Mid-term Evaluation of the Project “Use of Conservation Agriculture in Crop-Livestock Systems (CLCA) in the Drylands for Enhanced Water Use Efficiency, Soil Fertility and Productivity in NEN and LAC Countries”

 

 

 

Request for Proposals (RFP)

 

 

 

 

Mid-term Evaluation of the Project

Use of Conservation Agriculture in Crop-Livestock Systems (CLCA) in the Drylands for Enhanced Water Use Efficiency, Soil Fertility and Productivity in NEN and LAC Countries

 

 

 

 

An IFAD funded Project

 

 

 

 

8 January 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acronyms

CA                          Conservation Agriculture

CL                           Crop-livestock production systems

CGIAR                   Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research

CIMMYT               The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

CLCA                      Crop-Livestock Conservation Agriculture

DAC                       Development Assistance Committee

ICARDA                International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas

IFAD                      The International Fund for Agricultural Development

KM                         Knowledge Management

LAC                        Latin America and the Caribbean

M&E                      Monitoring and Evaluation

MEL                       Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

NARES                  National Agricultural Research Extension Systems

NEN                       Near East and North Africa

NGO                      Non-governmental organization

OECD                     Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

RFP                        Request for Proposal

ToR                        Terms of Reference

 

About ICARDA

Established in 1977, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) is a non-profit, CGIAR Research Center that focusses on delivering innovative solutions for sustainable agricultural development in the non-tropical dry areas of the developing world. ICARDA provides innovative, science-based solutions to improve the livelihoods and resilience of resource-poor smallholder farmers. We do this through strategic partnerships, linking research to development, and capacity development, and by taking into account gender equality and the role of youth in transforming the non-tropical dry areas. You may read more at https://www.icarda.org/.

Project Background

Project Goal, Objective and Implementation Strategies

The project goal is to sustainably increase production and enhance climate resilience of small farmers’ communities and their crop-livestock production systems in drylands. The objective is to develop contextually relevant processes for enhancing the broad uptake of CA within integrated CL systems in drylands in LAC and NENA regions. This will be achieved through: (i) the development of contextually-relevant soil conservation and water use efficiency practices; (ii) the introduction of more productive forage crops and enhanced practices for biomass management; and (iii) linking with and leveraging existing or upcoming IFAD projects within the countries of engagement as well as developmental programmes being undertaken by national governments or multilateral and international organizations.

Project outcomes and outputs

Project Outcomes and Outputs are summarized below while their distribution between LAC and NENA is available in reference documents.

Outcome 1: 3,000 smallholder farmers reached (at least 40% women and 20% youth below 35 years) and 2,100 have directly adopted CLCA farming systems (in 4 target countries) with increased production and improved cost-benefits optimized by filling research and development gaps;

Output 1.1: An extended technical CLCA framework, to include crop production, stubble management, forage production, livestock and manure management resilient to shocks, is developed and applied, taking into consideration farming systems and agro-ecological specificities as well as farmers’ needs for sustainable livelihood development.

Output 1.2: Increased water use efficiency in rainfed and irrigated systems and reduction of erosion in soils with steep slopes.

Outcome 2: At least 6 NARES, in addition to decision makers, NGOs and IFAD loan project partners in the 4 target countries have adopted tools and methodologies for reliable decision making and guide investments on contextually appropriate CLCA system;

Output 1.3: Comprehensive trade-off models between competing uses for crop residue biomass developed and simplified for wider use.

Output 1.4: Appropriate monitoring and evaluation frameworks are established

Outcome 3: At least 4 effective agricultural innovation systems – 1 in each implementation area of the 4 target countries – are coalesced in order to foster broad uptake of CA practices within integrated dryland CL production systems.

Output 2.1: Contextually relevant processes for enhancing broad uptake of conservation agriculture – different from traditional (linear) processes of technology transfer – are refined in Tunisia (from a previous engagement), adapted and fine-tuned in both Algeria and Latin America (Bolivia and Mexico), through participatory processes

Output 2.2: Effective delivery systems for machinery, agronomic and livestock services through facilitation of access to finance, private investment and public-private partnerships.

