

Roots in Namasigüe, Honduras – Cashew production

Cashews are popular throughout the world for their nutritional value and delicious taste. In Namasigüe, Honduras, María de los Santos Muñoz leads a women's cooperative that processes the pulp and seed of this tropical fruit for exporting the product to Europe and Central America. 

In recent years, they bought machines that have improved their income and living conditions. Some of them are proud that their children study at university.

The women of the cooperative also have plans for the future. For example, they would like to use cashew pulp to produce a concentrate for soft drinks. However, to carry out these plans, they noted that the implementation of assistance programs should be more timely.

Roots visited the cashew processing plant with the Independent Office of Evaluation, where Maria de los Santos related the women of the cooperative's  experience.

Roots in Toledo and Stann Creek, Belize - Financial services

Hilaria Choco became part of a credit union to finance access to electricity for her family. She lives in Aguacate, a remote village in the district of Toledo. Her children made good use of electricity to study and do their homework. Some 160 kilometres away, in Dandriga, Jeneve Pratt breeds sheep and benefits from the services of another credit union.

In this episode, Roots visited the Belize Rural Financial Programme with the Independent Office of Evaluation  and spoke with some members of the credit unions that work with IFAD.

Roots in Peru's High Rainforest – Rural communities

Elsa Vargas de Del Castillo produces plantain flour in Peru's High Rainforest. Not far from her, also in San Martin's region, Nancy Guerrero breeds guinea pigs. These activities have allowed them to improve their family income and their lives.

In this first episode, Roots has visited with the Independent Office for Evaluation some of the initiatives within the IFAD backed Strengthening Local Development in the Highlands and High Rainforest Areas Project. There, Elsa and Nancy talked about the changes generated by the projects they participate in, and about what  is needed to increase and sustain the benefits.

Let´s listen to them!