Mid-Term Review of the Africa RISING Project in the Ethiopian Highlands
Mid-Term Review of the Africa RISING Project in the
Barry Pound, Adugna Tolera and Harriet Matsaert
Africa RISING Project Mid-term Review Feedback
Workshop, Addis Ababa, 1 April 2015
Outline of presentation
Achievements/strengths of the project
Areas for strengthening
Areas for further considerations
Meetings with the project
Meetings and interviews with
Skypes with USAID and IFPRI
Visits to Lemo and
o Meetings with Woreda-
o Field visits to 4 kebeles
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.
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
Research and Management Approaches
Strengths of the research approach are:
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
Output 1 – Situation analysis and program-wide
Large amount of qualitative and quantitative data collected on
the project sites (including socioeconomic, natural resources,
Quick wins gave on the ground experience and create links to
Recognition of heterogeneity – technical & social studies
Output 2 – Integrated systems improvement
Project looks at commodities and landscape level and plans to
work at the macro level through the sustainability indicators
Collaborative protocols development (CG and local partners).
Demand driven and wide range of relevant options being
tested. Farmers enthusiastic about the options.
Protocol on soil and water management links household to
landscape level interventions.
Participatory approach in a multi-disciplinary and multi-
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
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).
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
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
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
Gender action plan, Gender training and creation of Gender
champions at IP level.
Good data sharing between partners
Plan for data repository which potentially enables meta
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).
Monitoring and Evaluation
Baseline surveys (IFPRI, PCA, AKT5, etc)
IPs are monitoring their activities and have appointed M& E
At project level, monthly meetings play role in monitoring and
guiding adaptive management.
Well budgeted for and importance appreciated by the project.
Electronic communication much appreciated (especially yammer).
Extensive documentation of the process at program and project
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).
Very strong and positive partnerships within CGIAR & with local
partners (Woreda Office of Agriculture and research centers,
Beginning to develop partnerships for scaling, for example:
Support from zonal and regional agricultural office is beginning
Working together with government campaign on sustainable
land management protocol.
Work with cooperative in Endamehoni and starting in Lemo.
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.
Some duplication and lack of integration in survey design.
1. Project Design and Management Structure
Areas for Strengthening 2
Lateness of some key products which should guide Output 2.
Data should be made available asap.
Programme level work on sustainable indicators is needed
Overloading of farmers?
More understanding of trends to supplement ‘snapshot’ of
Areas for Strengthening 3
Broaden analysis to look at sustainable intensification at the
whole farm level (linking the different components at household
Include landscape/watershed level features of the system e.g
water budgets to guide thinking and action on sustainable
Participation of women in FRGs and IPs still lower than targeted
(participation of young people, households in less accessible
Some research gaps identified by farmers and researchers.
Make trial plots size meaningful (forage trials). 23
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.
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
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
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).
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
Areas for Strengthening 10
Suggest hard copy updates e.g. quarterly newsletters for sharing
with Local partners and stakeholders.
Slow disbursement from ILRI financial office has been a problem
for some protocols - evidence from ICRISAT, CIAT and both site
Areas for further consideration- 1
How to keep the benefits of flexible design, while addressing its
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
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?
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?
Development of preliminary recommendations (Thursday am)
Feedback to Project team (Thursday pm)
Draft report to project partners for comment (by end April
Final report, May 2015
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR MIXED GROUPS
1. How do Value Chains fit into research and scaling activities
2. Think about mapping and quantification of scaling, and
investigating scaling processes
3. How to move towards research into whole farm integration
Local partners Ethiopia
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
Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation
The presentation has a Creative Commons licence. You are free to re-use or distribute this work, provided credit is given to ILRI.