Honduras Country Portfolio Evaluation
EVALUATION PURPOSE AND SCOPE
1. At the request of the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Office of Evaluation and Studies (OE) has carried out a series of Country Portfolio Evaluations (CPE) for Yemen, Sudan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
2. Honduras has been selected as the first Latin American country in which IFAD should analysed and synthesised its experience. This choice was made taking into account the importance of rural poverty in Honduras and the relevance of IFAD's experience in the country for the rest of Central America, where IFAD has been financing 12 projects.
3. The purpose of the Honduras ECP is to draw lessons from the experience in order to improve future project design and implementation. An attempt has been made to consider the experience of other funding agencies and to provide elements for a policy dialogue with the Government of Honduras (GOH) concerning policies, programmes and projects for rural poverty alleviation.
4. To this effect, the CPE focused on the following issues:
(a) Which strategy (or strategies) IFAD has developed in Honduras and to what extent the implementation of IFAD- financed projects have taken into account the needs and possibilities of target beneficiaries?
(b) What results have been achieved, and what limitations have been faced, by these projects? How sustainable are these results? To what extent the projects (or some of their elements) are replicable?
(c) How could future design and implementation of ongoing projects be financed on the basis of lessons learned from IFAD's experience in the country?
(d) Which lessons learned from IFAD's experience in Honduras could be applied in principle to the rest of Central America?
5. The main report consists of five chapters complemented by eight annexes (which present in detail those aspects synthesised in the main report). The first chapter presents the national and regional context in which the projects have been designed and implemented.
6. The second chapter presents the experience of the projects cofinanced by IFAD. The projects' results and a discussion of their sustainability are the subject matter of chapter three, whereas chapter four includes lessons learned from experience and a set of recommendations for the ongoing projects.
7. The Annexes contain a detailed presentation of the following themes: peasants organisation and participation, the economic framework, hillside agriculture and environmental protection, rural roads and construction, support to rural women and incorporation of gender aspects in the projects, project management and organisation, credit and financial services. These annexes are the basis on which the CPE's main report was prepared.
Ghana Country Portfolio Evaluation
List of acronyms and abbreviations
|ADB||Agricultural Development Bank|
|CLW||Community Livestock Worker|
|CPE||Country Portfolio Evaluation|
|DAES||Department of Agricultural Extension Services|
|DAP||Draught Animal Power Pilot Project|
|DFR||Department of Feeder Roads|
|EPS||Extended Poverty Study|
|ERP||Economic Recovery Programme|
|FLS||Front Line Staff|
|GOG||Government of Ghana|
|IITA||International Institute for Tropical Agriculture|
|LACOSREP||Upper-East Region Land Conservation and Smallholder Rehabilitation Project|
|M&E||Monitoring and Evaluation|
|MEO||Monitoring and Evaluation Officer|
|MOFA||Ministry of Food and Agriculture|
|NRTCIP||National Root and Tuber Crop Improvement Programme|
|PCU||Project Coordination Unit|
|PPMED||Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division|
|RDA||Regional Director of Agriculture|
|REP||Rural Enterprises Project|
|SAR||Staff Appraisal Report|
|SCIMP||Smallholder Credit, Input Supply and Marketing Project|
|SPM||Special Programming Mission|
|SRDP||Smallholder Rehabilitation and Development Programme|
|SRS||Special Resources for Sub-Saharan Africa|
|UAE||Unified Extension Approach|
|UWADEP||Upper West Agricultural Development Project|
|VBR||Valley Bottom Rice Pilot Project|
|VORADEP||Volta Region Agricultural Development Project|
|WFP||World Food Programme|
|WUA||Water Users' Association|
Objectives and scope
Since 1990 a series of Country Portfolio Evaluations (CPEs) has been undertaken by the Office of Evaluation and Studies at the request of the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Ghana CPE is the sixth in this series and the first in Sub-Saharan Africa. IFAD's projects portfolio in Ghana is among the largest in the subregion. The first of six projects financed by the Fund, the Volta Region Agricultural Development Project (VORADEP), was approved in March 1980 and the last, the Upper West Agricultural Development Project (UWADEP), was approved in September 1995. IFAD has therefore more than 15 years of experience in programming, designing and implementing agriculture and rural development projects in Ghana specifically targeted to alleviate rural poverty.
