Project Evaluation

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In support of Malawi’s commitment to diversify and transform the country’s agriculture into a sustainable and economically viable sector, the International Potato Center (CIP) and its partners has been implementing the 5-year “Root and Tuber Crops for Agricultural Transformation in Malawi,” i.e., the “RTC-ACTION” project. The RTC-ACTION was designed as a national research and development program with technical coordination by CIP and close ties to the Root and Tuber Crops Development Trust (RTCDT) for stakeholder engagement. The goal of the project is to increase the contributions of root and tuber crops, specifically potato, sweetpotato, and cassava, to food security, nutrition, and incomes in Malawi focusing on farmers, consumers, processors, and traders. The specific objectives and expected outcomes of RTC-ACTION were:

*Objective 1: Increased productivity, climate resilience, and nutritional value of RTC production systems*

· Productive, climate-resilient, and nutritious varieties available for distribution (at least 10 released varieties and 8 new varieties to be released)

· Effective seed systems improve access to quality seed by male and female farmers (at least 154,000 farmers)

· Improved crop management practices applied by male and female farmers across Malawi’s agro-ecologies (at least 30,000 farmers increase productivity).

*Objective 2: Increased revenues, consumer-orientation, and nutrition outcomes of RTC value chains*

· Diversified and expanded utilization of potato, sweetpotato, and cassava for food security and improved nutrition (at least 80,000 women and 60,000 under-5s)

· Improved supply chains for commercial processing of RTC foods (at least 7,000 farmers selling profitably to commercial processors)

· Efficient markets linking potato, sweetpotato, and cassava producers with consumers and processors (at least 20,000 farmers realize 15% increases in RTC sales revenues)

· Improved postharvest handling, storage, and transport capacities and practices (at least 1,000 farmers and traders benefit).

*Objective 3: Effective policies and strengthened capacities for continued development of RTC*

· RTCDT effectively coordinates stakeholders for stronger policy support and more effective development investments in root and tuber crops (at least 1 significant policy change, 1 planning improvement, and 1 service delivery improvement implemented)

· Human and institutional capacity strengthened to support continued innovation and development of RTC (at least eight Malawian RTC researchers receive advanced degrees, and RTC modules integrated into public sector extension training programs).

These objectives were to be accomplished by providing technical, capacity, and implementation support to the national RTCDT to coordinate stakeholders for increased investments and continued innovation in the root and tuber crops value chains. It therefore took a value chain approach to development. The project is to reach at least 160,000 farming households with improved technologies and practices, and at least 500,000 consumers with nutritious foods, specifically increasing diet quality of over 80,000 women and 60,000 children under 5 years of age. It is also to increase productivity and sales revenues of at least 25,000 root and tuber crop smallholder farmers.

RTC-ACTION was implemented through a partnership comprising CIP and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) as CGIAR partners; the Department of Agricultural Research Services, the Department of Agriculture Extension Services, and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources as main government partners; the nongovernmental organizations, Concern Universal, and other local organizations; Universal Industries Ltd and other commercial partners; and farmers and community groups. The project has been implemented in the following districts:

Potato: Dedza, Mchinji, Ntcheu, Ntchisi, Neno, Lilongwe, Dowa, Mzimba South, Kasungu, Thyolo

Sweetpotato: Phalombe, Mulanje, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Mwanza, Neno, Zomba, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Blantyre.

Cassava: Kasungu, Lilongwe, Mangochi, Mzimba and Nkhata bay

OBJECTIVES The main objectives of this end of programme evaluation is to assess the achievement of the stated objectives, the implementation strategy, management and partnership arrangements and what lessons can be drawn to inform future implementation of similar types of interventions. The evaluation will also generate lessons that will feed into any possible future engagement between Irish Aid and CIP. Specifically, the end of programme evaluation will assess the following:

· Whether the RTC-ACTION Project achieved its objectives. Specifically, it will assess the extent to which:

Ø the RTC-ACTION Project has improved food security, nutrition and livelihoods of the targeted resource-constrained smallholder farmer households in the selected districts

Ø The RTC-ACTION Project has contributed to increased productivity and household resilience to climate change shocks

Ø The project has contributed to the increase of incomes due marketing of RTCs, related services and products

Ø The partnerships have enhanced the implementation of the project activities and how effective the partnerships have been in the course of implementing activities

Ø Seed system was developed and improved to enable farmer’s access high quality seed on time. Was this done in a sustainable manner?

