Catalyzing Widespread Practice Change in Impact Evaluation

After a first gathering held in Saly in October 2021, the members of the Community of Practice on Impact Evaluation of some National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) within CORAF’s scope met again in Cotonou recently from 25 to 29 April 2022, to further strengthen their skills in impact assessment of development projects.

The workshop was organized within the framework of the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development in West Africa (PAIRED), with the objective of deepening the knowledge of some thirty (30) participants, in impact evaluation, through case studies and the use of appropriate tools and software.

“Impact assessment is a crucial phase because it allows you to assess whether the efforts made for the implementation of a project have paid off or not,” said Dr. Hippolyte Affognon, Coordinator of PAIRED, who added that this is why CORAF lays particular emphasis on the mastery of best practices in this area.

Apart from a few program managers and PAIRED and CORAF monitoring and evaluation specialists’ team, the participants in the workshop are exclusively members of the Community of Practice in Impact Evaluation, previously set up by CORAF.

The Community of Practice is a network set up by the organization and which it can activate to help monitor and evaluate projects in the field.

“CORAF wants to be able to rely on the Community, and above all to change the paradigm for the impact evaluation of the various projects it implements in the West and Central Africa region. It is therefore important that the members of this Community are equipped with skills that meet the standards and expectations of CORAF and its partners, hence the importance of this second phase of capacity building,” underlined Dr. Affognon.

Learning by doing

The second phase of the capacity building for impact evaluation practitioners focused much more on practice.

Through an appropriate methodological approach, attendees had the opportunity to participate in interactive exchanges and to put into practice the notions previously acquired, with case studies.

“Practice fosters the assimilation of theoretical notions. The approach, this time focused on mentoring, allowed participants to recycle their knowledge and master advanced impact evaluation techniques,” said Mr. Zinsou Ellenite Kpavode, CORAF Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist.

According to the participants, the meeting was a great success, and the objectives were achieved.

“The fact that we did a lot more hands-on really helped us get to grips with the concepts and software. At the end of this second workshop, I can say that our working methods when it comes to impact assessment are considerably improved,” concluded Dr. Leonard Cossi Hinnou, Researcher at the National Agricultural Research Institute of Benin (INRAB).

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