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Africa RISING Monitoring and Evaluation Annual Meeting[edit | edit source]

13-14 November 2014 Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, Arusha, Tanzania Organizers' page

The annual Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Meeting brings together Africa RISING researchers, USAID, and other stakeholders to discuss about monitoring and evaluation of the program. Africa RISING comprises three research-for-development projects to sustainably intensify key African farming systems in West Africa, East and Southern Africa, and the Ethiopian highlands. It is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future (FTF) initiative. In 2012, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) launched the Sustainable Intensification of Cereal-based Farming Systems in the Guinea Savannah Zone of West Africa and in East and Southern Africa, while International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) began the Sustainable Intensification of Crop-livestock Systems to improve food security and farm income diversification in the Ethiopian highlands. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is leading the monitoring and evaluation activities of all three projects.

The 2014 M&E meeting will provide an opportunity for Africa RISING implementing partners and the M&E team to discuss what has and has not worked thus far in Africa RISING and discuss the roadmap. We hope to encourage meeting participants to view this meeting as a learning opportunity and a chance to explore new ideas, encourage participants to discuss their successes and failures openly, and encourage participants to seek out collaborative research opportunities across organizations.


  • To integrate the goals of the M&E team and the research teams on the ground
  • To share and discuss initial results from the baseline data collection
  • To present an updated version of the Project Mapping and Monitoring Tool (PMMT) and fine-tune its potential usage in the field, based on feedback from implementing teams
  • To define and agree on M&E activities for 2015 and 2016
  • To discuss the results of the external evaluation for West Africa and prioritize activities around key insights/recommendations from the evaluation, as well as how to combine it with the evaluation design of the M&E team.


Thursday 13 November

  • 09.00 Welcoming and introduction (Carlo Azzarri / Ewen Le Borgne), project overview and main issues

Process: (5') ground rules for the event by Ewen (30') Introduction of participants in a geographic mapping (+ finding out who was there last year) exercise followed by quick introductions of participants (Ewen); introduction of the meeting agenda and objectives by Carlo.

  • 09.45 Program overview and issues

Process: Talk show with someone from USAID, Carlo, Peter, Mateete, and Asamoah (hosted by Cleo) Donors from USAID will focus on their priorities and interests in the projects, as well as the role of these projects in their agency’s larger development portfolio. IFPRI will address the main ways in which the project is monitoring its activities and outputs, and the main ways in which the project is evaluating its outcomes and impact. In addition, they will discuss Africa RISING’s performance to date and challenges in monitoring, evaluation, and data management for the projects. Peter and Irmgard will give some overview of the learning with M&E in their region generally and their level of expectations, aspirations, and their plans with M&E for the end of 2014 and 2015...

  • 10.30 Coffee break
  • 11.00 Taking stock of progress since the last M&E meeting

Process: (30') Looking back: Seeing cards with action points from last meeting * (15') Looking back at action points from last year - talking about this and other M&E experiences in the tables * (15') 1-2-4-all about "what worked really well and what did we totally overlook?" (15'), and mapping key issues remaining to be addressed on the wall-timeline.

  • 11.30 Presentation of Africa RISING Program evaluation design, spatial distribution of Africa RISING technologies, farmer typologies

Process: * (30') Preliminary presentation about (1) The Africa RISING Program evaluation design (overall strategy, treated and control communities vs. households, etc.) (2) The spatial distribution of Africa RISING technologies within and across regions (3) The Wageningen University (WUR) team's analysis of farming systems within and across mega-sites. 30' including feedback * (30’) Presentation of Farmer Typologies by IFPRI and WUR – 30' including feedback.

  • 12.30 Lunch break
  • 13.30 Presentation and discussion of results from Africa RISING Baseline Evaluation Surveys (ARBES)

Process: (TG) * (30') WA (Ghana and Mali) and Ethiopia * (20') Q&A (with prior buzz on tables) * (20') ESA (Malawi and Tanzania) * (15') Q&A * (5') Overall reflections about the ARBES surveys

  • 15.00 Break
  • 15.30 Breakout session by megasite
  • 17:00 Report to plenary (10' by megasite) (TG)
  • 17.30 Close

Friday 14 November

  • 08.45 Recap (agenda for the day) + Presentation of the Ghana ARBES results
  • 09.00 Ex-ante analysis of crop outcomes (Jawoo Koo and Adam Komarek, IFPRI); experience from CSISA (David Spielman, IFPRI):

Process: (TG) * (12') David's presentation * (12') Q&A * (12') Jawoo's presentation * (12') Q&A * (12') Adam's presentation * (12') Q&A

  • 10.15 Break
  • 10.45 WA External evaluation

Process: * 15' Christine Okali's presentation on WA external evaluation results * 30' Q&A

