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Monitoring Evaluation and Impact study in farmers’ participatory action research: Role and relevance


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Dr. Michael Loevinsohn
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, United Kingdom

Published in: Technology, Education
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Monitoring Evaluation and Impact study in farmers’ participatory action research: Role and relevance

  1. 1. Monitoring, evaluation and learning in dynamic farmer participatory research: the essential role Michael Loevinsohn Institute of Development Studies, U.K. SRI Regional Project Inception Workshop, Bangkok, 9 April 2013
  2. 2. Monitoring and evaluation in times of rapid change • Agriculture impacted from many directions – Shifting nature of the farming population – part-time, diversified livelihoods, aging – Increased frequency of extreme weather events – Market price volatility: inputs and outputs • Impacts experienced differently in different areas • Diversified options needed that can be tested and adapted locally • Crucial to recognize: innovation springs from multiple sources
  3. 3. Farmer creativity and innovation: the key agricultural resource • Remains the source of much agricultural change – Provides the adapted cultivars that breeding exploits – Develops adapted cropping/farming systems • Continues to modify and adapt packages developed by research and promoted by extension • Programs ignore farmer innovation at their peril
  4. 4. Philippines, early 1980s 100 km from IRRI • Farmers employed Green Revolution elements but used them very differently than directed – Insecticides applied at 1/3 recommended dose – N-fertilizer never applied basally: weeks later • Perceived by research as “inefficiency” • Eventually, field research showed farmers’ practices rational under their conditions • Much time, resources wasted thru failure to appreciate, engage with farmer innovation
  5. 5. Who should monitoring and evaluation serve? • Partners, stakeholders involved in innovation at all levels – Communities, producers (landed and landless) – People working up/downstream on value chains – Research, advisory, program implementation – Policy, planning, oversight • Beyond “accountability”, after-the-fact concerns – Was money well-spent? What was the impact? • Feed learning to support innovation – Doing better, ensure benefits equitably shared
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  7. 7. What should responsive monitoring and evaluation look like? • Clear, accurate pictures: what is happening? • Information on questions of local concern • Responsive to emerging concerns: impacts and responses to e.g. – Climate change and variability – Volatility of prices • Early intelligence on unintended consequences – Social and environmental • Information in a form that is meaningful and available in a timely fashion • Evaluators “involved” rather than external
  8. 8. What will responsive monitoring and evaluation look like in our initiative? • Objectives and procedures to be refined over the next few days • What are farmers doing with what they learn about SRI in their fields and what do they achieve? – What directions does innovation take? – Among which farmers is innovation proceeding? – Where is it stagnating? – What are the exceptional innovations? • How do the new cropping practices respond to extreme weather events?