Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is a $3.5 billion commitment to support countrydriven approaches to address the root causes of poverty, hunger and undernutrition. A whole-of-government initiative led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Feed the Future leverages the strengths of multilateral institutions, civil society and the private sector. Globally we aim to assist 18 million vulnerable women, children, and family members – mostly smallholder farmers – escape hunger and poverty. Together, we will increase agricultural productivity, decrease poverty, drive economic growth, and reduce undernutrition to improve millions of lives.
Over the next five years in Rwanda, Feed the Future aims to help an estimated 713,000 vulnerable Rwandan women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 174,000 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 Rwanda is making core investments in three key areas:
1. Systems Transformation
Sustainable Market Linkages
2. Innovation. Research Capacity Building Program
While nutritional value was a key criteria in selecting priority value chains, planned value chain investments will be designed to ensure their nutritional benefits are maximized. Increasing the focus of post-harvest investments on the household level, as noted above, and targeting women with the Integrated Improved Livelihoods Program are expected to contribute to the FTF nutrition objective and are part of the NSEM’s plan to strengthen and scale-up CBNP.
Interestingly, recent evaluative evidence suggests access to microfinance may contribute more to maintaining basic food security and nutrition than raising incomes due to its consumption-smoothing effects and the flexibility it offers in dealing with unexpected health emergencies.58 Research also suggests that integrating microfinance with nonfinancial services, such as education on improved feeding and consumption practices, as is planned in the Integrated Improved Livelihoods Program, offers great potential to address the multiple needs of the poor in a more efficient manner.
It is important to note that achieving the FTF nutrition objective in Rwanda will require investments beyond those which can be integrated into investments in priority value chains. Illustrative activities and expected results in each of these areas are as follows:
FTF assistance will support improvements in the quality of routine reporting to monitor mild, moderate, and acute malnutrition among young children and pregnant and lactating women. For example, the Ministry of Health has introduced a system for providing community health workers with health and nutrition information and promptly reporting cases of malnutrition via mobile phone.
USAID’s existing Performance Management Plan (PMP) for its Economic Growth SO already includes several FTF indicators or indicators closely related to them. Efforts to strengthen the PMP’s alignment with the initiative are underway while FTF nutrition indicators will be incorporated into the GHI/BEST PMP. USAID has developed a web-based performance monitoring tool that facilitates reporting from its implementing partners as a key element of its M&E system. This same system will be utilized to collect activity-level data on FTF indicators.
For many of the high-level FTF indicators, baselines will be established through two national surveys currently underway. Results from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), for which the U.S. Government is providing focused technical support to the National Institute of Statistics (NISR), will be available in late 2011 while results from a household survey, providing data on poverty levels, are scheduled to be released in early 2012. Consideration is being given to the regular application of an adapted version of USAID’s Poverty Assessment Tool in order to obtain some indication of poverty trends between household surveys, which typically only take place every five years, while an interim DHS planned for 2013/14 and a Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices survey will document changes in nutritional status and feeding practices. Efforts will also be made to utilize the Ministry of Health database to which community health workers report cases of malnutrition via mobile phone.
As previously noted, given identified gaps in data collection and performance monitoring in MINAGRI, the U.S. Government will seek to strengthen its M&E capacity through the establishment of a FEWS field presence and additional M&E technical support. Other donors, including DFID, the EC, and the World Bank, are helping to strengthen the NISR, including its collection and analysis of agricultural data. Improvement of agricultural statistics is a core element of the GOR’s PSI program with the IMF, as data collection procedures that systematically over-estimated agricultural production were thought to compromise the reliability of the GOR’s national income accounts data.
Given Rwanda’s limited size and population, as well as planned U.S. Government engagement on several key policy issues that will have broad, national impact on agricultural development and nutrition, FTF assistance can be expected to substantively contribute to reductions in Rwanda’s rural poverty and malnutrition rates. Through FTF in Rwanda more than 174,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality. An estimated 713,000 vulnerable Rwandan women, children and family members will receive targeted assistance to escape hunger and poverty.
Periodic impact evaluations conducted over the course of the strategy period will help identify the contributions of FTF investments to progress observed through regular performance monitoring, as well as programmatic adjustments that may be required. As an example, a recent impact evaluation of the U.S. Government’s investments in the coffee sector over the past decade was used to inform a decision about whether continued support to the sector was warranted under the FTF initiative.66 An evaluation of USAID’s dairy competiveness program, undertaken in early 2011, likewise informed a decision to re-compete the program.
In addition, the Integrated Improved Livelihoods Program was selected for inclusion in USAID’s FY 2012 Evaluation Initiative, requiring a rigorous impact evaluation of the program’s central hypothesis that integrating microfinance with non-financial services, such as health and education, has the potential to address the multiple needs of the poor with greater efficiency and impact. The evaluation’s design will commence with program start-up to ensure the necessary baseline data is collected from treatment and control groups. The evaluation itself is planned to take place during the program’s third year of implementation so that lessons learned can be applied during its remaining two years.
|Thu, 10/08/2015 - 11:37||ginaContrib||Edited by engesveenk. Changed "Nationwide" to "Rwanda" for geocoding (otherwise the action showed up in the US)||published|