New tool to measure resilience and report impact across CGIAR research programs

April 20, 2015

 

By Marianne Gadeberg, originally published at CGIAR WLE

Implicit in all development work is the quest for impact. Positively influencing livelihoods, landscapes and ecosystems is the goal of our work. Effecting such changes is known to require long-term, collaborative efforts, yet many development interventions take place within limited timeframes and scopes.

This is where many development practitioners are faced with a conundrum: how to measure results, and satisfy donors’ and funders’ demand for impact reporting, when the typical three-year development project has long expired by the time impacts emerge?

One group of researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems; the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security; and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry set out to develop a tool that would allow for measuring results as far along the chain of change as possible, but that wouldn’t place significant additional monitoring or administrative burdens on the project manager.

Measuring resilience

A farmer fertilizing his rice field in Rammang-rammang village, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Resilience is a key term when it comes to facing climate change in agriculture. Photo: Tri Saputro/CIFOR

A farmer fertilizing his rice field in Rammang-rammang village, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Resilience is a key term when it comes to facing climate change in agriculture. Photo: Tri Saputro/CIFOR

They explored the concept of resilience in the context of agriculture, making the basic assumption that an improvement in ecosystem resilience equals impact and will ultimately yield an improvement in human well-being. The result is a recently published tool, which enables implementers of development interventions to track and monitor any changes in resilience.

Download the tool: A Monitoring Instrument for Resilience

Along with changes to ecosystem services, the tool proposes two other ‘categories’ of project outcomes that underpin farm-level resilience: increasing capacity of people to adapt and enhanced livelihoods and farm functioning.

Terry Hills, lead author of the publication detailing the tool, explains: “The hazards that test the resilience of a system—for example the sudden flood that destroys a farmer’s crop—is unlikely to be experienced during the lifetime of a project. What you need to measure are the factors that underpin resilience, such as people’s capacity to adapt. If your project outcomes have positive effects on these factors, then you can talk about having achieved impact.”

Read full blog at CGIAR WLE

 

 

 

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