IFAD Impact Assessment Report 2019-2021
Explore the results from the IFAD11 Impact Assessment report (2019 - 2021) and learn more about our unique methodology to estimate the impact of IFAD’s interventions.
IFAD measures impacts of its investments by systematically conducting impact assessments (2019- 2021) on a sample of at least 15 per cent of projects that close during each 3- year replenishment period. Impact estimates on key indicators are aggregated and projected to the corporate level.
For IFAD11 or the period between 2019 and 2021, 24 out of 96 projects were assessed, leading to the production of the IFAD11 Impact Assessment Report (2019-2021). In addition to reporting on corporate level impacts, the report also provides a wealth of information that feeds into future project designs and strategies.
During the IFAD11 period, 96 projects closed with a total financing of 7.1 billion USD that reached around 112 million people.
Of the 96 projects that closed during the IFAD11 period, 24 were selected for impact assessment with a total financing of 3.1 billion USD.
For each three year period, IFAD’s Results Management Framework (RMF) sets out the targets for the overall potential impacts of its entire portfolio on its overarching goal (increased economic mobility) and three strategic objectives (improved production; improved market access and greater resilience). A target for the mainstreaming theme of nutrition was added for the first time during the target setting for IFAD11.
IFAD11 impact assessments have also made progress towards systematically measuring and assessing impacts on two other mainstreaming themes: women’s empowerment and climate change.
Achieving greater women’s empowerment in household decision-making and adopting resilient agricultural practices and sustainable natural resource management in adapting to climate change have been a priority in IFAD operations, and the impact results show that IFAD projects had a quantifiable impact on both.
IFAD11 impact assessments used a number of women’s empowerment indicators including decision making power on income sources and ownership of assets. IFAD has also started documenting evidence on climate change adaptation more systematically.
Invest in value chains and particularly in middle segments of agri-food systems to maximise benefits. Benefits from increased production and productivity translated into better income and livelihoods when well-functioning value chains connected beneficiaries to markets.
It is important to distinguish between acute and chronic shocks and design projects that comprehensively address both when the context in which the investments made is at high risk of either one or both. Future project designs also need to combine new and innovative tools to prevent, manage and cope with locally relevant shocks – including access to finance as well as adaptation options.
While food security improved, achieving necessary behavioural changes to improve nutrition is challenging without a dedicated theory of change that covers many dimensions such as education, consumers’ awareness and market incentives to facilitate nutritional change.
Progress has been made regarding improving women’s decision making power, but there’s more to be done for transformational change, including in asset ownership and social norms that can prevent progress.
The IFAD11 Impact Assessment Report (2019-2021) has two main goals: evaluate the impact of IFAD projects, and extract learnings that will improve future initiatives.
Impact assessments measure whether observed changes in outcomes among project target groups can be attributed to development projects. Simply comparing areas with and without projects or comparing indicators before and after projects often fails to account for factors that may contribute to observed changes such as economic factors, natural disasters or conflicts.
IFAD's impact assessments are designed to measure impact that can be attributed to its projects using quasi-experimental methodologies, as part of the Development Effectiveness Framework aimed at managing for results.
Download the technical report, policy brief and infographic with results and lessons learnt for each of the 24 individual impact assessments.
Analyse all the data points that were collected for 24 complex projects, and extract valuable insights.
Several resources were developed in order to help implement an impact assessment using the approach followed by the Research and Impact Assessment (RIA) division of IFAD.
Two main dimensions were impacted in a positive way as a result of IFAD’s interventions: women saw an increase in decision-making power, and women saw an increase in asset ownership.
Women’s decision making power is defined as women’s ability to decide on the use of resources either solely or jointly with men, whereby resources are most commonly defined as income followed by any other monetary sources, and production endowments.
Asset ownership is measured through indicators such as women’s ownership of durable productive or non-productive assets, livestock and land.
