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Monitoring & Evaluation

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.

Why is there a need for Monitoring & Evaluation in RFS countries projects?

Why is Monitoring & Evaluation critical for building resilient food systems?

How are RFS countries implementing Monitoring & Evaluation activities?

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

Explore our stories from the field to learn more about how RFS country project teams are implementing activities related to the programmatic theme of Monitoring & Evaluation.

Relevant resources

We have a growing library of reports, briefs, case studies, media, tools and guidelines. Explore all resources related to Monitoring & Evaluation to get greater insight into our programme activities.

  • Guidance for Monitoring of Ecosystem Services, Socioeconomic Benefits, and Resilience of Food Security for the Resilient Food Systems programme

    14 April 2021

    Developed by Regional Hub partner Conservation International, this guidance document outlines recommendations for indicators and methods for monitoring ecosystem services, socioeconomic benefits, and resilience of food security as well as how to access these indicators. While the Regional Hub recommends country projects design their own data collection using existing tools to ensure they have relevant indicators collected at the appropriate scale for their projects, the document provides recommendations for supplementing these datasets with indicators at the regional and sub-national scales.

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    The Diversity Assessment Tool for Agrobiodiversity and Resilience (DATAR)

    01 April 2021

    Developed by the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research for the Resilient Food Systems programme, DATAR is an evolving tool that allows local- and national-level institutions and organisations to integrate crop, livestock and aquatic diversity into their decision-making plans to improve ecosystem resilience and farm productivity for smallholder farmers.

    Food systems, agricultural development and climate resilience planning usually stops at the species level, with planning groups deciding which crop, livestock or aquatic animal would be best suited to improve local livelihoods. DATAR goes one step further by allowing the stakeholders to harness the tremendous amount of intra-specific diversity maintained locally and worldwide.

    The DATAR open-source pilot software platform, with a web interface, a web portal and an Android app, supports users in (1) assessing information on crop varieties, livestock breeds, and aquatic farmed-types and their functional traits; (2) identifying and describing genetic material providers who supply crop seeds, animal breeds, and aquatic farmed-types; (3) assessing management, market, policy and institutional constraints encountered by crop, livestock and aquatic food producers; and (4) identifying age- and gender-sensitive actions and interventions to capitalise on this diversity to meet sustainable development goals. 

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    Monitoring the resilience of people’s food security: An overview of approaches taken by the 12 Resilient Food Systems country projects

    24 March 2021

    The aim of this brief is to provide an overview of how concepts of resilience and food security methodologies have been integrated into the initial project documentation for each of the 12 RFS country projects. Following the RFS launch workshop in 2017, it was determined that no single tool or methodology for monitoring changes in resilience would be imposed across the programme. Instead, country projects would integrate approaches, tools and frameworks relevant to project needs and country circumstances.


    The brief reviews each project’s approach to measuring both food security and resilience indicators at the start of implementation. The findings are meant to inform ongoing discussions about identifying appropriate indicators and tools for assessing positive changes to the resilience of people’s food security.

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