Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is establishing a foundation for lasting progress against global hunger. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty, and undernutrition. Feed the Future efforts are driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with governments, donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. Feed the Future aims to assist millions of vulnerable women, children, and family members to escape hunger and poverty, while reaching significant numbers of children with highly effective nutrition interventions to prevent stunting and child mortality.
Over the next five years in Zambia, Feed the future aims to help an estimated 263,000 vulnerable Zambian women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 173,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality. Significant numbers of additional rural populations will achieve improved income and nutritional status from strategic policy engagement and institutional investments.
To meet its objectives, Feed the Future Zambia is making core investments in four key areas:
1. Oilseeds, legumes, maize and horticulture value chains
2. Enabling Environment
3. Economic Resilience
Feed the Future is focusing its efforts in two areas: the Eastern Province, with a value chain focus on oilseeds, legumes and maize; and selected peri-urban districts near Lusaka, connecting to Eastern Province, with a particular focus on horticulture.
Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process. Zambia’s CAADP Compact was signed in January 2011, and development of the Zambia CAADP Country Investment Plan has begun. Through this Compact the Government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to the following:
Diversification of staple crop production. Diversification of selected staple value chains will:
Gender. The Zambia strategy strives to maximize the positive impact on female farmers and ensure equitable benefits for men and women by:
Feed the Future Value Chain Research & Development Program
Research features prominently in the Feed the Future Initiative. The FTF research strategy has three objectives: advancing the productivity frontier, transforming production systems and enhancing dietary quality and food safety. The sustainable use of natural resources and adaptation to global climate changes are additional objectives. R&D investments will include several sub-components, through collaboration between international agriculture research centers, GRZ research institutes and public universities, private sector and other partners. The project will also incorporate a competitive grants program to promote public-private research and technology adoption. A key objective of the program is to enable these entities to directly implement activities within the life of the program. All programs will outline the steps, process and timeline to enable Zambian Government, NGO and other entities to be able to directly implement selected project activities within two years after the project has begun field implementation. Finally, to be effective, the programs must also actively involve both men and women in research design and trials to ensure appropriateness to their relative needs.
Some of the key issues that the agricultural research program in Zambia will address are outlined below.
The approach should include preliminary analysis to identify high pay-off interventions with the greatest potential to increase incomes and improve nutrition for a large number of smallholder maize-based farm households, with particular attention to gender-based constraints. These interventions may include varieties, management, alternative farm resource allocation and post-harvest approaches.
Possible components of a program include:
Low Productivity and Limited Production of Groundnuts--Limiting Their Contribution to Household Nutrition, Incomes and Women’s Empowerment
Illustrative activities include:
Widespread Aflatoxin Contamination--Reducing Food Quality and Limiting Exports
Responses to the aflatoxin problem in Zambia may include:
Role of Zambian Women in Science
The FTF strategy will also invest in the development of Zambian women scientists. The African Women in Research and Development (AWARD) program has successfully supported the career of up to nine Zambian women scientists in private and public research organizations as well as civil society organizations. The AWARD Fellows are paired with a leading scientist mentor in their field who supports the development of professional skills. Training in leadership and other professional skills such as writing and communication is provided. A current AWARD Fellow recently conducted a workshop on gender in the aquaculture sector, highlighting the importance of considering gender constraints in this sector. The AWARD Fellows also become mentors to younger women, thus extending the benefits of the program. The FTF strategy will continue this investment throughout the program and work with these scientists in order to strengthen the participation of women in agricultural research.
USAID/Zambia will monitor and evaluate programs and activities throughout the strategy period to ensure that those investments are achieving objectives and maximizing returns to investments. Though many of the investments will be managed and monitored primarily by USAID, some investments will originate from other USG agencies and by government, donors, or the private sector. The Zambia CAADP Country Investment Plan will provide a framework for the development of a more comprehensive national effort in agriculture and poverty reduction that will be supported through the USG FTF effort. CAADP monitoring is addressed below. The M&E framework for the USG FTF strategy outlined in this section will be inclusive and involve all government agencies investing in FTF areas, particularly in the FTF priority geographic area, Eastern province.
The geographic focus, co-location of investments, and the timing of the initiation of new investments provide the opportunity to establish a solid impact assessment framework as well. USAID/Zambia’s approach to monitoring and evaluation will be comprised of three components:
The FTF strategy will be implemented primarily through two of the USAID/Zambia CDCS Development Objectives (DO) and will meet the requirements of CDCS Development Objectives:
The USAID/Zambia Mission has committed to implementing the operational research, managing for results, evaluation and local capacity-building model in its CDCS, and this will apply as well to FTF.
The FTF Performance Monitoring Plan will include indicators measuring progress towards achieving results at all levels. For each indicator, the data source and methodology, baseline, targets, and a calendar of performance management tasks, including a schedule for data collection, will be included. The selection of indicators to include in the PMP will be driven by ongoing and planned activities, the availability of baseline, and provisions made to ensure availability of data for the reference reporting period.
