The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) shut down its activities in December 2020 at the end of its mandate. The administrative closure of the Centre was completed in November 2021.

Joint Impact Assessment of CTA’s support to FANRPAN

FANRPAN is an autonomous regional stakeholder-driven policy research, analysis and implementation network. It is represented in 16 countries in Africa with its members ranging from governments to private sectors, research institutions, farmer organisations and other civil society bodies. FANRPAN promotes effective Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) policies through partnerships, capacity building, research and analysis, and policy advocacy. Its activities and programmes focus on five thematic areas. Since inception, FANRPAN has undertaken 65 projects and activities and received an income of USD 22,317,224.83 from more than 39 development and regional partners. The Impact Study focused on the CTA supported activities and projects undertaken by the Regional Secretariat, which is based in South Africa, between 2003 and early-2013.
CTA’s support with partnerships since 2004 and valued at 932,958 Euros has enabled FANRPAN to raise its profile, increase awareness among a wider audience of its activities and projects, and improve the frequency and quality of its communication and advocacy products to policy-makers, Network members and FANR stakeholders. CTA is among the six largest overall financial contributors to FANRPAN with its support amounting to $1,291,492.30. The FANRPAN Regional Secretariat and Network members have benefitted directly from the support. CTA supported activities have also benefited policymakers from East and Southern African countries, FANR stakeholders (private sector, CSO’s, farmer organisations, youth organisations, media professionals, academic and research institutions), and FANRPAN Node Organisations.
CTA’s support has largely been directed towards supporting FANRPAN’s communication and advocacy efforts, which are important aspects of the work of a policy research and knowledge network. Key activities supported either partly or completely by CTA included: the hosting of 10 Multi-Stakeholder Regional Policy Dialogues on FANR issues in East and Southern African countries; producing and disseminating 35 Newsletters and 23 Policy Briefs on FANR and youth related issues; upgrading and maintaining the FANRPAN website; holding 6 Media training workshops (training 80 journalists from African countries); defining FANRPAN’s medium-term strategic and operational orientation; compiling and disseminating 8 case studies; and undertaking several activities related to youth engagement in the agricultural policy processes.CTA’s funding has indirectly supported and contributed towards organisational change and growth. FANRPAN has grown from an informal network of policy related institutions and universities in the region to a well-known policy research, analysis and implementation network operating in Africa. Its membership, strategic focus and operational activities have shifted from the SADC to the African continent. It has entered into 57 MOUs with national, regional and international partners. It actively participates in international engagements, such as meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (including Rio + 20), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
While FANRPAN’s strategic and operational shift has largely been in response to external changes in the region and changes within the Network, strengthening its communication and advocacy strategy was an important enabler of its growth, expansion and increased visibility.
In the earlier years, CTA’s financial support has been a relatively small portion of FANRPAN’s overall annual income, but it has been an important factor in instilling confidence among other potential development partners. CTA and USAID are long-standing development partners of FANRPAN and have each funded different aspects of its work for more than ten years. FANRPAN has been able to meet the technical and financial requirements set by two well-known international development partners. It has been able to leverage this fact when raising additional funding from other partners. Since 2003, FANRPAN has been able to increase its overall income levels and the number of funding partners. It has also been able to grow the number of funded projects and activities that it undertook annually from 5 in 2004 to 11 in 2013. Several of its projects were implemented simultaneously in more than one African country, e.g. HaSSP, WARM, HVI, SECCAP, PAEPARD and LBDC. Many were running for more than one year.
CTA support has contributed towards positive impact at the level of the Organisation. FANRPAN was able to improve the website, undertake case studies, produce advocacy and communication products, launch a new media strategy, introduce new communication tools, and participate in regional and international policy meetings.
These activities have assisted FANRPAN in raising its profile, contributing to policy discussions, and expanding its networking with regional and other stakeholders. CTA provided some support to FANRPAN’s efforts to refocus and strengthen its operational orientation and strategic direction, which following consultations with Country Nodes, FANRPAN Members and the Board, resulted in the adoption of its Strategic Plan for 2007-2015 and amendments to its Constitution. Node hosting institutions were relocated from universities to CSOs, the Board and governance arrangements were strengthened, interaction between the Secretariat and Node hosting institutions was improved, and FANRPAN received a strong Africa-wide mandate.
