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 RUFORUM

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) established in 2004 is a consortium of 32 member universities in 18 countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA). RUFORUM’s mandate is to oversee graduate training and networks in the region. RUFORUM and the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), have collaborated over the last 10 years during which they have undertaken several partnership activities.
In 2012 CTA’s Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation (LME) initiated a joint impact study with a view to assess outcomes and impacts of the Centre’s technical and financial support to its long-standing partners. RUFORUM actively took part in the CTA Joint Capacity Centred Impact Pathway Analysis (CcIPA) study between October 2012 and February 2014. The overall aim of the study was to promote learning for development impact within CTA and its ACP partner organisations and networks.
The study was undertaken using the CcIPA model developed by CTA1 in collaboration with nine organisations2 as well as a team of experts from the Centre for Development Innovation - Wageningen University (CDI-WUR), the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), MDF, and independent consultants based in UK and The Netherlands. CcIPA is an innovative synthesis model based on the premise that the performance and impact of organisations or networks depend to a large extent on the state of their core capabilities.
CcIPA is a participatory impact pathway analysis model drawing on the best aspects of various existing tools and methods, mainly the logical framework, and the 5 Capabilities (5Cs) model.
The study was implemented in two phases namely, the quick scan and the in-depth study. Implementation of the quick scan involved the application of the logical framework and 5Cs model.The development of this synthesis model has been proposed and led by Ibrahim Khadar, in collaboration with the participants at the three preparatory meetings held at CTA’s headquarters in Wageningen, the Netherlands; as well as during preparatory consultations in May 2013 in Kigali and Nairobi for implementation of the quick scans, and the progress review meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe in June 2013.
African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE), Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN), Eastern African Farmers Federation (EAFF), Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC), Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KENFAP), Rwanda Telecentre Network (RTN) and RUFORUM.This yielded a completed logical framework and capacity evaluation matrix showing: the immediate outputs at RUFORUM as a direct result of the partnership activities with CTA; changes in RUFORUM’s capability to relate, act, deliver, adapt, and achieve coherence, all of which together constitute an organisation’s capacity; and outcomes at direct beneficiary and indirect beneficiary levels. The quick scan helped in identifying the focus area for the in-depth study. The quick scan was conducted between April and August 2013 and a separate report submitted to CTA. This report presents the methodology and findings of the in-depth study.The second phase, the in-depth study, focused on an assessment of changes in skills of RUFORUM alumni and the effects on their careers and work performance. Data collection for the in-depth study involved a desk study of relevant documents, key informant interviews and an online electronic survey targeted to all RUFORUM alumni who participated in RUFORUM-CTA joint training events. Data collection, analysis, and reporting for the in-depth study was structured around and guided by impact categories and dimensions.Findings reveal that CTA supported RUFORUM joint interventions for strengthening capacity, through short skills courses and exposure events which triggered outcomes and impacts at individual and institutional level. The support that CTA provided to RUFORUM with partnership agreements valued at 932,561 Euros between 2006 and 2012 has contributed towards strengthening the capacity of the RUFORUM secretariat as well as member universities.
At RUFORUM secretariat level, the greatest change was the capability to act, followed by the capability to relate. Partnerships between the secretariat, member universities, and other institutions have been strengthened and it was noted that effective networking is at the core of ensuring visibility, resource mobilisation and consequently its sustainability.
At the direct beneficiary level (member universities as well as individual staff and RUFORUM alumni) the most significant changes were recorded in human capital, social capital, political capital, and wealth impact domains, in that order of predominance. The interventions have improved the competence of individuals in various areas and also stimulated changes in professional discourse, notably with respect to agricultural innovation systems (AIS), as well as leadership and management. With respect to the wealth capital category, the strengthened capacity to write winning research proposals has enabled most RUFORUM alumni to win competitive grants, thereby increasing competitiveness of the network. The strengthened capacity in scientific data management, as well scientific writing and communication in universities, is noted to have facilitated students to publish their research. The interventions have facilitated staff and RUFORUM alumni to widen their contacts and establish relationships with other scientists and actors, thereby impacting on the social capital category. The publications enhance visibility in the professional arena while one in every four alumni has received recognition for exemplary work.The CTA-RUFORUM joint short skills, coupled with interventions in projects implemented by RUFORUM and other partners, have stimulated and influenced changes through the policy dimension, thereby creating impacts in the political impact category. Key among these is the development of ICT policies in RUFORUM member universities, institutionalisation of a mid-career training course in universities, development of new courses, as well as mainstreaming of AIS in existing courses, and making the short skills courses an integral part of graduate student training at University of Nairobi and Makerere University.The short skills courses and exposure events greatly contributed to acquisition of skill and competence sets which are vital in RUFORUM as well as for meeting labour markets needs in the agricultural sector. The interventions are very useful in imparting students with skills to effectively work and survive in the world of work, produce quality products and engage stakeholders to realise a vibrant agricultural sector. The combined outcomes and impacts at individual and institutional level further enhance capacity of the network. The authors of the study thus conclude that joint implementation yields greater dividends to partners in terms of strengthened capacities at individual and institutional level, and greater linkages, partnerships and networking. It’s our view that support to these interventions through CTA-RUFORUM partnerships activities should continue. However CTA needs to also include some support for administration costs for the institutions implementing the activities, and both organisations need to invest more time on the partnerships.
Findings revealed that most RUFORUM alumni have not produced communication products which target the end users and actors in the uptake pathways. This area needs further emphasis as it is critical for enhancing uptake of research results and up-scaling use.Key lessons from the study include: (i) Pegging some data collection for CcIPA to other evaluative activities in the organisation helps to rationalise resources. However success in this case requires good coordination and involvement of the CcIPA resource person in design of the data collection tools for other evaluative activities to ensure that information of interest is captured; (ii) The external evaluator engaged for the CcIPA study needs to have good knowledge about the organisation as the organisational memory is critical in identifying and assembling relevant documents and retracing changes in a relatively short period of time.