Ministry does post-mortem on programs

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) is deep in self-reflection, after two days of a self-assessment workshop organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 

Facilitated by Jesper Elias Lauridsen and Vishal Gadhavi, the workshop is designed to allow small groups of stakeholders reflect on the sector, and honestly assess its gaps, weaknesses and successes. 

Sector and stakeholder representatives have been analysing their current tools and capacities for measuring progress and results, in an effort to better report against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as meeting donor requirements, and simply understand their own work. 

Mr Lauridsen is a governance and peace policy advisor from the international non-governmental organisation Helvetas. He said customising the workshop to meet a Samoan context has made this workshop successful.

“We’ve had  excellent government buy-in, which is what is needed to make this work,” he said.

Consultant Mr Gadhavi is from ITAD, a monitoring and evaluation specialist firm working in development. He said the participation shows a real willingness to improve the sector’s results based management.

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“Self-assessment requires honesty, and we’ve seen a lot of people speaking up which is great,” he said.

Mr Gadhavi said when the workshop split into small discussion groups, people contributed greatly to sharing their perspectives on the sector’s strengths and weaknesses.

Today (Thursday) is the last day of the workshop, and by the end the participants should have drawn up a draft action plan, which should accurately draw on what needs to happen alongside what resources are available.

“It’s about optimising available resources, how best to use those resources,” said Mr Gadhavi 

“Results based management is not an IT system you plug into a computer. It’s a culture, it’s a mind-set.”

Being able to clearly reflect on how well the sector is doing to achieve its goals will not only help the sector go forward, but also demonstrate to funding partners it is serious about development.

“With this, donors will be able to see a commitment, that you value the agenda,” said Mr Lauridsen. 

Mr Lauridsen and Mr Gadhavi alongside IFAD will run this sector self-assessment workshop in 14 more countries in the next two years, as part of a global capacity development initiative called AVANTI (Advancing Knowledge for Agricultural Impact).

 They had already run the workshops in Peru before coming here to Samoa.

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