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Strengthening Results-based Management in the MAIZE and WHEAT CRPs

By Michelle Guertin/CIMMYT

EL BATAN, Mexico (September 18, 2015)- Recognizing the importance of managing for results and learning from experience, the MAIZE and WHEAT CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) have been taking steps to strengthen results-based management (RBM) within the CRPs. In the last several months, both CRPs held multiple participatory workshops (see details below) to develop theories of change (ToCs) for their diverse research areas. These ToCs map out how and why a given research area will lead to specific results. ToCs are often used as a framework for testing hypotheses, where evidence is collected to validate the pathway of change.

The participatory nature of these workshops allowed the research teams to come together and develop consensus-based and aligned theories of change. This process was important to build buy-in and ownership. It was also recognized that change maps can support the development of research strategies and contribute to strengthening proposal development and results reporting by ensuring alignment and consistency across projects and programs.

Alignment is important not only at the project and program levels. Theories of change were clearly linked to attaining higher and global level results from the new CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework 2016-2030 and the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals. It was important for both CRPs to demonstrate how their programs contribute to global issues of poverty reduction, food security, improved nutrition, promotion of sustainable agriculture, and the achievement of gender equality.

In preparation for phase II of the CGIAR research programs, both CRPs will be looking to these theories of change to show how they intend to manage for results. In addition, other measures, such as monitoring plans, evaluation strategies and learning actions, will be initiated as part of their RBM framework.

The MAIZE and WHEAT CRPs are also committed to working with their colleagues from other CRPs to build harmonized platforms, approaches, methods and tools to better manage for results and build strong evidence for learning and improving research programs. In line with this approach, both CRPs hosted a three-day Cross-CRP Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (ME&L) Workshop in Paris (30 June to July 2) with colleagues from the other Agri-food System CRPs and a number of Integrating CRPs. The objectives of the workshop were to exchange information on each CRP’s proposed ME&L approach for phase II, identify areas of commonality for joint work, and develop a joint action plan to support the CGIAR CRP phase II.

During the workshop, a number of exercises and discussions took place, where participants exchanged views on key questions and issues and shared best practices and lessons learned from various ME&L initiatives. This will help them in their role of supporting CRPs to achieve solid results.

Participants also received advice and recommendations from John Mayne, a globally recognized expert in the field of results-based management, to support the development of their respective RBM framework. John Mayne’s participation was possible thanks to the generous contribution of the CGIAR Consortium Office.

At the end of the workshop, the participants made a strong commitment to work together on a variety of initiatives, the first of which is to create a formal community of practice dedicated to monitoring, evaluating and learning across the CGIAR. This voluntary network would allow for continued exchange and development of consistent and aligned CRP RBM frameworks.

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