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 SPC

CTA and SPC have a long working relationship spanning over 15 years. In 2012, CTA commenced an evaluation of the work it had undertaken with several partners such as SPC in the ACP region. This Report documents the findings of an Impact Evaluation of capacity development activities provided by CTA for the Pacific region over the last 10 years through SPC, namely its Land Resources Division (LRD).The objectives of the Evaluation were:To evaluate the impact of CTA funded activities in the (Pacific) region;To capture learnings that might better inform future collaboration with CTA and more broadly the shape of any partnership;To test and draw learnings from a new evaluation tool – the “Capacity-Centred Impact Pathway Analysis (CcIPA)” or “the 5C’s tool” designed by CTA. This tool was used in similar evaluations in at least 12 other ACP institutions.Measuring development impacts, especially for capacity development is not always an easy task. There are often resource and time constraints. There are also definitional issues to contend with as well as attribution. There are however a range of tools in place that guide evaluation. A key challenge then is often the choice of tools that might fit the context of the intervention itself.
A key attraction for SPC in this exercise was the utilisation of a new tool. In essence, the 5C provides a potential complementary tool – alongside other M&E tools and practices – to measuring impact. The 5C premise was that organisational (or individual) competencies need to be accounted for as they had a bearing on impact. While not an entirely new concept, the attraction for SPC lay in the processes that would centre an evaluation focus on the capacities of a still evolving regional institution like SPC.The key finding from this Evaluation is that the impact of CTA funded activities has been overall positive especially where activities were catalytic to continuous work. Two such areas was IKM/Web 2.0 training and the creation of a new Pacific agricultural network (PAFPNet). Both activities helped improve regional capacity but also allowed SPC to attract external funding.
Today both activities are delivered by SPC on a programmatic basis. What was valuable with the 5C was that it was able to identify and expand these additional benefits beyond what was envisaged in the ‘traditional’ logical framework approach. At the same time, there were activities that were not part of in-depth analyses that have, for some reason or other, not continued. Many of these were short, one-off type activities. This suggests that there are other drivers that complement the capacity analysis that need looking at. One such ‘driver’ was the design. Many short-term or one-off type activities lost visibility very quickly or were not sustained. This also points to the need for stronger inclusiveness in the way activities are designed and reviewed. Many of these improvements are by nature “process-centric”. The good news is that both institutions are already strengthening arrangements as to how it works together. A new strategic MOU for both parties was signed in December 2014. A new 2-year cost-sharing IKM Partnership has followed on from the MOU and is already providing more scope for cooperation and strategic development.There are learnings from the new 5C tool itself. The sharper focus on wider organisational capabilities was very useful. It provided a broader context for evaluating impact and promoted respondents to discuss and revisit systemic issues within the organisation. This helped reveal additional impacts during the in-depth stage. The key lesson being the broader analysis by the 5C tool can have a value-add to logical frameworks impact measures that are established at the outset. LRD scored well in its 5C’s, scoring between 3 to 4 – out of a possible score of 5 across five capacities. While this is not intended as complete assessment of SPC’s institutional capacity, it was very valuable as an evaluation tool in casting a broader discussion on context. There is a lot to utilise with the 5C tool and SPC could incorporate elements of this tool in its M&E systems. Perhaps a most welcoming feature was the 5C’s empowering approach. SPC as the benefactor drove the process, its consultations and discussed learning.