Agricultural Investments and Services Project
The most relevant achievement of the Agricultural Investments and Services Project in the Kyrgyz Republic was the advance made with the pasture reform. In particular, the project contributed to improved and more equitable access to pastures by livestock farmers and herders, based on a combination of an enabling legislative framework (following the passing of the Pasture Law), broad-based inclusive social mobilization, local capacity-building activities and support to pasture infrastructure. While the achievements to date serve as a good basis for sustainability, it is important to continue with awareness-building and capacity-building at community level to empower them to nurture and enhance the pasture quality more proactively. The project also made significant contribution to improving veterinary service delivery and reduction in animal and zoonotic disease incidence. However, the country's veterinary services still lack necessary capacity and mandate clarity. Without more decisive commitment and sufficient budget allocation by the Government, benefits generated by the project could be lost.
Community-Based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme
The Community-based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme was one of the biggest and most influential IFAD loan operations in Nigeria. It was based in the North - one of the poorest parts of the country and an area affected by years of conflict, including the recent Boko Haram insurgency. The programme's goal was to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of poor rural communities, with emphasis on women and other vulnerable groups in the seven participating states. The approach to addressing the root causes of poverty in this underserviced and hard-to-reach area was to fill the institutional gap by building a fourth tier of government at village level. Community development associations were formed from elected representatives to take responsibility for planning, implementing and maintaining village-level investments. The programme successfully rolled out the community-driven development approach across many states in the North, and as confirmed by this assessment, created a lasting impact. It has provided poor people with a structure and a space to plan community investments and manage them in a sustainable way. For the Government, this structure filled an institutional vacuum and enabled funding to be channeled into hard-to-reach areas. The model was subsequently adopted by other states and development partners. The community-driven approach was, however, less effective in addressing issues of inequality and transforming power relations within communities. For women, the programme provided a ground-breaking opportunity to participate in the community-level debates, but they were usually passive participants and had a limited role in decision-making.
Rural Livelihoods Improvement Programme in Attapeu and Sayabouri
The purpose of the Rural Livelihoods Improvement Programme in Attapeu and Sayabouri was to promote economic growth and livelihood improvements among the rural poor, including women and other vulnerable groups in the target area, such as unemployed rural youth and upland ethnic groups. The overall programme approach of supporting the national growth and poverty eradication strategy and working through the line agencies and mass organizations is seen to have been successful, as many outputs seem to have been achieved, especially for infrastructure-building. Considerable investment was put into capacity-building at district and provincial levels to improve participatory and gender-sensitive planning, implementation, assessment and long-term management. On the other hand, with regard to monitoring and evaluation (M&E), IFAD should pay greater attention and provide support at all stages in this area in collaboration with the government including proposing a solid basis for M&E in project design reports, providing support and guidance to project management in strengthening the M&E system and carrying out regular impact surveys.
Gente de Valor - Rural Communities Development Project in the Poorest Areas of the State of Bahia
The Gente de Valor - Rural Communities Development Project in the Poorest Areas of the State of Bahia was implemented between 2006 and 2013. The project's development goal was to reduce poverty, especially extreme poverty levels, of semi-arid communities of the State of Bahia. The design of the project was very well adapted to the challenging agro-ecological environment of the area. Among the most important effects of the project were the improved access to water (both for human consumption and for horticulture), access to enhanced production techniques and technology, as well as the significant empowerment of disadvantaged communities, and within communities, of women. Beneficiaries are better aware of social and economic development opportunities in the area and active in trying to pursue them. Smaller-scale and easier-to-manage economic activities promoted by the project, such as the horticultural backyards and the rearing of small ruminants, show good perspectives of economic viability. On the other hand, larger processing plants for agricultural produce require considerable managerial skills, knowledge of markets, as well as working capital. They also require a solid business case analysis and plan. These have not yet been achieved to a sufficient extent.
Livelihoods Improvement Project in the Himalayas
The Livelihoods Improvement Project in the Himalayas was implemented between 2006 and 2013, aimed to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable groups in a sustainable way by promoting greater livelihood opportunities and strengthening the local institutions concerned with livelihood development. Implemented in both Meghalaya and Uttarakhand, the project was successful in its sequencing of activities for the engagement of women, firstly, reducing drudgery, then providing empowerment activities through group formation (social and financial), and then building their social capital to engage in livelihood activities. However, a number of challenges affected final results, such as the fact that the project was implemented in two non-contiguous states; there was no cross-learning between the states; and a single budget was allocated for supervision and implementation support, which had to be split between the two states.
