Mid-term Review of Malawi Livelihood programs

The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe signed four new development programmes within the Agriculture and Food Security Portfolio in 2014, all of which have an agreement period of five years.

All four contracts specify that a Mid Term Review shall be conducted by November 2016, and these must be covered above the grant. The main purpose of the assignment is to assess the achievement of the programs against the goals, impacts and outputs outlined in the projects document, and propose recommendations for future work and support.

The main purpose of the services provided will be:

  • Assess the achievements of the projects against the stated goals, impacts and outputs; and
  • Assess the relevance of these projects to the national food security policies, and overall Norwegian development objectives in Malawi.

Strengthening the Information Base of Natural Habitats, Biodiversity and Environmental Services in the Shire Basin

This consultancy falls under the overarching Shire River Basin Management Programme, and aims to increase knowledge of biodiversity and natural habitats within the Shire river basin, supporting Malawi’s responsibilities under their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). The NBSAP was developed in 2008 with the vision to conserve, protect and manage, by the year 2020, all forms of life for all people with full participation of all stakeholders, and to use the biodiversity sustainably and where benefits accrue to share them fairly and equitably.

LTS will conduct studies on natural ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity in the Shire River Basin, focusing on a number of key sites: Lengwe and Liwonde National Parks, Mangochi, Tsamba Eastern Escarpment, Matandwe, Zomba-Malosa and Liwonde Forest Reserves. As well as detailed surveys being conducted within these sites, rapid assessments will be carried out across the whole Shire river basin, with the aim of identifying other biodiversity hotspots and corridors. Ultimately, as well as increasing the overall information base of biodiversity, natural habitats and environmental services within the Shire Basin, the knowledge generated through both remote assessment and field studies will be used to:

  • inform management decision making;
  • increase awareness amongst local communities;
  • improve understanding between biodiversity mangers and local communities on the sustainable use of biodiversity.

In addition, the survey daya will be used to enhance the information available to the public, including tourists visiting the Shire river basin.

Analysis of Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Malawi

Malawi is making significant advances toward establishing a national programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) as part of a global regime for mitigating climate change. Avoided deforestation will reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from the Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use (AFOLU) sector and contribute to the sustainable economic growth of Malawi. Malawi’s REDD+ Readiness Programme emphasises transformational change to policies and measures at national level that are piloted at field level, to jointly address specific drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.

With the establishment of a national framework to REDD+ in Malawi already underway, a detailed road map has been prepared to ensure Malawi puts in place the necessary building blocks for its REDD+ Readiness Programme. Understanding proximate and underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation in Malawi is one of the key building blocks that will inform future actions such as: (i) the establishment of reference levels and reference emissions levels; and (ii) the categorisation of land use emissions reporting as part of the national GHG accounting system.

During Phase 1 of this multi-year assignment, the LTS team will:

  • conduct a meta-analysis of literature on drivers of deforestation and forest degradation;
  • bench mark approaches to conduct a drivers analysis;
  • undertake an inventory of relevant REDD+ data, assess and catalogue it.

As part of company’s long-standing commitment to build capacity in Malawi, the in-house LTS team will work closely with Government ministries, departments and agencies, including the national REDD+ Technical Working Group, Department of Forestry and National Spatial Data Centre.

Image credit: Scott Gregory

Mid-term Review and Planning for the Norwegian-funded Conservation Farming Unit Programme

Norad has provided NOK 302m to support the promotion of conservation agriculture through the Conservation Agriculture Programme (CAP II) in Zambia and Conservation Agriculture Regional Programme (CARP) in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. These two programmes are managed by the Conservation Farming Unit (CFU) of the Zambian National Farmers Union under a contract with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

LTS International will design and deliver the mid-term review and provide recommendations to support decision-making with respect to further Norwegian support to the programmes and to conservation agriculture in general. LTS has provided an overall team leader and national consultants in Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Implementation Service Provider for Catchment Management


The Shire River Basin is Malawi’s single most important water resource, supporting the country’s key economic sectors including food production, transport, energy, tourism, agriculture and fisheries. The Shire River Basin Management Program (SRBMP) aims to increase sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits by effectively and collaboratively planning, developing and managing the Shire River Basin’s natural resources.   LTS and consortium partners (Mott MacDonald and CDM) are implementing the first phase of the SRBMP by Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development. The World Bank financed project is being implemented to improve land and water management and protect and enhance the Shire River ecosystem, while providing livelihood benefits in target areas.

The programme is made up of three components – Shire basin planning, catchment management and water related infrastructure – and the consortium is responsible for the catchment management component. In order to achieve its objectives, LTS is assisting the Government:

  • develop institutional capacity for catchment planning and monitoring;
  • finance interventions identified in micro-catchment plans prepared under the above mentioned planning phase;
  • support demand and market driven income-generating activities, with special targeting of women, youth and landless groups, to gradually decrease dependency on low performance agriculture and unsustainable harvesting of forest products as sources of income.

