Bench-marking performance in agricultural transformation (BPaT) tool

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A new tool for measuring organizational contribution to sustainable agricultural policy reform systems

To create systemic impact, capacity development interventions often target key actors due to the roles they perform. For example, agriculture policy reform projects are frequently designed to build the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture as well as non-state actor (NSA) coalitions. However, existing assessment tools for organizational development, such as an organizational capacity assessment (OCA) or the organizational performance index (OPI), lack a mechanism to measure organizational contribution to broader systemic change. In addition, the traditional tools to assess capacity are often resource intensive, costly and expend significant social capital on behalf of the organization being assessed. While OCAs can be useful to help identify capacity gaps, they are ineffective as a monitoring tool to assess change over time. For example, a recent study by USAID’s E3 bureau discourages comparisons of repeat OCA scores to monitor and evaluate capacity development activities, as this approach can jeopardize the willingness of client organizations to discuss weaknesses.

To better understand how our partners were fulfilling their roles in policy reform systems and assess change at the organizational level, Africa Lead created a new Benchmarking Performance in Agricultural Transformation (BPAT) tool. The BPAT tool evaluates organizational contribution to M&E, evidence-based adaptation, investment attraction, inclusiveness, and coordination in agricultural transformation. These five themes are grounded in an extensive literature review of the existing research, and the available evidence of critical factors that contribute to sustainable food security policy reform systems. In fact, many theories, tools and indicators already exist for assessing policy systems and evaluating change. For example, the Africa Lead team reviewed the CAADP Results Framework, the USAID Global Food Security Strategy, the IFPRI Kaleidoscope Model, methodologies of BFS technical partners such as FSP and AGRA, and the Institutional Architecture Framework developed by Africa Lead. Given these existing sets of tools, the Africa Lead team piloted the BPAT as a tool to assess organizational and network capacity to influence change at the system-level, based on concepts prioritized in the Malabo commitments and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.