Through the IFAD investment projects and project partners it is estimated that the training and adoption of technologies and practices for CLCA systems will reach an additional 10,000 small crop-livestock farmers.

Project components

Component 1. Participatory adaptive research with integrated capacity development of farmers and other key partners to fully implement and evaluate CLCA systems

Subcomponent 1.1: CLCA system optimization (filling research gaps and the full implementation and integration of technologies developed supported by both centres for the two (2) regions);

Subcomponent 1.2: Appropriate system development methodology to support wider adoption and decision-making.

Component 2. Accelerate adoption through the development of delivery systems/participatory farmer-led extension systems and inform the development of contextually relevant CLCA technologies and practices.

Besides the above two components, the project comprises a crosscutting Knowledge Management (KM) component.

Project funding and duration

The total project budget is US$ 3 million, over four (4) years (2018-2022). IFAD’s funding is up to the tune of US$ 2.5 million. IFAD funding is supplemented by a contribution of US$ 0.5 million from NARES in the form of in-kind contributions.

Project locations and implementation arrangements

The project is implemented in North Africa (Algeria and Tunis) and LAC (Southern highlands of Bolivia and Southern Mexico) regions. ICARDA leads the implementation of project activities in North Africa and sub-contracts CIMMYT to implement the project in LAC. In addition to these two CGIAR Centers, NARES are subcontracted for activities in each country.

Purpose of the Request for Proposals

The evaluator(s) shall:

  • Appraise the activities and outputs achieved by ICARDA, CIMMYT and NARES,
  • Identify and assess outcomes of the project including South-South collaboration,
  • Identify the enablers and/or constraints to the attainment of project results and lessons learnt,
  • Make practical recommendations for corrective action required to achieve the envisioned project results within the remaining period of the project.

Evaluation Questions

The evaluator(s) will make reference to the OECD/DAC Evaluation criteria prescribed in the IFAD Evaluation Manual. The selected evaluator(s) will make reference, but not be limited to the following evaluation questions:

Relevance

  • Is the project design appropriate to meet the intervention’s objectives?
  • Has the project been adjusted during implementation as a result of changes in context? Was the adjustment necessary?

Effectiveness

  • To what extent have the objectives of the project and its components been attained in quantitative and in qualitative terms? Explicit reference to the project logframe (annex 1 of this document, and annex 2 of the year 1 progress report) will be essential.
  • What changes in the overall context (e.g. policy framework, political situation, institutional set-up, economic shocks, civil unrest) have affected or are likely to affect project implementation and overall results?

Efficiency

  • How does the project expenditure compare to the budget- whole budget and per deliverable?
  • Have any re-allocations been done? What was the rationale? What are the implications of the reallocations to the budget structure, cost-effectiveness and likelihood of achieving project results?
  • Have resources been leveraged from NARES partners?
  • Are disbursements of funds to implementing partners/units been efficient to ensure timely implementation of project activities?

Sustainability

  • Do project activities benefit from the engagement, participation and ownership of all the relevant stakeholders and are adopted approaches technically viable?
  • Is there a clear indication of government commitment after the project closing date, for example, in terms of provision of funds for selected activities, human resources, and institutional support?

Gender equality and women’s empowerment

  • In what ways and to what extent are the technologies and practices promoted by the project likely to transform gender norms and roles?

Knowledge Management and scaling up

  • What innovative knowledge management tools, platforms and/or approaches have been adopted and promoted by the project?
  • How effectively have the knowledge management tools, platforms and approaches been effective in disseminating relevant information on conservation agriculture (CA) and crop-livestock production systems?
  • What is the extent the development interventions: (i) have introduced innovative approaches to rural poverty reduction; and (ii) have been (or are likely to be) scaled up by government authorities, donor organizations, the private sector and others agencies?

Methodology

The evaluator(s) is(are) required to propose methods that provide an objective and holistic understanding of the achievements made (or lack thereof). The approaches could include the use of both secondary data/literature and primary data collection through field visits. The evaluator(s) must demonstrate that selected study sites for field visits are representative of the project locations such that the resultant findings are deemed representative too. Consideration for choice of field visit locations could include: 1) Geographical location; 2) farming systems (with variable crop-livestock activities); 3) Stakeholder (groups); and 4) Technology packages

Governance of the Evaluation

The evaluator(s) will report to the ICARDA Project Manager and to the ICARDA Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Leader.