This will aim to rehabilitate four catchments – Upper Lisungwi, Upper Wamkulumadzi, Kapichira Falls and Chingale – covering a combined area of approximately 133,000 ha. The consortium will develop methods to reduce soil erosion, utilise soil conservation methods and improve and diversify livelihoods.

LTS plays a central role in delivery of this decentralised capacity development programme:

  • Leading the process of sub-catchment assessment and planning with key stakeholders (e.g. VDCs).
  • Guiding and overseeing lower level micro-watershed planning, design and implementation of interventions with communities.
  • Being responsible for organising/delivering capacity development activities in these domains.
  • Leading the environmental assessment.
  • Contributing to the land and water resources assessment.
  • Preparing simple environmental plans for irrigation/agriculture works, with mitigation and monitoring programs and associated costs.
  • Ensuring that environmental considerations are integrated into micro-catchment plans.
  • Providing targeted training and technical support to individual farmers and/or clustered groups of farmers along product lines related to crop diversification, water management (including small-scale surface irrigation), conservation agriculture, and livestock production.
  • Contributing to land resources analysis.
  • Conducting non-agriculture-based value chain analysis.
  • Providing training and technical support to CIGs /communities in all technical, business and marketing matters related to establishing and operating small non-agriculture-based enterprises related to local natural resources (value-added processing activities, mushroom production, bee keeping, fish production, etc) and non-traditional enterprises such as small shops, trading, transport services, etc.

Based on the evolving plans and identified income-generating activities, LTS designs and implements sequentially a set of comprehensive capacity development programs, specifically targeted and tailored to the relevant categories and roles of project stakeholders: District; traditional leaders; common interest groups.  These include exposure visits to learn from other catchment management and rural livelihood experiences, and training activities to build capacity of institutions involved with project implementation.  The capacity building includes appropriate technical and fiduciary topics for training, including improved soil, land, and water management, bookkeeping, community procurement, M&E ledgers. Capacity development plans are prepared separately, with practical linkages with the catchment and micro-catchment plans.

Image credit: Brendan Howard

Environmental and Natural Resources Management Interventions in the Middle Shire River Basin

The Shire Basin is the main source of Malawi’s electricity supply through the three hydro-electric power stations (HEP) located in the Middle Shire. Improving the reliability, quality and availability of this energy generation is central to any future economic development in Malawi and is a main aim of the MCC Compact with the Government of Malawi (GoM). Upstream environmental degradation within the Upper and Middle Shire River basin and increasing aquatic weed populations has an on-going detrimental impact on hydropower generation.

This Environmental and Natural Resource Management Interventions sub-activity of the MCA-M programme is aimed specifically at tackling these negative impacts which are principally caused by the environmental degradation of the catchments of the middle and upper Shire, and, in the case of the aquatic weed infestation, populations of invasive non-native species. In short, this consultancy assignment is to assess, prioritise and plan:

  • A set of land use management interventions for the middle Shire that will be delivered through a Trust mechanism and implemented by NGOs
  • A programme of biological control of aquatic weeds that reduces populations and aids existing and planned physical control mechanisms in the upper Shire to be implemented by the Department of Fisheries through the Trust mechanism.

LTS is providing the following services:

  • Overall management and administration of the environmental planning process
  • Stakeholder and gender analysis
  • Baseline assessment of social, economic and ecological drivers
  • Economic assessment of the ecosystem
  • GIS mapping and spatial analysis
  • Biological control of invasive species
  • Hydrological modelling
  • Community based natural resources management
  • Climate and vulnerability risk assessment

Image Credit: David Davies

SADC Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Programme

The 35 million pounds Climate Smart Programme ‘Scaling-up Climate Smart Agriculture in Eastern and Southern Africa’ aims to improved knowledge, policies and longer-term incentives drive increased uptake of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) in COMESA- EAC-SADC member states. The programme has four components of which the second component is ‘Policy responses to vulnerability constantly informed and influenced by improved assessment of climate vulnerability (who, where, why) across the region’. This component is being coordinated and managed by SADC who have developed a regional Vulnerability and Assessment and Analysis (VAA) Strategy.

SADC has established a Programme Management Unit (PMU) based at the SADC Secretariat, in Gaborone, Botswana which is responsible for coordinating and facilitation of the SADC RVAA programme. The objective of the current project is to assist SADC RVAA PMU to manage and implement DFID’s support to SADC RVAA Strategy which will enhance regional and national response to climate change, poverty and livelihood vulnerability.

The component comprises three top level outputs:

  • National Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis procedures operational.
  • National Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis outputs reflected in policy and programme.
  • Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis output accessible and communicated.

The SADC Secretariat has requested that the Service Provider deploy the following technical experts within the RVAA PMU.

The technical and project management services include:

  • Provide advisory support to the SADC RVAA PMU Programme Manager on all technical aspects of VAA, chronic poverty, climate change and related institutional and policy development.
  • Support the VAA programme and VACs in the development and implementation of communication, dissemination and advocacy strategies.
  • Provide capacity building and technical leadership to national VACs.
  • Facilitate the institutional development and reinforcement of national VACs.
  • Technical assistance for the development of livelihood zoning and baselines; the design and implement of improved food security surveillance; and the linkage of short-term vulnerability monitoring and assessment into the analysis and alleviation of chronic poverty.
  • Harmonisation of reliable data and information on the processes and consequences of vulnerability.
  • Advisory support to the VAA programme and to VACs on hardware and software aspects of GIS.
  • Support the SADC RVAA PMU with programme planning, reporting and all aspects of monitoring of activities.

