FARA's Networking Support Functions

FARA has developed four Networking Support Functions (NSFs) that correspond to the results FARA wants to achieve. The NSFs support the SROs in strengthening Africa’s capacity for agricultural innovation.

Each NSF builds appropriate outcome-based indicators into their work plans, as well as an operational plan that reflects its role within FARA’s overall Strategic Plan.

The delegation of FARA's work to the NSFs promotes CAADP's agenda and objectives in a manner consistent with FAAP. The activities undertaken within the NSFs complies with the principles of subsidiarity, with decisions and actions taken at the lowest appropriate level.

The four NSFs deemed necessary and sufficient for FARA to be able to deliver the results of this Strategic Plan are listed below.

NSF1/3:  Advocacy and policy – Supports the SROs and their constituent NARS in establishing appropriate institutional and organisational arrangements for regional ARD (including conducive research infrastructure and policy and financial environments).

NSF2: Access to knowledge and technologies – Empowers researchers and end users by providing them with access to information, learning opportunities, and new technologies. This is achieved through mechanisms for exchange of technology-based innovations and information both within and between sub-regions, and through decision-making tools designed to transform information into knowledge that can be used for innovation.

NSF4: Capacity strengthening – Ensures that Africa has the human and institutional capacity in public, private and civil society organisations and institutions for innovations needed to ensure the achievement of improved and broad-based agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets. This is essential if the African Vision of a 6% annual growth in agricultural production is to be achieved.

NSF5: Partnerships and strategic alliances – Catalyses and facilitates the establishment of partnerships that bring together the range of expertise and capacity needed to achieve FARA’s objectives. These partnerships draw on all FARA stakeholders, both African and non-African, depending on the task at hand. They create capacity for agricultural innovation which, linked with the other supporting functions, improves the efficacy and impact of African ARD.

 

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)

In order to track and report progress and achievement of results, FARA needs a robust monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system. Moreover, because FARA is expected to deliver results through a network of implementing partners over whom it does not have direct control, an all-inclusive stakeholder consultation process was necessary to define the institutional architecture and operational modalities for the FARA M&E system. The two long-term objectives of this system are:

  1. Enhancing FARA’S accountability to stakeholders
  2. Enhancing FARA’s performance as an apex organisation for coordinating agricultural research, extension, education and training for development in Africa

By conducting ex-ante evaluation through project appraisal, tracking and reporting on the implementation of various initiatives, FARA provides timely information to its investors on the likely returns on their investments. Likewise, by analysing and documenting the outcomes and impacts of investment in its work, FARA provides investors with information on actual return on investment.

FARA enhances its performance by identifying the key result areas on organisational performance and their associated indicators. By focusing on organisational performance rather than the usual ‘bean counting’, analyses by the FARA M&E Unit facilitate organisational lessons learnt for performance improvement. The lessons learning activities inform the design of new interventions by the Secretariat and other members of the Forum, in addition to catalysing the necessary adjustments to ongoing initiatives to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

Activities of the M&E Unit are organised around three result areas.

  1. Establishing appropriate M&E systems at all levels
  2. Strengthening the M&E capacity of CAADP Pillar IV institutions
  3. Establishing outcomes and impacts of investments in agricultural research, extension, education and training

 The approved FARA M&E Strategy document is attached.