Sivas-Erzincan Development Project
The Sivas-Erzincan Development Project in Turkey, implemented between 2003 and 2011, aimed to increase agricultural productivity and income levels of the rural poor, expand employment opportunities and encourage smallholder initiatives. The project made an important contribution in terms of supporting the communal infrastructure including new irrigation schemes and improvements to dairy-related activities led to a significant increase in agricultural productivity and income levels for the rural poor in the less developed parts of the project area. The project also financed non-repayable grants which created a secure and steady income from dairy production. Despite important steps taken and contributions made, the overall achievements fell short of the set objectives. The late and incomplete establishment of properly functioning monitoring and evaluation systems led to severely hindering the analysis of project results. Training of project support staff also needs attention.
Community Development Programme
The programme covered Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan between 2004 and 2012. Its achievements are most visible in terms of improving access of rural communities to social and economic infrastructure, and strengthening the overall capacity of community organizations and the skills of their individual members. The programme impact is most pronounced in the area of human and social capital and empowerment. Despite important steps taken and contributions made by the Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to sustain the benefits of the programme, one of the main issues concerning sustainability is that the participatory approach has been "project-centred" and has not been mainstreamed into government's regular development planning, budgeting and service delivery. Programme implementation progress in the initial years was hindered not only by the 2005 earthquake but also by various implementation and management issues, in particular, a continual turn-over in the programme director's position. However, after the mid-term review, the programme made reasonable progress due to a number of factors, including stability of leadership positions in the Programme Management Unit and direct supervision and closer follow-up by IFAD.
Programme for Sustainable Development in Rural Mountain Areas
The goal of the Programme for Sustainable Development in Rural Mountain Areas of Albania was to increase household incomes through three objectives: additional resource mobilization in and for the mountain areas; accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction; and strengthened abilities of local institutions to support private- and public-sector investment. The project was able to identify relevant value chains and key constraints to enhancing incomes. Experiences in community empowerment and institutional development were also promising at local level. Some farmers and entrepreneurs successfully used project grants or loans to expand their operations, resulting in higher incomes and the creation of jobs. However, the project did not meet expectations at the national level. In particular, an effective mountain area development agency has not emerged, nor has a sustainable rural lending institution serving small rural farmers or entrepreneurs. The project design did not adequately take into account critical issues and recommendations raised during a former evaluation by IOE and IFAD design reviews. A lack of an appropriate monitoring and evaluation system and the absence of a midterm review limited corrective measures that could have been introduced.
Support Project for the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture
In 2014, Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) carried out a project performance assessment of the Support Project for the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (Projet d'Appui au Plan Stratégique de la Transformation de l'Agriculture ) in Rwanda. A key recommendation from the assessment is a proposal to pilot a "programmatic financing" approach. Such an approach would provide flexibility to respond to unforeseen emergencies, allow for follow-up support to critical target groups (women and child-headed households) and in the long run reduce costs associated with design. This proposal would require having an "in-depth" country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) along the lines of a single five-year-period design document and thus identifying clearly differentiated target groups, thematic focuses, geographical priorities, etc. in priority order - for which full criteria would need to be developed and agreed.
Gash Sustainable Livelihoods Regeneration Project
The project aimed to regenerate the livelihoods of poor rural people based on equitable, secure, transparent access to land and water in a society with a strong tribal hierarchy and power structure. The project made an important contribution in terms of setting a reform process in motion and supporting institution-strengthening, notably the introduction of irrigation management transfer to newly formed water users associations and land tenancy reform. The project helped improve access to safe water for rural households and it made contribution to empowering women in a highly conservative society.Despite important steps taken and contributions made, the overall achievements fell short of the set objectives. The design underestimated the complexities of the social, political and institutional contexts. Opportunities arising from irrigation infrastructure rehabilitation were not adequately exploited to generate expected results at farm level. The sustainability of the Gash spate irrigation scheme is a matter of concern.