The major objective of the Ghana CPE is to assess overall portfolio performance and to draw lessons from experience to improve the future programming of the Fund's intervention, the design and implementation of its poverty-alleviation projects and to the extent possible the performance of the Fund's current operations in Ghana. The main areas investigated by the CPE are: (i) the extent to which IFAD's strategy of intervention in Ghana and the projects designed thereafter responded to the changing socio-economic conditions and to the Government of Ghana's (GOG) policies and priorities; (ii) the performance of projects with respect to their specific objectives by main fields of intervention and major constraints encountered; and (iii) areas of successes in project design and implementation as well as shortcomings of the portfolio. On the basis of the analysis, a set of recommendations and lessons learned to strengthen the strategic and operational orientation of future IFAD involvement in Ghana, as well as project design and implementation, is given.
The main report (Volume I) starts with the presentation of the socio-economic and strategic context of project implementation (Chapters II and III) and the main features of IFAD operations in the country (Chapter IV). The remaining Chapters V to XI are organized by critical themes identified by the CPE which provide most effective lessons from experience to shape future Fund interventions. At the end of every chapter a specific set of conclusions and recommendations and to the extent possible project impacts are presented. Chapter XII synthesizes the overall recommendations of the CPE mission. This Executive Summary contains, in addition to highlights of the overall findings, a synthesis of the lessons learned. Volume II contains the various annexes of the CPE report.
Of the six IFAD-financed projects in Ghana, two are completed: VORADEP (1988) and the Smallholder Rehabilitation and Development Programme (SRDP) (December 1995). Five projects have been initiated by IFAD and only one (VORADEP) was initiated by the World Bank and cofinanced by the Fund on a joint basis. Of these five, only one the Upper-East Region Land Conservation and Smallholder Rehabilitation Project (LACOSREP) is cofinanced by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the remaining four are financed exclusively by the Fund. Total cost for the six projects amounts to USD 124 million of which IFAD's loan amounts to USD 71.6 million.
Bangladesh Country Portfolio Evaluation
Evaluation purpose and scope
At the request of the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) a series of Country Portfolio Evaluations (CPEs) were undertaken in countries where IFAD had significantly wide development experience. After Yemen and The Sudan, Bangladesh was selected as the country where IFAD has supported the greatest number of projects (12) to date.1
The purpose of the Bangladesh CPE is to draw lessons of experience to improve future project design and implementation. To this effect, the CPE focused on the following issues:
- To what extent have the programming, design and execution of IFAD-financed projects taken into account the needs of target beneficiaries, ensured their participation, and improved their access to technology, inputs (including water), and finance?
- In the light of experience, what are the most effective organisational structures and managerial arrangements for project implementation?
- What has been the impact of those projects on food production and employment? Is the impact sustainable? Are the projects replicable?
- In view of the country's changing political and socio-economic context, what are the implications of lessons learned for future IFAD strategy?
The main report consists in ten chapters grouped under three general sections. Section one: Programme features and delivery reviews the evolving national context (Chapter II) in which the projects have been programmed (Chapter III) and implemented (Chapter IV); a particular attention is paid to the relationships between the projects and the institutional set-up (Chapter V);
Section Two: Main results by field of intervention evaluates the extent to which IFAD projects have progressively increased the target groups' access to technology (Chapter VI), water (Chapter VII) and rural credit (Chapter VIII), and thus contributed to increased agricultural production and rural employment; and
Section Three: Project Impact and Implications for IFAD discusses the effectiveness of IFAD approaches to poverty alleviation (Chapter IX); it subsequently presents the evaluation's findings, conclusions and recommendations (Chapter X).
Programme development and main achievements
During 15 years of activities in Bangladesh, IFAD has supported government policies and programmes with a progressive emphasis on equity issues. Broadly speaking, the IFAD programme can be divided into two phases. During the first phase (1978-1983) six large projects were approved, for a total lending of USD 118 million which mostly supported the Government's food grain production strategy. They comprised two flood control and drainage projects, one fertiliser programme loan, one agricultural credit project, and two rural development projects.
During the second phase (1984-1992), six other projects were approved (for a total IFAD contribution of USD 75 million); these were smaller and more oriented towards poverty alleviation. They included two income-generation activities projects for landless men and women (Grameen Bank II and III), one crop intensification/diversification project for marginal and small farmers, two "protein production" (fish and poultry) projects for two of the most vulnerable rural population groups, fishermen and women, and one project to help poor rural producers affected by cyclones to cope with the crisis.