  • 11.30 PMMT

Process: (TG) * 5-10' Quick refresher on PMMT work in the past few months (Mel Bacou) * 15' Live demo * 30' Storytelling circles and listing possible improvements with mega site folks as resource persons: How PMMT has worked (or not) in the field ' Set up circles of 7 people and ask them what their experience was (with facilitator) * 30' Samoan Circle to bring back insights from the circles and devise solutions collectively

  • 13.00 Lunch break
  • 14.00 Tying up the loose ends around data management

Background: Africa RISING research and M&E teams are collecting data as research activities are taking place. Data produced by all teams, tools and supporting documentation need to be shared among all the stakeholders to enhance the collaboration among partner institutions and maximize the outcome of the program. The objective is to discuss, finalize, and approve the Africa RISING data management plan, a document regulating data access and sharing rules among AR partners and external users. Process: * Brief presentation about data management plan (10') by Mel Bacou * (When the DM plan is operationalised) How will the work of researchers be affected by the data management plans? ' Quick buzz around regional/country groups (15') ' Feedback about specific risks * Mapping what's been done and what's missing and getting (plenary) commitments about the plans for each region... (20')

  • 14.30 Discuss M&E plan for 2015 & 2016

Process: Looking at the timeline (April 30: Upload data on ILRI CKAN) and at the various discussions, organizing work across regional groups and with one global group, to identify important steps (who does what when). 30' group work and 15' presentation (4x5')...

  • 15.15 Closing, next steps, thank you's (TG)

Process: Carlo (and/or team) to share list of next steps and how this will be communicated with everyone. Quick spectrogram evaluation. Carlo to thank everyone and close the event.

  • 15.30 Closed ;)

Next steps:

  • Team to brainstorm different discussion items (and what participants should contribute) / what specific objectives for each session?
  • HC/IFPRI team to invite people (first around the dates and then updates on the agenda), inquiring for their availability to contribute

Background materials Links to WA, ESA, and ETH updated project documents (M&E activities sketched there)


Name Institution
Beliyou Haile IFPRI
Cleo Roberts IFPRI
Carlo Azzarri IFPRI
Ivy Romero IFPRI
Maria Comanescu IFPRI
Jawoo Koo IFPRI
Peter Thorne ILRI
Kindu Mekonnen ILRI
Eliud Birachi ILRI
Annet Mulema ILRI
Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon IITA
Mateete Bekunda IITA
Festo Ngulu IITA
Regis Chikowo MSU
Asamoah Larbi IITA
Shaibu Mellon IITA
Zemadim Birhanu ICRISAT
Bekele Kotu IITA
Jeroen Groote WUR
Ewen Le Borgne ILRI
Simret Yasabu ILRI
Jonathan Odhong IITA
Jerry Glover USAID
Tracy Powell USAID
David Spielman IFPRI-CSISA
Maggie Gill DFID
Fred Kizito CIAT
Sieg Snapp MSU
Cheryl Palm Vital Signs
Stanley Wood BMGF
John Dixon ACIAR
Dave Harris Independent
Jens Anderssen CIMMYT
Vara Prasad KSU
Bernard van Lauwe IITA-Nairobi
Gordon Conway Imperial College



  1. SI indicators session: 1st session on Monday 10 morning (9am-1pm); 2nd session on Friday 14 afternoon (parallel session 11.00-15.30)
  2. Data management plan session will be held on Wednesday 12 6-8pm

(older process stuff TO DELETE WHEN READY)

  • Baseline surveys finished and they are part of the larger evaluation design with sample of beneficiaries (control communities, non-beneficiaries in action sites)
  • Process: Presentation about recent and upcoming evaluations, survey design + Q&A

Counter-reference for evaluators for West Africa project (not sure about ET / ESA) and there will be interviews of key respondents with review of docs, website, results of the evaluation etc. Timeline Aug-Sept.

Presentation about key lessons learned; Samoan Circle about discussing those results; evaluation opportunities and challenges of evaluation and What So What Now What about evaluations

  • Data management 2.0 Reviewing data management plans

Data management plan (Discuss the data management plan and data sharing over time / across institutes (will be discussed at upcoming PCT). Asking USAID to comment on data management plan?) Data storage: Where/how do we store data? (Storing data - as people seem not to like CKAN and SpatialDev cannot keep maintaining our website - where/how do we store data) Process: Presentation, 1-2-4-all or 9 whys on data management plan, Min Specs on data storage + reporting key steps on timeline.

  • Marketplace of possible work slots (including break)

Farm typology work - translating results from the learning event into M&E language Custom indicators - working in a small group to finalise them (Custom indicators - perhaps for a select group of people (chief scientists) + share back with all...) ... any other important issue that was mentioned in the morning Process: Different for each. 2-h working slots and final slot to present results to plenary