STAKEHOLDERS in the agriculture sector were recently sensitised on the importance of continuously assessing the impact of their work programmes against the overall national targets.
This came out at a recent three-day workshop that was facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Maseru.
The workshop was part of a global capacity development initiative called Advancing Knowledge for Agricultural Impact (AVANTI). AVANTI aims to strengthen the government's ability to measure progress and report against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and government priorities in the agriculture sector.
AVANTI is a global initiative funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) which works with national partners to facilitate systematic self-assessments (AG-Scans) of different countries' capacities to manage results in the agricultural sector.
AVANTI also aims to strengthen governments' ability to report against the SDGs through improved monitoring, evaluation, reporting and learning capacities; adopting a Management for Development Results (MfDR) approach.
AVANTI is a global initiative which aims to cover 16 countries across all IFAD regions by 2021.
The stakeholders who attended the workshop included representatives of the Ministry of Development Planning, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Small Business and the Ministry of Forestry.
One of the participants at the workshop, Phomolo Lebotsa from the Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP) under the Ministry of Agriculture, said organisations can better manage their operations using self-assessment results.
"This is basically a self-assessment initiative in which agriculture stakeholders deliberate on their monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that help to see whether or not they are still on the right track towards producing the desired results," Mr Lebotsa said.
"For instance, our mandate is to boost the economic and climate resilience of wool and mohair producers against the effects of climate change. So, we have to assess whether or not our work programmes are answering the overall objective of the project."
Mr Lebotsa further said waiting until the end of any project before assessing its impact will not allow for changes that could have otherwise improved progress towards the goal.
"Continuously assessing our progress can help to plan better by making changes that may be necessary when we discover that we are no longer on track.
"However, importantly our agricultural programmes have to be assessed to ensure that they are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."
While he could not speak for other stakeholders, he also said WAMP is well-oriented to monitor and evaluate its work programmes against the Project's main goal. He said they have a dedicated office dealing with measuring the impact of their programmes.
He added the workshop would lead to the development of an action plan on how to enhance national capacities for results-based management in the agriculture sector.
"The results of these self-assessments will be captured in national action plans with suggested areas of action that can be used by governments, IFAD (through its country strategic planning) and or to plan coordinated actions with other development partners," Mr Lebotsa said.