Putting agrobiodiversity at the centre of Africa’s food systems transformation
06 September 2021
The RFS Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) process tracks country project, Regional Hub and programme-wide impact. At the programmatic level, RFS tracks progress towards Global Environmental Benefits (GEBs), environmental and biophysical targets, and food security and household resilience indicators. M&E data is used to regularly assess progress and enable informed decision-making within country projects.
When resources are allocated to development projects and programmes in the agriculture, natural resources, and environment sectors, it is essential to know if the project or programme has achieved its intended impacts and reached targeted beneficiaries. M&E systems help RFS country projects, and the programme as a whole, track progress and performance against indicators related to household income, natural resource management, climate change mitigation, biodiversity and food security.
M&E systems are often challenged by poor design and implementation stemming from a number of challenges. A lack of reliable baseline data gathered early in project lifecycle often prevents projects and programme from accurately gauging impact. Even well-designed M&E systems are challenged by poor operationalisation, often due to a lack of capacity, resources, or technology to implement over-ambitious data collection and analysis requirements. The lack of integration of M&E systems into day-to-day programme management, and broader policymaking and decision-making processes, often results in M&E systems that fail to operate as meaningful decision support tools or adapt to changing contexts.
Well designed and executed M&E systems can lead to effective programmatic learning and adaptation. As one of the three GEF Integrated Approach Pilots (IAPs), RFS is developing and applying innovative approaches for implementing M&E processes, integrating data and showcasing accurate progress across a large integrated project. Ongoing M&E activities support RFS teams in tailoring and regularly adapting project activities to achieve the desire impact. The RFS M&E system is expected to evolve as the programme evolves, adapting to challenges as they arise and capitalising on new opportunities to improve project and programme performance.
In order to develop an adaptive and effective system that reflects the needs of all relevant sectors, RFS has promoted the use of multi-stakeholder processes for developing country project and programme-wide M&E systems. Including stakeholders from all relevant sectors in the development of M&E systems also ensures that M&E data will be integrated into the decision-making and policymaking processes of agriculture, environment, and natural resource ministries even after the project is completed. To further ensure sustainability of M&E outcomes, capacity development in the collection and analysis of data, as well as the use of innovative monitoring tools, has been a critical feature within each RFS project.
The Regional Hub is responsible for establishing a programme-wide M&E framework for tracking global environmental benefits and other outcomes of the programme. The Regional Hub has also played a central role in introducing country teams to innovative monitoring tools and solutions and building capacity within national institutions to apply appropriate tools and methodologies for their own project-level monitoring and evaluation.
In Ethiopia, the RFS country team has developed and is now utilising a web-based information management system for multi-scale monitoring of ecosystem services and global environmental benefits. In Kenya and Eswatini, country project teams are using IFAD’s Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) to carry out baseline household surveys on human wellbeing and water and land-use practices in project sites. In Nigeria, Conservation International’s Vital Signs initiative has trained local Monitoring and Evaluation Officers in the use of landscape monitoring tools to assess project sites and analyse geospatial data.
Explore the RFS Country Projects to see more examples of how RFS countries are implementing Monitoring & Evaluation activities.
Stories from the Field
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This evaluation assesses the GEF integrated approach applied through the GEF-6 integrated approach pilots (IAPs) and GEF-7 impact programmes to address the drivers of environmental degradation. The evaluation includes an assessment of IAPs’ early results and lessons (drawing on mid-term reviews and other evidence), and an assessment of how the results and lessons from the pilots are informing the evolution of the integrated approach in the impact programs. The purpose and objectives of the evaluation are to assess the relevance and coherence of the design of the GEF integrated approach and the efficiency and effectiveness of its implementation.
In July 2021, the
Resilient Food Systems PCU held a programme-wide workshop to present the new RFS M&E plan in line with the required shift to the GEF-7 results architecture. RFS
Regional Hub partner Bioversity International has developed several tools,
including the new DATAR web portal and app,
that can support countries in monitoring the new core indicators. This
presentation provides an overview of the DATAR tool as well as a schedule of
training sessions for interested RFS country projects. Training materials are now available on the DATAR site (registration required).
In July 2021, the Resilient Food Systems PCU held a programme-wide workshop to present the new RFS M&E plan in line with the required shift to the GEF-7 results architecture. RFS Regional Hub partner Conservation International has developed several tools, including Trends.Earth, Vital Signs, and Resilience Atlas, that can support countries in monitoring the new core indicators. This presentation provides an overview of each tool and the respective indicators. Further training for the country teams on the tools can be provided upon request.