Technical bid evaluation Criteria

The following criteria and sub-criteria will be the basis of the selection of the successful bidder:

  1. a) Academic Qualifications
  • The lead consultant or team leader must possess an advanced degree (Masters’ or PhD) in Agricultural Sciences, Natural Resources Management, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), or Project/Program Management.
  • The rest of the evaluation team, if any, should possess academic qualification that complement the qualifications of the lead consultant or team leader, such that ultimately the team comprises a mix of technical expertise required to deliver on the scope of the evaluation.
  1. b) Experience
  • Experience implementing baseline, mid-term and endline evaluations
  • Experience in Conservation Agriculture (CA), and/or Crop and livestock (CL) farming systems;
  • Experience working in or conducting evaluations in North Africa and/or LAC;
  • Experience leading or co-leading evaluation teams;
  • Demonstrated adherence to ethical research practices while conducting research on human subjects;
  • Experience developing fit-for-purpose data collection tools;
  • Track record of writing detailed and yet concise evaluation reports.
  • Experience in participatory research and/or scaling of agricultural technologies (Desired)
  1. c) Skill sets
  • Strong analytical skills;
  • Proficiency in the use of technological aids for enhancing data analysis and presentation;
  • Fluency in written and spoken English language is required.
  • Fluency in written and spoken French and Spanish languages will be an added advantage.
  1. d) Methodology
  • Clear, practical, robust, logical and complementary methodological approaches are required.
  • Clear and justifiable selection of field visit sites and respondents.
  • Elaborate suggestions on tools to be used for capturing/recording data, data analysis, and visual aids development for purposes of communicating the findings.

Financial bid evaluation considerations

The best financial bids will be those that demonstrate value-for-money and whose budget is closely tied to the rationally determined methodological approach and plausible remuneration rates. Thus, ICARDA will not be obliged to give the highest rating to the lowest priced bid.

Roles and Responsibilities

Party Responsibilities
Project Implementation Partners The Project Implementation Partners will:

i)      Make available all the pertinent documents required by the consultant(s);

ii)    Through the Project Manager and MEL Leader, promptly discuss/provide input at all stages of the assessment.

iii)  Support evaluator(s) field visits and facilitate the interaction with beneficiaries.

ICARDA Project Management Team ICARDA will:

(i)    Make available all the pertinent documents required by the consultant(s);

(ii)   Through the Project Manager and MEL Leader, promptly discuss/provide input at all stages of the assessment.

(iii)  Support evaluator(s) field visits and facilitate the interaction with beneficiaries.

(iv)  Work with the project team and implementation partners to assemble the initial documents for the desk review

(v)   Evaluate both the technical and financial proposals and select the best bid;

(vi)  Review the evaluation methodology proposed by the consultant(s) at the proposal stage and during the inception phase, making objective feedback based on best practice;

(vii)Coordinate with the ICARDA Finance and Procurement teams for all contractual requirements of the evaluation;

(viii)               Monitor adherence to the agreed methodology during the implementation phase;

(ix)  Provide feedback to the draft report, and consolidate the project team’s response to the evaluation findings;

(x)   Facilitate the communication of the evaluation findings to all stakeholders.

(xi)  Adhere to and ensure adherence to the CGIAR Evaluation Quality Assurance (QA) framework

Consultant(s) (i)        Review project documents and reports available from the ICARDA project team and project implementation partners;

(ii)       Prepare a detailed inception report that presents the evaluation design, building on the technical proposal;

(iii)      Undertake a participatory evaluation process, involving all relevant stakeholders and incorporating their evaluation information requirements;

(iv)      Design a sufficiently robust study methodology within the limits of existing data, institutional arrangements, and budget;

(v)       Demonstrate clear complementarity between/amongst the methods of choice;

(vi)      Carryout high quality data collection and analysis that ensure data validity, consistency and accuracy;

(vii)    Succinctly author the evaluation report, while incorporating feedback from stakeholders in a timely, objective and transparent manner.

