Sustainable Capacity Strengthening: ARCN, IFPRI Train Niger State Ministry Staff on MEL

From 25 to 27 September 2019, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Specialists from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), delivered a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) training for 27 staff of Niger State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (NAMDA) (21 males, seven females).

The objectives of the MEL training were to equip selected staff of NAMDA with the knowledge of basic concepts of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) in line with the results of an earlier Organization Performance Index (OPI) done by IFPRI for the ministry. It was also meant to demonstrate ARCN’s enhanced institutional ability in the area of MEL, building on earlier capacity building activities IFPRI has already done with the Council on various areas, including MEL.

The training was delivered using a well-developed project MEL training material. Key messages communicated to participants included the basic concepts and principle of M&E, concepts of target setting, baseline and how to frame indicators. Other topics covered in the training include: the stages in the M&E system; development of the M&E plan with special attention to the development of frameworks; managing performance data; threats to data quality and how to overcome such threats; making data usable; and using data for decision making. The training was participatory and tailored towards the ministry’s needs, with the use of hypothetical agricultural activities as case studies.

Participants agreed that the training was an eye opener and validated their past and current activities. They acknowledged that they now understood the concepts of M&E and why it should be embedded in their various activities.

The Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and jointly implemented by Michigan State University and IFPRI’s Nigeria Strategy Support Program.

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