The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) held a seminar on IFAD’s Support to Community-Driven Development (CDD). The objective of the seminar was to share and discuss the findings of the IOE evaluation synthesis on IFAD’s support to CDD, with the aim of feeding the lessons drawn from completed CDD operations into IFAD’s revamped strategic approach (IFAD 2.0). Over 45 people attended the event, while more than 35 viewers from around the world joined the livestream.
The seminar took place on Friday 13 December 2019. Community-driven development (CDD) has been an integral part of IFAD’s operations for more than 30 years. IOE’s evaluation synthesis shows that projects using a CDD approach fare better on criteria such as effectiveness, women’s empowerment and sustainability. CDD has also been instrumental in providing access to infrastructure and services to poor and marginalized people while, at the same time, giving them agency. A CDD approach addresses mainstreaming issues that are at the heart of IFAD’s mandate and strategy, such as empowering indigenous peoples, women and youth, strengthening food security and promoting sustainable use of natural resources. Furthermore, the CDD principle of local ownership is critical for improving IFAD's performance on sustainability, in particular in fragile situations. Finally, CDD can make a major contribution to developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions and ensure responsive, inclusive and participatory decision-making at all levels (as envisaged by SDG 16).
Mr Janmejay Singh, Lead Social Development Specialist for South Asia and former Coordinator for the CDD Community of Practice, World Bank, gave comments on this evaluation synthesis. Mr Singh noted that CDD has followed largely similar expansive trends in IFAD and the World Bank, confirming that CDD is the preferred option when working with vulnerable people, in vulnerable places and in vulnerable times. Mr Singh suggested further exploring the excellent results achieved on social cohesion by IFAD through CDD, because the lessons learned would be valuable globally. In this regard, additional outreach and information-sharing would help circulate IFAD’s CDD knowledge, enabling it to make the most of its comparative advantage in CDD in the context of agriculture.
The seminar featured two discussion panels. The first presented lessons learned on how and why CDD is relevant for IFAD’s future strategy. IFAD’s experience shows that CDD has made a substantive difference in ensuring the sustainability of project results and in reinforcing the social cohesion of communities, even serving as a powerful peace-building tool. CDD elements will therefore continue to feature strongly in IFAD’s work, strengthening the social fabric in fragile contexts while also contributing to business development and market-oriented approaches.
The second panel discussed the ongoing initiatives to strengthen CDD principles as part of IFAD 2.0. In this context, it was noted that although the social capital built by CDD is difficult to quantify, this does not mean that it is any less important. IFAD should provide stakeholders with evidence of why CDD works, and retain its unique approach to community-driven initiatives.
The recording of the event is available here.