In 2020, the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) conducted an evaluation of the performance of the Rural Economic Development Project in the Central and Eastern Provinces (PRORURAL Centre and East) in the Dominican Republic. The project’s overall objective was to reduce poverty in rural areas of the country, particularly by strengthening business opportunities and rural financial services.
The evaluation found that the project contributed to creating a space for promoting rural development, and supported the preparation and financing of business plans for 78 organizations of smallholder producers to position them in domestic or international markets. PRORURAL also contributed to improving the incomes and assets of beneficiary households, and towards strengthening their capacities. Despite the efforts made, the project did not sufficiently promote institutional policy dialogue or synergies with other programmes, and its outcomes in terms of developing mechanisms to reach the poorest target groups were less successful.
Moving forward, the evaluation recommends developing adequate mechanisms to ensure inclusion of the poorest, adopting a more flexible approach with business plans, expanding partnerships and raising the visibility of the contribution made by the project approach within PRORURAL.