(viii)   Identify lessons learned and develop practical recommendations for project stakeholders;

(ix)      Present the evaluation findings to key stakeholders (remote presentation).

 

Evaluation Timeline and Deliverables

The evaluation assignment is to be completed within 30 working days, from the date of contracting. The tentative schedule for the evaluation with estimated time duration is presented below.

Phase Description Deliverable Due date
Bid submission The technical and financial bids must be submitted together, in a format provided in Annex 3. Technical and financial bids 01/03/2020
Evaluation of submitted bids Review and evaluation of both the technical and financial proposals Letter of intent to award contract 10/03/2020
Signed contract 23/03/2020
Inception Includes desk review, briefing, consultation with stakeholders, inception report drafting (revision of evaluation matrix, methodology and development of data collection tools), and fieldwork plan Draft Inception Report

 

 

15/05/2020
Final Inception Report 30/05/2020
Field work

 

Includes continuation of desk review, field visits, and debriefing.

 

N/A 01/06/2020
Reporting It includes the preparation of the evaluation report, QA review and finalization First Draft Evaluation Report 01/08/2020
Final Evaluation Report 01/09/2020
Results dissemination The evaluation report and the management responses will be presented remotely to the Stakeholders and posted publicly on the ICARDA website and on the MEL Platform. Knowledge products from the evaluation report 01/09/2020

Project Documents

The quality of the bids will rely on the bidders’ review of the following project documents:

Title Link
Project proposal https://mel.cgiar.org/projects/clca2
IFAD President’s report https://mel.cgiar.org/projects/clca2
Progress Report: Year I – April 2018 to March 2019: Donor Report. https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/10444
Overview of the IFAD Funded CLCA Project: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/10221
CLCA I Project Completion Review Mission Presentation https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/4988
CLCA I Project Completion Review Mission Report: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/4989
Monitoring and Evaluation from Logical Framework to Implementation https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/8225
Integrating Gender into the Use of Conservation Agriculture in Crop-Livestock Systems (CLCA) Project in Algeria and Tunisia https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/9990
What do we expect from the livestock component under CLCA https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/10106
Key informant tool for the enhancement of crop–livestock systems under conservation agriculture (CLCA): Towards a sustainable CLCA production system https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/10217
Survey tool for assessing the effectiveness of agricultural extension service delivery: Application to CLCA technologies transfer methods https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11766/10446

 

Project Documents

Additional information or resources can be available upon request by e-mail addressed to: m.rekik@cgiar.org; and e.bonaiuti@cgiar.org. Bidders are advised only to contact the persons listed here for information that potential strengthens their bid, and lobbying is not permitted.

 

Annex 1: Project’s Results-based Logical Framework

Objectives-hierarchy  Objectively verifiable indicators  Means of verification  Assumptions 
Goal: To sustainably increase production and enhance the resilience of smallholder crop-livestock production systems to climate variability in drylands in NEN and LAC countries. Yield gaps of cereals, legumes and livestock are reduced by increased resources use efficiency (e.g. water and nutrients). Crop yield gaps reduced by as much as 40% and livestock offtake rate by 30% in both rain fed and irrigated systems. · Project generated data and reports; results of the IFAD loans and government programmes; national statistics.

· Collaborative agreements signed between consortium and NARES for strengthening local technical capacities and scaling activities.

·  Normal weather patterns and absence of calamities along the duration of project.

· Political stability of countries where the project is implemented.

· Continued funding from other linked projects (matching funds).

Objective: To develop in participation with smallholder crop-livestock producers contextually relevant an gender sensitive processes for enhancing the broad uptake of CA within integrated CL systems in drylands in LAC and NEN regions ·     Beneficiaries of existing and new IFAD as well as other government initiatives have been exposed and have applied technologies and practices promoted by the project through 4 country-based formative research and interactive KM models, tools and products.

·     Regulatory systems and policies in four countries have been informed on newly gained knowledge via evidence based policy briefs and bottom-up information flow.

·     Four national innovation systems (one in each target countries) have been engaged in developing avenues for enhancing an enabling institutional and economic environment to facilitate broad uptake of CLCA technologies.

