American Evaluation Association (AEA) Conference: Evaluation 2018

29 oct. 2018

The conference took place from 31 October to 3 November in Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America.  It included more than 40 professional development workshops, featured 700 evaluation presenters, and served to connect a community of more than 3,000 evaluators. 

The Deputy Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), Fabrizio Felloni, participated in the Panel Session "Experiences in evaluating international development support to agricultural value chains for poverty reduction".

The session was dedicated to two corporate-level evaluations on pro-poor agricultural value chain development recently conducted by two major international development organizations, the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The presentations outlined the definition of agricultural value chains and the methodological challenges in: (i) assessing the performance and the emerging results of development interventions that are at their initial stages; and (ii) in aggregating findings and explanatory factors. The presentations highlighted key factors for success of failure and to what extent and under what conditions, supporting value chain linkages can effectively benefit smallholder and poor farmers and rural producers.

Visit the AEA website for more information.

#Eval18

Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) Investor Forum 2018

29 oct. 2018

The impact investing movement is reshaping the future of the financial markets as people are increasingly considering the environmental impact of their investments in addition to the financial returns. The GIIN Investor Forum brought together over 1,000 impact investors to help shape the future of impact investing.

The director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), Mr Oscar A. Garcia, participated in the event, which took place on 29-31 October 2018 in Paris.

Please visit the event  website for more information.

#GIINForum18

Burkina Faso Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation - National Workshop

29 oct. 2018

The Government of Burkina Faso and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD have co-organized a national workshop - in collaboration with IFAD’s West and Central Africa Division - to discuss the main issues emerging from the evaluation of IFAD-funded country strategy and programme in Burkina Faso, as a final step in the evaluation process.

The event took place on 23 November 2018 in Ouagadougou. Around 100 participants attended the workshop, including senior representatives from the Government of Burkina Faso, IFAD Management and staff, multilateral and bilateral development organizations, project management staff of IFAD-funded projects and programmes, academics and research institutions, private sector and foundations, non-governmental organizations, and selected resource persons. 

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  1. discuss the main issues emerging from the Burkina Faso Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation;
  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 of Burkina Faso partnership in the future, while considering the evolving development needs and priorities of the country.

Advancing towards the SDGs based on evidence – evaluation perspectives. Reflections from Latin America and the Caribbean on Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and legislative work

26 oct. 2018

Leer en Español

The webinar, entitled Advancing towards the SDGs based on evidence – evaluation perspectives. Reflections from Latin America and the Caribbean on Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and legislative work was organized by the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Evaluation (ReLAC) as part of the Week of Evidence for Latin America and the Caribbean from 22 to 26 October 2018.

The objectives were to generate a dialogue on the importance of the responsible use of evidence derived from evaluations in political decisions. It focused on the National Voluntary Reports (2016-2017), analysing the inclusion of evidence from evaluations and the extent to which the information contained in these reports is sufficient to inform progress towards the SDGs. The webinar also emphasized how the use of evidence in parliamentary work is key to parliamentarians' decision-making process.

Panelists of the event were: Oscar A. García, IOE Director, and Ivonne Acuña, Deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica. The event was moderated by Silvia Salinas, Coordinator, ReLAC. Over 55 people were connected through webEx.

The event  was in Spanish.

Presentations

Webinar recording

2018 ARRI learning event

26 oct. 2018

On 26 October, the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) held a learning event on the 2018 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD Operations (ARRI) including its theme on targeting the rural poor.

The objectives of the learning event were to share and further discuss the findings presented in the ARRI 2018, with a particular emphasis on improving IFAD's performance and reaching the rural poor.

The 2018 ARRI presents a synthesis of IFAD’s performance and highlights results and systemic issues from independent evaluations conducted in 2017. The quantitative analysis draws on ratings from 320 evaluations conducted since 2002.

The event was well attended by close to 60  participants, including IFAD staff and representatives from FAO, WFP and IFAD Executive Board. The keynote speaker was Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive, Save the Children UK. Other guest speakers were Margarita Astralaga, Director, Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division; Khalida Bouzar, Director, Near East, North Africa and Europe Division; Lisandro Martin, Director, West and Central Africa Division; Fabrizio Felloni, Deputy Director, IOE and Guoqi Wu, Associate Vice-President, Corporate Services Department.

Watch event recording

Tunisia Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation – National Workshop

24 oct. 2018

The Ministry of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries, and the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) co-organized a national workshop for the Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation (CSPE) conducted by IOE in the course of 2018, as a final step in the evaluation process.