On average, IFAD has financed 43% of the projects' total cost (of which 64% represent local costs), supporting in particular credit components (60%), civil works and equipment (25%), agricultural development (11%) and institutional support (10%). The share of IFAD in total project cost financing varied extensively from one project to another regardless of the type of projects.
The average loan size has decreased from USD 18.5 million, during the period 1979-1983, to USD 9 million from 1984 onwards.2 The average project cost remained fairly stable (in current terms) at about USD 37 million.
Government of Bangladesh (GOB) officials (as well as some bilateral donors) acknowledge IFAD's specific contribution: early emphasis in IFAD projects on targeting beneficiaries (in the Small Farmer Agricultural Credit Project (SFACP), Loan No. 041-BA), and later on, the development of instrumentalities such as group formation, new credit models, people's participation and decentralisation helped GOB to "operationalise" and experiment with some of the equity objectives of the successive five-year plans; at the same time these initiatives stimulated Government's interest in cooperating with NGOs.
The projects have been based on the general assumption that the basic technology being used was adequate and known to small and marginal farmers, but insufficiently accessible to them. The technical package which has contributed to the overall increase in agricultural production consists of the combination of increased irrigation, high yielding variety seed and fertilizer application.
There is evidence that small-farmers who had access to this package through IFAD-financed projects have performed well, and even slightly better than large farmers. Thus the technical rationale of these projects proved generally correct. However, earlier projects have had a heavy bias towards infrastructural development which subsequently proved to have been of much less direct benefit to the landless and smallholders compared with advantages derived by better-off farmers.
Another issue raised by project experience, is that with more specific targeting being considered, the requirement is for technology which is specifically relevant to IFAD's target groups. The latter are likely to be concentrated in low to very lowlands, where flooding is more frequent, cropping seasons are short, alternative crops are few, cropping intensities are low and land holdings are small.
In spite of some significant efforts by IFAD to promote technology which is specific to target group needs (e.g., the technical assistance grant to undertake on-farm research on rainfed rice), a lot remains to be done in order to bridge the gap.
Flood Control, Drainage and Irrigation (FCDI). IFAD has financed two FCDI projects - Pabna Irrigation and Rural Development Project (PIRDP) and Small-Scale Flood Control, Drainage and Irrigation Project (SSFCDIP) - in order to reduce heavy crop losses due to flooding in large flood-prone areaeas on some 250 000 ha in the regions of Pabna and Faridpur. With respect to flood control, neither IFAD nor the cofinanciers (and/or cooperating institution) had identified degn errors in the Pabna project (too large an area and costly pumped drainage) in time for a reformulation of the project to take place. However, lessons learnt in the Pabna project were taken into account in the design of the SSFCDIP (involving smaller polders in Faridpur area).
16. As far as the irrigation component is concerned, the IFAD cofinanced large gravavity irrigation scheme (20 000 ha) in Pabna is still not operative 14 years after project approval, while its conceptual and design errors are even more serious than those inherent in the Flood Control and Drainage component. However, since 1980, IFAD, recognising that minor irrigation n was the leading determinant in the "green revolution", financed three projects: SSFCDIP, Southwest Rural Development Project (SRDP) and North-West Rural Development Project (NRDP) for the provision of tubewells, pumps and command area development (CAD) to irrigate 125 000 ha.
IFAD projects contributed their share to national self-sufficiency in food grains which has been recently achieved; however, this contribution has been only nominal at macro-level due to the modest size of IFAD's lending. More profound, although difficult to measure, has been IFAD's influence on pty alleviation, as well as on government policies and programmes.
Income-generating Activities (IGA) are often promoted by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). IFAD was very perceptive in recognizing as early as 1980 the importance of such activities for the poor and, accordingly, in pursuing its association with the Grameen Bank (GB). IGAs were also introduced into several other rural and agricultural development projects. Although IGAs were not generally identified as separate project components, they constituted the largest single allocation of loans altogether giving employment opportunities to about one million of the country's poor (and thus, through their families, indirectly or directly affected a total of five or six million persons). While IFAD and concerned institutions may be proud of the results achieved so far, the latter remain modest when compared with the overall extent of poverty in Bangladesh.