·   Farmers, men and women, have adopted agronomic and biomass management practices resulting in a better management of natural resources for more productive and sustainable use (relative increase of 3-5% of soil organic matter depending on soil type and aridity conditions and 10-20% increase in water use efficiency).

·   Farmers, men and women, have adopted fodder, cover crops, and alternative feed resources leading to increased feed availability with ultimate increases in livestock productivity.

·   Farmers, men and women, in the intervention areas of NA and LAC are exposed to an efficient, integrated and economically viable CLCA system achieving increased productivity, and most importantly, stabilization in cereal yields, as well as reduction in production costs (20-40% reduction in energy cost, 15-20% reduction in other production costs).

· Reports identifying the presence and participation of IFAD project representatives and key officials from local, regional and national government organs at key meetings, consultations, workshops and policy dialogue events.

· Capacity development and training reports on partners’ and beneficiaries’ participation in formative research activities.

· Project data from on-farm trials and long-term on-station trials; NARES project reports; technology adoption assessment and participatory video.

· Records of effective innovation systems, with installed infrastructure and members who meet regularly and who jointly uncover opportunities for enhancing equitable access to machinery services and to technical knowledge (project reports and testimonials) through private investment potential and/or public-private partnerships in the provision of machinery services and technical support.

· Normal weather patterns and absence of calamities along the duration of project.

·  Political stability of countries where the project is implemented.

· Public support to the strategic plans promoting CA and red meat value chain are no longer maintained.

· Economic environment and market situations allow profitable private investment in machinery acquisition and service provision; and public-private partnerships are strong and with public resources.

Outcome 1: 3,000 smallholder farmers reached (at least 40% women and 20% youth below 35 years) and 2100 have directly adopted CLCA farming systems (in 4 target countries) with increased production and improved cost-benefits that are optimized by filling research and development gaps;
 

Output 1.1: An extended technical CLCA framework (including crop production, stubble management, forage production, livestock and manure management resilient to shocks) is developed and applied, taking into consideration farming systems and agro-ecological specificities as well as farmers’ needs for sustainable livelihood development.

 

· In NA, 20% increase in barley and wheat yields across a total area of 60,000 ha (11,000 irrigated) through effective integrated CA packages; 30 % increase of forage biomass which will support small-scale farm feedlots.

· In NA at least 25% increase in live weight growth and 20% increase in fertility of sheep directly and indirectly impacting 220,000 heads.

· In LAC grain and straw yield of cropping systems increased by 15% through CA management, including agroforestry and soil and water conservation practices. Fodder and cover crops adopted by farmers leading to 25% increased fodder availability with ultimate increase of livestock productivity by 15%.

· In both regions, 25% of total beneficiaries (900 farmers), 50 extension staff, and 30 scientists participate in knowledge sharing on CLCA practice management.

Project data from on-farm trials and on-station trials; NARES project reports; results of the IFAD loans and government programmes. · Targeted farmers open to innovate in land and their flocks management under

· CLCA system and collaborate with the project team for on-farm trials and data collection.

· Public institutions for the development of CA and livestock as well as farmers-led extension services welcome extension of integrated CLCA system into the cereal-livestock systems of NA and LAC.

· At least 2 average rainfall years during the project period to achieve meaningful measures.

Output 1.2: Increased water use efficiency and reduction of erosion in soils with steep slopes. · A suite of pertinent soil and water conservation practices (SWC) (including no-till and residue management) identified and promoted for different agro-ecologies in LAC countries and appropriate for different types of farming systems.
Outcome 2: At least 6 NARES, in addition to decision makers, NGO’s and IFAD loan project partners in the 4 target countries have adopted tools and methodologies for reliable decision making and guide investments on contextually appropriate CLCA systems.
 

Output 1.3: Comprehensive trade-off models between competing uses for crop residue biomass developed and simplified for wider use 

 

· Detailed analysis of costs, benefits, and market viability of CLCA options.

· Farm level models for multi-criteria assessment and trade off analysis for different farm types and agro-ecologies, one in each target countries of NA and LAC developed, calibrated and available for use by NARES.

· Simplified simulation tools of optimised CLCA systems for wider use by IFAD loan projects and local development partners.