The national workshop took place on 23 October 2018 in Tunis. Around 50 participants attended the workshop including the honourable Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, representatives of the Government of Tunisia, representatives of multilateral and bilateral development organizations (including the European Union and the Argentinian cooperation), academics and research institutions, private sector (including microfinance institutions), the Farmers Union and Farmers Syndicate, and selected resource persons.

The objectives of the national workshop were to:

  • Share and discuss the key findings and recommendations of the Country Strategy and Programme Evaluations; and
  • Provide an opportunity for reflecting on the main aspects and priority areas for the forthcoming Tunisia Country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP).

Les opérations du FIDA soutiennent de meilleures conditions de vie pour 50 000 ménages tunisiens ruraux

23 oct. 2018

Tunis, 23 octobre 2018 - Les projets de développement financés par le Fonds international de développement agricole (FIDA) ont contribué à améliorer les conditions de vie et à réduire la pauvreté en zones rurales grâce à des investissements substantiels dans la gestion des ressources naturelles et les infrastructures socio-économiques, selon un nouveau rapport présenté aujourd'hui dans la capitale Tunis. 

Le rapport, préparé par le Bureau indépendant de l'évaluation du FIDA (IOE), comprend des évaluations de six projets mis en œuvre entre 2003 et 2018 pour un coût total de 248 millions de USD, dont 105 millions ont été financés par le FIDA. 

Selon les conclusions du rapport, l'approche territoriale participative et intégrée du FIDA a responsabilisé les communautés rurales dans lesquelles 50 000 ménages ont participé à la planification et à la gestion des investissements socio-économiques et productifs. Le rapport note que le programme financé par le FIDA a obtenu des résultats "remarquables" en matière de gestion de l'environnement et des ressources naturelles. Par exemple, des projets ont permis de lutter contre la dégradation des sols sur 35 600 hectares; et développé des infrastructures d'irrigation sur 3 600 hectares de terres agricoles. Environ 167 800 hectares de parcours ont été récupérés grâce à la mise en repos des parcours en accord avec les éleveurs et ayants droits des parcours. De telles interventions, tout en stimulant la productivité agricole et la diversification, contribuent également à augmenter les revenus dans les zones rurales. 

"Le FIDA et la Tunisie travaillent ensemble depuis près de 40 ans", a déclaré Khalida Bouzar, Directrice régionale, Division Proche-Orient, Afrique du Nord, Asie centrale et Europe du FIDA. "Le FIDA a montré son avantage comparatif en ciblant les agriculteurs vulnérables et en créant des emplois ruraux. Une présence sur le long terme et un suivi étroit ont amélioré la durabilité et l'impact de nos projets." 

Les succès des projets sont également attribués à plusieurs partenariats entre le Ministère de l'agriculture, des instituts de recherche et des organisations à base communautaire, qui ont tous travaillé ensemble pour trouver des solutions spécifiques au contexte.

Défis pour l'avenir

Le rapport met en évidence certains domaines à améliorer. Par exemple, le programme du FIDA doit améliorer son impact sur l'autonomisation sociale et économique des femmes et des jeunes, et la durabilité sociale et environnementale de certains investissements reste incertaine.

L’évaluation formule des recommandations pour une future collaboration entre le FIDA et le gouvernement tunisien en vue de réduire encore plus la pauvreté rurale. L'un d'entre eux consiste à faire en sorte que les interventions touchent plus efficacement les plus pauvres et les plus vulnérables, en particulier les agriculteurs, les femmes et les jeunes pauvres. Une autre recommandation consiste à minimiser la vulnérabilité des chaînes de valeur agropastorales face aux risques liés au climat et aux marchés.

"L’évaluation de la stratégie et du programme de pays soulève une question importante pour les futures interventions du FIDA en Tunisie", a déclaré Fabrizio Felloni, Directeur adjoint de l'OIE. "Comment le FIDA, sur la base de son expérience mondiale, peut-il aider le gouvernement à élaborer des approches plus efficaces et plus novatrices pour lutter contre les poches persistantes de pauvreté rurale et créer des emplois décents pour les femmes et les jeunes des zones rurales?" Selon le rapport d’évaluation, cette question devrait être au centre de la nouvelle stratégie du FIDA pour la Tunisie.

Pour plus d'informations sur les opérations du FIDA en Tunisie. 


