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Institution: Freelance Consultant
Louise Shaxson is an agricultural economist, currently managing a research portfolio for DFID that develops socio-economic methodologies for projects and programmes with a natural resources (NR) research focus. She is particularly interested in: developing cost effective methods for collecting and analysing trustworthy information, merging qualitative and quantitative techniques; improving methods for dissemination of NR research results; developing better methods for understanding equity issues in linking research, productivity and poverty; improving techniques for assessing impact of NR research; and developing a better understanding of how to incorporate policy and institutional issues into NR projects and programmes.
Title: Indicating the exit: towards a holistic framework for monitoring agricultural research.
Moving towards an explicit poverty focus brings new challenges for monitoring and evaluation of international agricultural research. From project to program, with a heterogeneous stakeholder base, and with various institutional setups, donors need to be able to check progress towards achieving poverty-related goals and ultimately to link this to the DAC targets. Achievements in sectors other than agriculture may determine the uptake of natural resources research results, but there is little guidance on how to improve intersectoral collaboration, let alone monitor it. Joint problem definition is a start, but it is difficult for donors to find indicators that can be linked across the range of agricultural and other research activities they commission.
This paper will show that it is both necessary and possible to derive and manage a simple but meaningful series of indicators of progress towards the DAC targets for any portfolio of agricultural research projects. Within DFID, discussions about monitoring the Sustainable Livelihoods framework have centered on the need to take a very long-term approach to monitoring and to understand the institutional consequences. More importantly, it has been realized that actively managing this process of developing poverty-related indicators could significantly improve intersectoral and inter-institutional collaboration.