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Mid-Term Review of the Africa RISING Project in the Ethiopian Highlands

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Presented by Barry Pound, Adugna Tolera and Harriet Matsaert at the Africa RISING Project Mid-term Review Feedback Workshop, Addis Ababa, 1 April 2015

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Mid-Term Review of the Africa RISING Project in the Ethiopian Highlands

  1. 1. Mid-Term Review of the Africa RISING Project in the Ethiopian Highlands Barry Pound, Adugna Tolera and Harriet Matsaert Africa RISING Project Mid-term Review Feedback Workshop, Addis Ababa, 1 April 2015
  2. 2. Outline of presentation  Acknowledgements  Review process  Observations  Preliminary findings  Achievements/strengths of the project  Areas for strengthening  Areas for further considerations  Next steps
  3. 3. Review Process  Meetings with the project coordination team  Meetings and interviews with CG partners  Skypes with USAID and IFPRI  Visits to Lemo and Endamehoni Woredas o Meetings with Woreda- level IPs o Field visits to 4 kebeles
  4. 4. Observations – hitting a moving target  Change in project ‘framework’ – changes from hypotheses + outputs to components to themes…  … and from a farm focus to inclusion of wider scale issues…  … and from a wheat system to a more inclusive mandate.  Similarly, draft scaling plan still at draft stage, and not clear where the project role stops.
  5. 5. Preliminary findings of the review
  6. 6. Achievements/Strengths
  7. 7. Project design  People like the flexibility of the design  There is a high level of ownership; some CG Centres (e.g. ICRAF, ICARDA) were involved in the design with ILRI at an early stage of the project  Note: communication needs to be very good for every one if you want to have a flexible design
  8. 8. Research and Management Approaches  Strengths of the research approach are:  Holistic  Multi-institutional/multidisciplinary  Participatory  project ethos of sharing and collaborating  Flexibility & adaptive management makes project responsive and able to meet opportunities and challenges + facilitate partnerships + integration of systems components (crops, livestock, natural resources) in a systems approach
  9. 9. Output 1 – Situation analysis and program-wide synthesis  Large amount of qualitative and quantitative data collected on the project sites (including socioeconomic, natural resources, institutional).  Quick wins gave on the ground experience and create links to local partners.  Recognition of heterogeneity – technical & social studies
  10. 10. Output 2 – Integrated systems improvement  Project looks at commodities and landscape level and plans to work at the macro level through the sustainability indicators and monitoring.  Collaborative protocols development (CG and local partners).  Demand driven and wide range of relevant options being tested. Farmers enthusiastic about the options.  Sufficient budget  Protocol on soil and water management links household to landscape level interventions.  Participatory approach in a multi-disciplinary and multi- institutional setting
  11. 11. Output 2 (continued)  CIP, CIMMYT and ICARDA collaboration for trial management.  IPs play active role in coordinating and supporting the research.  Includes some original work – (e.g. analysis of landscape scale production against hh nutrition requirements)  Some work is relevant to influencing govt policy (e.g. fertiliser rates according to soil response in highly variable environments)  Inclusion of nutrition/post-harvest in response to recognition of these as gaps  Positive response to some of the technologies after the first season and some initial scaling (where there is community based seed production in particular).
  12. 12. Output 3 – Scaling and delivery of integrated innovation  IPs and FRGs have an important role to play in scaling.  Interest shown by regional, zonal, woreda and kebele level government officials.  Draft scaling plan has been created. Starting the process of thinking about Africa Rising’s role in scaling.  Value chain studies have provided information that will be useful in scaling process.  Involving development partners e.g GRAD is facilitating initial scaling.
  13. 13. Gender and Diversity  Project recognises the importance of, and has put resources into gender analysis.  PCA disaggregated results between youth, women and men and further research is ongoing to look at constraints to women’s participation.  Gender action plan, Gender training and creation of Gender champions at IP level.
  14. 14. Data Management  Good data sharing between partners  Plan for data repository which potentially enables meta analysis.
  15. 15. Human Resources  Wide range of skills and expertise in the partnership  Partnership with local research centers and university staff  Use of consultants and students to fill gaps (but not too many)  Building capacity of local partners by supporting MSc and PhD studies (and in future writing joint peer reviewed papers).
  16. 16. Monitoring and Evaluation  Baseline surveys (IFPRI, PCA, AKT5, etc)  IPs are monitoring their activities and have appointed M& E champions.  At project level, monthly meetings play role in monitoring and guiding adaptive management.
  17. 17. Communication  Well budgeted for and importance appreciated by the project.  Electronic communication much appreciated (especially yammer).  Extensive documentation of the process at program and project level.  Have already put thought into the use of communication for scaling (including partnerships with innovative communication mechanisms e.g Digital Green and Shamba shape up).
  18. 18. Partnerships  Very strong and positive partnerships within CGIAR & with local partners (Woreda Office of Agriculture and research centers, universities).  Beginning to develop partnerships for scaling, for example:  Support from zonal and regional agricultural office is beginning (Tigray).  Working together with government campaign on sustainable land management protocol.  Work with cooperative in Endamehoni and starting in Lemo.