Sustainability - replicability
Groundwater Irrigation Models associated with seasonal credit for inputs are certainly sustainable and replicable in view of the large groundwater potential. Generally, shallow tube wells (STWs) and treadle pumps are more adapted to small and marginal farmers' needs than larger irrigation equipment, viz., deep tube wells s (DTWs).
To make Credit Models sustainable, subsidies are necessary to cover some of the expenses which are not transaction costs (in particular the cost of group formation and training). Many features of credit projects for IGA based on the Grameen bank model are certainly replicable.
The mission considers that the FCDI projects are not sustainable as they imply a continuous drain on government resources for their operation and maintenance. Their replicability is also doubtful, unless the "Flood Action Plan" demonstrates the contrary. Research for deep water rice varieties is probably a more effective means to boost aman production than FCDI. For the protection of human lives, houses and livestock, alternative solutions such as shelters and pile foundation houses should be investigated.
Effects on Government policies and programmes
IFAD's most important contribution to development in Bangladesh has been to help the Government implement/experiment with new development methods in favour of the poor. It seems fair to say that without IFAD volvement, it would have been more difficult for Government to mobilize adequate resources, both internal and external, for that purpose. The early support provided by IFAD to the GB is the most prominent example of the role played by IFAD.Recommendations for future IFAD strategy
Overall, programming-cum-targeting appears as a real area of success of IFAD intervention; this owes a lot to three factors: firstly, the programming of IFAD resources has been based on an open dialogue with GOB concerning the implications of the two-pronged IFAD mandate of food production and poverty alleviation. Secondly, the gradual "independence" which IFAD gained from larger International Financing Institutions (IFIs) contributed to the definition of an autonomous IFAD strategy. Thirdly, open-mindedness on what NGOs were doing allowed a better understanding of the dynamics of poverty in Bangladesh and inspired new approaches to support those government objectives which were of greater concern to IFAD.
Therefore, the rationale of CPE recommendations is essentially one of consolidation, increased effectiveness and possibly expansion of the present programme, with new openings envisaged, particularly in technology generation, to fill the gaps and to respond better to the needs of small farmers and the rural landless. It must be noted, however, that most of the ongoing innovative projects have not yet proven their sustainability. Nevertheless, results to date appear promising and thus these projects could be tentatively replicated, provided the improvements suggested by field experience are taken into account.
Quick-disbursing projects should also be programmed, in orderer to balance innovation with rapid assistance to the poor. This could be achieved through the replication of successful project approaches stemming from IFAD's own experience and/or that of potential cofinanciers.
For area-based projects, IFAD should ensure that other employment activities (labour intensive construction of infrastructure, housing improvement and construction) or social programmes (education and health) are supported in parallel by other institutions: the World Food Programme (WFP), the GB, and NGOs.
Crop diversification has become a priority objective to cope with the problems stemming from rice monoculture. This opens up new avenues for future IFAD activities, e.g., specific research activities, upgrading of extension capabilities to meet changing conditions , promotion of livestock (small ruminants, poultry) and cash crops Research efforts should be made more intensive. Synergetic effects between on-going projects in the same areas or fields should be sought. The evaluation specifically recommends that IFAD should:
- promote an intensive, targeted research programme. This programme should be completed by Farming Systems Research.
- encourage low-cost minor irrigation investments and consider expanding tubewell ownership by the poor where possible. IFAD should not finance FCDI programmes until careful examination of the results of the Further Action Plan (FAP) has been carried out, and should concentrate on water management inside existing polders.
- put more emphasis than in the past on animal production and fisheries as well as on activities which are upstream and downstream of crop production (rural micro-enterprises).
Benchmark surveys to assess farmers' needs are important to determine farmers' resources (e.g., land area, soil type, irrigation) and needs; and should be incorporated in project design and given priority during implementation.
Research-extension links should be improved. The main constraint to the use of the formal extension service in relation to adaptive research is the lack of incentives and motivation. Any amount of reorganization or links to research will pay little dividends as long as extensionists remain poorly paid.
Given the ineffectiveness of the link through contact farmers, linkages between extension and NGOs working in the rural areas should be developed. IFAD should encourage contractual arrangements between its projects and NGOs to deliver extension messages to the farmers.
1/ In this report all statements refer to the situation prevailing at the time of mission's field visit, that is, March 1993, unless otherwise specified.
2/ In current US Dollar terms.
