This evaluation, conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, covers seven projects over the period 2009-2020.
The evaluation found that IFAD support has been aligned with the Government’s development strategies, with a strong focus on poverty. In Pakistan, IFAD has been expanding its investments on productive asset transfer and skills training to poor households, improving the income opportunities and resilience of beneficiaries (many of whom were women). IFAD investments in infrastructure, such as drinking water schemes and access roads, have also had mostly positive impacts on human capital and, to a varied extent, household incomes. The portfolio made important achievements in women’s social and economic empowerment, in light of the challenging gender context in Pakistan.
Although positive results have been achieved, limited consideration of how best to leverage changes in the local economy around agriculture and food systems to benefit the rural poor population has been a main shortcoming. The lending portfolio became skewed towards asset transfer and skill training, leading to reduced focus on addressing structural constraints. Project efforts have mostly concentrated on delivering goods and services according to targets, rather than improving and influencing institutions, policies and systems to create enabling conditions for sustainable pro-poor solutions. Also, the portfolio could have more deliberately integrated issues related to natural resources management and climate change adaptation.
For the future, the evaluation’s recommendations include adoption of a more flexible approach in targeting and programming, as well as articulation of a strategy to promote innovations and scaling up in order to have a greater impact on rural poverty. To enhance the likelihood of intervention sustainability, further emphasis should be placed on strengthening and linking with institutions, policies and systems.