QED is committed to supporting sustainable agricultural solutions around the world through a variety of development programs. Focusing on incorporating innovative Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) tools, developing sustainable performance management systems, and generating quality data for better decision-making, QED works to improve program impact and drive better outcomes in agricultural development and food security. Below are a few highlights of our work in this area:
- QED works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service to deliver Results Oriented Management Services focused on generating and using high-quality data from program monitoring and evaluation to drive decision-making. In Armenia, QED conducted evaluations of six long-standing projects spanning agricultural finance, higher education, food safety, animal husbandry, private sector development and national statistics. QED also developed a strategic framework and M&E Plan for the joint USDA/FAS and Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Animal Health programs in the former Soviet Union countries of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan to support the critical area of biological threat identification and risk mitigation. Next, QED provided an evaluation spanning 10 years of programming under the U.S. China Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program. QED most recently completed the implementation of the McGovern-Dole Learning Agenda on School Feeding and Literacy, providing evaluation and research services to use evidence, evaluation, and research to improve program outcomes and strategic decision-making.
- In Iraq, QED conducted a final performance evaluation to determine the management capacity and the effectiveness of the USAID Inma Agribusiness Program, which was a large scale strategy to support multiple value chains and provide business development services. USAID extend Inma by a year and used the evaluation to assist in programmatic and management adjustments to improve Inma’s performance to achieve the goals USAID has set for it. Focusing on promoting sustained growth of the agricultural sector and increasing employment and incomes, the team identified competitive commodities with a high potential for growth, targeted policy reform needs, and highlighted organizational capacity building weaknesses.
- QED conducted a performance evaluation of the long-standing Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteer agricultural support project. QED provided guidance on the design of the next phase of the program and opportunities to strengthen the program. This program evaluation considered whether implementing partners met their goals and targets for fielding volunteers and increasing agricultural production, and made recommendations to improve performance. It also considered how to select appropriate indicators to demonstrate program impact.
- For its AERI Business Development Services project in Egypt, QED incorporated a performance management system that focused on achieving demonstrable results. QED designed its performance-based management system following assessments of the gaps in the horticultural and dairy value chains in Upper Egypt, and of the demand for credit services to finance growth in these sectors. The performance management system included a results framework that showed the linkages between project outcomes such as improved business management capacity of small rural suppliers to the result of the availability of higher quality seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers available to smallholders—and how this strengthened the value chain as a whole. QED was able to prove that over the life of the project, our work resulted in the facilitation of more than $5 million of commercial transactions between national input suppliers and local input suppliers, and the development of 5 new loan products applicable for smallholders and other value chain stakeholders, and the issuance of more than $1 million in loans to smallholder farmers.
- QED developed the performance management system for the Agribusiness Market and Support Activity (AMARTA) project in Indonesia, creating an approach that directed the project’s planning toward demonstrating impact. The flexible approach also allowed the team flexibility to develop specific project indicators that would be customized to the value chains in which the project would work. QED developed a data collection system that included the full participation of project beneficiaries in providing required information. Using this approach, as the project entered into grant agreements, it included performance management reporting requirements for all its partners.
- QED supports the USAID Bureau for Food Security (BFS) through the Feed the Future Knowledge Driven Agricultural Development (FTF KDAD) contract. FTF KDAD provides cutting edge knowledge management strategic communications, and training solutions to facilitate learning within FTF BFS’ food security community and activities. Other project stakeholders include the Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research (LER) and the Office of Microenterprise and Private Enterprise Promotion (MPEP). FTF KDAD project applies an innovative and customer-oriented approach to buy-ins, which over time will learn from each other and accelerate best practice based on collective experience. The contract uses 3 types of Grants-Under-Contract (GUCs)—Knowledge Grants, Innovation Grants, and Local Grants— to incentivize grantees to develop into learning organizations, as well as facilitate a learning network. Among grantees with in-person meetings, online discussions, and communities of practice built around shared learning agendas. As a subcontractor on FTF KDAD, QED helps to develop and manage technologies and networks that facilitate partner engagement and the adoption of learning. This includes employing adult learning techniques to develop and deliver training courses, organizing and facilitating seminars and online events, developing technical knowledge and research briefs that elucidate policy and programming implications, and managing websites and knowledge sharing platforms such as Agrilinks, the hub which facilitates engagement within the broader agriculture and food security community.