The Sudan Country Portfolio Evaluation
Main findings and conclusions
Evaluation purpose and scope
This is the second Country Portfolio Evaluation (CPE) undertaken by the Fund. Its purpose is to contribute to better project design and implementation building on the substantial amount of experience accumulated by the Fund in The Sudan.
To this effect, the CPE endeavoured to provide solid comparative information on the most essential aspects of project performance and their relevance to IFAD's concerns. Since the CPE is oriented towards drawing general lessons of experience, it does not attempt to pinpoint problems in any specific project, nor does it pretend to substitute proper evaluations of single projects.
In spite of the vast areas involved, the evaluation mission visited six of the eight projects supported by the Fund./ The Southern Region Agriculture Project (SRAP) was not visited for security reasons, nor was the Southern Roseires Agricultural Development Project (SRADP) since it had become effective only two months earlier and thus its field activities had not yet commenced.
The evaluation report consists of ten chapters grouped under three general sections, viz., programme features and delivery, main results by major field of intervention and policy implications for IFAD. The first section provides an overview of the IFAD country programme since its inception, putting it into perspective with the evolution of the national context (Chapters II and III). Chapter IV concludes this section by analysing project implementation performance in relation to organizational structures and the institutional framework.
The second part of the report (Chapters V to VIII) presents the results of detailed field investigations of irrigation and rural water supply rehabilitation and development, research and extension and agricultural credit, the major fields of IFAD's intervention in the country.
On the basis of the above, the last section of the report discusses the specific issue of the impact of beneficiaries' participation patterns on project performance (Chapter IX). Conclusions are drawn on the determinants of beneficiaries' participation and on how projects can promote it in practical terms. This discussion forms the cornerstone of the evaluation's recommendations covering the various fields of activities (Chapter X).
IFAD has supported eight projects in The Sudan, seven of which are cofinanced. The total cost of the projects is equivalent to USD 330 million, IFAD's share amounting to USD 85 million or 26%. IFAD's contribution to interventions in rainfed agriculture and livestock amounted to 60%, compared to 40% for irrigated agriculture (not taking into account the White Nile Agricultural Services project, approved after this evaluation took place).
To a large extent, the programme has been shaped by successive shifts in the Government of The Sudan's policies and priorities. As the programme gained some degree of autonomy and specificity it also gave more importance to rainfed agriculture as from the second half of the 1980s. At the same time, the average project size decreased markedly.
The projects have been designed and implemented against a general country background of continuing economic decline which has been further exacerbated by the recurrence of droughts, food shortages, famines and civil war. This has resulted in widespread poverty compounded by a general collapse in the public services which were expected to host the projects. Not surprisingly, project implementation faced considerable delays and projects were thus frequently extended. Project duration varied between 5.4 and 8.6 years. Loan disbursement profiles show that the pace of implementation has slowed over time.
A summary of project performance by major field of activity is presented in the following sections and includes: irrigagation rehabilitation, drinking water supply, technology development and dissemination, and rural credit.
i) Irrigation Rehabilitation
The rehabilitation works as well as the supply of spare parts, fuel, and equipment have kept public schemes operational, albeit at a low level of efficiency. Without rehabilitation, a number of farmers who would not have been in a position to shift to individual systems of irrigation would have been compelled to give up farming for lack of irrigation water.
Although private farmers will continue to face problems related to shortages of spare parts, private irrigated farms are more sustainable than the public schemes, particularly farms pumping water directly from rivers. However, in some areas, particularly in the upper terraces of the Nile, because of increasing salinity and a drop in the level of the water table, the farmers are in a less sustainable situation.
In public schemes, cost recovery has not been achieved in spite of the recent hefty increases in water rates. Water charges have been underestimated and collection rates are low. As a result neither Northern Agricultural Production Corporation nor New Halfa Agricultural Production Corporation (the parastatals in charge of irrigation water supply that have been supported under IFAD loans) is financially self-sustaining.
Inadequate maintenance contributes to the poor performance of public schemes. The deterioration of the existing distribution systems and pumping equipment results in water shortages and thus in low yields and outputs. As a result, the rehabilitation effect has generally been short-lived.
ii) Drinking Water Supply
In South Darfur, the implementation of the drinking water infrastructure rehabilitation programme has been satisisfactory (85% of target wateryards rehabilitated and 71% of water tanks replaced). However, the overall wateryard system efficiency, including rehabilitated and non-rehabilitated wateryards, remains fairly low.
