In 2023, PARM underwent an external Mid-Term Evaluation (MTE) to scrutinize the first half of its second phase. The evaluation aimed to assess the relevance, efficiency, coherence, effectiveness, impact, sustainability, gender mainstreaming, and coordination of PARM’s processes and activities from June 2019 to July 2023. The findings and recommendations of the MTE will help to reorient the workplan and modus operandi of PARM to ensure the full achievements of the objectives by 2025.
More than 60 interviews conducted to assess PARM Horizon 2
The PARM MTE has been conducted under the guidance of the procurement unit of IFAD which launched a tender in February 2023 based on the Terms of Reference prepared by PARM and reviewed by its Steering Committee. The advisory firm Altamont Group has been selected at the end of the tender process to carry out the evaluation from April to June 2023. In total, 60 people have been interviewed by Altamont group as key informants including PARM staff members, beneficiaries, members of the Steering and Advisory Committees, country liaison officers, partners from the countries where PARM operates and from international organizations. Altamont Group has also had access to all detailed information about PARM activities and documentation from PARM horizon 1. This report delves into the key findings of the evaluation which focused on PARM global mandate, institutional structure, regional interventions and country activities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Niger, and Senegal.
Key findings of the MTE
Relevance and Effectiveness
At global level, the MTE has proven PARM’s relevance through its efforts in addressing challenges related to food insecurity and climate change and thanks to its unique mandate, holistic approach, and legitimacy from G7/G20 members that contribute to its significance. At national level, PARM’s demand-driven approach, Risk Assessment Study (RAS), Agricultural Risk Management (ARM) tools, and Capacity Development (CD) activities have demonstrated great efficiency in addressing climate vulnerability in target countries where agriculture plays a crucial role in their economies, food security, and trade.
PARM’s operational efficiency is driven by resource maximization from its members, although, to enhance efficiency, there’s a need for budget reallocation and more innovative knowledge management approaches. Furthermore, the MTE evaluation has identified operational challenges which persist at the country level due to inadequate support for focal points from governments, prolonged transitions between PARM phases, and a lack of a clear theory of change.
Internally, the PARM program aligns coherently with other IFAD interventions and corporate policies, demonstrating a synergy with development objectives focused on integrating ARM into national policies and building capacities. Externally, PARM’s RAS methodology complements initiatives by organizations like the World Bank in countries such as Niger and Ethiopia. However, there is a noted deficiency in prioritizing partnerships with the private sector and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Additionally, PARM lacks a comprehensive resource mobilization plan for engaging potential investors.
PARM reaches impactful outcomes through its efforts in raising awareness via knowledge management events and by integrating ARM into academic curricula and into the practices of the private sector. The main objective being to create inter-generational opportunities that enhance livelihoods, address climate change objectives, and reduce emissions. Evaluating PARM’s impact at the country level is intricately linked to resource mobilization for ARM project implementation and alignment with government-led initiatives which poses a tangible challenge that both PARM and country governments are navigating.
PARM is committed to ensuring the sustainability of its activities but requires a sustainability mechanism and exit strategies that should be embedded within the different country contexts as currently PARM’s sustainability relies on the development of national ARM projects.
PARM’s dedication towards gender mainstreaming and youth inclusion have been demonstrated by women and youths’ participation in CD trainings and in the integration of gender dimension into the RAS and design phases. However, there is a need to improve PARM’s gender approach to track more transformational gender-based results.
The way forward
The MTE presents actionable recommendations for short, mid and long term implementation, including tailored approaches, regular risk analysis updates, broadened workshop scope, revised theory of change, increased global participation, and enhanced public-private partnerships to sustain the success of PARM Horizon 2.
Short term recommendations include among others (i) in-house management of RAS to regularly update RAS to cover emerging/contextual risks; (ii) reduction of consultancy costs for carrying out studies and projects design; (iii) development of a robust monitoring and evaluation plan and accompanying tools; (iv) more prominent role given to the private sector; (v) broadened scope of workshops and CD to direct beneficiaries of PARM interventions/smallholder farmers, etc.
With two more years of PARM Horizon 2 implementation, the MTE recommendations will play a pivotal role in enhancing the program’s impact, sustainability, and effectiveness to reach PARM’s objectives by 2025.