Ø The capacity of DARS, DAES, NGOs and CBOs was strengthened in up-scaling adoption of RTCs in Malawi

Ø Policy makers were engaged and if any policy instruments were formulated or influenced to mainstream RTCs at national level, and

Ø The programme has contributed to the attainment of Irish Aid’s Country Strategic Plan (CSP) of 2016 to 2021 objectives

· To draw lessons learnt for wider application in similar future programs

· To analyse attainment of indicator targets relative to the baseline

TERMS OF REFERENCE/SCOPE OF WORK The end of programme evaluation will be undertaken by a consultancy firm with experience in conducting independent and evidence-based evaluations. The primary audience for the evaluation will be Irish Aid and CIP. Other audiences will be respective partnering government departments, district councils and NGOs, different government ministries, other relevant partners and interested stakeholders as well as the target beneficiary smallholder farmers.

The evaluation is expected to use the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. Based on these criteria, the evaluation is expected to provide information relating to the following, but not limited to:

1. Relevance and programme design:

a. To what extent were the RTC-ACTION project’s objectives relevant within the context of improving food and nutrition security, income, market linkage, livelihoods and increased household resilience.

b. Were activities and outputs of the programme consistent with the overall goal of the programme and intended impacts?

c. Did the objectives and interventions of the programme address priority needs of the targeted beneficiaries? Did those needs evolve over the course of programme implementation? If new needs emerged, how did the programme respond?

d. Was the programme beneficiaries targeting appropriate given the context? Which activities implemented in the RTC-ACTION project could or should be scaled up or replicated in other areas?

e. How consistent was the programme with national development agenda/policies and Irish Aid Malawi development strategy?

2. Effectiveness:

a. To what extent were the programme objectives, expected results and targets achieved or are likely to be achieved?

b. What were the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the objectives and results?

c. How effective was the partnership with DARS, DAES, NGOs, District Councils, Private Sector and other relevant stakeholders in the programme areas?

d. To what extent was the MEL system able to track the outputs of the programme and document lessons learnt?

e. To what extent were the lessons learnt used to modify the programme?

f. To what extent were the cross-cutting issues effectively mainstreamed in the program’s implementation, particularly in relation to Gender and HIV and AIDS?

g. How effective was the implementation approach to reach the beneficiaries and achieve programme objectives.

3. Efficiency:

a. What measures did the programme put in place to improve cost efficiency of the programme and did the measures work? Could the programme have been implemented with fewer resources without compromising the quality and quantity of the results achieved?

b. Describe the strengths and weakness of the management structure as it relates to the programme.

c. What did the programme do to improve accountability and transparency and to manage risks?

d. Were the objectives achieved on time?

e. To what extent has CIP worked in partnership contributed to greater efficiencies in the delivery of the programme

4. Impact: Has the promotion of RTCs resulted in:

a. improved food and nutrition security,

b. household income,

c. market linkage,

d. improved livelihoods, and

e. household resilience of the smallholder farmers

5. Sustainability:

a. Is there evidence that benefits resulting from the RTC-ACTION are likely to be sustained? If yes, detail the evidence.

b. How effective are the sustainability measures so far?

c. Are there any sustainable and replicable practices to be documented under the programme?

d. What are the major factors which influenced the achievement or non-achievement of sustainability of the programme?