· Project generated data, national statistics, CLCA farms typology and manuals for model calibration and use. · NARES capabilities and support are available for integrated assessment of CLCA systems

· Institutional will within NARES and collaborators to embark in integrated assessment of CLCA and robust M&E&L strategies

Output 1.4: Appropriate monitoring and evaluation frameworks are established  · ITC-based M&E tools developed and used by NARES and collaborators. Algorithms for data storage, classification and analysis developed.

· 4 qualitative studies on farmers’ (men and women) existing knowledge, attitudes and practices are carried out with 150 participants in each country.

· 4 participatory evaluations are conducted with 150 farmers (men and women) in each country.

· Feedback indicators from decision makers and private market actors are collected via survey monkey on a national level and shared between the countries.

· Collaborators and NARES appropriation of M&E and qualitative research tools.

· Project generated data.

· FGD protocols and transcripts.

· FGD content analysis report.

· Use/stakeholder survey report.

 

 

Outcome 3: At least 4 effective agricultural innovation systems – 1 in each implementation area of the 4 target countries – are coalesced in order to foster broad uptake of conservation agriculture practices within integrated dryland crop-livestock production systems
Output 2.1: Contextually relevant processes for enhancing broad uptake of CA are refined in Tunisia (from a previous engagement), adapted and fine-tuned in both Algeria and Latin America (Bolivia and Houndras), through participatory processes · Context relevant knowledge and learning centred structures are facilitated (innovation systems, learning centres, multi-stakeholder workshops) – at least two in each country of engagement – within which IFAD’s toolkits on household methodologies (HHMs) are tested for proof of concept and adaptation in context.

 

·  CLCA technologies guidance/manual (for management and implementation of CLCA practices in different agro-ecologies).

· One cross country/ cross region synthesis paper on approaches and process uncovered in coalescing innovation systems for CLCA within marginal production environments.

 

· Local manufacturers willing to collaborate in the design of alternative

· mechanization and business models for broad uptake of CLCA practices and technologies.

· Political will to allow local manufacturers and service providers to perform their business.

Local institutional infrastructure and will to host knowledge repositories on CLCA.

Output 2.2: Effective delivery systems for machinery, agronomic and livestock services through facilitation of access to finance, private investment and public-private partnerships. · Extension/advisory services providing efficient and effective support to the beneficiaries allowing for a successful implementation of the framework.

· CLCA guidelines for extension and advisory services are developed with partner organizations.

· Private machinery service providers are supported through facilitation in access conventional finance sources, and where required through public-private partnerships in order to foster investment in machinery required to facilitate broad uptake of CA.

· 500 farmers, 50 extension staff, 20 scientists, 2 NGOs, and 2 traders per country participating in courses, workshops and field days in relation to CLCA

· At least 1 training platform and 10 validation sites and 10 scaling partners using methodologies and knowledge generated in the project per country.

· At least 2 research questions per country formulated that feed back to Component 1.

· Project documents, survey tools and data generated including field books per site and lists of participants

· Number of farmers and stakeholders receiving training and services

· CLCA adoption rates indicator

 

 

 

 

 

Annex 2: Format of the Proposal

 

Part 1: Technical Proposal

1.1 Interpretation and comments to the RFP (1 page max)

1.2 Proposed Methodology (5 pages max)

1.3 Work plan (1 page)

1.4 Composition of team and tasks and time schedule of each team member (1 page)

1.5 Firm’s Profile and Relevant past experience (applicable only to a corporate entity) (3 page max)

 

Part 2: Financial Proposal

2.1 Professional fees

Level of effort (in number of working days) per consultant (in USD)

Daily remuneration rate

Lump sum cost (in USD)

2.2 Reimbursable (Vendor paid directly by ICARDA where deemed appropriate)

Travel costs, lodging e.t.c

 

Annex 1: Evaluation matrix

The matrix must include: Evaluation question, sub-question and/or indicator, data collection method, data source, data collection instrument, method for data analysis

Annex 2: CVs of proposed team members

Annex 3: Reference letters and referee contact details

 

Please submit your proposals on https://apply.workable.com/icarda/j/1CDFEBC0D8/ by March 1, 2020