The Livestock and Irrigation Value chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project is in a position to support the scaling out of the interventions across the project areas. While not final, this was the immediate perception of the external evaluation team after a five-day visit—between 16 and 21 November 2015—to LIVES sites in Bona, Bensa and Arbegona districts of Sidama zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia.
During a debriefing with the LIVES leadership team in Addis Ababa, the evaluators—Douglas Clements, LIVES External Monitor and Haregewoin Admassu, Gender Advisor for Global Affairs Canada (GAC)—expressed their satisfaction about progress since the first monitoring and evaluation mission. They found evidence of more ownership of the project by local partners. This increased ownership—they said—will contribute to the scaling out of the interventions within the project areas in the future.
During the last three years, the number of LIVES intervention peasant associations—the lowest tier of government—has increased. Presently LIVES has demonstration households for various commodities in 351 peasant associations, and the evaluators have recommended a consolidation of this number in the four regions.
Prior to the visit, the external evaluators held a meeting with the LIVES team in Addis Ababa to discuss approaches on planning, implementation and documentation. The revised performance monitoring framework (PMF) was also discussed. While the PMF indicators remain the same, the project targets have been more clearly defined. In this reporting period, LIVES will conduct a survey on some PMF targets at an intermediate outcome level. This will give the LIVES team and partners clear evidence to determine whether or not they are on track to meet their targets.
Discussion was held on the progress in relation to value chain development, knowledge management, capacity development and agribusiness interventions. This is key given the importance of capacity development and knowledge management in supporting role the adoption and scaling out of commodity value chain development interventions. For instance, coaching and mentoring cannot be provided to all producers. LIVES so far identified 4,291 market-oriented input and output producers who had the skills, an entrepreneurial mind-set and resources, and showcased them as demonstration households. They also develop learning materials to support self-learning of market-oriented producers and service providers. Moreover, a number of input and service providers have been established—such as feed suppliers, fodder seed producers, bee wax producers, and short-cycle fattening and finished cattle marketing groups.
Community-based sheep breeders’ cooperatives, commercial concentrate feed suppliers, vegetable seeds and agrochemical suppliers and improved grazing land were among project intervention sites visited. In addition, zonal and district partner staff were interviewed to gauge ownership and interest in the LIVES project activities.
The external evaluators are expected to finalize their report by the end of December. The report serves as an input for LIVES to make the necessary adjustments to reach its targets, and feedback to GAC.