Press release No.: IFAD/71/2018

Le FIDA investit depuis 40 ans dans les populations rurales, en dotant celles-ci des moyens de réduire la pauvreté, d’accroître la sécurité alimentaire, d’améliorer la nutrition et de renforcer la résilience. Depuis 1978, le FIDA a octroyé 20,4 milliards d’USD sous la forme de dons et de prêts à faible taux d’intérêt en faveur de projets qui ont touché quelque 480 millions de personnes. Le FIDA est une institution financière internationale et un organisme spécialisé des Nations Unies dont le siège est à Rome – le centre névralgique des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture.

A propos du Bureau indépendant de l'évaluation: Le Bureau indépendant de l’évaluation (IOE) évalue les politiques, stratégies et opérations financées par le Fonds, en vue de promouvoir l’obligation de rendre des comptes et l’amélioration des connaissances. L’objectif principal est de contribuer à améliorer les résultats qu’obtiennent le FIDA et ses partenaires dans l’action qu’ils mènent pour réduire la pauvreté rurale dans les pays bénéficiaires. Dans le cadre de ses évaluations indépendantes, IOE évalue l'impact des activités financées par le FIDA et fournit une analyse des succès et des lacunes – pour dire les choses telles qu'elles sont – et détermine également les facteurs ayant un effet sur la performance. En s'appuyant sur les éclairages clés et sur les recommandations dérivées des résultats de l'évaluation, IOE communique aussi à un plus vaste public, avec lequel il les partage, le savoir et l'expérience du FIDA dans le domaine de l'agriculture et du développement rural.

World Bank event - Book Launch: Evaluation for Inclusive and Sustainable Rural Transformation

23 oct. 2018

On Thursday 23 October, the World Bank hosted the launch of the book Evaluation for Inclusive and Sustainable Rural Transformation: World Bank Series on Evaluation and Development, Volume 9. The book was co-authored by Oscar A. Garcia, Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD, and Osvaldo N. Feinstein, Professor in the Evaluation Master’s Programme of the Complutense University of Madrid.

The event was opened by Sophie Sirtaine, Director, Strategy and Operations at the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), World Bank. During the event, Oscar A. Garcia, IOE Director, and Osvaldo N. Feinstein delivered a presentation of the book. A review was provided by Martha Elena Federica Bárcena Coqui, Ambassador Permanent Representative of the United Mexican States to IFAD.

The event took place on 23 October in Washington D. C., United States, at the Library of the World Bank.

#Eval4InclusiveTransformation

Read more about the book

Book presentation video

How can IFAD reach the rural poor and leave no one behind?

18 oct. 2018

Findings from the 2018 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD Operations (ARRI)

By Chitra Deshpande, Senior Evaluation Officer, Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD

In the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, targeting is central to IFAD's mandate of rural poverty reduction. It is also a key principle of engagement for the current strategic framework. From 2007, IFAD's Targeting Policy has made poverty targeting a requirement in all IFAD investments. Given this importance, the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD conducted a review and identified five findings on IFAD's poverty targeting approaches which are presented in the 2018 ARRI's learning theme chapter and issues paper "Targeting the rural poor".

Our first finding is that although IFAD is known for reaching the "poorest of the poor", there is a lack of agreement within IFAD on our target group and the strategies needed. The Targeting Policy states that IFAD's target group is "rural people living in poverty and experiencing food insecurity in developing countries." It goes on by adding that IFAD "proactively strives to reach extremely poor people (as defined by Millennium Development Goal 1) who have the potential to take advantage of improved access to assets and opportunities for agricultural production and rural income-generating activities." Since 2008, IFAD has also increasingly engaged in market-oriented agriculture or value chain approaches directed towards less poor groups with greater commercial potential. Therefore, the ARRI highlights the importance of finding a balance between market-oriented and poverty-focused projects and the need to tackle the targeting challenges that subsequently arise.

Secondly, we found effective targeting strategies are based on differentiated poverty analysis of excluded groups such as women, youth, indigenous peoples or pastoralists. They are based on good contextual analysis so that targeting strategies are realistic, clear and practical. This is especially important in fragile contexts. With regards to gender equality and women's empowerment, gender strategies with specific targets are required. For youth, community-driven development with rural enterprise activities have proven effective. And for indigenous peoples, strategies should be culturally-sensitive and recognize and appreciate their different knowledge systems.

Finding 3 highlights the importance of credible poverty data, supported by monitoring through supervision and implementation support. Systematic monitoring allows targeting strategies to be flexible and responsive to a rapidly changing world. For example, in Mauritius a project design failed to recognize the rapid economic transition and many targeted households opted for employment in manufacturing and service sectors rather than stay in agriculture. In Cambodia, a project design initially favoured poor landowners, this was adjusted at mid-term when the project introduced approaches to identify poorer households. This resulted in identifying and issuing ID cards to the most vulnerable families through which they gained free access to government services.

