Collaborative monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment: Experiences assessing the impact of improved fallows and biomass transfer in western Kenya
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Franzel, Steven; Nanok, Tutui; Wangia, Sabina. 2008. Collaborative monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment: Experiences assessing the impact of improved fallows and biomass transfer in western Kenya. Experimental Agriculture. 44: 113-127.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/76151
There is considerable literature available on assessing the impact of rural innovations from the perspective of a particular discipline, e.g., economics or sociology, and from the farmers’ own perspective, e.g., participatory monitoring and evaluation. But little has been written about collaborative monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment, that is, how a group of diverse stakeholder organizations working in a particular location promoting similar innovations can work together to monitor and evaluate their work and assess their impact. The objective of this paper is to assess the experience of 30 organizations working together over a four year period, 1999-2003, to assess their impact in helping farmers to develop, adapt and adopt two soil fertility practices aimed at improving household livelihoods in western Kenya. The two practices were biomass transfer (cutting leaves and applying them as green manure) and improved fallows (enriching or replacing natural fallows with planted, nitrogen-fixing shrubs). Researchers of ICRAF, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), and the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) in partnership with farmers developed the practices in the mid-1990s, in response to farmers’ soil fertility problems and their lack of cash for buying mineral fertilizer. The following section describes the study area, and research and dissemination activities concerning the two practices. Next the collaborative exercises on monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment are described, followed by the results of the assessments of biomass transfer and improved fallows. Finally, the impact of these exercises is discussed, highlighting the effect of the process and findings on the participating organizations.