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Evaluating a poverty reduction & climate change adaption program: PROEZA Paraguay

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Evaluating a poverty reduction & climate change adaption program: PROEZA Paraguay

  1. 1. Evaluating a poverty reduction and climate change adaptation program The case of PROEZA in Paraguay Transfer Project workshop – Arusha April 4, 2019
  2. 2. Social Protection: From Protection to Production PROEZA background • Paraguay high deforestation rates (and related consequences) • PROEZA project “Poverty, Reforestation, Energy and Climate Change Project”, run by STP (Ministry of Planning and Economic Development) funded mostly by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and co-funded by the Government • Targeting 17,000 vulnerable families, in 64 municipal districts located in Eastern Paraguay. Many of the beneficiaries are from indigenous communities • Component 1: “Planting for the Future” targeting poor agricultural households • Component 2: “Sustainable Landscapes and Responsible Markets” targeting medium-size private land owners • Component 3: “Good Governance and Law Enforcement” targeting public institutions
  3. 3. Social Protection: From Protection to Production Component 1 • Tackling deforestation with two interventions that aim at: 1) encouraging the reforestation of land and 2) decreasing the demand for firewood. • Intervention 1 includes: a. Environmental conditional cash transfer (E-CCT), a top-up to the existing national social cash transfer (Tekoporá) b. Training on climate-smart agroforestry production systems to smallholder farmers and intensive technical assistance for the establishment of such systems in follow-up visits • Intervention 2 targets the demand side by providing efficient cooking stoves
  4. 4. Social Protection: From Protection to Production Impact evaluation of component 1 • Embedded in the Learning-Oriented Real-Time Impact Assessment (LORTA) programme of the Independent Evaluation Unit (IEU) of the GCF • Discussed in multi-stakeholder meetings and capacity-building workshops with the representatives of the involved government entities: a. To create a common ground of knowledge on the project specifics and to understand the role and interest of the individual parties b. To convey basic knowledge on impact evaluation (how it differs from M&E, the importance of a counterfactual and power, experimental evaluation methods) and theory of change development.
  5. 5. Social Protection: From Protection to Production Theory of change (ToC) • Developed two separate ToCs for each of the two interventions, which entails: a. Clarifying inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and goals of each intervention b. Specifying the evaluation questions c. Agreeing on the indicators that allow to measure impact and respond to the evaluation questions
  6. 6. Social Protection: From Protection to Production Impact evaluation design • Phased-in randomised control trial, clustered at the neighbourhood level • The treatment groups come from year 2 beneficiaries • The control group comes from year 5 beneficiaries • This IE allows to detect medium term effects of the project (plantation and growth of trees) • Randomise intensity of treatment between neighbourhoods to determine spillovers/rebound effects • Depending on a quality assessment of existing administrative data, baseline may not be collected • Possibility of scoping study on year 1 beneficiaries (fundamental for take-up rates)
  7. 7. Social Protection: From Protection to Production Impact evaluation design -2- Total sample 500 neighbourhoods Control group (year 5 beneficiaries) 100 neighbourhoods Treatment group 1 (year 2 beneficiaries): Training and E-CCT 200 neighbourhoods Treatment group 2 (year 2 beneficiaries): Training, E-CCT and cook stoves 200 neighbourhoods Treat 100% of HHs 100 neighbourhoods Treat 50% of HHs 100 neighbourhoods Treat 50% of HHs 100 neighbourhoods Treat 100% of HHs 100 neighbourhoods
  8. 8. Social Protection: From Protection to Production Challenges (for the project and the IE) • Screening households for eligibility • Close forest coverage via satellite images (geo-reference the plots of participating households) • Fulfilment of conditions for the cash transfer • Inclusion of indigenous communities into the evaluation (only qualitative assessment?) • Quality of the training offered • Long-term project. All institutions involved might undergo personnel changes
  9. 9. Thank you !!! Gracias !!! Shukrani !!!

Hinweis der Redaktion

  • Deforestation rates in Paraguay are amongst the highest worldwide, with a rate of 1.7% in the past 15 years. Agricultural expansion and the dependency on biofuels have been identified as the main drivers of deforestation in the country, as still more than 40% of the national energy consumption is based on bio mass and firewood. The utilization of firewood is particularly high among the poor. On average 95% of the poor households in the project area rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking and spend around USD 270 per year on the acquisition of such. 88% of households still cook on open fire and do not own any cooking stove which generally increases the energy efficiency of cooking. The consequences of deforestation are greenhouse gas emission, soil erosion and disruption of the water cycle which lead to an increased vulnerability to climate events such as floods and droughts.

    The Paraguayan project “PROEZA”, run by STP (Secretaria Técnica de Planificación del Desarrollo Económico y Social) of the Paraguayan government, has been selected to be part of the LORTA inception stage. The Spanish word proeza translates into “big effort, feat” and resembles the acroyms of “Poverty, Reforestation, Energy and Climate Change Project”, the full name of the project. PROEZA aims at encouraging sustainable agroforestry development and improving the resilience of highly vulnerable households in the Eastern provinces of the country.
  • Intervention 1 provides training on climate-smart agroforestry production systems to smallholder farmers and intensive technical assistance for the establishment of such systems in follow-up visits. This includes the payment of wages of additional workers and agricultural inputs such as tree samplings, fertilizer, etc. Two types of climate-smart plantation systems are introduced. One combines native tree species with exotic species that are fast growing and can be used for biomass production much earlier than the native species. The other model mixes native or exotic species with yerba mate plants that benefit from the shade the trees provide.