A meta-analysis of these indicators for the 24 projects assessed has been performed. Results show that women living in households that benefited from an IFAD project, have 27% more decision making power than women in households that did not. The impact on asset ownership is not significantly different between women living in beneficiary households and women living in comparison households.
IFAD’s interventions have laid the foundation for women’s empowerment, enabling women’s decision-making power, which may likely provide the basis for an increase in asset ownership in the future but which also require broader and more comprehensive approach which has been embedded in IFAD’s project design through the mainstreaming themes and the gender action plan.
IFAD’s beneficiaries are not among the main contributors of GHG emissions, yet they are both exposed to and directly impacted by climate change. Supporting beneficiaries to adapt to climate change is one of the top priorities for IFAD. Analysing the impact and documenting the evidence of how adapting systematically to climate change has affected communities, has been an important objective of Impact Assessments carried out by IFAD. The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) has been instrumental in driving the ambitious climate mainstreaming in IFAD's portfolio as well as in determining the current IFAD’s modus operandi.
Climate change adaptation is a context-specific process, as are livelihood and production strategies. It is influenced and determined by the natural resource base existing in each context, by infrastructure available and by the types, intensity and frequency of risks and shocks to which different contexts are exposed. For example, the adaptation options needed in the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam are different from those needed in the drought-prone areas of Mauritania or Malawi or to prevent impacts of erosion from the steep Andean fields. As such, solutions – in terms of policy and investments – have to be context specific.
Given the context specificity requirement of adaptation, the analysis conducted and reported has required that a detailed study of the context and of the adaptation options promoted be carried out for each project.
Results show that generally speaking, impacts on adoption for beneficiaries is significantly higher compared to the control group, ranging from 7 percentage points in Bolivia to 69 percentage points in Kyrgyzstan (for the most adopted practice in each project). However, in many cases, the adoption rate is still relatively low.find out more
IFAD’s Development Effectiveness Framework (DEF) 2016 lays out the following selection criteria for the impact assessment sample:
The sample covers US$ 3.1 billion in IFAD investments (including co-financing). Statistical tests are conducted to ensure that the selected projects are not statistically significantly different from the universe of projects closing in that period along numerous criteria (project ratings and characteristics). For IFAD11, these tests lead to the conclusion that there are no systematic differences between the sample of IAs and the remaining projects in the IFAD11 IA universe.
In other words, projects selected for an IA are not better or worse on average than unselected projects, which rules out the potential existence of ex-ante selection bias.Impact assessments carried out for the selected projects closing between 2019- 2021 yield project level impact estimates on IFAD’s overarching goal, the three strategic objectives and the mainstreaming theme of nutrition as well as many other indicators that help assess impact channels.
A meta-analysis of individual project impact estimates is then conducted to combine the findings of 24 IAs and compute aggregate corporate impacts. Meta-analysis is a statistical procedure for combining data from multiple studies, or in the specific case of IFAD, project impact estimates. Meta-analysis can be defined as a synthesis of results or “the statistical analysis of a large collection of results for the purpose of integrating the findings” (Glass 1976).
Meta-analysis outcomes are treatment effects (mean effect sizes) representing the impact of IFAD’s projects. Once combined, aggregate and attributable impacts are reported as percentage changes over counterfactual (i.e. comparison) groups for each RMF Tier II development impact indicator for the impact analysis sample.
The next step is to conduct a projection exercise to extrapolate estimated impacts to the rest of the portfolio of projects that closed during 2019-2021 and estimate the total number of people benefiting from IFAD supported interventions.find out more
In an effort to get a comprehensive picture of IFAD’s impact, we performed a set of exercises aimed at testing the robustness of the main findings concerning the different sample sizes and the type of questionnaire used to collect data.
IFAD’s commitment to conduct impact assessments on at least 15% of the portfolio of projects closing during each replenishment period was significantly exceeded in the current analysis with a sample of 24 projects that corresponds to 25% of the portfolio of projects considered.
The robustness checks show that both the effect sizes and the projections remain consistent with the results reported in the main part of this report.