Agriculture

MIDLINE EVALUATION OF PROSPER II (Supporting Cocoa Farming Communities)

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EMPOWERED WOMEN FOR AN EQUITABLE COFFEE VALUE CHAIN

The Empowered Women for an Equitable Coffee Value Chain (EW-EVC) project, funded through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) was implemented in Sekong Province from July 2017-June 2022, with a goal of “Reduced poverty and improved access to food for remote ethnic communities through women’s economic empowerment”. This project aligns perfectly with the CARE Laos priority of supporting women and girls through economic empowerment. Read More...

CARE International Foundation Switzerland-Sudan The Value Chain of Groundnut, Tomatoes, Hides and Skins in South and East Darfur and South Korofan States – Sudan

There was a value chain study in the year 2016 covering East and South Darfur and South Kordofan States targeting three commodities namely groundnut, skins and hides and tomatoes. Although in the last four years, the country has witnessed a tremendous change in different livelihoods aspects, the 2016 study constitutes a baseline bench mark and give glimpse to the current research. For the validation of the aforesaid study, a careful understanding of the methodology, findings and recommendations are well undertaken to reveal the similarities and differences between the two studies. Read More...

Technical Feasibility Study for Establishing a Mango Pulp Processing Plant in South Kordofan

This technical consultancy is commissioned to assess the viability of a multi-fruit processing facility in South Kordofan region. This region is mango-rich where 35% of all Sudanese mangos originate and therefore a process- ing facility would sit at the heart of the raw material source. Operational best-practices generally promote value-addition facilities to be located either closer to the end user or at the raw material source.
The feasibility study included extensive secondary research on the subject as well as an intensive element of primary research that included field work across South Kordofan (Kadogly, Rashaad, Tandik and Abu Jubeiha), interviews with KIIs, focus groups with farmers, traders & women associations and observational assessments. The analysis of the data and information was enriched by engagement with the supply chain who guided the team to design the appropriate value chain that is conducive to the environment.
This research recommends the adoption of the dormant Tandik facility for the fruit processing facility. Our architectural team have analysed the data and information and trust the Tandik site would require investment to upgrade the facility, but it provides a substantial launch pad for the project to have a near-ready facility. Moreover, the authorities at the Ministry of Agriculture at Kadogly, Rashaad and Abu Jubeiha localities, have all endorsed the adoption of this site and are willing to champion tax and rent concessions for the operator. Read More...

Multi Fruit Processing Line Feasibility Study and Assessment of Agricultural Value Chains in Abujubiha, South Kordofans

CARE International, Dalgroup, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Near East Foundation are the lead consortium partners in "Step up to Empower Women and End Violence’ (SEEV) project. CARE International aims to develop women and girl’s human capital and access to decision making thus, increasing their rights to seek social justice. The target population includes, women, girls, men, refugees IDPS including neighbouring communities in Abujubiha in South Kordofan. The mango pulp feasibility study set out to assess the economic, social, technical, agronomic, and environmental feasibility of processing pulp in Abujubiha using mango as primary raw material. The study research objectives were to establish the quality and quantity of mangos and other fruits for processing pulp, the technology options for processing, packaging and transporting the pulp to Khartoum for transformation by food & beverage industries. This study is also expected to assess the infrastructure gaps, skills gaps, suitable location for setting up the plant, as well as establish the level of investments required to support sustainable processing of multi-fruit processing facility in South Kordofan. Read More...

PROSPER II: Promoting a Sustainable and Food Secure World (September 2019 – August 2022)

CARE and Cargill’s partnership extends more than 60 years and is a testament to the values we share. Since 2008, CARE and Cargill have reached more than 4.6 million people, 600,000 people directly and 4 million indirectly, through 34 projects in 13 countries. Of those reached, more than 2.4 million are women.

Our work has tackled complex issues spanning smallholder agriculture, market access, women’s economic empowerment, nutrition, child labor, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Beyond the tremendous impact of our efforts on the ground, our partnership has contributed greatly to CARE’s global food and nutrition security approach, informing our signature initiative, She Feeds the World (SFtW). Read More...

Farmer Field Business Schools and Village Savings and Loan Associations for promoting climate-smart agriculture practices: Evidence from rural Tanzania

How can stakeholders (e.g., governments and their extension services, private sector, policy makers and NGOs) effectively stimulate the adoption of climate-smart agricultural (CSA) practices among small-scale farmers in developing countries? Changes in temperatures and rainfall lead to new risks of drought as well as erratic and excess rainfall (Ericksen et al., 2011; WMO, 2020). Many farmers experience climate change as a threat since crop yields that farmers needed to sustain themselves are adversely affected (IPCC, 2014; WMO, 2020). At the same time, the agricultural sector also contributes to climate change since agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide) are among the significant drivers of global warming (CCAFS, 2021). Read More...