CTA support has had positive impacts for the direct beneficiaries of the supported activities. FANR stakeholders were able to influence the strategic and operational direction of the Network and influence the annual activities of FANRPAN. FANR stakeholders have access to information and research findings generated by FANRPAN, which they were able to use for their own research, communication and advocacy work, and policy engagements. Media professionals have gained a better understanding of FANR issues and are able to shape perceptions. Youth organisations are able to draw on base-line studies in their policy engagements on ways to improve youth engagement in the agricultural value chains. Efforts are underway to support a regional approach to youth engagement issues. Regional Policy Dialogues have enabled greater networking and knowledge sharing between FANR stakeholders. FANRPAN’s activities and projects have brought about change at the level of the broader society within countries and at regional levels. The Quick Scan identified several key impacts of CTA supported activities at broader society level. A wider audience is able to access information that has been generated by African policy network - shaping perceptions and contributing to policy discussions. The FANRPAN website has become a reference point on regional FANR, climate change and youth matters. The inclusive nature of Policy Dialogue platforms brings a wide-range of stakeholders, including government representatives, together on equal footing to consider key regional issues and have improved synergies of efforts. More FANR stakeholders have access to FANRPAN’s database, which creates more opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing.CTA support to FANRPAN has contributed to change within the five Capabilities that were measured by the 5C Organisational self-assessment. CTA support has most strongly contributed to aspects of the Relating (visibility), Cohering (vision), and Learning (external environment) capabilities of FANRPAN. CTA could consider supporting M&E and capacity building efforts. CTA could consider supporting efforts to increase interaction between FANRPAN and partners in the Caribbean region. CTA could also consider providing support to core activities, which have been planned and budgeted for in FANRPAN’s Strategic Plan 2007-2015 and Business Plans.
This will support FANRPAN’s strategic re-orientation efforts whereby it is moving from project to programme mode and aiming to ensure that projects are driven more by the overall corporate strategy and less by the funding preferences of development partners.The Quick Scan identified aspects that could be improved in future support given by CTA to FANRPAN. CTA’s funding was largely provided on an annual basis or for relatively short periods. It made the funding less predictable and limited FANRPAN’s ability to plan activities for subsequent periods. Disbursing lump-sum funding that could be used for longer periods and/or agreeing on a number of activities that CTA would be able to support over a medium-term period would make it easier for FANRPAN to plan its activities. CTA support largely did not provide for staff input, while funding for a dedicated staff member working on CTA funded projects may be more cost effective, improve project delivery and strengthen the capacity of the Regional Secretariat.FANRPAN has largely met the technical and financial requirements of the contracts agreed to with CTA. It submitted financial and project progress reports on time and was able to secure further funding from CTA for additional periods. There were activities that could not be undertaken within the projected timeframe that were implemented in subsequent timeframes following consultations with CTA. For example, after a formal request to CTA, FANRPAN was authorised to postpone the resource mobilisation trip planned for 2008 and combine the 2008 mobilisation tour with the 2009 phase.
FANRPAN was able to use CTA funding in conjunction with funding from other sources to implement activities where CTA funding was insufficient to implement the entire project or activity. For example, to implement activities related to the hosting of the Policy Dialogues, participating in international and regional events, and the development of a medium-term strategic and operational orientation. The latter exercise was largely supported by DFID.
The Quick Scan identified three areas for further study and evidence gathering. These are (i) Advocacy and communication tools; (ii) Media outreach and training; and (iii) Youth engagement in agriculture.The in-depth study found that impact was evident to various degrees in all five of the impact categories, namely (i) material wealth/wealth creation; (ii) empowerment/political capital, (iii) social capital, (iv) human capital/technical empowerment, and (v) the environment/sustainable use of resources. Most of the impact was evident in the empowerment, social capital and human capital categories. This is understandable given the mandate and strategic focus of FANRPAN on policy research, capacity building, and communication and advocacy.