GAIN Working Paper 29 : Using a Programme Impact Pathway To Design, Monitor & Evaluate Interventions To Commercialise Biofortified Crops & Foods

Valerie M Friesen, Bho Mudyahoto, Ekin Birol, Annette M Nyangaresi, Byron Reyes, Mduduzi NN Mbuya
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), HarvestPlus

Using a theory of change (TOC; a simplified definition of how and why an intervention is expected to work) or a programme impact pathway (PIP; a more detailed description of the causal pathways through which an intervention is delivered) to guide design, monitoring, and evaluation efforts is increasingly being used across various nutrition interventions, yet there are few documented examples in biofortification programmes.

During the inception phase of the Commercialisation of Biofortified Crops (CBC) programme, which aims to scale up production and consumption of biofortified foods in six countries in Africa and Asia, a PIP was developed and used to inform the design of commercialisation strategies and their monitoring and evaluation. The objective of this paper is to describe that process.

Using a generic TOC for biofortification as a starting point, we developed detailed PIPs for each of the nine country-crop combinations. Within each PIP, there is identified the commercial pathway(s) and we see selected the one(s) with the most potential for impact. Identified then is the binding constraint along each pathway and a set of activities and resources to tackle it. This process formed the basis of the country-crop commercialisation strategies and associated workplans.

Additionally, we see developed a monitoring reference manual that included a set of standardised indicators mapped to the PIP and detailed indicator reference sheets. These tools have been contextualised for each country-crop combination and formed the basis of the programme’s monitoring and evaluation plans. Using a PIP to guide the development of programme strategies and measurement of achievements is good practice to ensure that programmes have high potential for impact and that relevant information needed to understand the evolution of results along the PIP is collected throughout programme implementation.

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The key messages contained in this paper are: 

• Using a PIP to guide programme design, monitoring, and evaluation can help ensure programmes have high potential for impact and collect information needed to understand not only what impacts are achieved but also how or why impacts are or are not achieved.

• Making a PIP central to the programme strategy design process sets up a framework for intentional learning by creating opportunities to rethink targets, interrogate or verify assumptions, and ask questions about what will result from specific actions and whether they will trigger the expected responses.

• Using a set of standardised indicators across all nine CBC country-crop programmes was crucial for guiding and standardising data collection and analysis methods and tools and made it possible to collate results across countries to create one global impact story and enable cross-country learning.


Related Resources : 

GAIN Working paper 28 : Developing strategies to commercialise biofortified crops and foods

GAIN discussion paper 11 : Commercialising public agricultural technologies and goods

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