Learning From Failure 2022

In 2019 and 2020, CARE published Learning from Failures reports to better understand common problems that projects faced during implementation. Deliberately looking for themes in failure has helped CARE as an organization and provides insight on what is improving and what still needs troubleshooting. This report builds on the previous work to show what we most need to address in our programming now.
As always, it is important to note that while each evaluation in this analysis cited specific failures and areas for improvement in the project it reviewed, that does not mean that the projects themselves were failures. Of the 72 evaluations in this analysis, only 2 showed projects that failed to deliver on more than 15% of the project goals. The rest were able to succeed for at least 85% of their commitments. Rather, failures are issues that are within CARE’s control to improve that will improve impact for the people we serve.
To fully improve impact, we must continue to include failures in the conversation. We face a complex future full of barriers and uncertainties. Allowing an open space to discuss challenges or issues across the organization strengthens CARE’s efforts to fight for change. Qualitative analysis provides critical insights that quantitative data does not provide insight into the stories behind these challenges to better understand how we can develop solutions.
CARE reviewed a total of 72 evaluations from 65 projects, with 44 final reports published between February 2020 and September 2021 and 28 midterm reports published between March 2018 and October 2020. Seven projects had both midterm and final evaluations at the time of this analysis. For ease of analysis, as in previous years, failures were grouped into 11 categories (see Annex A, the Failures Codebook for details).

Results
The most common failures in this year’s report are:
• Understanding context—both in the design phase of a project and refining the understanding of context and changing circumstances throughout the whole life of a project, rather than a concentrated analysis phase that is separate from project implementation. For example, an agriculture project that built it’s activities assuming that all farmers would have regular internet access, only to find that fewer than 10% of project participants had smartphones and that the network in the area is unreliable, has to significantly redesign both activities and budgets.
• Sustainability—projects often faced challenges with sustainability, particularly in planning exit strategies. Importantly, one of the core issues with sustainability is involving the right partners at the right time. 47% of projects that struggled with sustainability also had failures in partnership. For example, a project that assumed governments would take over training for project participants once the project closed, but that failed to include handover activities with the government at the local level, found that activities and impacts are not set up to be sustainable.
• Partnerships—strengthening partnerships at all levels, from government stakeholders to community members and building appropriate feedback and consultation mechanisms, is the third most common weakness across projects. For example, a project that did not include local private sector actors in its gender equality trainings and assumes that the private sector would automatically serve women farmers, found that women were not getting services or impact at the right level.
Another core finding is that failures at the design phase can be very hard to correct. While projects improve significantly between midterm and endline, this is not always possible. There are particular kinds of failure that are difficult to overcome over time. Major budget shortfalls, a MEAL plan that does not provide quality baseline data, and insufficient investments in understanding context over the entire life of a project are less likely to improve over time than partnerships and overall MEAL processes.
Some areas also showed marked improvements after significant investments. Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL), Gender, Human Resources, and Budget Management are all categories that show improvements over the three rounds of learning from failures analysis. This reflects CARE’s core investments in those areas over the last 4 years, partly based on the findings and recommendations from previous Learning From Failure reports. Specifically, this round of data demonstrates that the organization is addressing gender-related issues. Not only are there fewer failures related to gender overall, the difference between midterm and final evaluations in gender displays how effective these methods are in decreasing the incidence of “failures” related to engaging women and girls and looking at structural factors that limit participation in activities.
Another key finding from this year’s analysis is that projects are improving over time. For the first time, this analysis reviewed mid-term reports in an effort to understand failures early enough in the process to adjust projects. Projects report much higher rates of failure at midterm than they do at final evaluation. In the projects where we compared midline to endline results within the same project, a significant number of failures that appeared in the mid-term evaluation were resolved by the end of the project. On average, mid-term evaluations reflect failures in 50% of possible categories, and final evaluations show failures in 38% of possible options. Partnerships (especially around engaging communities themselves), key inputs, scale planning and MEAL are all areas that show marked improvement over the life of the project.
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Study on the sustainability of GRAD structures and outcomes

This study conducted by PDCR aims to better understand the sustainability and functionally of the processes and elements of GRAD-I as well as the different actors and structures supported and established by the project. And as such this report will focus on VESAs, household/value chains, agro-dealers, FEMAs/Cooperatives, micro-franchise, multi-stakeholders platform and access to finance after the project ended and will cover the period from December 2016 until September 2019.