Finding 4 confirms that reaching the poorest people and the "last mile" is costly but essential to achieve IFAD's mandate and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. More time and resources may be needed to design and implement projects that target marginalized groups living in remote areas as was the case in a project in Brazil which used demand-driven participatory approaches. Pursuing efficiency can also push targeting away from the poorest or those in remote areas.

Finally, Finding 5 highlights the importance of government commitment and partnership to reach extremely poor rural people. Government commitment to prioritizing rural poverty results in systematizing poverty targeting data and engaging in policy dialogue. For example, in Nepal the forest leaseholder approach was eventually integrated into the national policy. Partnering with international, regional and local agencies is important for policy dialogue. It is also a means of providing basic needs to extremely poor people, as was evident in the IFAD partnership with the Belgian Survival Fund in Sub-Saharan Africa.

IFAD's targeting policy acknowledges that poverty is context-specific and multi-dimensional. Therefore, its implementation requires greater investment in capacity for the required poverty data, differentiated analysis and responsive monitoring and supervision to develop poverty targeting strategies that are realistic, clear and flexible for different target groups and changing country contexts.

Based on these findings, the ARRI recommends revising the 2007 Targeting Policy and guidelines in order to establish greater clarity on who IFAD interventions should target. This is especially important given the emphasis on reaching the "poorest and most vulnerable people in each country" in the IFAD11 Consultation report and the 2030 Agenda commitment of "leaving no one behind." If IFAD is serious about targeting extremely poor people living in remote rural areas, then the Targeting Policy needs to clearly establish them as IFAD's primary target group. This will strengthen country programme managers' position in negotiations with governments and other partners and allow IFAD to more consistently "walk the talk" and truly realize the IFAD11 commitments.

Fnd out more about the 2018 ARRI learning event visit.

Evaluation criteria: who wins and who loses from development interventions?

15 oct. 2018

By Oscar Garcia, Director, Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD

The evaluation criteria developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) in 1991 influenced the practice of evaluation in a significant way. Relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and impact are amply used, validated and recognized internationally. They are a cornerstone of the global architecture to evaluate development assistance and have been instrumental to improve accountability and learning. The standardized approach allows for aggregation and meta-analysis. What is interesting about the evaluation criteria is their broad applicability. They are useful to assess development interventions in any sector, in health, education, industry, trade, social protection, energy or agriculture. 

After many decades of use, the evaluation criteria need some updates. There are three main sources of criticism. The first one comes from the limited scope, arguing that the criteria were developed with projects in mind. Currently, more complex development interventions are needed in policies, programmes or strategies to achieve the expected development outcomes such as eradicating extreme poverty, adapting to climate change or ending hunger. In other words, how the evaluation criteria can be useful in more complex development contexts, adopting a systemic approach. The second one refers to the definitions and their need to be updated, for instance, on the different dimensions of relevance. The third one comes from the rigid application of criteria that may highjack their potential to be used in a variety of contexts. The use of criteria without sufficient consideration of the context in which the evaluation takes place, has been identified as a constraint.

What needs to be done? The OECD DAC evaluation criteria can (a) be kept as they are; (b) be transformed, including by updating their definitions; or (c) be expanded, by adding new criteria.

I am in favour of a combination of transforming them and adding new criteria. The OECD DAC evaluation criteria should continue orienting the evaluation practice and I would not question the importance of keeping them. I would simply adjust the definition of relevance to include the dimension of the appropriateness of design and would be more explicit on the indicators to measure efficiency. The main proposal I have, however, is to add a new criterion.

I propose to add coverage as an evaluation criterion to assess development assistance. Coverage was previously developed by Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) as part of the evaluation criteria for humanitarian action. It was understood as the extent to which major population groups were reached by humanitarian action.

In the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, where the ambitious goals demand to reach out to marginalized groups of population in order to eradicate poverty, end hunger and spread prosperity, the disaggregated data on every development initiative needs to come clearly to the fore. Based on IFAD's experience, identifying more clearly the target population and their differentiated needs, which may include indigenous peoples, pastoralists, people with disabilities, women or youth, improves the soundness of the interventions. Adding coverage to the set of evaluation criteria would allow to respond to the political economy question of who benefits and who loses from the development interventions. It has the advantage of universal application.  Who benefited from the initiative can be asked in every sector and would be valid according to the initiatives' objectives. Which population groups were reached out and which were left out will answer, in a standardized and systematic way, one of the main concerns about the Agenda 2030, namely to not leave anyone behind.