LTS provides two long-term experts, supported by a short-term consultant and LTS in-house staff. LTS will deliver the M&E for the project and work with the SADC PMU on M&E data collection and reporting. LTS will also support national VACs in technical oversight of VAA activities.

Integrated Flood Risk Management Plan for the Shire Basin

LTS was contracted by the World Bank, in collaboration with Atkins, to formulate an Integrated Flood Risk Management Plan for the Shire Basin. The main objective of this project was to assist the Government of Malawi in the development of an Action Plan to address the flood risk situation in the Lower Shire in an integrated way, based on sound diagnostics and systems to assess and implement future interventions. The specific objectives were to:

  • develop and implement a fully functioning modelling framework for the lower Shire
  • scope and design a flood forecasting and early warning system
  • develop an Action Plan implementation plan
  • produce an Institutional Capacity Development Plan

LTS worked with Atkins to:

  • review the institutional set up and outline institutional capacity assessment
  • produce a holistic and sustainable watershed management plan that would involve the local communities as much as possible
  • provide overall management of GIS data for project
  • establish the project GIS database
  • gather and review all GIS data for the project
  • provide input to hydrological and hydraulic model and economics assessments

Integrated Flood Risk Management Plan for Malawi’s Shire Basin

LTS has been contracted by the World Bank, in collaboration with Atkins, to formulate an Integrated Flood Risk Management Plan for the Shire Basin. The main objective of this project is to assist the Government of Malawi in development of an Action Plan to address the flood risk situation in the Lower Shire in an integrated way, based on sound diagnostics and systems to assess and implement future interventions. The specific objectives are to: develop and implement a fully functioning modelling framework for the lower Shire; scope and design a flood forecasting and early warning system; develop an Action Plan implementation plan; and produce an Institutional Capacity Development Plan. For further information on this project please see here.

Enhancing Community Resilience Programme: M&E Services

The DFID-funded Enhancing Community Resilience Programme (ECRP) provides support to 1.2 million people in vulnerable communities to manage, cope with and recover from the impact of both current and future changes in weather patterns. Funding is mainly provided to NGOs to scale up tried and tested interventions such as: assisting communities to understand, plan for and reduce the risks associated with climate change; establishing village savings and loans schemes and implementing adaptation practices such as crop diversification, soil fertility management, and irrigation.

The ECRP outputs include:
(1) Community based adaptation programmes implemented in selected vulnerable districts;
(2) Improved information sharing on DRR and climate change adaptation;
(3) An effective early warning system for slow onset disasters, and
(4) Strengthened disaster risk reduction and climate change programmes of key Government Ministries and Departments.

The objective of this project is to design and support implementation of a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework for the joint UK Department for International Development (DFID), Irish Aid and Norwegian Embassy Enhancing Community Resilience Programme (ECRP).

The role of LTS will be to support NGO implementing partners to develop and implement robust base lines and M&E frameworks, and to conduct external reviews and evaluations. Throughout the programme, LTS is:

  • Developing and supporting implementation of a Monitoring and Evaluation framework for the Enhancing Community Resilience Programme
  • Supporting implementing partners on monitoring and evaluation
  • Reviewing and provide advice on project proposals and amendments
  • Coordinating and organising reviews and evaluations.
  • Making recommendations to enhance the ECRP’s efficiency and effectiveness and disseminate lessons learnt in Malawi and internationally. So far, as the lead M&E provider for DFID’s support (GBP 18 million) to its first climate resilience programme in Africa, LTS has designed the M&E and learning and communications strategies, implemented by NGO consortia.

    Moreover, a programme level Theory of Change and a working definition of resilience was agreed with the NGO implementing partners and used to prepare the baseline survey tools. LTS designed and supported the NGO consortia to undertake a large-sample household survey employing an area frame and a two-stage approach of selecting a sample of enumeration areas within the targeted sub-districts and a sample of households from the enumeration areas.

    Furthermore a baseline study has been carried out, which collected data on asset holding, livelihoods, food security, risk management and coping strategies and enabled a baseline assessment with statistical validity at the level of each NGO consortium. We have also developed an online MIS system to share monitoring information as well as analysing opportunities for policy influence.

    The comprehensive survey will be repeated at mid-term and at the programme completion to monitor the conditions on the households participating in the targeted areas and a counterfactual sample and to identify the changes if any, in the measured baseline attributes.

    We are also supporting the NGO consortia in the development of strategic advocacy plans, the facilitation of lesson-learning between consortia and the development of policy briefs and policy recommendations as well as technical support to district stakeholder panels. In all cases, we are focusing on ensuring that evidence from M&E feeds back into learning and supports policy influencing work, in Malawi and internationally.