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A keen look at the COSOP results framework
1 – 12 December 2014, Ethiopia held a one and a half days Country Strategic Opportunities Paper (COSOP) review and M&E workshop focused on how to conduct self-evaluations and measure impact.  The IFAD Ethiopia country programme is undergoing an evaluation by the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) to review the current COSOP (2007 – 2014). The results of the annual COSOP reviews and the IOE evaluation will inform the design of a new COSOP in 2015 .

The workshop offered a platform for project managers, coordinators, and M&E officers to discuss how best to conduct effective self-evaluations, and how to establish improved M&E systems. Haingo Rakotondratsima, the Country Programme Officer for Madagascar, shared experiences from the CAPFIDA integrated knowledge management system which establishes linkages between field level and strategic portfolio priorities at national level. He further emphasized the importance of regular data collection from the field, and having a person in charge of the central data repository, for more systematic analysis.

 Discussing the results framework

Self-evaluation is a continuous process through which projects keenly look at what works well, what does not, and how to improve.

In the IFAD context, the COSOP is a strategic document, formulated in partnership with key partners and stakeholders (especially government and farmer organisations) to effectively invest in rural smallholder agriculture and bring the farmers out of poverty.

The current country programme evaluation will focus on relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, sustainability, gender equality, innovation and scaling up of different aspects of the country loan and grant portfolio. Other aspects such as knowledge management, partnership building, and policy dialogue, will be evaluated.

Self-evaluation by projects follows the same methodology as the overall country programme evaluation with the core elements of the assessment centering on relevance, effectiveness, and other aspects as described in the IOE evaluation manual.

Why Self-evaluation?

A practical self-assessment exercise was conducted. Projects split into three groups and did a self-assessment of project performance (relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency), project impact, and project sustainability, innovation and scaling up. The presentations sparked informative discussions on such aspects as impact indicators, criteria of evaluations, and how to use evaluation results to inform policy dialogue and future development initiatives. The discussions brought participants to a positive conclusion: the purpose of the self-evaluation is primarily for learning and improvement through lessons learnt. Self-evaluations are not to find fault but to identify what can be done differently for improved performance of the project.

Bidding Haingo Farewell

After the workshop, the ICO held a simple ceremony to appreciate Haingo's support to the country programme during his brief placement in Ethiopia. The innovative idea by IFAD HR of staff rotation seems to have worked well in this case. The exchange has served as a channel of learning between Madagascar and Ethiopia.

Getting ready to share a farewell cake with Haingo