Stocktaking for improved portfolio: the role of Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) Reviews

by Rosalie Lehel

One of the key activities of the 2014 Tanzania portfolio review (1 – 3 April) in Arusha was a field visit to Monduli and Arumeru district councils. In these districts, impressive implementation progress has been made especially in building of close collaboration among key stakeholder through the People, Public and Private Partnership (PPPP). The farmers benefitting from the Kyamakata Irrigation Project in Arumeru for instance, are empowered and have gained high levels of self confidence as portrayed by their capacity to manage and account for the resources they have received, as a result of the close partnership with the district and Oikos East Africa, an NGO that promotes the protection of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources.
The portfolio review is held annually and provides an opportunity for IFAD-supported projects and the Government to share and review implementation progress of all projects.  Success stories are shared, as well as critical issues deterring project implementation, and how to address them. The COSOP review is an opportunity to ask questions, get answers and share solutions, towards improved project performance.  The objective is to improve the projects' alignment with the COSOP strategic objectives and national priorities, overcome implementation bottlenecks and ensure sustainability.

Projects such as Agricultural Services Support Programme (ASSP) & Agricultural Sector Development Programme - Livestock (ASDP-L) Zanzibar sub programmes; Health and Water Component Of ASDP-L (BFFS); Sustainable Rangeland Management Project (SRMP); Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP); Rural Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Support Programme (MUVI) and Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition and Rural Finance Support Programme (MIVARF), shared their implementation progress, and received constructive suggestions for improvement. The discussions focused on how each project contributes to the COSOP’s Strategic Objectives. The workshop underscored the importance of result-based monitoring and evaluation through a presentation on good practices and lessons learned in Rwanda.

The Country Programme Assessment (CPA), an in-depth research document produced in preparation for the forthcoming Country Programme Evaluation (CPE) was also shared.  This document assesses the relevance, performance and emerging results of two COSOPs - 2003-2007, and 2007-2013.
The IFAD Executive Board will visit Tanzania in May 2014. We shared this news with representatives of Government and projects teams, who welcomed the initiative. The Executive Board will undertake its country visit to learn about IFAD's work in the field - the challenges and constraints faced by IFAD- supported operations, and how to improve.

At the workshop we officially welcomed the   recently out-posted Country Director, Mr. Francisco Pichon, who is providing precious guidance and direct strategic support to the country portfolio. The annual country programme activity plan was discussed and agreed upon among the projects and ICO.