To monitor performance, the Mission will establish baselines and collect data for standard and customized indicators to track whether desired results are occurring and whether performance is on target. All programs receiving FTF resources will be expected to develop monitoring and evaluation strategies that are consistent with the USG Zambia’s FTF framework.
Initial stakeholder workshops will be held for the purposes of
Data quality assessments will be conducted regularly to ensure consistency and completeness. Data collected through monitoring will be used for periodic reports to stakeholders. Given that FTF has the intention to work with a broader range of partners, including local organizations, it is expected that some partners will have more limited reporting capacity. These organizations will need greater assistance, and it may be necessary to delegate the responsibility for some monitoring and reporting to external entities.
For higher level objectives, tracking performance will be beyond the manageable interest of individual projects. In particular, changes in incomes, nutritional status, and some community-level variables among others will be more appropriately measured across the program areas. The FTF Team is developing a consortium of stakeholders to assess existing data sources, and intends to identify an external entity to coordinate baseline and periodic data collection for specific indicators.
An FTF M&E plan will be finalized by the end of Fiscal Year 2011, outlining all indicators and the reporting responsibilities by all USAID/Zambia’s partners. Key FTF required indicators to be tracked and reported are listed in Annex B. Additional project-specific and other relevant indicators not included in the FTF required indicators will be added. It is important to note that all appropriate indicators will be sex-disaggregated.
In line with the new evaluation policy, the FTF program intends to conduct a number of performance evaluations and impact evaluations. Evaluations of two programs closing in 2011, PROFIT and C-FAARM, will be useful for the FTF learning agenda. The USG FTF has a unique opportunity with a defined geographic focus and the initiation of new activities to establish an impact assessment framework to assess high level impact, as well as to identify the relative contribution of different intervention, such as value chain upgrading versus household level management skills. USAID/Zambia will work with partners and other agencies to develop an impact assessment methodology that is consistent with and contributes to the project performance monitoring framework, but will also test several development hypotheses.
An initial baseline survey will be conducted in Eastern province to establish current levels of key variables including incomes, nutritional status, household production and asset patterns, and agriculture technology levels. This baseline will draw from the latest survey methodologies, particularly recent work on gender and asset control24. An appropriate sampling framework will be established to assess impact, most likely on a biannual basis. A randomized approach will be considered for a sub-sample to maintain the integrity of the impact assessment; however, flexibility will be needed to consider mid-term correction in order to ensure the greatest impact over the period of the strategy.
In the context of the development challenges and opportunities identified in Zambia and outlined in Section 1.1, several development hypotheses are of interest for the impact assessment. In particular, the relative contribution will be assessed of community-level versus household-level interventions to reducing poverty and undernutrition, as well as the additional value of the co-location of interventions. Another hypothesis of interest to be tested is: By increasing productivity, improving household food security and linking smallholders to markets for agriculture commodities, FTF interventions will reduce the incentives for exploiting the natural resource base.
The FTF program will schedule performance evaluations to focus on descriptive and normative questions including: project or program achievements (either at an intermediate point in execution or at the conclusion of an implementation period); program implementation; program perception and value; and other questions pertinent to program design, management and operational decision-making. These performance evaluations will incorporate before-after comparisons whenever feasible.
The FTF program will conduct impact evaluations to measure the change in development outcomes attributable to FTF interventions. Impact evaluations will be based on cause-effect models and will require a credible and rigorously-defined counterfactual control. Impact evaluations with treatment and control groups help provide the strongest evidence of a relationship between interventions and measured outcomes. One hypothesis to be explored includes identifying increased benefits from combined interventions, particularly income-augmenting and nutrition-related activities. In the nutrition portfolio, the differential effect of geographically co-locating health programs active in nutrition with agriculture programs working on the productivity and diversity side of the nutrition equation can be tested.
LINK TO GOVERNMENT MONITORING SYSTEMS
USAID/Zambia has provided extensive support to the Government of Zambia in monitoring the agricultural sector, and in analyzing government data through the Food Security Research Project (FSRP). This support will continue and can be drawn upon to monitor agricultural trends. In addition, FSRP has expertise in analyzing surveys such as the biannual Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) which tracks poverty levels, and the Supplemental Surveys, which provide quality agricultural data. This expertise can be leveraged for improved performance monitoring by the GRZ, as well as for FTF performance.
The CAADP framework focuses largely on performance in the agricultural sector. For national performance toward other MDGs, particularly those related to nutrition and gender impacts, the FTF team will work with additional partners to identify appropriate data sources and performance monitoring modalities. For example, the Nutrition Cooperating Partners sub-group may be instrumental in the creation of a data monitoring platform according to the SUN Movement principles. However, the Zambia FTF framework will focus its efforts largely on performance for the targeted FTF areas and the contribution of these changes to national levels.
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