Author: James Ayodele, August 31 2016 - A recent evaluation has shown that FAO helped the Government and the people of Burkina Faso strengthen the resilience of vulnerable households, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, climate change adaptation, water management, seed and non-wood forestry production, and food security policy development. At the same time, FAO needs to support the Government in mobilising resources for implementing these policies and strengthening capacities of national partners particularly at the decentralized level.

Conducted in 2015 by the Office of Evaluation, the evaluation found that some of FAO’s initiatives clearly brought concrete improvements to beneficiaries’ livelihoods. Such initiatives included the distribution of small animals, mainly targeting women, and promotion of the production and consumption by rural households of foods with high nutritional value.

Working within the Country Programming Framework, FAO provided an important support to the seed and non-wood forestry product sectors, which helped improve the enabling environment and reinforce the capacities of actors along the value chain.

Several activities were implemented to support climate change adaptation. For instance, FAO contributed to the production and distribution of quality certified short cycle variety seeds in response to the reduced rainy season. It contributed to water management through the development of lowlands for rice production and the construction of wells and boulis (artificial ponds).

Most of the partners interviewed rated FAO’s contribution to national food security coordination positively. They said that the Organisation’s technical expertise and responsiveness facilitated rapid decision-making by the Technical Committee of the National Council on Food Security.

At the strategic level, the Government recognised FAO’s contribution to the formulation of rural development policies, strategies and programmes and have often requested FAO’s support. Notable among these were contributions to the development of the National Policy for the Rural Sector, the National Policy for Food Security and Nutrition and the Country Resilience Priorities document.

The evaluation also found that FAO has been playing increasing role in the nutrition sector; the Organization was perceived as a key nutrition partner capable of facilitating the involvement of the food security and agricultural sectors in a multi-sectorial effort to combat malnutrition.

The evaluation however noted that implementation of the policies and programmes supported by FAO has been slow due to resource constraints experienced by the government. FAO did not sufficiently focus on postproduction phases such as storage, transformation and commercialization, and partners felt that FAO’s intervention modalities were not sufficiently participatory.

In its recommendations, the report said FAO should take advantage of the current opportunities to strengthen its position in the nutrition sector in the country and ensure that its increased engagement at the strategic level is translated into action in the field. It highlighted the need for FAO to remain involved in assisting the Government with resource mobilization, programme implementation and monitoring and evaluation of activities.

It further recommended that the new Country Programming Framework should reflect the important work that FAO is doing on climate change in the country, and that FAO should further invest in documenting and sharing knowledge, technologies and good practices.

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