Although the population's participation was sought, it was poorly organized and the involvement of village committees in the management of wateryards has been inadequate. While it is not likely that drinking water supply can be turned into an entirely self-sustained business, this indeed makes it all the more important to improve the cost-effectiveness of drinking water supplies.
iii) Technology Development and Dissemination
There is no conclusive evidence that IFAD's attempts at promoting adaptive research have yielded any specific dividends, due to the following factors:
- the lack of a comprehensive analysis of farrs' needs and constraints led to the formulation of research and extension programmes that were too ambitious;
- the project designs did not adequately match programmes to the resources available and did not take fully into account the difficult living and operating conditions in the areas;
- inability to supply effective, long-term leadership ; and
- component design was sometimes loose in that it left the design of the programme to implementing agencies.
iv) Rural Credit
Credit has been almost exclusively concerned with on-farm activities. There has been a marked improvement in the design of credit components from Southern Region Agricultural Project through Northern Region Agricultural Rehabilitation Project to En Nahud Cooperative Credit Project and Southern Roseires Agricultural Development Project. Rural and cooperative credit institutions could be developed to an operational level.
The most recent projects have made serious efforts to reach the target groups and provide workable alternatives to collateral security. Increased access to credit for small farmers was achieved through both expansion of the geographical coverage of the Agricultural Bank of Sudan's activities (new branches), and a relaxation of lending conditions and collateral requirements (introduction of joint liability as an alternative to individual collateral security). Credit for women who are heads of households and women in general has also been pioneered by second generation projects, but women received a limited share of the total credit disbursed to date. While social constraints are often cited by outsiders as a major explanatory factor, it is the mission's opinion that the constraints that actually hamper a greater participation of women in credit programmes remain to be identified through specific field investigations.
Given the high inflation rate prevailing in the country, the high cost of administering loans to small farmers (particularly in rainfed areas), the frequent crop failures and the subsequent low recovery rates, sustainability emerges as a very pressing issue.
Contribution to poverty alleviation and food security
It is not possible to provide a global estimate of the total number of direct beneficiaries reached by IFAD-supported projects, as only four projects have been closed, of which one project, located in war affected areas, could not be examined. Nevertheless, on a sample of three projects which lend themselves to such analysis/, it was found that about 130 000 families or close to one million/ persons, have directly benefited, of which 80 000 (about 600 000 people) live in the rainfed areas.
The situation shows a contrast between the rainfed and irrigated project areas. In irrigated areas, the projects reached a large share of the target population but a relatively small number of households at an estimated average cost of USD 430/ per direct beneficiary (or USD 3 000 per family). In rainfed areas, only a marginal proportion of the target population was directly exposed to the project, but the projects actually reached a larger number of households and at a very modest unit cost of about USD 80 (or USD 560 per family). Across the whole portfolio, total project expenditures by actual direct beneficiary averaged about USD 200.
Thanks to their focus on productive activities, most projects have had a positive impact on the direct beneficiaries. Despite their inability to trigger a sustainable path of development, the projects which have been completed or nearly completed were useful in providing critical rehabilitation-cum-medium-term assistance to needy populations, mainly through lifting the foreign exchange constraint on the import of agricultural inputs and equipment. This had a positive impact on production and incomes of the direct beneficiaries and, as has been acknowledged, slowed down the concerned regions' economic decline.
The projects' logistical infrastructure was also instrumental in supporting emergency assistance provided by other sources and in maintaining a link between the population and the central authorities. Notwithstanding the challenge represented by their implementation, raininfed agriculture investment projects may well represent a viable option and possiy a competitive one when compared to the lesser-performing schemes of the irrigated sub-sector.
Except for the En Nahud Cooperative Credit Project, project designers did not generally expect much from beneficiaries' participation apart from a financial contribution to service costs, and consequently gave the matter little importance in the formulation of project strategies. The impoverishment of the population and the near collapse of essential public services represented severe constraints to the type of participation considered by the projects.
Nevertheless, the population appears to have participated beyond expectation, taking into account the prevailing conditions. For the most participatory activities, beneficiaries' involvement contributed to a quicker adaptation of the concerned projects to changing circumstances, improved project management and staff knowledge of the issues, and enhanced their responsiveness to farmers' expressed needs and preferences.
