The proposal from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for their Agriculture for Basic Needs (A4N) project should not be funded. Although CRS includes meaningful participation mechanisms in program implementation and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) procedures, certain critical aspects of the project remain unclear and this is too large of a risk for a grant of this size.
CRS proposed a three-year, four-country project with a $15 million budget. A4N intends to combat food insecurity in rural communities in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua by implementing programs that address poor crop and livestock yields. This builds from previous complementary HGBF programming in the region, Mi Cuenca, which cultivated…show more content… Participatory Mechanisms
Here, participation is defined as: the local population’s (targeted community) involvement, in addition to relevant local stakeholders, in the creation, content, and distribution of tools and resources to shape their lives and achieve their own goals.
The program design has some mechanisms for participation, but the problems and objectives have largely been determined by CRS. CRS lists “shrinking plot size, unsustainable agricultural practices, poor soil, water shortages, increasing severe weather events, and rising costs for agricultural inputs” as key problems facing smallholder farm families. These key problems are seen as drivers of malnutrition and reduced resiliency and ability to cope with natural disasters at the household level, which weaken innovation, agricultural productivity and sustainable practices, access to financial services, market engagement, and the capacity of organizations at the community level. CRS expects that members of targeted communities can help develop objectives and goals to achieve CRS’s objectives through participation and therefore representation in the baseline assessment and also engagement in dialogue to develop community targets.
During Year Zero, CRS’s baseline assessments in the target communities will determine needs, strategize and tailor programming, and develop target goals and indicators. After, A4N will foster community savings