Background
The Graduation with Resilience to Achieve Sustainable Development (GRAD) project (hereafter referred to as the project) was a five-year USAID-funded project which began in December 2011 and ended in December 2016. Its strategic objective was to graduate a minimum of 50,000 chronically food-insecure households from the Ethiopian Government’s (GoE’s) Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP). Additionally, it aimed to increase each household’s income by $365 by the project’s fifth year in 16 Woredas in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR). During the implementation of the project combined “push” and “pull” model into a complete and integrated package of interventions and within this model the project at times established and/or the above-mentioned actors.

Methodology
Accordingly, desktop reviews of relevant documents including the project final evaluation, suitability and exit plan as well as a variety of reports were undertaken. The study team collected quantitative and qualitative information from 330 VESAs, 1,066 households, 188 saleswomen, 21 agro-dealers, 31 FEMAs/cooperatives. Furthermore, it consulted with representatives from multi-stakeholder platforms groups, Woreda FSTF, MFIs/RuSACCOs and participating wholesalers linked to the project.
Key findings:
VESAs:
56% of the VESAs established and supported by the project are still active as members were able to benefit from their membership, improve their saving and loan management, improve loan repayment mechanisms, were able to share out on time and at critical times, have structured and transparent management committee. These groups develop their members’ social capital, have a strong sense of trust, have benefited from their family’s support. The active VESA have reasonable membership size, common interest and have managed receive continued support.
42% of the VESAs established are inactive as members lost confidence and the interest right after the project ended. Members did not clearly understand the value of the VESAs, some faced internal conflicts, others such as the groups in Sidama and Gurage Zones were affected by drought and security issues. Overall, the inactive VESAs have received less support especially those established in the later part of the project. On a positive side, in Tigray few groups dissolved their VESAs as there was no needed since they now have started saving at banks and can access credit from MFIs.
2% of VESAs have transformed into RuSACCOs. Those who managed to this transformation was encouraged by some of their members who already were also member to a RuSACCO. The VESAs were not encouraged due to RuSACCO’s principle that supported individual membership to join already established RuSACCOs; and groups would rather retain their VESA as they feel they have full control and do not want to lose their social capital.
Active VESAs were formed on a voluntary base and were given adequate briefing about the purpose of the group. In contrast, the inactive VESAs members were mainly selected and groups were formed by project staffs.
Active VESAs remained together and have not sought to split into smaller groups as they value the social capital created within the group and prefer to work as a one team. Dissimilarly, 53% of the currently inactive groups did separate to form smaller groups, mainly due to internal conflicts, dissatisfaction regarding members selection methods and lack of management skills amongst the leadership.
Across all study areas, all VESAs were found have bylaws and in the case of Tigray and Amhara regions, some groups internally agreed and have amended their bylaws articles related to saving amounts, loan repayment mechanisms and interest rates reflecting their needs.
Active VESAs have successfully built social cohesion, capital, are a safe and fertile environment for training, social and cultural norms discussion platforms that may impede development drives and contribute to food security (e.g. gender inequality, infant feeding practices, etc.).
On average 61% of the active VESAs have been able to increase their savings size while only 13% reporting a decrease. Those who reported a decrease was directly associated to their inability to save as family expenses have escalated and they were unable to generate more income in order to save.
In all the study areas, the groups have paid share out every year in May and June. Their average value of liquid savings during the last share-out was 28,282 Birr with an average group share out of 1,444 Birr ($51) and an internal loan size of 26,649 Birr.
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Enhancing adaptive capacity of women and ethnic smallholder farmers through improved agro-climate information in Mai and Samphanh district, Phongsaly Province, Laos

The Agro-Climate Information for the Adoption of Resilient Farming Practices by Women and Ethnic Minority Farmers (ACIS2) is implemented by CARE International in Lao PDR. The project financed by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development (MECDD) in Luxembourg, is designed to support poor and vulnerable households in remote, rural areas and to enable women and ethnic minority farmers in Mai and Samphanh districts (Phongsaly province) to better anticipate risks and opportunities related to climate variability thus improving their response through participatory and equitable agro-climatic planning. The project’s aim is to contribute to SDG 13 by increasing climate resilience of women and ethnic minority farmers in northern Laos.
The purpose of the evaluation was to determine the project’s success in implementing activities and in attaining the project’s goals and expected results. The ACIS2 has implemented a wide variety of activities to increase the resilience of ethnic communities to climate change and climate variability. The project has been successful in achieving its objectives and expected results. Project provide the weather forecast and agriculture advisory and support for cardamom production, intercropping galangal, pineapple, fruit trees, bee keeping, vegetable gardening, improved rice production and support to women’s savings and loans groups which has resulted in reducing the impact of climatic hazards and improving farmers’ incomes.
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