Resilience in Nicaragua: Impact evaluation of climate change adaptation among small scale producers | Agriculture | Ecological Resilience

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This evaluation is presented as part of the Effectiveness Review Series 2014/15, selected for review under the resilience thematic area. The report documents the findings of a quasi-experimental evaluation carried out in December 2014 that sought to assess the impact of the climate change adaptation among small scale producers project. The project was carried about by Oxfam in partnership with the Centro para la Promoción, la Investigación y el Desarrollo Rural y Social (CIPRES) in the department of Chinandega between January 2011 and October 2013. This project aimed to improve small producers’ understanding of and ability to adapt to climate change, especially by providing training and inputs to improve seed selection, grain storage and livestock management, and to encourage protection of the local environment. In its later stages, the project also helped direct participants share their learning with other cooperative members and their neighbours. For more information, the data for this effectiveness review is available through the UK Data Service. Read more about the Oxfam Effectiveness Reviews. 
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  EFFECTIVENESS REVIEW SERIES ‘enhancing effectiveness through evidence-based learning’  EFFECTIVENESS REVIEW SERIES 2014/15: AFGHANISTAN BANGLADESH CAMBODIA CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLICCHAD ETHIOPIA LEBANON NICARAGUA PAKISTAN PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINES (humanitarian) POLICY & PRACTICE WEBSITE SOMALIA SOUTH SUDAN   TANZANIA THAILAND UGANDA YEMEN This project arose from a concern that the impact of climate change on rural livelihoods in the north-west of Nicaragua was becoming more severe, with increased patterns of irregular rainfall and prolonged dry seasons leading to soil degradation, the emergence of new crop diseases, and food crises. The project aimed to improve small producers’ understanding of and ability to adapt to climate change, in the department of Chinandega. Project activities were implemented by Oxfam in partnership with the Centro para la Promoción, la Investigación y el Desarrollo Rural y Social (CIPRES). Project participants – almost all of whom were women in producer cooperatives – received a programme of support, including training on improved techniques for crop production and soil management, on the selection and storage of seeds, on livestock management, and on protection of the local environment. Project participants were also provided with seeds and tools, as well as metal silos for grain storage, biodigesters, and ecological latrines, to further support experimentation and adaptation in productive activities. In its later stages, the project encouraged direct participants to share their learning with other cooperative members and their neighbours. Climate change adaptation among small scale producers Project date: January 2011 – October 2013Evaluation: December 2014Publication: December 2015 Resilience Nicaragua2014/15 Map of Nicaragua. Chinandega where project activities were implemented and the Effectiveness Review was conducted, is indicated in red.  Results Evaluation Method Full version of this report and more information can be found at Oxfam’s Policy and Practice website: www.oxfam.org.uk/effectiveness For more information, contact Oxfam’s Programme Quality Team - ppat@oxfam.org.uk The review sought to evaluate the impact that the project had on both direct project participants, and on other women members of the same local cooperatives (indirect beneciaries). Considering the indirect beneciaries allowed the review to assess whether the project created ‘spillover’ effects. A ‘quasi-experimental’ evaluation design was used whereby data from interviews with both direct and indirect beneciary households, and with households from nearby communities who had not been supported by the project, were analysed using propensity-score matching and multivariate regression. See the document ‘How are effectiveness reviews carried out?’ for more information on evaluation design. Full details about the specic evaluation design used in this case are contained in the full report of the Effectiveness Review. Going forward The main learning points from the review will be incorporated into current and future projects in Nicaragua. Learning related to women’s empowerment, local advocacy and risk management will be applied to a current project that strengthens livelihoods for food security and climate change adaptation. The results of the review will also be shared with Oxfam staff and partners involved in the Alternative Rural Economy programme, to improve future interventions. Building resilience necessitates a ‘systems thinking’ approach that works at different levels and with multiple focuses/actions, so new projects will explicitly adopt this framework during the design phase. In particular, the review revealed the need to improve strategies for indirect outcomes, especially by establishing partners in local surroundings, and improving access to other resources and capacities. This may affect Oxfam’s role in similar projects, in terms of the overall balance between technical assistance and forging relations with external actors. The review also identied how to develop aspects of women’s empowerment alongside resilience, demonstrating that issues such as workload, leadership, decision-making and control over nancial resources should be addressed at both the household and the system/organisation level. Finally, the review motivated future assessments of similar projects to help identify, design and implement the specic strategies that should be incorporated into future projects, particularly with regard to partners, the sustainability of outcomes, and women’s empowerment. Photo credit: Javier Mondragón/Nueva LUZ   Evidence of positive impact on: Commentary Livelihood viability Project outcome Main evidence of impact on crop diversication and improved agricultural practices, among both direct project participants and other cooperative members.Innovation potential Direct project participants had improved understanding of climate change and were more likely to adopt new practices or initiatives, but spillovers to the other cooperative members were limited. Access to contingency resources and supportNo evidence of change in savings, access to remittances or state support, or grain storage, even though the latter was directly connected to the project logic. YesNoNo Integrity of natural and built environmentEvidence among both direct project participants and other cooperative members of increased tree planting.Social and institutional capabilityStrong evidence of increased involvement in risk management and emergency preparedness committees as well as knowledge of risk management plan for both direct project participants and other cooperative members.  Agricultural activities Evidence that the project increased the amount of land households devoted to kitchen gardens and forest-pasture. Also increased use of organic fertilisers and crop rotation/mulching practices. YesYesMixedDietary diversity Evidence of increased consumption of fruit and vegetables. YesDirect project participants?Other cooperative members?YesYesNoYesYesMixedYesWomen’s empowerment Limited evidence that direct project participants were more involved in decisions around agricultural practices, but no evidence that women were more empowered over nancial issues. No evidence that women’s time use was affected by the project. NoVery limitedYes Linked to project logic YesYesNoResilience
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