  19. 19. Areas for strengthening
  20. 20. Lack of a clear framework for the project and its partners to follow has led to some challenges:-  Lack of clarity on roles and goals.  Reduced efficiency.  Some duplication and lack of integration in survey design. 21 1. Project Design and Management Structure
  21. 21. Areas for Strengthening 2 Output 1  Lateness of some key products which should guide Output 2. Data should be made available asap.  Programme level work on sustainable indicators is needed urgently.  Overloading of farmers?  More understanding of trends to supplement ‘snapshot’ of current systems. 22
  22. 22. Areas for Strengthening 3 Output 2 Broaden analysis to look at sustainable intensification at the whole farm level (linking the different components at household level). Include landscape/watershed level features of the system e.g water budgets to guide thinking and action on sustainable intensification. Participation of women in FRGs and IPs still lower than targeted (participation of young people, households in less accessible areas?) Some research gaps identified by farmers and researchers. Make trial plots size meaningful (forage trials). 23
  23. 23. AreasforStrengthening4 Output 3 Due to delay of key milestones, significant scaling unlikely to be achieved in phase 1. Project needs to start identifying and engaging partners with skills, resources and networks to enable scaling. Project should keep track of formal and informal dissemination (example seed potatoes) to understand the mechanisms and destination of scaling. 24
  24. 24. Areas for Strengthening 5 Gender and Diversity Broaden focus of gender work to include attention to range of household types, individuals and excluded groups. Use typologies derived from output 1 activity to ensure inclusion of all typologies and monitor participation and adoption. 25
  25. 25. Areas for Strengthening 6 Data management issues Different formats, programmes and approaches etc. may mean data sets are not compatible (could present a problem for meta analysis). 26
  26. 26. AreasforStrengthening7 Human resource management Site coordinator overloaded by multiple protocols and attitude of some partners, small financial float and time taken to do and replenish accounts. Accountancy support and better planning could help. Local expertise is essential for trial management. M&E staff needed who are answerable to project management and who attend planning and partnership meetings Additional expertise and networking to support scaling required (discussed under Output 3). 27
  27. 27. AreasforStrengthening8 Monitoring and Evaluation Late collection of baseline data No evidence of monitoring plan No collection of data by IFPRI for over-arching project level monitoring (Outcomes) to guide project management. No evidence of IFPRI staff apart from the baselineNo country M&E person appointed as was envisaged Funding for M&E as separate contract – is not integrated 28
  28. 28. Areas for Strengthening 10 Communication Suggest hard copy updates e.g. quarterly newsletters for sharing with Local partners and stakeholders. Financial Management Slow disbursement from ILRI financial office has been a problem for some protocols - evidence from ICRISAT, CIAT and both site coordinators interviewed. 29
  29. 29. Areas for further consideration- 1  How to keep the benefits of flexible design, while addressing its shortcomings  How to move towards whole farm integration  Getting the balance right between broad & iterative research and farmer support, and not overloading or “changing” farmers  Think about appropriate scaling research methods and partners, including mapping and quantification of scaling, and investigating scaling processes 30
  30. 30. Areas for further consideration- 2  Consider diversity in planning, monitoring & scaling of technologies – need to develop different technologies for different social groups within the community  Data collection – M&E info – what, what for, when, who to collect, how to share and use  How do VCs fit into the TOC, and into research and scaling activities and partnerships? 31
  31. 31. Areas for further consideration- 3  Does the AR Programme “add value” commensurate with costs, c.f. interaction with CPRs and other SI initiatives  What is the future of the IPs? What is AR’s role? 32
  32. 32. Next steps  Development of preliminary recommendations (Thursday am)  Feedback to Project team (Thursday pm)  Draft report to project partners for comment (by end April 2015)  Final report, May 2015 33
  33. 33. 34
  34. 34. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR MIXED GROUPS 1. How do Value Chains fit into research and scaling activities and partnerships? 2. Think about mapping and quantification of scaling, and investigating scaling processes 3. How to move towards research into whole farm integration 35
  35. 35. Project partners Ethiopia
  36. 36. Local partners Ethiopia  Academic institutions:  Wachemo, Mekelle, Madawolabu, Debre Berhan and Hawassa universities; Maichew Agricultural College  Regional research organizations:  Amhara Regional Agricultrural Research Institute, Southern Agricultural Research Institute, Tigray Agricultural Research Institute, Oromia Agricultural Research Institute  Federal research organizations:  Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research, Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute  Offices of Agriculture:  Endamekoni (Tigray), Basona Worena (Amhara), Lemo (SNNRP) and Sinana (Oromia)  Agricultural Transformation Agency
  37. 37. Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation africa-rising.net The presentation has a Creative Commons licence. You are free to re-use or distribute this work, provided credit is given to ILRI.