e. Government engagement in the programme

f. Policy environment

4.0 METHODOLOGY**

The end of RTC-ACTION project evaluation will include both desk study reviews, interviews with key personnel and field based work. It is expected that interviews and consultations will be carried out with primary and secondary stakeholders in the target districts. It is envisaged that the evaluation will broadly consist of the following phases:

Inception Phase: This will involve a review of secondary data including programme documents, progress reports, audit reports, programme steering committee meeting minutes, baseline study report, policy documents and other documents necessary for the assignment. The key output to be produced is the inception report which will include a detailed approach to the evaluation, including the data collection tools. The inception report will have to be discussed and approved by a team of representatives from Irish Aid and CIP before data collection can commence.

Data Collection: Besides secondary data collection the consultants will collect quantitative and qualitative data relevant for the evaluation. This will include surveys, key informant interviews and other participatory data collection methodologies such as Focused Group Discussions. It is expected that a sample of District Agriculture and Nutrition offices of Nsanje, Chikwawa, Blantyre, Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu, Zomba, Neno and Mwanza (for sweetpotato), Dedza, Ntcheu, Neno, Thyolo, Lilongwe, Mchinji, Kasungu, Dowa, Ntchisi and south Mzimba (for potato) and Mangochi, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Nkhata-Bay and Mzimba (for cassava) Department of Agricultural Research Services, , Chancellor College, Root and Tiber Crops Development, and partner NGOs such as –Chikwawa CADECOM, Concern; business entities such as Tehilah, Joe clean and other processors – will form part of the key informant interviewees.

Data analysis/reporting; based on primary and secondary data collection, the consultant(s) will analyse the data and come up with a first draft evaluation report to be presented to the Irish Aid and CIP representatives.

After presentation of the first draft report, comments and inputs will have to be consolidated in order to come up with a second draft report that can be disseminated to other stakeholders at a validation workshop for comments.

A Final Evaluation Report will be prepared after a stakeholders’ validation workshop.

DELIVERABLES

Inception report demonstrating understanding of the assignment. This will include a detailed approach/strategy to be used for the evaluation including data collection tools, an outline of the work plan, budget and timelines. The inception report shall be presented to a team of Irish Aid and CIP representatives for its consideration and approval within the first days of the assignment. Upon approval of the inception report, the consultant(s) will then proceed to with the remainder of the assignment.

First draft evaluation report which will be reviewed by a team of Irish Aid and CIP representatives.

Second draft evaluation report incorporating comments and observations that will be used for a validation workshop with key stakeholders.

Final report with an executive summary and Data set. The report should not exceed 50 pages (excluding annexes). The final report should concisely outline the programme logic, what the programme set out to achieve, findings, analysis with conclusions, and concise actionable recommendations and/or lessons learnt.

CANDIDATES PROFILE

Degree

A PhD in any one of the following: Agricultural Economics, Natural Resource Economics, Development Studies, Sustainable Rural Development or other Agricultural related field.

Specialty

Demonstrable capacity and experience in development strategic thinking? Use of OECD/DAC evaluation criteria and able to manage complex evaluations. Good understanding of agriculture, food security and nutrition, resilience, rural development, and poverty analysis issues in Malawi and in the region.

Expertise required

· Exceptional skills in understanding and diagnosing complex agricultural, economic, environmental or social issues and able to work in a culturally diverse environment and with local people.

· Demonstrated skills in quantitative and qualitative analysis of complement multi-crop and multilocation projects

· Exceptional skills in understanding and diagnosing complex agricultural, economic, environmental or social issues and able to work in a culturally diverse environment and with local people.

· Experience in mainstreaming cross cutting topical issues (Gender and HIV & AIDS)

· Good oral and writing skills, with good command of written and spoken English and local language

· Experience in conducting similar assessments, evidenced through provision of copies of such reports.

Years of experience

Not less than 10 years

Skills

Demonstrated skills in quantitative and qualitative analysis of complement multi-crop and multilocation projects

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