In this respect, Non-governmental Organizations' (NGOs) performance has been satisfactory in the few instances where they have been entrusted with implementation responsibilities in addition to their financial contribution. Good management, reasonably attractive conditions for staff, adequate supply of inputs (including spare parts) and active technical assistance to farmers from both national and expatriate experts explain the good progress of these components.
Hence the review of IFAD's experience in the Sudan reinforces the widely held view that beneficiaries' participation contributes to better project results, while improving benefit distribution among the target population. Insufficient participatioion has been identified as one reason for the lack of sustainability of several interventions. There is also positive evidence that people's participation tends to strengthen communities' cohesion and independence. While participation cannot alone ensure the sustainability of development efforts, it does reduce the risks involved and create conditions which are favourable to it. These benefits could have been more evident had project designers and managers been more open to people's participation.
Yemen Country Portfolio Evaluation (1992)
Responding to an Executive Board request, it was decided that Country Portfolio Evaluations (CPEs) be carried out in countries where a substantial amount of experience has been accumulated. The purpose of CPEs is to contribute to better project design and implementation in the light of IFAD's actual experience in a specific national context. While this CPE could not be a substitute for individual projects evaluations, it aimed, however, at rapidly providing solid comparative information on the most essential aspects of project performance as well as of their relevance to IFAD's concerns.
The selected methodological approach gave priority to understanding how the projects interacted with their environment taken in a broad sense (natural, institutional, socio-political, etc.). This approach helped to put IFAD's intervention into perspective.
The assessment of project experience in Yemen started during the last quarter of 1991 with a desk review, the result of which provided relevant focus as well as background information for the field work. The latter took place in December 1991 during which the 11 project areas were visited. Time-wise, the CPE came at an opportune moment as the country was reviewing its development policy in the light of the new situation created by the unification of the country.
The evaluation report consists of ten chapters grouped into three sections. The first section provides an overview of the IFAD country programme since its inception, putting it into perspective with the evolution of the national context (Chapters II and III). Project performance is subsequently described from an operational and financial point of view (Chapter IV). Chapter[V concludes this Section by analysing in depth the project's contribution to institution-building. Particular attention is paid to the various forms of project organisation and their effects on project performance.
The second part of the report (Chapters VI to VIII) assesses project experience in the major fields of IFAD intervention in Yemen: irrigation and rural infrastructure, generation and dissemination of improved technology and agricultural credit. Essential facts on project achievements are presented together with the relevant issues involved.
On the basis of the above, an attempt is made, in the last section of the report, to look at past experience from the specific standpoint of IFAD (Chapter IX). Beyond providing some indications on the contribution of the projects towards poverty alleviation, this Chapter discusses the specific issue of targetting approaches and instrumentalities in Yemen, as revealed by actual experience.
Whereas the former South Yemen inherited educational and administrative structures which helped in the management of rural development projects, North Yemen, which was by far the most populated, had to build these capacities from scratch. Yemen, particularly the North, has nevertheless experienced rapid growth during the last 15 years, which in turn, deeply transformed a country and a society which only recently opened to the modern world (1962). Growth soon created new problems or exacerbated existing ones, particularly with the ever-increasing pressure on the narrow natural resources base. Hence, the lack of sustained achievements witnessed by many projects regardless of their source of financing. As in many countries which followed a similar pattern of growth, there are clear indications that equity issues were given insufficient attention.
In this context, marked by the high priority given to institution-building, the Government and its major development assistance partners used rural development projects to create the nucleus of future development authorities at a regional level. This strategy involved, by its very nature, less attention being given to both community level and national level development programmes. As a result of the weakness of internal resources mobilisation, institution-building has been greatly dependent on external financing. Hence the succession of project phases in the same area which is one of the salient characteristics of the Government's portfolio of rural development projects.
IFAD has financed a total of 11 projects in Yemen starting in 1979 in the North and 1980 in the South for a total project cost of US$[371[million. The share of IFAD amounted to about 25% of the total cost of the projects (US$[91.1[million), with a lower percentage contribution in the North. Eight of these projects were initiated by other donors and cofinanced by IFAD. IFAD-financed projects dealt with a wide range of projects and agro-ecological zones, whose objectives included: the establishment and rehabilitation of rural infrastructure; the development and dissemination of technical packages; and institution-building.