    The climate-smart plantation systems are expected to generate income to the households after three years. To compensate for the opportunity costs of land usage in the beginning, participating smallholder farmers receive yearly cash transfers conditional on the adoption and maintenance of the new production system. The first payment is made after the preparation of the soil, the second upon plantation of the trees and the third when at least 80% of the trees started to grow. The conditions of the fourth and fifth payments are related to the maintenance of the plantation system. The size of these so-called environmental conditional cash transfers (E-CCT) depends on the plantation scheme the farmer decides to adapt, depending on individual preferences and soil quality. At this point, the details on the implementation are not specified yet. It is unclear how the trainings will be given (community or household level), how often the farmers receive follow-up visits, and what the exact payment modalities are.

    Intervention 2 targets the demand side of biofuel by providing efficient cooking stoves that require less firewood or charcoal to households. These cooking stoves are directly built in the beneficiary’s kitchen and are designed such that the smoke is directly channelled to the outside. That way indoor air pollution is reduced.
  • The design as currently discussed is presented in Figure 2. The study population will consist of 300 neighbourhoods in the project area. Ideally, those neighbourhoods will be randomly drawn from the total project population such that the results have a high external validity. The neighbourhoods will then be randomly allocated to the control group, the training and E-CCT treatment group and the training, E-CCT and cooking stove treatment group.3 Power calculations for the same are discussed below. This design allows for identifying the combined impact of the training and conditional transfer, as well as the additional impact of the improved cooking stove component.

    A second design was also discussed, as presented in Figure 3. In addition to being assigned to treatment or control, communities could be randomised by the intensity of treatment. In low intensity treatment communities, 50% of the eligible households are allocated to the treatment group and the remaining 50% to the control group. This study design would allow to determine the impact of spillovers from the interventions, and potential rebound effects. A potential positive spillover effect would be the transfer of knowledge between households, i.e. farmers that implement the climate-smart plantation systems without having been directly targeted by the project. We expect such spillovers to be more likely within neighbourhoods than across. neighbourhoods. A potential rebound effect might occur as a result of the decreased demand for firewood from the cooking stove intervention. In a functioning market, the reduced demand leads to a decrease in prices which might trigger again the demand for the product. Having different treatment intensities in place would allow to observe such price effects.
  • Even though the project team has a clear idea on the eligibility criteria for households, it is not yet clear how eligible households will be identified. Screening households for eligibility will be both costly and time consuming. While sound/good information for households regarding wealth and land ownership exists, some of the information is likely to be out-dated as it was collected in 2014 and 2015. Spot checks on the accuracy of the social economic characteristics and location information can help to determine the quality of the data and the persistence of the indicators. Whether the size of the land and soil quality is actually suitable for the proposed plantation systems needs to be checked individually either through field visits or via the phone calls.

    The M&E plans developed by the FAO are quite ambitious. They entail a close forest coverage monitoring via satellite images as well as monitoring of the vulnerability of the participating households with household surveys. For instance, it is planned to geo-reference the plots of each of the 17,100 participating households. Furthermore, in order to make the cash transfer to the complying households, the fulfilment of the conditions needs to be checked regularly and reliably. Despite the large scope of M&E activities, the details of the realisation of the plan are not yet decided on. During discussions with the PROEZA team and FAO, several issues arose that need to be resolved. It is for example not clear yet what kind of satellite images will be used, where they will be sourced from and in which intervals they will be checked. It has not been decided on how the fulfilments of the conditions for the ECCT and which parties will be involved in this process. The LORTA team emphasized the importance of a common, accessible platform on which all involved entities can upload monitoring data and retrieve information from

    Many indigenous communities in Paraguay are very closed in order to protect their culture. Conversations with indigenous community advocates also suggest that this group could pose several issues for the evaluation, as land is typically owned by the community instead of by individual households. The variation of treatment intensities as it is currently discussed for the non-indigenous communities is hence not feasible. Without a clear definition of household income and agricultural output, several indicators developed from the theory of change will be difficult to measure. Nevertheless, PROEZA explicitly plans the inclusion of indigenous communities, because they belong to the most vulnerable groups in Paraguay and strongly depend on the resources of the native forests. Assessing the impact on this particular social group is hence particularly interesting and should be part of any evaluation. However, it is likely that separate methods will be needed for evaluating impacts in these areas.

    There are concerns about the state of intervention design because the training has not yet been fully developed. Extension services and trainings are, like in most countries, not well supported in Paraguay. PROEZA will not go through extension workers, and instead conduct the training themselves. The quality of the training, and the reach of it, will be critical for realizing impacts. For instance, some land may need rehabilitation before planting can be done. It is clear that farmers do not know how to rehabilitate land or use agroforestry methods. The technical assistance for intervention 1 hence needs to address this issue and built according module into their project design.

    Finally, the government is undergoing personnel changes, which might affect the scope of PROEZA. The new minister of the STP has shown strong support for the implementation of the project, yet the project unit has raised concerns that certain project characteristics might be adjusted. A stable partnership and commitment of the government to follow through with the evaluation design, in particular the randomised allocation of neighbourhoods into treatment and control, is crucial for the internal validity of the evaluation. The LORTA team will be in close contact with the local partners, such that relevant changes can be taken into account in a timely manner.

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