Evaluation of the Conservation and Sustainable Development Program

MacArthur foundation has been implementing the Conservation and Development Strategy 2011-2020 Strategic Framework. They have supported 210 grants totalling $ 70,387,350 in the Mekong, Tropical Andes, Great Lakes region of East and Central Africa. There has also been emphasis of two global drivers of ecosystem decline namely: understanding China’s natural resource use and consumption patterns and the expansion of industrial scale agriculture. In addition emphasis has been on coastal marine management.
The purpose of the evaluation is to understand: 1) the efficacy of the program’s approach and its outcomes and impact to date; 2) the relevance of the program and its priorities with respect to the problem of global biodiversity loss and the potential for philanthropy to catalyse effective solutions; and 3) the contribution of the program to climate change mitigation and ways to increase its impact.

The evaluation is an opportunity to learn and adjust for the Foundation so that they know how to adjust their strategy and grant making to maximize impact this will be done through:

  • Assessing the efficacy outcomes and impact of the strategic framework to date
  • Assessing the impact of the strategic framework to date and future impacts
  • Assessing the relevance of the strategic framework and identifying course correction to increase future impacts
  • Assessing the contribution of the strategic framework to climate change mitigation and adaptation to increase impact

LTS has employed a theory based evaluation strategy based on a theory of change.

Climate Smart Agriculture Programme

The Climate Smart Agriculture Programme, now known as VUNA, is a GBP 23 million DFID funded programme that supports smallholder farmers in east and southern Africa to adapt to climate change. As well as delivering results on the ground, the programme also aims to provide a transformative evidence base and offer a compelling demonstration effect to inform policy and programmes. The long term goal of VUNA is to achieve transformative change across the agriculture sector of East and Southern Africa, to increase the climate resilience of the majority of smallholder farmers. To achieve this VUNA aims to:

  • Generate, extract, package and disseminate evidence to support and influence policy makers, educators and practitioners.
  • Deliver regional and national policy support that encourages CSA uptake.
  • Promote and provide support to farmers for uptake of CSA practices.

Each of VUNA’s projects works towards the following key aims of VUNA’s approach:

  • To increase women’s access to and control over resources, by targeting interventions to their specific constraints;
  • To increase the recognition of how implementation of ‘climate-smart’ approaches will benefit private sector companies and organisations;
  • To improve the results management of interventions to accurately and transparently monitor impacts, and share best practice for future use; and
  • To build a regional CSA coalition to set the framework for a long-term approach to supporting farmers’ livelihoods.

Across East and Southern Africa, VUNA is:

  • Strengthening the use and application of CSA evidence (an area of work called Evidence, Learning and Influencing);
  • Creating an enabling environment for CSA (an area of work called Enabling Environment);
  • Building sustainable linkages between farmers and private companies via innovative and effective approaches to the delivery of support for CSA uptake (an area of work called Agriculture Development).

VUNA works with smallholder farmers, farmers unions, private sector companies, organisations, governments, research institutions, civil society groups and regional economic communities.

Working with our partners ASI, the LTS team are providing a range of technical inputs into all phases of the programme starting with scoping and design.

  • The scoping phase focused on updating the case for the Programme, assessing the challenges and obstacles to wider adoption of CSA approaches, outlining the initial ideas on a strategy for the programme, and outlining achievable Outcomes and Impact. LTS staff provided country specific technical expertise on CSA, inputs on the gender aspects of the topic, drafted a broad communications framework, and led the drafting of the scoping report.
  • In the design phase LTS inputs focused on refining the communications strategy and taking forward the M&E plan, as well as additional technical inputs into the state of CSA and guided the development of country studies which provide key facts on the status of women in agriculture in ten countries in East and Southern Africa and produced a Gender and Social Inclusion strategy for the programme.
  • In the current implementation phase LTS inputs are focused on capacity building to support regional institutions, country partners and implementation agencies roll-out a DCED results measurement system, a communications and learning strategy and the Gender and Social Inclusion strategy.

We work with new and existing CSA activities in five initial focus countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In a later stage of work, VUNA will begin to inform CSA activities in additional countries to build a regional CSA coalition across East and Southern Africa.

Miombo Forests, Livelihoods and Climate Resilient Landscapes: Scoping Study

In many parts of Africa, wood fuels are often the only domestically available and affordable sources of energy and account for over 90% of primary household energy consumption in both rural and urban regions. Wood fuels are also an important source of fuel in the service and industrial sectors, especially in rural areas. As natural sources of supply are depleted, the cost of wood fuel is rising, particularly for the urban poor. Other negative social impacts of wood fuels are also well documented and include exploitation of producers and traders by middlemen and elites, health impacts from indoor smoke inhalation and the opportunity costs associated with fuel wood collection, especially for women and children.

DFID intends to develop a new regional forestry programme focused on wood fuels, livelihoods and resilient landscapes in the Miombo woodlands of eastern and southern Africa. The overall aim of the programme will be to promote sustainable wood fuel energy systems that improve livelihoods and reduce deforestation rates (and associated carbon emissions). It will take an integrated approach, supporting interventions along the entire wood fuel value chain, and recognising wider land uses and ecosystem services within these woodlands. Given the complex nature of the sector, it is likely that the programme will require a mix of interventions; grounded by political economy and contextual analyses in each of the focal countries.

The overall objectives of this work are to:

  • Establish the evidence base and Theory of Change for a possible DFID intervention, focussed on wood fuels in the Miombo woodlands of Eastern and Southern Africa.
  • Identify and assess potential approaches and delivery options for a DFID intervention.
  • Identify and engage with key stakeholders working on this issue in the region.