Action plans and indicators - the road leading towards the end of the EU Food Facility in West Africa

The M&E workshop in preparation of the Final Report for the IFAD/EU Food Facility Programme in West Africa closed today.

Over the two days of the workshop, discussions and energy levels were at their best. It was a real pleasure to facilitate a workshop of this type with such a motivated group.

The day began by the participants giving feedback on the data collection tools developed the previous day. Each team was asked to review the questionnaire and personalise it to fit the needs of the country and context. The precisions brought to the document were mainly concerning some thinking about the partners and stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Food Facility. We also reviewed some semantics one again, as the questionnaire needs to be as clear as possible and a stand- alone document for someone who has not participated in the Ouagadougou workshop where the document was conceived.

The floor was then given to ICRISAT who presented their qualitative data collection questions to the rest of the group. The ICRISAT questions necessarily needed to differ from those of the country components as the institutional arrangements for the ICRISAT grant are somewhat different.

In any case, for both the country components and ICRISAT, the questions are centered around the following themes:

- Relevance of the programme and its similarities to other food security programmes

- Farmer assessment of the trainings/knowledge and support received

- Sustainability and probability of scaling up interventions/services once the project is closed

After agreeing on the questions, the participants with the guidance of the M&E Consultant, Task Manager and Head Agronomist for the EU FF, drafted an action plan including an implementation schedule going up until the discussion and endorsement of the final report to be submitted to the EU which will take place in Abidjan at the end of March 2012.

The first step in the action plan is to recruit a local consultant by component to alleviate project teams in the collection of the qualitative data set that was agreed upon for the EU FF.

At the end of the workshop, the particpats expressed their enthusiasm regarding the methodology and approach used to tackle the preparation of the final report to the EU Food Facility. All participants recognised the lack of qualitative data in many of the reports produced and appreciate the innovative approach towards producing a final report which truly incorporates impact.

As many pointed out though, it would have been very useful to have this workshop well before January 2012. The report writing team and participants are in any case motivated and ready to achieve objectives set forth during the workshop and translated into the challenging action plan.