With this in mind, Solidaridad has further developed and refined a network-wide Monitoring Protocol with the aim of aligning indicators, definitions and data collection tools so as to correctly collect and analyze the data required for each indicator. This allows for aggregating and comparing data across all programmes in the network. The development of an IT system for real-time monitoring is currently under development. This will allow frequent data collection, regular reporting and monitoring, and iteratively updating and adjusting program indicator and metrics.
While monitoring is key for adjusting interventions during programme implementation, at Solidaridad we also believe accountability towards our donors and partners is of great importance. External programme evaluations provide concrete evidence on the impact of our work and are also important input towards future programming. In order to assure the same principles are applied among all evaluations conducted across Solidaridad, we work with the DAC Principles for the Evaluation of Development Assistance namely: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. All our evaluations are publicly available.
An excerpt of some of our recent evaluations:
PARTNERING FOR BETTER LIVELIHOODS IN THE GOLD SUPPLY CHAIN
Globally, artisanal and small-scale mine workers generally work under severe and unsafe labour conditions. Earnings are usually low, the health of workers is frequently at stake, and the nearby communities often suffer from pollution from these mines.
The ‘partnering for better livelihoods in the gold supply chain’, implemented in partnership with Cartier Foundation in Ghana and Peru, addresses these challenges in close collaboration with the mines, local government and community members. The evaluators found that the programme made a clear contribution to the improvement of both health and safety. In particular, the use of protective equipment by workers increased because of the programme. Both in Ghana as well as in Peru mines pay more attention to safety at the mining sites as a result of the training and technical assistance. This has contributed to a reduction in occupational hazards (knowledge of an accident at the mine went from 55% to 16% in Ghana) as well as a reduction in the number of sick days (from 7 to 3 days in Ghana and 5 to 4 days in Peru) for the great majority of miners. The role of Solidaridad was particularly important in providing guidance and a set of practical solutions that can be used by mines and provide the means for implementing these solutions.
While external factors have played a role, the programme has been key in facilitating the transition to responsible mining.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, FOOD SECURITY AND LINKAGES
This project has been in operation in the south-western region of Bangladesh since 2012, impacting 58,492 farmers households engaged in aquaculture, horticulture and dairy. The overall objective of the programme was to ensure food and nutrition security for the smallholders and landless labourers through increased income and production. The programme followed a comprehensive approach wherein total beneficiaries were collectivized into 1020 producer groups and farmers were given training on modern sustainable practices relevant to their respective sectors through lead farmers to encourage adoption and thereby to increase productivity and income of the households. Further, farmers in three sectors were connected to several actors in the value chain to enable farmers to get quality inputs and other required services at best prices and also earn a better price for their produces. The project emphasis was on ensuring availability, accessibility and affordability of food which is supplemented by awareness generation leading to improved nutrition and dietary status of the farmers.
The evaluation found dairy productivity for SaFaL farmers was 90% higher than that of the comparison groups. In the horticulture sector, SaFaL farmers experienced a 45% productivity increase. In the aquaculture sector, SaFaL households produced more fish (across all fish species) per hectare (by weight) than their counterparts in the comparison group. The calorie intake among the treatment groups was also found to be higher than among the comparison group.
SaFaL’s gender-balanced inclusive approach, endeavouring to bring women to the fore in farming activities, as well as empowering them as decision makers in the process, is seen in their inclusion within the producer groups: 48% of all Producer Group members are women. One of the major thrusts of the project was to increase market access for beneficiary households, and building networks at various levels (local, regional, national) by facilitating deals between producer groups, buyers, processors/other intermediaries simplifying the supply chain, with the presence of fewer intermediaries. More than 75% of the farmers responded that they sell their produce directly in the market, bypassing the middlemen as a result of the project. Food security has been improved showing a reduction in post-harvest losses of up to 95% in some horticulture commodities.
SUSTAINABLE WEST AFRICA OIL PALM PROGRAMME
The main objective of this programme, implemented over a four year period in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria with funding from the Dutch government, was to improve the incomes and livelihoods of farmers, millers and other stakeholders along the palm oil supply chain. The programme aimed to improve the adoption of Better Management Practices in terms of processing and production and to improve access to finance and the provision of incubation services to firms/farms. It also aimed to gather and disseminate information to bridge knowledge gaps on oil palm in the region, as well as to raise awareness on RSPO.
The evaluators found that nearly 90 percent of the smallholder farmers surveyed implemented more than five out of the ten main recommended better management practices. The programme has had a significant impact on productivity: average yield per hectare in 2016 was 7.9 tonnes, as compared to 6.85 before the intervention. 84 percent of the smallholder farmers reported that SWAPP has helped to reduce accident or injuries on their farms.
A total of 8 mid-scale mills benefited from the programme through the provision of credit to acquire or upgrade machines. 20 artisanal millers received improved milling equipment (screw presses) on credit. 68 percent of the farmers reported improvements in incomes. About 49 percent of farmers reported that improvement in their incomes has helped improve their food consumption. SWAPP spearheaded the development of an RSPO national interpretation document for Ghana, with that for Nigeria and Ivory Coast in advanced stages of development at the end of the programme.