The end marks the beginning...

by Adriane Del Torto

Although the information and initiation workshop to IFAD procedures for PAPAM, the Agricultural Productivity Programme in Mali, a World Bank Programme co-financed by IFAD, has come to a close, it is really marking the beginning of this programme, which now detains more tools to be able to be more efficient in implementing the project.

The third and last day of the workshop addressed more financial management, including yearly audits and the importance of the audit exercise in steering projects in the right direction. In addition some information was given on corruption and fraud and the policies IFAD has put into place to combat these in development programmes. The audience was informed of the existence of an independent investigations office to fight corruption and how this office works, encouraging all parties to keep an eye open and to report any suspicious behaviour, with the reassurance that any report would be entirely confidential and object of close investigation before any action or sanction is taken on IFAD’s behalf.

Then a thorough session was held on Monitoring and Evaluation as well as the RIMS (Results and Impact Monitoring System). This cross cutting issue to all IFAD projects and programmes is at the forefront of discussions now, as M&E it was gives us the necessary data to analyse in order to assess impact and successes on the field.

Importance was put on the necessity of building the M&E system into the project as soon as it becomes effective. In Mali, PIDRN (Investment and Development Project in the Northern Regions of Mali) has been especially successful in designing its M&E system and collecting the data. In fact, the M&E specialist from this project was invited to make the presentation of the system and how the project has achieved its successes in M&E. Again, planning, communication and rigour are key to successful M&E in addition to a proper baseline survey and the identification of the right indicators. PAPAM has been encouraged to work with PIDRN to learn from their experience and further capitalise on the experience of M&E.

Finally, the workshop gave an overview of the different aspect of project implementation including supervisions, midterm review and closing. Each step was explained as well as the objective of the different missions and how to prepare for them in due time.

Over the past three days, a lot of information has been shared with actors from PAPAM, from the Chamber of Agriculture (APCAM) from the Ministry of Agriculture and its services, the World Bank and other partners involved in the implementation of PAPAM. It is obvious that this workshop has not been exhaustive and could not address all of the concerns in implementing such an important an complex programme. The workshop however has achieved its goal in providing information to the entire PAPAM team and create synergies between all of the technical and financial partners. It is now that the real work will begin, PAPAM according to the suggestions received will now finalise the AWPB and proceed to making the request for the initial deposit so that activities can officially begin.