According to the Rapid Institutional Capacity Assessment (RICA) that CDSF conducted in 2016, Technical Committees (TCs) that were established for effective implementation of the Agricultural Growth Program (AGP) were not able to carry out their mandates properly. As in other regions, the TCs in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) did not conduct regular meetings, agendas were not well planned and participation in the meetings was very low. On top of this, there is high turnover of TC members and the integration between the TC members at higher and lower level implementing agencies (IAs) is poor.
Most TC members do not have access to important guiding AGP documents such as the Project Implementation Manual (PIM) or Terms of References (ToRs). These would have helped them to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. TC were not able to provide timely supervision or supportive follow up, and Monitoring and Evaluation activities were often lacking. In short, TCs were not effectively playing their coordination role as indicated in the PIM.
To develop the capacity of the TCs, CDSF designed, developed and delivered training for regional & zonal TC members in the region. The training was rolled out to the zonal and most woredas TC members. The topics of the ToT included: AGP2 program overview, roles and responsibilities of TCs, ToR preparation, cross-cutting issues and effective meeting procedures and communication skills. The training also focused on adult education techniques and facilitation skills to support cascading the training to woredas and kebeles.
A total of 744 (121 women) TC members attended the training delivered from region to woreda level. After the training, the regional AGP2-CDSF technical team and CDSF zonal CDOs provided Job Embedded Support (JES) to increase sustainability of what was taught and ensure that the ToT was rolled out properly and TCs are strengthened at all level.
As a result of the training, and the JES that followed, TC members at all levels in the SNNPR have been reorganized and officially recognized by IAs. TC members have now got access to important documents in soft copies and are using them effectively. They have developed Terms of References setting out roles and responsibilities, and most TCs are conducting regular monthly meetings and evaluating the performance of the program.
Every TC member has prepared an action plan and checklist to support and supervise woredas and kebeles. Woredas have started sharing their plans and reports with the zones. Quarterly reports are being prepared on time and shared to zones and the regional PCU regularly. The quality of report is also improved.
Fekadu Bireda, a Gender and Nutrition expert at Gurage Zone Agriculture and Natural Resource Development Department had the following to say about the capacity development efforts and the results achieved.
“We are witnessing significant improvements in the performances of TCs as the result of the training and JES that CDSF has provided to TC members. TC members have now prepared ToRs and follow-up checklist, and share responsibilities based on the AGP2 components. Zonal and Woreda TCs also conduct regular monthly meetings and self-evaluations. Zonal TC members have started visiting AGP2 woredas in the region every quarter in groups and individually to improve the performance of woredas TCs. TCs now take AGP2 tasks as their own responsibilities and monitor, evaluate activities during field visit.”