Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is establishing a lasting foundation for 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 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 also reaching significant numbers of children with highly effective nutrition interventions to prevent stunting and child mortality.
Over the next five years in Malawi, Feed the Future aims to help an estimated 281,000 vulnerable Malawian women, children, and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 293,000 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.
In view of the capacity challenges that exist, USAID will strengthen the capacity of the GoM to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate nutrition programs. With substantial funding increases anticipated through the FTF, USAID/Malawi will ensure that GoM institutions have adequate capacity to implement the various programs that will be designed under the initiative. This activity is in line with Strategic Objective Three of the NNPSP, which clearly outlines the capacity gaps and needs for the nutrition sector in Malawi. The USG will strengthen capacity of its partners, both government and non- governmental, as well as the private sector. USG support will be at three levels: community, institutional and tertiary. Irish Aid, the World Bank, CIDA, and the EU are all key donors in capacity building.
Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (SAKSS)
Since 2008, USAID/Malawi has supported a SAKSS unit implemented through the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) at the MoAFS. The objectives of this activity are threefold: 1) generate demand-driven diagnostic and strategic research to fill key knowledge gaps, 2) establish an information and knowledge support system, in cooperation with the Southern Africa Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System that has been set up to help promote peer and progress review of the CAADP, and 3) strengthen the capacity of national institutions, such as the MoAFS, in policy and strategy research. The Malawi Mission plans to extend the work of the SAKSS unit as part of capacity building support under FTF.
Malawi Agriculture Policy Strengthening (MAPS)
Strong civil society and private sector networks are critical to implementing the ASWAp in a way that responds to the evolving needs of its stakeholders. In recent decades, weak capacity and declining GoM interest in inclusive policy making is leading Malawi’s CAADP process towards a Government-owned rather than Country-owned process. Grounded in the CAADP principles of increasing stakeholder participation in the policy making process,44 the Malawi Agriculture Policy Strengthening (MAPS) program is designed to increase the participation of private sector and civil society stakeholders in agriculture policy dialogue.
MAPS will increase the profile, capacity and engagement of civil society and private sector stakeholders in agriculture policy development and implementation through a combination of capacity building interventions and establishing linkages between producers and consumers, including state and non-state actors, of high quality policy research. Though not exclusively, MAPS will focus on key stakeholders along the proposed FTF value chains.
MAPS capacity building activities will focus on improving organizational ability to meet its goals and objectives by strengthening administrative and financial management, organizational structure and strategic planning. The second focus of the project will strengthen policy analysis and advocacy capacity through building linkages between Malawian farmers and private sector associations and regional networks and research institutions, such as local and regional universities among civil society groups. MAPS will similarly link GoM counterparts to those research institutions to improve their ability to become informed consumers of stakeholder policy advocacy. These two components will account for the varying levels of development and readiness of organizations and associations in Malawi to take on advocacy activities. MAPS will also focus on elevating the voices of women in policy dialogue by targeting women-led civil-society/public service organizations for organizational capacity building and providing additional women-focused leadership training and gender equity sensitization to facilitate women taking on leadership roles within larger organizations.
An important element of the multi-year FTF Strategy is monitoring and evaluation, which is an iterative learning process that will put into place the principle of a sustained and accountable delivery approach. Program activities must be monitored through periodic field visits by Mission staff and ongoing monitoring and learning by implementing partners. Mission staff has a key role to play in monitoring and learning from partners both through oversight and input to design of project level M&E plans and systems and also through follow-up on quarterly reports and other communication with partners.
The integration of agricultural, nutrition, and health elements into a joint strategic plan provides a unique opportunity to innovate, document, and demonstrate best practices associated with a concurrent multi-sector investment model. Also, the Malawi FTF Strategy will foster linkages among existing programs, which will harmonize key agriculture and nutrition and indicators across relevant areas of focus.
Building on this collaboration, both the Health and Sustainable Economic Growth (SEG) teams at USAID/Malawi will work together to integrate M&E systems and processes in order to track synergies and multiplier effects between the two sectors not captured through the agriculture/nutrition overlap. There is currently significant USG investment on the part of USAID through PEPFAR and GHI in health systems strengthening, family planning, and malaria and tuberculosis reduction among others in the geographic areas targeted through FTF. We believe it is critical to capture at the highest level the combined impact of FTF and GHI/PEPFAR in order to reduce duplication, increase the applicability of data across interventions and most importantly, learn across programs in order to improve and increase efficiency and impact of all USAID investments in Malawi. This integration of M&E function may take the form of harmonized M&E plans at the implementer level combined with joint monitoring visits by SEG and Health team members.
Reliable and well-defined monitoring, reporting and evaluation methods, roles and communication channels result in improved project and program management, promote ongoing learning and testing of development hypotheses and ensure accountability. A fully functioning M&E team and system further help to illustrate the Mission’s value added to overall development not only to key stakeholders in the USG, but also to the GoM and other development partners.
USAID/Malawi is currently refining Mission processes in line with the requirements and recommendations of the newly announced USAID Evaluation Policy. To that end, and in preparation for the Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), SEG will identify further impact evaluation questions and set aside funds for impact evaluation in 2011. This will serve as solid preparation for FTF-focused evaluation activities in subsequent years.
Number of institutions/organizations undergoing capacity /competency assessments as a result of USG assistance; Number of institutions/organizations mature/viable in the competency areas strengthened as a result of USG assistance Frequency of GoM consultation with civil society/private sector on relevant policies; Comparison of programmatic objectives Pre and post FtF funding distribution; Number of new funding mechanisms
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